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I have always had a passion for design of all kinds. I loved my classes in 2 and 3D design, and the idea of solving a design challenge with severe restrictions: "Create a balanced design using only two shapes and two colors" inspires me.
I've designed for paper, and the screen, and created a variety of presentations and environments. I've also been intrigued by industrial design, and product design. Creating an elegant solution that solves a problem but is also aesthetically pleasing, that, I think, is the hallmark of a true designer.
As part of my admissions portfolio for NYU, I designed and produced a board game, Arainia. Inspired by antique games that appealed to adults, I sent about creating something that was fun to play and beautiful to look at.
Arainia: the game
Arainia is a two person game designed to be played over a long period of time. The game draws upon mythology and legend, and the extensive back-story is chronicled in the accompanying book.
The playing field represents a wide riverbank area. Players chose a side, and the object of the game is to build the largest, tallest city structures.
The playing cards present a choice of action for that player, or describe an event that results in a set-back. Players are allowed, at times, to cooperate or sabotage their opponent.
The book presents the history of Arainia, a city of ancient beauty and wonders (modeled after Atlantis) through the ages. Various natural and man-made disasters have affected the city and its citizens, and the story shows the progression from small village to sprawling metropolis. The book is meant to provide both back-story and warning, as the threat of disaster is always imminent as the playing unfolds.

Board game and pieces
The game board is of painted wood, with the playing field painted to represent the banks of a mighty river. This is the foundation for the players' constructions. The reverse of the playing board is a painting of the sun and moon, which represents the two halves of the mythical city of Arainia. The board is painted with oils and glazes, with the board edged in gold-leaf.
The playing pieces, which are made of wood, are painted to resemble stone. The tower pieces are gilded clay.

Book of History
The history of Arainia is contained in this oversized hand-bound book. Covered in purple velvet with the symbol of the city, the book contains a number of mixed media collages as illustrations. Paper, fabric and paint are mixed with other materials to add depth and texture to the story. The image at right shows the great fire which destroyed much of the city.

Playing cards
The playing cards are designed to provide information and scenarios. The back of each card displays an custom created illustration, and the text incorporates the city's symbology.

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©2018 Matthew Fetchko

Arainia, 1995,
Painted wood and clay, velvet hand-bound illustrated book, card deck.

Arainia game board, 1995,
Painted and gilded wood panel.

Arainia illustrated manual, 1995,
Paper and fabric collage, hand-bound book.

Arainia playing cards, 1995, Paper