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Caravanserai Board Game

The Silk Roads are the trade routes that originates from China and carries important commodities towards West to Europe. These routes along the way pass within Iran and Turkey. Traders move along the route for trading with their pack animals which are called caravans. Typical a caravan can move around 30-40km a day, and they need to rest along the route in special inns called caravanserais.

This project aims to uncover trade networks of Anatolia during Seljuk Empire. To achieve this we created a board game, that uses abstracted GIS information such as the location of caravanserais, the topography of the region and accessibility. The players start in a city with some resources and try to visit all caravanserais and trade along the route. Staying on the caravanserais on the route gives an advantage to the players. During the players were playing the game we tracked their movements with a camera. In the end we compared the movements of players with actual routes of traders.

The contribution of the study is twofold. First, it is a serious game that teaches locations of the caravanserais on the South West of Turkey. Second is we used the data from the players as crowdsourced data to reveal possible locations for the lost caravanserais.

My contribution in the project is on Game Design and mechanics and GIS use for the board making.