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Subject: The recent explosion of the Chinese board game market rss

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Taylor Liss
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I was browsing through a Xinhua bookstore in downtown Chongqing the other day when I encountered their game section. I expected there to be some copies of Legends of the Three Kingdoms intermixed with crappy Uncle Wang games. Imagine my surprise when I saw this:



(I apologize for the bad quality of the photos, I would have taken more, but I was yelled at by the local security guard to knock it off.)

Yes, it seems that the Chinese board game market is starting to pick up speed. It is undoubtedly in response to the unfathomable success of Legends of the Three Kingdoms (SGS) and popular games like Werewolf. For those who are unaware, SGS is published by YOKA Games and from my personal experience, is the most widely-played modern game in China. I say "modern" to exclude popular classics like Xiangqi and Mahjong. SGS was first published in 2008 and closely emulates the gameplay of BANG!. Some would say that SGS is a complete rip-off of Bang!, but others would say that the game has been re-themed and re-tooled to make it a completely new game.

I prefer to think of it as being "re-imagined". A similar example would be how En Garde was re-imagined as Flash Duel.

But I digress. This post is not to talk about SGS, but about what is happening in the Chinese board game market at-large. Currently, from my limited browsing I am seeing two major trends. The first trend is the rise of SGS imitators. They are games that are doing exactly what SGS did to Bang!. Allow me to use an example:

This is Kang Zhan (抗战) or "The War of Resistance" based on the second Sino-Japanese War:


You can find it on Amazon.cn and a more in-depth review on this website. As far as I can tell, it is another re-imagining of SGS/Bang!. The card-layout is similar as well:


The second trend I am seeing is the adaptation of other intellectual property into board game form. Take, for example, this game based on the Ali comic character also published by YOKA Games:


Or this game based upon the hugely popular Crossfire video game:


Or games like The Message based on the Chinese movie of the same name:


Other games I have seen were based on the video game Plants vs. Zombies and the Chinese children's show Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf. Despite these trends, there are still a large amount of games that seem to be made using more original material, like Chinese history. This game appears to be based on the Chinese classic novel Journey to the West:


All-in-all, I'm very excited about these developments and I hope to see more unique and interesting games being made. I'll keep updating with pictures of games as I get the chance.
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jumbit
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Re-imagining? There's no "re-imagining" going on. Typical Chinese shanzhai "innovation" - take someone else's product, change the artwork and add some crap. I see it all the time.

Quote:
All-in-all, I'm very excited about these developments and I hope to see more unique and interesting games being made.

That's sort of the opposite of "re-imagining", isn't it?
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Taylor Liss
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jumbit wrote:
Re-imagining? There's no "re-imagining" going on. Typical Chinese shanzhai "innovation" - take someone else's product, change the artwork and add some crap. I see it all the time.

Quote:
All-in-all, I'm very excited about these developments and I hope to see more unique and interesting games being made.

That's sort of the opposite of "re-imagining", isn't it?

Hmm... I got a chance to go back to the store and examine the games more closely. I think I'm tending to agree with you. Here are some other copies of Legends of the Three Kingdoms/BANG! I've encountered:

(I don't have much info on this game, but the summary on the back sounded very SGS-ish)

三国杀:校园版: 老师VS学生 (San Guo Sha: School Version: Teachers VS Students) which is an official release form SGS publisher YOKA Games

I didn't get to check the back of this one, but I'm pretty sure it's a SGS copy re-themed from the Warcraft III mod Defense of the Ancients

I also came across another game that doesn't seem to be related to SGS, but may be a copy of another game. I'm not sure though, since I don't recognize the board on the back. It's called "The Chronicles of Dragon Wing" (龙翼编年史)



Edit: I should also mention that upon further examination, the games I saw based on Journey to the West and Crossfire are also SGS clones.
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Jonathan Young
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Interesting, thanks. I see these games all over Shanghai although not being able to read a word of Chinese it's interesting to have some context - thanks! The only one I really recognise is the Plants vs zombies one and I think I've seen an Angry Birds too -might be imagining it though, as Angry Birds seems to be everywhere, must be the most merchandised video game in history!
 
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Wichita
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If you've seen "Plants VS Zombies: The Boardgame," it's actually a card game. Specifically, Battle Line. Copyright-infringment double-whammy!
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Jonathan Young
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macroidtoe wrote:
If you've seen "Plants VS Zombies: The Boardgame," it's actually a card game. Specifically, Battle Line. Copyright-infringment double-whammy!


Oh really? Interesting.. I love Battleline (although of course, disapprove heartily of the copyright infingement.. grrr) so might pick that up.. might get the kids to play it with me too.. thanks for that
 
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Wichita
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There's actually a few different Plants VS Zombies games out.

 


The smaller one is the Battle Line clone.
 
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