Swiss game designer Treeceratops sends players on a journey to collect dyes and textiles across an ever-changing region of the Andes in its newest two-player board game, P’achakuna.
Players take the role of traders traveling to the different villages in search of rare dyes, high-quality wool and a mercantile edge over your friendly competitors. Your llama companion is adept at handling the varying terrain in the mountainous region, but they can’t carry very much at one time. Deciding what to take and which path to follow will be key to collecting the seven different resources needed to win the game. Do you invest in more llamas early or risk a perilous trip to a village with high demand for your wares?
P’achakuna sprung from the concept of two students at the Zurich University of the Arts, Moreno Vogel and Stefan Kraft. Treeceratops co-founder Marc Dür told Dicebreaker the company found their game at a convention and immediately loved the volatility of the modular board. Over time - and with Suyana, a Swiss-based NGO that organises social projects in the region, connecting the team to communities in Peru and Bolivia - the game focused on the textile craft. P’achakuna is the Quechuan word for textiles.
“Our games are always very thematic,” Dür said. Finding the right emotional core to match the mechanical strength was an important mission. Just as critical was ensuring the representation of the Andean culture met the standards of the people living there. Through intermediary translators, Treecer gradually developed the artistic style and themes of P’achakuna.
“We have an idea of mountains in Switzerland,” Dür said. “But not llamas. Not everything else we needed to get right.”
They discussed how much weight llamas could carry and how they manoeuvre the different terrain found within the region, all the way down to the hues of the native flowers. Colour, Dür said, holds an important place in decoration, ceremony and several other aspects of life for people who live in Peru and Bolivia. The consultants were happy to offer their expertise and took pride in sharing their knowledge with others through the board game.
One of the Kickstarter campaign’s backer tier rewards is a fabric bag in which the game can be stored. It was important to the team at Treeceratops that these bags be included.
“The bags are woven by a group in Bolivia that provides work for those without homes or jobs,” Dür said. “We did not want to just take the wisdom and knowledge of these communities without giving something back.”
The majority of profits made off the woven bags and handmade plush llamas will go to the Luz de Esperanza group in Bolivia.
P’achakuna’s Kickstarter will be active until December 2nd with shipments to backers expected to start in June of next year.
Edit: A previous version of this story referred to the musician Suyana, rather than the Swiss NGO. This has been corrected.