Abdulrahman Al Homaid is a board game designer from Qatar who creates games that offer a unique blend of personal experience and tongue-in-cheek commentary on Qatari society. He handles every aspect of the process, from conception to execution, and even directly sells to customers under the company ‘Majlis Shabab’ (literally translates to ‘Youth hangout space’ in Arabic). The founder was formerly a chess player in school and had carried his love for board games since then.
Majlis Shabab has recently released their newest card game, 'RADAR', which takes aim at car culture and getting caught on radar, with an educational twist. It requires basic critical thinking and math skills, making it a fun and engaging way to learn. Other board games from Majlis Shabab include ‘Moder Kaber’ (literally translates to big boss in Arabic), and ‘Hayatna’ (literally translates to our lives in Arabic). In addition, the card game ‘Ent Shtgool?’ (literally translates to ‘What are you saying?’ in Arabic) is made in collaboration with Ahmed Al-Malki, an instructor in teaching and preparing youngsters to be public speakers. ‘Ent Shtgool’ is a card game that is both educational and aims to encourage the players to complete speaking skills within the card and become the ultimate public speaker.
What makes Majlis Shabab's games stand out is their source of inspiration, which is the Qatari society. By offering a unique blend of personal experience and tongue-in-cheek commentary on the culture and society of Qatar, the company has created board games that are not only fun and engaging but also educational.
Majlis Shabab's games have been tested in the market and have shown to appeal to a wide audience. Al Homaid claimed that testing, despite being the last task, should be the most important through addressing different demographics in the country. “You will need to test the game on different groups such as a group of youngsters, a group of family members, a group of women, a group of men and so on,” said Al Homaid. When asked regarding the publishing date, “there are certain hooks and feelings that a designer needs to achieve before starting to produce and publish a game. It is also about timing when to release the game during the year.”
Majlis Shabab's games can currently be purchased through retailers such as Qatar’s ALIF Bookstore and Falcon Entertainment Stores, public events including school events, and online platforms like Instagram and his own website. The company has also been promoting their products at various events including Essen and SPIEL in Germany and Geekdom and Darb Al Saai in Qatar, which has helped them gain recognition and popularity among game enthusiasts.
“We always keep in mind that the board game market in Qatar is small. Therefore, the targets we set for ourselves (through online, distribution channels, events, etc) should be realistic for each project in order to reach breakeven.” In the case of SPIEL, they marketed the English version of “Moder Kaber”, however, ‘RADAR’ only required basic understanding of math and symbols which are globally known, hence, the manual includes simple instruction in Arabic and English.
For more information, visit www.instagram.com/majlis_shabab
– Marsya Abdulghani
Images courtesy of Abdulrahman Al Homaid