Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Chinese boardgaming

My copy of Killers of the Three Kingdoms.
I got the chance to once again travel East to the great country of China, more specifically Shanghai. This time a short trip, only a week. One interesting thing was that my Chinese colleagues happened to share my interest in boardgaming, so they kindly brought me to a boardgaming café/bar one evening.

The boardgaming café/bar is a neat concept in where they provide tables, a plethora of boardgames, soft drinks etc. You just bring your friends and play! You can more or less drop in at anytime. They have late opening hours (as most other shops/services in Shanghai) and the café/bar staff can help teach a game if needed. I think this concept is really great and as far as I know, we don’t have this where I live, in Sweden. What we have here are boardgaming clubs, but membership is usually required.

What stroke me when glancing through the set of boardgames in the café/bar, was the number of “standard” Euro games (and other games) that had been translated into Chinese. The market has certainly grown a lot the recent couple of years (see a couple of references in the bottom of this post). There must be a huge market potential for Western game companies. Imagine getting a game translated into Chinese and published there!

One of the most popular games seem to be the card game Killers of the Three Kingdoms, and has been for a couple of years. There are tons of merchandise and expansions available for it. We played one session, and I enjoyed it a lot, even though I had a somewhat hard time memorizing all cards, since they were all in Chinese. I think after three four more plays, I would be able to play it quite fluently. (I actually own a copy of the base game, which I bought in Shanghai a few years ago. Think it is time to dust it down and let it hit the table!) I can definitely see why it is so popular. The game mechanic is certainly very interesting, where bluffing is a big part of the game play.