The Chess board get a portable and inclusive redesign with this paper-based game redesign!

Go Chess or ‘Weiqi’ is a strategic board game that is immensely popular in many East Asian countries, especially China. It’s an intriguing two-player game, wherein both the players attempt to capture and surround more territory than their opponent. However, the traditional game set is often ergonomically difficult to handle. The playing pieces or ‘stones’ are heavy and quite tough to carry and also tend to shift around during the game. Not to mention, it isn’t the easiest game for a blind person to play! Taking all these strenuous factors into consideration, designers Cheng Ka Wing Kavieng, Wei Ruo, Mak Ming Huen, and Wong Cheuk Laam created ‘Poppu’.

Poppu is a portable and tactile Go game that’s set on paper! Inspired by the Kirigami carvings, which is a variation of Origami that includes paper-cutting, Poppu replaces the traditional board and stones duo with a foldable piece of paper! This makes it extremely light, and easy to carry around. The paper is embedded with patterns created by die-cutting and letterpress printing. If you press the pattern downwards and pop it – it is considered as a black stone. If you press and pop it upwards – it becomes a white stone! A flat surface indicates empty or captured stones. The clever pattern system completely eliminates the need for heavy stones. The tactile nature of Poppu makes it super friendly for blind players as well!

Poppu is a light, portable and economical alternative to the traditional Go sets. Not to mention, it’s also inclusive and vision-loss friendly. Plus the fact that it’s crafted from paper also makes it sustainable and recyclable. Products like Poppu could be the future of board games. We can finally cut down on the conventional and expensive game sets that have been around for ages galore, and instead, opt for simpler and pocket-friendly options like Poppu!

Designer: Cheng Ka Wing Kavieng, Wei Ruo, Mak Ming Huen, and Wong Cheuk Laam

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The swappable directional pads of this gaming controller are designed to give you tactical gameplay advantage!

A gaming controller for your PC, consoles, or smartphones is one accessory every gamer should have handy. A versatile gaming controller is a quintessential piece of equipment in any setup these days. Sure options like the Xbox Controller or the PlayStation DualSense bring precise in-game controls to gain a tactical advantage. But how about a more flexible control input that is tailormade for a better user experience?

Industrial designer Dingyu Xiao of Suosi Design decided to do away with conventions and came up with the MOZER Gamepad. The controller resonated instantly with me since it solves a fundamental issue – having a single joystick layout for a varied set of games. For example, you’d need precise and fast input sticks for an FPS game, a D-Pad for sports titles such as FIFA, or a spring-loaded sling joystick for a tactile feel of shooting a stack of balls in Pool. The MOZER Gamepad makes all of this and more possible. And to top it all off, it’s wireless.

The concept is quite interesting as the user can swap the control modules instantly and it’s all plug and play. The directional pad of the controller is the one that has this modular function which Dingyu quite smartly does, I have to say. Even better, the grip of the controller hides two of the three directional pad control inputs when not in use. I’m sure gamers will be dying to get such a well-designed wireless gamepad in their hands to have a strategic advantage over their mates or online hotshots.

Designer: Dingyu Xiao of Suosi Design

 

 

This chess board uses visual projectors to help you learn the game and learn creating strategies!

Like many, chess was one of the hobbies I took up mid-pandemic. Half the battle of chess is learning and remembering the directions and formations each piece is allowed to move, once that’s squared away, strategy can be weaved into your game. I never got that far, but the new chess set Illuminis designed by Bülent Ünal might do the trick. It’s a chess set that enacts visual pointers on the actual board for kids new to the game who want to learn the rules, but it’s tailored for anyone who’s taking up the new hobby.

Familiarly decorated almost like miniature orange and black minions, the chess pieces look inviting for kids, with a gleaming outer coat and round bodies and heads. Setting his chessboard apart from the rest, Ünal’s chess pieces’ faces have been replaced with protruding circular projectors that look similar to antique scuba diving helmets. The minuscule projectors work by illuminating the squares on the chessboard where each piece is allowed to move, allowing kids and learners of chess alike to understand the rules of chess accurately and quickly. The visual indicators that come equipped with Ünal’s pieces merge technology with the antique chess board to give the game a modern edge, fit for today’s younger, more technologically perceptive generations. The bottom of each chess piece also comes outfitted with battery slots for fast and accessible charging and longer game time.

Chess is a game of skill, memory, and discipline. While it takes determination and patience to develop your own strategy, Ünal’s Illuminis chessboard might help streamline the beginner’s learning process and harness the memory and skill it takes to become tactical at the game of chess.

Designer: Bülent Ünal

Dressed in gleaming orange and black outer coats, the chess pieces have an undeniable personality that will speak to kids and beginners alike.

The pieces’ projectors indicate the different squares on the board each piece is allowed to move.

Underneath each chess piece, batteries can be inserted into slots for quick and easy charging.

Each chess piece has its own distinct personality to hone in on the character’s elements (i.e.; knight, queen, king, rook, and bishop).

This Rubik’s Cube with displays in each square may be the most innovative gaming experience of 2021

Right off the bat, the idea of a dynamic Rubik’s Cube with displays instead of colors sounds like a weirdly awesome idea. It’s fun, tactile, and has a little for people of all ages and walks of life… but most importantly, it’s unabashedly innovative. The Wowcube, as this little gizmo is called, is the brain-child of a 13-year-old YouTuber by the name of Savva Osipov. “What if to place characters and gameplay on Rubik’s Cube surface and control the game by twisting tilting and shaking,” he thought. His father, inventor, and entrepreneur, Ilya Osipov, was instantly captivated by the idea – which sort of explains exactly why the Wowcube has such an ageless appeal. Together, the father-son duo decided to put the wheels in motion and the Wowcube was born.

Designed on the framework of a 2×2 Rubik’s Cube, the Wowcube comes with tiny, high-resolution microdisplays built into each of the cube’s 24 square-shaped segments instead of your conventional colored stickers. These displays go above and beyond when it comes to gaming with the Wowcube, as you’ve also got to factor in the fact that the cube looks and functions exactly like a Rubik’s Cube would, allowing you to flip, turn, and rotate elements. This very interaction forms the framework of the Wowcube’s gaming interface, allowing you to play not by mashing buttons or pulling triggers, but by rotating parts of the cube – or as an 8-year old called it, “video Lego.”

The Wowcube comes with 8 processors on the inside (housed within the cube’s 8 individual mini-cubelets. It also runs on an open-source API that doesn’t just come with its own slew of games, but also allows people to develop their own games to run on the Wowcube. The hope is to enable practically anyone to design their own games/puzzles/learning-exercises for the Wowcube, a feature that should only help expand its appeal further! At its heart, though, the Wowcube is a brilliant fusion of traditional and modern… with a cube that’s wonderfully tactile in the way it satisfyingly clicks when you rotate it, and multiple displays that should keep you engaged for hours. Oh, and when you’re done with the Wowcube, you can just pop it onto its charging base and the cube’s individual screens become functional widgets, displaying things like the date, time, weather, notifications, and a lot more! The Nintendo Switch wishes it were this clever and innovative!

Designers: Savva & Ilya Osipov

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