The Game Behind the Game

At award-winning Edge Toy, Inc., secluded inside a hanger at Zamperini Field, we tend to lean on the side of the unconventional. Like mashing IP into unlikely products. Does the world really need another collectable chess set based on iconic characters? What if we could bring an entire world to life in a simple to learn but strategically challenging game?

Many years ago, a small group of us trekked to one of the Annapurna base camps in the Himalayas. Passing through villages along the way, we were introduced and drawn into an obscure, centuries-old game called Bagh-Chal. It’s based on 4 tigers and 20 goats – the tigers hunt down the goats while the goats attempt to block their movements. Nightly, we’d draw lines in the dirt and use rocks for pieces. Now, decades later, paying homage to that memorable and addicting game, GameVaults was born. 

In our version, the overlying rules remain the same, but the execution not so much. Two players. 88 million moves. Simple until now. First, we removed all connecting lines from the 5×5 intersecting grid. Even though the game played the same, you had to pause and really pay attention. Try playing chess on a board without colors – just a grid – easier said than done. Next, we stretched and distorted that hidden grid, placing the game spaces on an uneven landscape, each at different elevations. Visually, this created a new dimension of complexity, while adding a considerable amount of time to the gameplay itself. Then the original sculpts started taking on a life of their own. 

Finally, we placed architectural elements on that uneven landscape, completely obscuring the line of sight, not only of the opponent’s game pieces, but of your own.  Placing various sculpts on the landscape or removing them brought on both offensive and defensive obstructions, new to this ancient game from the rooftop of the world.