Celebrate Chinese New Year with these themed board games
January 25th Marks the celebration of the Chinese New Year so this year why don’t you grab a few friends for a board game night and celebrate with these Chinese themed board game.
The harvest is in, and the artisans are hard at work preparing for the upcoming festival. Decorate the palace lake with floating lanterns and compete to become the most honored artisan when the festival begins.
In Lanterns: The Harvest Festival, players have a hand of tiles depicting various color arrangements of floating lanterns, as well as an inventory of individual lantern cards of specific colors. When you place a tile, all players (you and your opponents) receive a lantern card corresponding to the color on the side of the tile facing them. Place carefully to earn cards and other bonuses for yourself, while also looking to deny your opponents. Players gain honor by dedicating sets of lantern cards — three pairs, for example, or all seven colors — and the player with the most honor at the end of the game wins.
Dragon Castle is a game freely inspired by Mahjong Solitaire. During your turn, you take a pair of identical tiles from the central “castle” (known as the Dragon Castle) and place them on your own realm board to build your own castle. From time to time, you may sacrifice these tiles to acquire shrines in their place.
Every time you create a set of tiles of the same kind, you “consolidate” them, i.e. flip them face down to score points. When you consolidate a set, you may also build shrines on top of the consolidated tiles: Shrines allow you to score more points, but they also limit your building options. You may also take advantage of the available spirit card and its game-changing powers…but this will come at a cost! Finally, don’t forget to check the dragon card in play, and to follow the building requirements to score bonus points.
When the Dragon Castle has been reduced to only one floor, the end of the game is triggered. After one final round, the player with the most points is the lord of the new Dragon Castle…and the winner of the game!
China, 1570. China is under the reign of the Longqing Emperor, of the Ming Dynasty. He inherited a country in disarray after years of mismanagement and corruption. He resided in the Forbidden city, which was the seat of many emperors under the Ming Dynasty. Constructed from 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 72 ha (over 180 acres). It is also under the Ming Dynasty that the Great Wall of China was rebuilt, fortified, and expanded. Around this period, China was under heavy attack from the Mongols, so maintaining the Great Wall was essential. Most of what we now have left of the Great Wall, we owe to the Ming dynasty.
The country was already famous for its very intricate bureaucracy, but this also led to a lot of corruption. Even though the penalties for corruption were very high, the highest Officials of the Forbidden City would pretend to uphold the ban on corruption, by accepting gifts of petitioners, and returning one of seemingly lower value.
Gùgōng uses this extraordinary custom as its basis. Players take on the role of powerful Chinese families trying to gain influence and power by exchanging gifts with Officials. The gift cards you offer as a player have to be of a higher value than the one you receive, forcing you to make strategic choices regarding which actions you want to take each turn. You will travel around China, sail down the Grand Canal, purchase precious jade, help construct the Great Wall, secure advantages through decrees, influence the game through intrigue, and ultimately, receive an audience with the emperor. If only 1 player succeeds in doing so, he wins. If several players succeed, the player with the most VPs among those players wins the game.
—description from the publisher
Tichu took much of its rules and mechanics from Zheng Fen. It is a partnership climbing card game, and the object of play is to rid yourself of your hand, preferably while scoring points in the process.
The deck is a standard 52-card pack with four special cards added: dog, phoenix, dragon and Mah Jong (1). When it’s your turn, you may either beat the current top card combination — single card, pair of cards, a sequence of pairs, full house, etc. — or pass. If play passes all the way back to the player who laid the top cards, they win the trick, clears the cards, and can lead the next one. The card led determines the only combination of cards that can be played on that trick, so if a single card is led, then only single cards are played; if a straight of seven cards is led, then only straights of seven cards can be played, etc.
The last player out in a round gives all the cards they won to the player who exited first, and the last player’s unplayed cards are handed to the opposite team. Fives, tens and Kings are worth 5, 10 and 10 points, with each hand worth one hundred points without bonuses — but the bonuses are what drive the game. At the start of a round, each player can call “Tichu” prior to playing any card. This indicates that the player thinks they can empty their hand first this round; if they do so, their team scores 100 points, and if not, their team instead loses 100 points. Cards are dealt at the start of a round in a group of eight and a group of six; a player can call “Grand Tichu” after looking at only their first eight cards for a ±200 point bonus. If both players on a team exit during a single round prior to either player on the opposite team, then no points are scored for cards and the winning team earns 200 points (with Tichu/Grand Tichu bonuses and penalties being applied as normal).
The first team to 1,000 points wins.
Ticket to Ride Asia
Days of Wonder’s Ticket to Ride Map Collection is a series of expansions for Alan R. Moon’s Ticket to Ride, with each expansion including a double-sided game board and destination tickets and rules for those locations.
Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 1 – Team Asia & Legendary Asia presents players with two set-ups on Earth’s largest continent:
• Team Asia from Alan R. Moon – Four or six players compete as two-player teams, with teammates sitting next to one another at the table. Each player has her own secret hand of cards and tickets, in addition to some cards and tickets being placed in a shared cardholder that either player on the team can access.
When a player draws cards, she must place one card in the cardholder and the other in her hand (unless she takes a face-up locomotive, in which case it must be shared); when a player draws tickets, the first ticket kept must be placed in the cardholder and any additional tickets kept added to her hand. A player can spend her turn to add two tickets from her hand to the cardholder. A team’s points are tracked collectively, and the team with the highest score wins.
• Legendary Asia from François Valentyne – The main change in this set-up is that some of the routes through Asia are labelled mountain routes, with one or more spaces on the route bearing an X. Whenever a player claims one of these routes, she must place a train from her reserve in the Mountain Crossing area of the game board, earning two points for each such train but losing access to them for the rest of the game. The player who connects to the most cities in a single network earns a ten-point “Asian Explorer” bonus.
Ticket to Ride or Ticket to Ride: Europe is required to use the maps in this expansion.
What Games do you play to celebrate Chinese New Year?
Let us know in the comments below.