Spotlight on Games > Ludographies
Games Set in China
January 28, 2017 added: Court of Xiang Chi, The (2015) · Dadaocheng (2015) · Doodle China (2016) · Dynasty (2017) · Eng Chiang, The (2015) · Hong Kong Dim Sum (2017) · Kung Fu Combo (2016) · Lanterns: The Emperor's Gifts (2016) · Lanterns: The Harvest Festival (2015) · Long March 1934-1935, The (2014) · My WuXing Card Game (2016) · Overseers (2015) · Pagodarama (2016) · Round House (2016) · Way of the Dream, The (2015) · Wok on Fire (2015) · Xeko Mission: China (2008) · Xuanwu Gate Incident, The (2016) · Yangtze (2016)

Games sorted by year of publication. Entries in white are not strictly set in China, but are somehow related.

Further Reading
Games about the Silk Road
War Games Set in China

Aaron Brock; Black Knight Games; 2-4; 120

Deck-building game of nobility trying to create a lasting dynasty. Players try to control four rows of cards, from which they can gain or score the cards. They also gain ability cards and points cards. The more cards you have, the higher the tax you must collect.
Hong Kong Dim Sum

Vivienne Ng; Hong Kong Go Culture Association; 2-5; 30 ; 8+

Pattern recognition and fast reaction game of diners awaiting dim sum dishes. Match the most cards to win.
Journey of the Emperor

Jonathan Dersch; Nothing Now Games; 2-5; 30


Game of trip organizers creating the best experience for the emperor during the Qingming Festival. The Emperor wishes to see different things on his walk along the river. Each round players select a card representing a part of the festival and place it in a path in front of them. The full layout of cards, from castle on the left to coast on the right with the festival in between is considered a journey. The goal is to figure out the best sequence to play your cards in order to score the most points and be declared the best festival organizer. Cards include Dragons, Pandas, Tigers, Chows, lanterns, animals and castles.
Doodle China

Eilif Svensson & Kristian Amundsen Østby; Aporta Games/Gamdow Games; 1-5; 40; 8+

Reimplementation of Doodle City in two versions: "Suzhou" and "Shanghai". Players try to draw a network of canals connecting houses, parks, markets and ships. The parameters of drawing are granted via dice draft. The "Shanghai" version adds hotels, skyscrapers and different rules for scoring.
Fujian Trader

Robert Batchelor & Sari Gilbert; Thinking Past; 3-5; 60

In 2008 the 17th century Selden map of trade routes off southern China was rediscovered, an invaluable find even though the map disagrees somewhat with trade route descriptions of the texts of the period. It is this map which forms the basis of the board. Players are Ming-era merchant families who gain points by trading (or raiding) iron, silk, and rice for silver and influence. Players start out with a number of ports and receive goods based on the ports they control and the roll of a colored die. Players may purchase additional ports with money gained from trading or incite rebellions in already controlled ports to wrestle them from an opponent. The game ends when the Manchu invade the Ming Empire. The invasion starts once the first of three Manchu Move cards are drawn from the Event deck. Players then have a limited amount of time to trade goods and store silver.
Kung Fu Combo

Ben Burns; New Comet Games; 2; 20; 7+

Fighting card game in which each player takes on an animal master – Crane, Tiger, Leopard or Snake. Make an attack by matching colors, numbers, sequences or both. Block by matching numbers or forming defensive combinations.
Lanterns: The Emperor's Gifts

Jason D. Kingsley; Crowd/Foxtrot/Pegasus/Renegade Game Studios; 2-4; 30; 8+

Expansion for Lanterns: The Harvest Festival. Now players have pavilions that they can place on a tile after they place it. If the colors match, you earn an imperial gift. With enough gifts you can activate a special action.
My WuXing Card Game

(unknown); Game Salute; 2-8; 30; 8+

Rock Paper Scissors style game, but based on the Chinese five elements (WuXing).

Danny Sheung; Quxacto Games; 2-6; 45; 5+

Abstract game that combines ideas from The Towers of Hanoi, Ludo and Chinese Checkers. Players compete to be the first to relocate his pagodas away from the capital on a 4x4 grid.
Round House

Eros Lin & Zong-Hua Yang (Bob); EmperorS4 Games; 2-5; 90

Round houses, rural dwellings in the mountains of Fujian, date back to the Ming dynasty. Players are families who buy and sell goods, hire experts and worship the ancestors. Employs worker placement and card drafting.
Xuanwu Gate Incident, The

Kuraki Mura; Kuraki Mura B.G. Studio, Swan Panasia Co., Ltd.; 3-7; 30

Deduction card game set in an actual Chinese coup in 626 in which Tang Taizong assassinated his brothers to take power. Each player has a secret identity, but may swap it with another players's or one of the two face down identities held in common. Players then vote on whether all will reveal, which determines victory for one team.

Reiner Knizia; Piatnik; 2-4; 60; 8+

Players are merchants trying to make money on the Yangtze River, buying and selling. Goods vary in price, becoming cheaper as they approach Shanghai, creating a dilemma between getting the best price vs. the item no longer being available. Players also create branches and hold cards that provide special advantages.

Eason Kao & Tsai Huei-Chiang; Soso Studio; 1-4; 45

Players are foreign traders in Dadaocheng, Taiwan at the turn of the twentieth century. They swap and flip resource discs to obtain resources and either trade them or use them to buy of buildings.
Court of Xiang Chi, The

Todd Sanders; Air and Nothingness Press; 1; 20

Print and play solitaire hand management and drafting card game that includes 54 cards. The player is purchasing cards to form his court and fighting off any Daemon princes that appear using his generals. Download.
Eng Chiang, The

Yang Ming; 17gonplay; 3-5; 30; 6+

Dice rolling game of stealing pieces of sausage from one another. Complete a sausage to grasp the garlic.
Hoppers: Chinese Zombies Action Adventure Game

Ta-Te Wu; Sunrise Tornado Game Studio; 3-9; 5; 8+

Chinese zombies can only travel by hopping. Players must master dexterity challenges to capture the Hopper Stone, which one player might already be holding, and win. It's possible that all players lose.
Lanterns: The Harvest Festival

Christopher Chung; Crowd/Foxtrot/Games Factory/Korea Boardgames/Matagot/Pegasus/Renegade Game Studios/White Goblin; 2-4; 30; 8+

Tile layer around making arrangements of colored floating lanterns. Each placement gives all players a corresponding lantern card. Players earn points by collecting sets of cards in pairs or colors.

Guan Chih Huang; Big Fun Games/ThunderGryph Games; 3-6; 45

Drafting and bluffing game that reimplements Gold Rush. Overseers try to protect the world from opposed cosmological forces. Players draft cards using the "take one and pass the rest" mechanism. A voting round chooses a subjective strongest player, who must discard two cards or request a showdown to prove the vote result false (by revealing scores).
Way of the Dream, The

Yu-Ting Lin; Touching Ltd.; 3-4; 45; 8+

Tile placement game in which each player tries the best to make his own dreams come true, as well as be the key person in the pursuit of other player dreams. On a turn draw cards and distribute them among all players. Then each player gives the active player a card, which the player must use to progress toward the dream.
Wok on Fire

Chen Po-Chiao; Green Couch Games; 2-4; 20; 7+

Dexteriy and set collection game of being a chef. Pick the best combinations of food to win.

Shane Gelven; The Game Crafter, LLC; 2; 5; 8+

Quick card game in which players take the roles of Zen Masters trying to maximize Yang Chi energy by collecting six unique Yang cards. On a turn perform one action, either take a card or play a card.
Demonslayer: Siege of Mt. Kunlun

(unknown); EOS Press; 1-4; 120 ; 9+

Fantasy deck-building game based on the story "Warriors of Magic Mountain." Each player controls one sect of the Kunlun Immortals and competes with others in defeating the dread forces of the Heart-Eaters. Elements include demon enemies, spells, and warriors. There are four sects – Kunlun, Qicheng, Kongtong, Wuyi – each plays differently.
Eternal Dynasty

Joshua Reubens & Nicholas Yu; Game Salute/Zucchini People Games; 3-5; 90

Multi-generational conflict to control all of China. There are quite a few cards and each generation players choose which of their leaders and his or her special ability will be utilized. One of the attributes of a leader is the number of dynasty cards he or she can retain. There is no traditional game combat; instead players spread political and even military "influence" which resolves who gains control of each of the eighteen provinces.
Long March 1934-1935, The

Kotaro Ichien; Saba Shoten; 3-5; 15; 8+

Card game based on the historical "Long March", the Red Army's 1934 campaign. Players are Red Army generals who collect cards representing political influences on party leaders such as Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, etc. Artwork based on period propaganda photos.
Madame Ching

Bruno Cathala & Ludovic Maublanc; Hurrican; 2-4; 8+

Primarily a card game of pirates in the South China Sea that takes off from the ideas of Lost Cities. Card plays lead to voyages across the sea, the longer the voyage the greater the rewards. Card drafting and special card abilities add considerations in this light and entertaining romp. Cards summary

Michael Schacht; Abacus; 2-5; 45

Variant of the Schacht/Abacus China game set in the ancient Han Dynasty. Board is double-sided to support differing numbers of players. Players each get a fort which can support a house; it generates double points for its owner whenever it scores. Or players have a marketplace that supports an emissary; it permits a player to participate in a region that is otherwise already full.

Arve D. Fühler; Pegasus Spiele/Alderac Entertainment Group/White Goblin Games; 2

A hand management card game of building up to six multi-layer pagodas. Each player has five face-up and two face-down cards that they use to build pillars and levels. Once a pillar has been placed, all other pillars placed must be of the same color. When someone places the fourth pillar on a level, he places a floor tile on top. Players score points each time they place a pillar, with a pillar on ground level being worth one point, a pillar on the second floor two points, and so on. Game ends after three pagodas are finished. Includes 55 cards, 125 wooden pillars and 25 floor tiles.
Three Kingdoms Redux

Christina Ng Zhen Wei & Yeo Keng Leong; Starting Player; 3; 135-165

Worker placement game set in the world of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms epic novel, partly inspired by Agricola. Includes board, 69 cards, 20 farm tokens, 20 marketplace tokens, 40 army tokens (untrained army on one side and trained army on the other), 12 spear tokens, 15 crossbow tokens, 15 horse tokens, 15 vessel tokens, 15 popular support tokens, 15 border location tokens, 42 state enhancement cards, 9 state markers, 3 state action markers, 3 tribe markers, 6 bid tokens, 69 general tokens, 30 gold tokens, 30 rice tokens, 5 deficit tokens, 2 criterion markers, Han emperor token, round marker, alliance token.

Peter Desfertilles; KiniGame-2014; 2-6; 6+

Pattern recognition card game about the five classic elements for children. Someone flips over a card to represent the master's power. Each player then searches her hand for a matching card If only one player finds such a card, she scores both her card and the master's; if more than one player has such a card, then you need to find an element on another player's card that's on the same finger on your card, with whoever does this first claiming all of the cards played.

Marco Canetta & Stefania Niccolini; Asmodee/Ghenos Games/'s Your Game?; 2-4; 90

In the Qin dynasty players represent emissaries of the emperor who help to build the wall and set up infrastructure, working from just a few cards drawn each round. These may be played on one's own board or on the common board to recruit help, construct buildings, call in reinforcements or move armies. But moving too fast may cause dissatisfaction and uprisings.

Walter Schneider; Korea Boardgames; 2-4; 6+

In this dexterity game based on the stories of the "Monkey King" players launch coconut pellets via spring-loaded plastic monkeys, trying to land into one of several cups. Completing six cups wins, but watch out for special cards which force players to try particularly difficult shots.
Chung Ling Soo Murder Mystery

Jeff Hunt; Portsmouth Miniatures and Games; 3-6; 60

Players represent police detectives trying to bring in the most evidence on a murder, on-stage, of a London magician. Moving through a hexagonal map of the city, they acquire evidence and bring it back to one of the three stations. Players also move the villain pawns in attempts to steal money, evidence or equipment from other players.
Kashgar: Händler der Seidenstraße 

Gerhard Hecht; Kosmos-2013; 2-4

Players begin with three cards, each a family member offering a differing capability. A turn consists of choosing one of the abilities and executing the indicated action. This card is then placed at the back of the caravan, becoming unusable until all of the other cards have been. Players collect mules, spice and gold on their own boards. It's also important to collect new family members – effectively this is a deck building game – offering more abilities, including those that affect other players. English rules and cards translation
Lantau Fun

Thomas Wong; People on Board; 2-6; 30; 5+

Set collection card game based on the tourist attractions of Lantau Island near Hong Kong. Players are tourists who travel around the island and use the action and function cards in hand to collect "Lantau Fun" cards in the form of "Local Delicacies", "Entertainment", and "Souvenirs". The first player collecting the required number of sets wins.
Qin: Toad and Dragon Turtle Game Boards

Reiner Knizia; eggertspiele/White Goblin; 2-4; 30; 8+

Expansion kit for Qin is a double-sided board, one including an obstructing mountain range, the other paddy fields.

Aaron Haag; Argentum; 2-5; 90

Worker placement and network building game in the land of tea. Players must establish extensive trade networks, including to Tibet. Considerations includes training traders, acquiring both horses and border passes and keeping provincial inspectors happy.
Yunnan: Tu Di Gong Shrine

Aaron Haag & Christwart Conrad; Argentum; 2-5; 90

This expansion building for Yunnan allows you to double the progress of one of your other progress buildings. Promotional item given away at Spiel 2013

Reiner Knizia; Eggertspiele/White Goblin/Pegasus; 2-4; 30; 8+

About building walls in ancient times. Graphic design by Franz Vohwinkel.
Die Renjie

Ta-Te Wu; Sunrise Tornado Game Studio; 2-6; 30

Deduction card game based on the famous Judge Dee of the Tang Dynasty period. Players are attempting to prevent a murder. To do so they must identify the target (1 of 6), murder weapon (1 of 5) and planned location (1 of 5). Each one of these possibilities is represented by three cards; one card of each type is removed before play begins. There are also five suspect cards. Player turns consist of revealing and requesting clue cards. Play ends after eight turns and each player records their best guess regarding the answer. If the crime has been determined by a combination of all player guesses, the closest player wins; otherwise all players lose. Also includes an optional Assassin card. With this card, whoever receives this card at the outset is the secret assassin throughout the game.
The Legend of Cheung Po Tsai

Thomas Wong; People on Board; 2-4; 30; 6+

Spin-and-move game set in the Qing Dynasty. Up to four factions – fishermen, pirates, the Qing navy, the Portuguese navy – race around Cheung Chau Island trying to be the first to claim a dead pirate's treasure map. Each character has special abilities. To move they must play cards matching the wind direction shown on the spinner. Other shoot at opponents, moving them backwards, steal their cards or swap places with them.
Taipan: Merchants of the Far East

Eric J. Sexton;

(self-published); 2-4; 90
Players represent international trading companies headquartered in Hong Kong in 1845, dealing with criminals, smugglers and pirates. Each player's captain card has a special ability. Ships move among Singapore, Makassar, Nagasaki and others. They buy and sell cargo and upgrade their ships. Events such as fires and discovery of gold mines affect prices.
Zong Shi

Kevin G. Nunn; Gryphon Games-2012; 3-5; 75

Worker placement for artisans trying to be recognized as the grand master. Includes eight types of projects. B
Taiwan Snackbar

Huraki Ka; Swan Panasia Co., Ltd.-2011; 3-10; 15; 8+

The competition here is in eating, but without overdoing it such that you fall from your seat. It's a risk-management card game. B
China Einflusskarten

Michael Schacht; Abacus; 3-5

Extension of the Schacht/Abacus China game that adds 9 influence cards. These increase the number of points awarded for placing houses in the area corresponding to a card. B
Dim Sum Derby

Joan Wendland; Blood and Cardstock Games; 3-4

Card game in which each player has a different combination of dim sum they wish to get off the dim sum cart and eat. B
1880: China

Helmut Ohley and Leonhard Orgler; Double-O Games; 3-7

Another in the family of 18xx stocks and railroads games. B
Jin Li

W. David MacKenzie;

nestorgames; 2; 6+
Pure abstract in which players control fish (the title is Chinese for koi) in a pond, trying to get close to other fish. B
Middle Kingdom Race

(unknown); Pioneer Junior College (Singapore); 2-4; 6+

Plan a route across China so as to score the most points. This is like Europatour, but with more of a scoring system. B
Way of the Dragon

Néstor Romeral Andrés; nestorgames; 2-5; 7+
Racing game employing the five elements and five mythological animals. Players roll and re-roll dice Yahtzee-style to try for the best move. Advanced rules permit use of special powers. B

Chinese Characters Puzzle

unknown; unknown; 2

Educational game teaching Chinese characters. Players create complete characters from cards showing only radicals (sub-components). B
Ghost Stories: B-Rice Lee

Antoine Bauza; Repos Production; 1-4

Expansion card for Ghost Stories. For those in the know, this card has the ability WAAATAAAA as well as a Nunchuks icon. B
Laura und das chinesische Feuerwerk

Kai Haferkamp; Amigo; 1-4

"Laura and the Chinese Fireworks" is sort of a Memory game with an unusual mechanism. Twenty tiles are placed under a transparent screen which has some kind of black liquid trapped inside it preventing what's beneath it from being seen until it is pressed down so that the liquid moves away. Everyone sees the twenty tiles and tries to memorize them. Then in turn players get task cards requiring them to remember the locations of three particular tiles. If they can they get to keep the task card. B
Lauras große China-Reise

Inka & Markus Brand; Amigo; 2-6

In "Laura's Great Trip to China", players distribute their tokens around the map. Then pieces are flipped over at the various locations. If they match the location of a token, the piece can be taken, as can the star token. Other pieces are part of a star token puzzle. When all the pieces of this puzzle are complete, the player holding the star wins. B

Stefan Feld; alea; 2-4

The (longtime Portuguese-owned) Chinese port in the 17th century is the setting for this game employing six dice. Players take on the roles of captain, craftsman, scholar or governor in this game of trading. This is the thirteenth in Alea's big box series.

Lajos Brons; Papercut; 3-4

In "Trade Roads" players are merchants in a Silk Road period setting up trade routes and acquiring stock on companies. Sounds almost like an 18XX system B
The Message

unknown; unknown; 3-9

Card game based on the Chinese movie of the same name which depicts events around the 1942 Nanking assassinations. Each player is secretly either in the army, the underground or a passerby as well as owning a unique character ability. A turn consists of drawing two cards and giving one to another player. Players try to collect information of the type their organization is seeking, but avoid false information, which knocks them out of the game. B
Mountain of Inferno

Ta-Te Wu; STGS-2009/Z-Man Games-2010; 2-4

Based on the "Flaming Mountain" chapter of the epic novel Journey to the West, depicts the episode in which the monk is trapped in the mountain with the evil, hungry buffalo demon family. As usual, his followers must rescue him. Card placement game includes 9 each of monkey king, piggy, monk and horse cards. B
Pekin Express

unknown; Gyro Toys & Games; 2-6; 8+

Roll-and-move trivia game in which players travel the route from Moscow to Beijing or Beijing to Bombay. B
Pinky Li: The Bad Mushroom

Marco Bing; PYXI; 2-4; 4-7

"The Great Mushroom Race" is a game in a book aimed at getting children to read. B
Taste Taiwan

Wei-Cheng Cheng; Formosa Force Games; 2-3

Postcard Trivia game on the cultural history of Taiwan. Thus far the extant series are Warrior and Princess. B
Tien Zi Que

Ta-Te Wu; TZQ/Z-Man Games; 2; 8+

Pocket Mah Jongg for two. B

Stefano Castelli; daVinci/Abacus; 2-5

A fifteen minute card game in which players are casting directors for this Chinese-set opera. Players recruit six singers and a director using a simultaneous selection system. B
Vor den Toren von Loyang

Uwe Rosenberg; Hall Games; 2-4

"Before the gates of Loyang" is the previously unreleased precursor to Agricola. Players are farmers who acquire seeds, plant and then harvest them, attempting to fulfil orders. A market card shows the varying prices. Person cards give you the right to perform some special action. Order and contract cards show what is in demand. Field cards provide extra capacity.
Wu Xing Rummy

Michael Haverty; (web-published); 2-4; 8+

The four seasons and five elements of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water adorn the 108 cards in this Rummy-style game in which there are also special action cards à la the Mystery Rummy series. May become available via soon. B
Carving Up China

Lloyd Krassner; Warp Spawn Games; 3-5

Players are late 19th century Imperialist powers (Britain, France, Japan, Russia and Germany) bent on getting the largest shares of a powerless China. Each player side offers a special ability. B

Alan Paull; Surprised Stare Games; 3-5

Players are Ming Dynasty aristocrats in this area-control and action points system. Included are three branches of government, sea explorations and trade fleets. B
Formosa Rail - 1899 from North to South

Ta-Te Wu, Sherise Liu and Jong Kong;

Academia Historica; 2-5
Railroad game showing the construction of the network on the isle of Taiwan. Includes rules for collecting materials as well as tunnels, bridges and stations. Said to last up to two hours. B
Ghost Stories

Antoine Bauza; for Asmodee Editions; 1-4

This is a completely cooperative game in which the players compete against the game system, winning or losing together. The background is that the ghost of a dead ruler has returned to earth and is eager to regain his throne. The Taoist priests must prevent him and his host of evil spirits. B
Ghost Stories: The Guardhouse Expansion

Antoine Bauza; Spielbox; 1-4

This is a small expansion printed in the pages of Spielbox magazine. It provides an alternate village tile (the Guardhouse) and five ghost cards (four ghosts and their ruler). B
Great Wall

Lloyd Krassner; Warp Spawn Games; 2-4

Players represent master builders working on the Great Wall of China. The wall is represented by placing cards ends to end with the object of having the most honor points by the end B
Huang Di

Bryan Johnson; JKLM Games; 2-6

Players represent master builders working on the Great Wall of China for the Huang Di, the first emperor of China. Each player has an identical set of cards to perform functions such as hiring workers, getting treasury grants and building. The goal is to have the majority of blocks at each level and/or to perform favors for the emperor. B
It's All Chinese to Me!

Martin Ethier; self-published; 3-5

In Chinatown players try to order meals from a menu written only in Chinese despite not knowing how to read it. The waiter brings what the majority wants; if that's your pick, success! The player with the most successes wins. The game consists of 110 cards.

Kemal Zhang; Yun Games; 2-4

Players try to connect areas to their areas by placing paths. This also permits collecting black and white Yin and Yang pieces, each pair of which permits buying a card. Cards either confer special actions or are tasks requiring connection of two villages to earn points. Duration is about thirty minutes. B
Middle Kingdom

Tom Lehmann; Z-Man Games; 2-5

Card game that sees players compete in blind auctions for warriors, nobles, scholars and peasants, trying to balance their collections. Certain cards confer special powers. B
Power Grid: Korea/China

Friedemann Friese; 2F-Spiele/Rio Grande; 2-6

This is another in the Power Grid series. The version for mainland China offers special rules relating to the nation's planned economy. B
Xeko Mission: China

Tyler Bielman, Greg Camenzind, Skaff Elias, Jim Lin, Sönny Spearman, Amy Tucker & Jenny Scott Tynes; Publisher Matter Group LLC; 2; 15; 8+

Collectible card game about animals and the environment includes 43 cards that come in a pagoda-shaped box. Booster packs add 86 cards.
Chang Cheng

Walter Obert; Tenkigames; 2-4

About the building of the first version of China's great wall (historically, more a joining of existing walls than an entirely new construction). Review B
Dragon Parade Reiner Knizia; Piatnik/Z-Man Games; 2-5
Play cards to move a dragon pawn back and forth along the street in front of the Forbidden Palace. Each player gets a random hand of six movement cards and will play only four of them before the dragon's final position is settled. Players deploy their street seller along the street, one at a time after each of the first three cards played, trying to be nearest the dragon once it stops moving. B
China Rails

Michael Dreiling; Mayfair; 2-6;

Another in the Empire Builder series of railroad games in which one uses a crayon to draw tracks on a map of China and delivers loads to fulfil contract cards drawn from a deck. Review B
Im Jahr des Drachen

Stefan Feld; Alea;

Set in the year of the dragon around AD 1000. Each player represents a sovereign trying to protect himself from various catastrophes, including the Mongols. Review B

Robert F. Watson; Hans-im-Glück/Rio Grande; 2-4

Region-influence game in which players try to gain the most influence with the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Rio Grande edition known as Ming Dynasty. Review B
China – Das Duell

Michael Schacht; Spiele aus Timbuktu; 2

Expansion kit for the below China which makes it playable by just two players. Downloadable for printing from Michael Schacht. B
China – Grenzstreitigkeiten

Michael Schacht; Spiele aus Timbuktu; 3-5

Expansion kit for the below China that adds border and port towns and which is downloadable for printing from Michael Schacht. B

Czarné (Frank Czarnetzki); LudoArt; 1-4

In Shanghai, players attempt to bring crates off the dock and into their warehouses as quickly as possible. This rather abstract game is played on a 10x10 Checkers style board. Player-owned crates are distributed around the board. On a turn action points are used to move dock workers who move and also operate on crates (push, stack, flip). A flipped over crate reads "FRAGILE" and is worth more than others. The game ends when a player has pushed all of his crates into his storehouse space. Also provided are puzzles for a solitaire player. Wooden materials are of quite nice quality. B
Great Wall of China

Reiner Knizia; Kosmos; 2-5

Card game in which players are building the Great Wall. Each has a hand of seven wall cards, three gate cards and one watchtower card plus nine special cards. Cards are shuffled and five drawn. Some card rows are created. On a turn players can either draw another card or add an identical card to a card row. When a player begins a turn with a majority he may place a prestige tile which weakens him, but when claimed by another player both score. The special cards add one-off advantages/restrictions.

Brendan Herlihy; Blue Panther; 2-4

Each tile has two symbols and one blossom. Matching blossoms scores. Forty-five tiles are included. B
Age of Steam Expansion – China/South America

Pierre Paquet and Martin Sasseville; Steam Brothers; 3-6

Expansion kit for the Age of Steam railroad game series. B

Michael Schacht; Abacus/Überplay; 3-5

Essentially a tile placement game where placement is based on cards in hand. Cards are replenished via a limited drafting mechanism. There are three strategies to pursue: long connected strings, counsellors in connected capitals and dominance of various countries. Originally called Kardinal & König / Web of Power. Review B
China Erweiterung

Michael Schacht; Abacus; 3-5

Expansion kit for the above China which is downloadable for printing from Michael Schacht. B
Opiumkrieg 1839-42

Gottfried Bartjes; Mario Truant Verlag; 2-4

In "Opium War" players are traders carrying wares through the South China Sea. The choice is between trading in legitimate products or trying to make a quick fortune selling opium. Historical events also play a role. [This game was previewed at Essen, but to date has never actually been published.] B

Jim Deacove; Zonnespel; 2-5; 60

In this cooperative game set in a supposed Chinese archipelago, player characters catch fish in six kinds using bait in six kinds and try to make the most money selling at hte market. Other considerations: possible bad weather, fuel shortages, bait shortages. Catching a fish is a matter of flipping over a face down tile. Playerss win if all villages are fed and all ships return to their home ports.

Günter Cornett; Bambus; 2

Two-player limited release featuring an unusual randomization method. Instead of rolling a die, a player tosses three rectangles of wood, each side of which features a different quantity. This is reminiscent of one method of calculating the ancient I Ching. It's also better than a die because it alters the usual probabilities as well as making it much simpler to reduce the range of results for the end game. Play itself transpires on a hexagonal grid board where every point is loaded with a face down gold piece. On a turn a player either reveals an uninterrupted straight line of pieces or turns one face down. Each space is simultaneously part of a blue line (the river) and also a brown land (the hills). When either type of group is cleared, the player controlling that terrain type cashes in. At first it seems the main skill is simply one of discernment – discovering the best place to flip tokens to help oneself. But continued play reveals also an intuitive counterpart to this practical activity, one of imagining the opponent's next move and planning to take advantage of it. A somewhat contradictory philosophy recognizes that each move requires a different-sized roll and each move can be designed to allow a player something good to do with as many rolls as possible. In short, despite the importance of the randomness, there are multiple strategic approaches and many options each turn. Physically, the board is a leatherette roll-up map, the pieces 81 wooden discs with stickers applied. The sturdy box is the green, standard one used in several Bambus games. Unfortunately this title appeared in a small print run and mysteriously has not yet been picked up for any larger publisher's two-player series. It's their loss as this is one of those rare games with few rules which can be appreciated by initiate and sophisticate alike. Review B
Formula Dé: Circuits 34 & 34 – Bahrain & Shanghai

Laurent Lavaur and Eric Randall; Eurogames/Descartes;

This expansion kit for basic version of this auto racing game depicts a track in Shanghai, China. B
Somewhere in China

Jim Deacove; Family Pastimes 2-5

Players operate fishing boats attempting to satisfy particular consumer demands, but the good fishing grounds are hard to find and sometimes dangerously far out. Choose your gear, bait and amount of fuel carefully and watch out for hull leaks, sharks and storms. B
China Moon

Bruno Faidutti; Eurogames; 2-5

A tactical racing game based on a fairy tale about a mandarin duck and several frogs set in China. Originally published as Flower of the Lotus and also known as Lotusblume. Review B
I Ching du Tchouan

Pascal Rolly and Jean-Marc Tribet; Territoires d'Outre Mondes; 2

Players try to cross the board in their direction by creating a path with their pawns. B

Michael Schacht; Queen; 3-5

"Junks" is essentially an auction game with a few extra wrinkles. Best and most innovative of them is the mechanism of layering three part strips representing crates. These are placed in groups of three with each succeeding layer being laid crosswise. Each player's influence on the containing junk depends on the number of crates he has showing. So interesting is this unique mechanism that one comes to regret that it does not play a larger role. Instead, playing the starring role is the dreaded "blind auction with possibility of no return". In other words, bids are sealed, simultaneously revealed and all must pay, even if coming in second place and receiving nothing. What will it take to make this mechanism disappear from games forever? It really does nothing but defeat skillful play. Can it be consigned to games for children, please? Another unwelcome element is that of memory as players must dive into one of five decks of special cards à la The Settlers of Catan Card Game. The game slowdown that occurs while this happens is not as bad here, but there is enough card text that it may cause problems for non-German readers. The other main activity is choosing to execute special functions with the three different merchants on the five different junks, an interesting process which requires considerable lookahead and defense against the activities of others, especially the player to the left. Thematically, the economic model is a very strange one, suggesting that products such as spice, rice and fish are more fungible than money as the market presents a fixed price and the player who bids the most product is the only one who gets paid. Actually, money is never spent, only being employed as a scoring mechanism. A good idea makes holdings public at two strategic points of the game. The design does not feel "tight" – in fact, the phases in a round could probably be re-sequenced in any order without substantially affecting play – whether this is a failing or sheer brilliance I can't quite make out. The overall result is something of a mishmash of good and not so good features. The designer has succeeded better with previous outings Web of Power and Kontor than in this, his first large game published by Queen. It will probably be less to the taste of sophisticated players, but may be appreciated by those less demanding, if the language issues can be surmounted. Review B
Gang of Four

Days of Wonder; 3-4

Card game that seems to be quite closely related to the Chinese game Zheng Fen. Review B
Great Walls

Microcosm Games; 2-4

Players compete to build the largest wall in Ancient China. Choosing from a hand of possible structures, players take turns adding sections to their walls, forming barriers to surround territory and gain military might.

Valéry Fourcade; La Mèche Rebelle Editions; 2

Tile-laying abstract with the theme of Shendao, the way of the spirit, based on a Chinese god and goddess. B

Gamewright; 1-4; 5+

Tile-laying game is not without interest for adults. Depicted on the tiles are Chinese-style dragons, long and curly, in varying colors. Players must match up like colors and snap dragons together like puzzle pieces. The goal is to complete as long a dragon as possible to maximize points. Of course it won't hurt to prevent opponents from doing same. Each player has a hand size of three so there is a decent amount of planning. Further interest is added by the fact that while dragon heads are common, tails are relatively rare, concentrating interest on how these tiles are positioned. On top of this, there are three tiger tiles which confer even more points. (In Chinese lore the dragon and the tiger are the mythic creatures of east and west respectively.) One particular play of interest revolves around the tiles which have the same color emerging twice, which come in pairs. When combined they emerge a good number of points, so a player who holds one might like to watch carefully for the other to appear. Opponents who notice it appearing might like to void this possibility by defensively playing some other tile on it first. Tiles are nicely illustrated and made from fairly nice cardboard. While one might like the interesting longer dragons to arise more often, can make for a colorful and absorbing twenty minutes. Review B
Siedler von Catan, Die: Historische Szenarien

Klaus Teuber; Kosmos; 3-6

One of scenarios in this game is named "Die Große Mauer" which translated is "The Great Wall". "The Great Wall" casts each player as a guardian of a segment of the wall, trying to prevent the raids of steppe nomads. Because nomads inevitably seem to cross the wall somewhere, placing the other settlements far away from it seems a good idea. Interesting dilemma about whether to deliberately let them in just so that they deprive opponents of production. There is a lot of ore available on the fixed map, making the development card strategy look attractive, but this can be a trap because the value of the largest army award has been cut down to just one victory point and three victory point cards have been removed. One problem is that without the robber -- the pirate only affects players with ports – it becomes a little too difficult to haul back a leader. [Rules] (this site) Review B
Formula Dé: Grand Prix China / Malaysia


This expansion kit for basic version of this auto racing game depicts a track in Zhuhai, China. B

Michael Andersch; Adlung Spiele; 3-5

Multi-player card game is about trading commodities in old Cathay, collecting and trading cards and deciding the best time to turn them in for points. Offers at least two possible strategies, one of achieving a large, valuable collection, the other of turning in several smaller collections, but rather quickly. Of course which one to use greatly depends on what the other players are doing. Definitely worthwhile for just about all players. Review B

Karsten Hartwig; Alea/ Rio Grande Games-1999

Negotiation game about acquiring property and building up businesses in New York's old Chinatown owes something to Metropolis. Gorgeously illustrated and easy to play. Players must be very careful to watch players lucky enough to build a profitable enterprise on the first two turns however as they usually manage to win. It is nice if everyone agrees to embargo such players, but usually someone gives in because failing to trade with them hurts their own fortunes too seriously. It has been observed on that the Chinese writing on the business tiles uses simplified characters devised in mainland China only in the 1950s and that the historic center of New York's Chinatown is the corner of Mott and Pell streets, neither of which are shown. Review B
Drei Chinesen mit dem Kontrabass


(Three Chinese on the Double Bass), a word game based on a children's song in which all the vowels are being replaced with different sounds. B
Hong Kong

Piatnik & Söhne-1999

Two-player abstract game of perfect information by Reiner Knizia is about the building of skyscrapers in Hong Kong, thinly. Actually it's more a matter of who can build up faster and higher and thus cap his opponent's buildings. Or try the strategy of trying to cover territory. This strategic dilemma makes things interesting while the double move pieces afford difficult tactical decisions. Thus should appeal even to those who are not normally fans of abstracts. Review B
Lao Pengh

Patrick Inauen; Adlung Spiele-1999

Card game of placing Cranes and Dragons in 3 piles. Graphics by Jürgen Martens. B

Jürgen Reiche; Siebenstein Spiele-1999; 2

Chess-like abstract featuring emperor, mandarin, generals and monks on a 7x7 board. B
Ta Yü

Niek Neuwahl; Kosmos/Rio Grande-1999; 2-4

Abstract tile-layer and connectivity game of river construction. Ta Yü is the legendary Chinese hero who saved the Realm of the Middle Kingdom from a flood by creating a multitude of rivers to divert the torrent to a distant sea. A pricey package, but the very high quality components are suitable for museum display, or your coffee table when guests come over. Quite enjoyable for those who find fun in something like Streetcar and makes a very nice outing for competing couples. The rules are few and not difficult, so it can even work well for your non-gameplaying friends. Seems to work best with the "save one tile" variant and in four-player mode where half the fun is figuring out what your partner is doing. Review B

Dominique Tellier; Ravensburger; 1998

Simple racing abstract for up to four features stacked checkers which travel a number of spaces equal to the height at which they are stacked. The Lotus space adds the twist of being a space where no checker may stop, but must instead trampoline forward a number of spaces equal to those already moved. Although sometimes it seems a good game to for a computer to play to perfection, features a very accessible system and plenty of scope for tactical and strategic planning. The two-player game appears quite balanced while with more than that it is perhaps better to be the last player than the first. Each space features a different Chinese character which translated from end to start mean "Army", "Middle", "Light", "No", "Go", "Agile", "Lotus", "Car", "Go", "Big Tool", "House". From here, if one regards the board with "House" toward the bottom, the spaces on the left are "Truth", "Sky" and "Straight" while those on the right are "First", "Move" and "Black". In Ravensburger's Chinese edition, the title means something like "Chain Reaction Flying Dragon".
[Review] (Luding: Keirat) Review B
Mulan Matchin' Fashion Puzzle Game

Mattel; 2-4; 4+

Set collection with a movie tie-in. Includes four pagoda and sixteen puzzle pieces. B

Urs Hostettler; Fata Morgana Spiele; 1998; 3-6

Trick-taking card game that seems to be quite closely related to the Chinese game Zheng Fen. The special pack for this game contains 56 cards, and is essentially like a standard pack with four jokers. The normal suits are replaced by suits of jade, sword, pagoda and star, and the four jokers, each of which has a special property, are the sparrow, the phoenix, the dragon and the dog.
[translation] [Illustrations] (Association of Tichu Players) Review B

Sid Sackson; Ravensburger; 3-6

Players are bidding to place a marker which they hope will score. B

Stefanie Rohner and Christian Wolf; HABA-Habermaaß; 2-4; 4+

"China Pot" is a dexterity game for children who must place wooden facsimile food pieces into a wok without tipping it over. B
Flower of the Lotus

Bruno Faidutti; The Game Cabinet; 1996
Downloadable Game (Game Cabinet)

Later published in physical form as China Moon. B

Jean du Poël; Historien Spielegalerie;

Chinesische Mauer, Die

Sid Sackson; Piatnik & Söhne; 1994; 2-4

A tile-laying game about "The Wall of China". Large cardboard tiles exhibit criss-crossing paths in different colors. Players take turns choosing and placing any available tile with the twin goals of extending the length of one's own path and having the paths reach all four sides of the eventual total structure. What's especially tricky is that the exact locations of the corners aren't generally known until play is nearly over.
[Review] (Deutsch) B
Verbotene Stadt, Die

Alex Randolph and Johann Rüttinger; Ravensburger; 2-4

Title means "The Forbidden City". Bluffing game of trying to retrieve the emperor's stolen wedding garments. [Rules] (Game Cabinet) B
Wu Hsing

Sid Sackson; Franjos; 1992; 2-4

Title refers to the 5 Elements: air, water, earth, fire, metal. Players are placing tiles to create patterns; somewhat similar to Dominoes. B

Tom Kremer; Mattel; 3-5

Game for children that has the side effect of permitting you to discover in which of the twelve Chinese astrological years you were born. There is a tile dispenser which players take turns pushing to receive a tile. The first player to fill up his card with tiles of the right types wins. B
China Dragon

Rainer B. Balandies; Piatnik & Söhne; 1-6

This is a tile placement game in which players add parts to two intertwined dragons and continue to own each tile they place, the goal being to form the longest continuous owned chain.

David G. Watts; Rostherne Games; 2-6

There is a map of China for this popular railroading game. Review B
I Ching

Fu Hsi; Hexagames/TST-Enterprises;

One looks up one's fortune in the famous I Ching oracle. B
Peking Akte, Die

Milton Bradley-1987,1988/Parker-Spiele-2002

A logical deduction game. Literally, "The Peking File", also published in English as The Mysteries of Peking. B
Chinese Word Building Game

Sun Ya Publications (HK) Ltd.; 2-6

Tiles contain Chinese words, radicals (parts of words) and strokes (even smaller parts of words). Players place these to build ever growing words. The English equivalent might be "automobile -> mobilehome -> homeowner", etc.

Robert Sun; Spear; 3-6

A simplified card version of Mah Jongg. Review B
Shanghai Trader

Steve Barnes, Peter Wyche, Steve Utick and Dave O'Connor; Panther; 3-6

The corruption in Shanghai's International Bund during the early part of the 20th century. Players represent a national side, one of Americans, British, French, Germans, Russians or Japanese. Players attempt to dominate different areas of the city which gives special moneyraising powers, including the ability to extort money from other players. Often players are required to practically ruin other players with amazingly high cash demands. It is not surprising that the game often turns into a bitter shouting match. In addition, not only do players need to make the most money, they must get out to the airport and hope they can roll well enough to escape alive, an endeavor that needs a fair amount of luck. Each side has special powers, but if playing with more than three, these should be omitted since they are not balanced. Review B
Passage to Cathay

Eric Olson; Ragnarok Enterprises; 2-6

Trade in the Indian Ocean, 1680-1830. 2-5 hours
Later re-released as Passage to Cathay Deluxe. B

Ravensburger; 2-5

Bidding game using dice and memory. B
James Clavell's Noble House

L. Ross Babcock III; FASA; 2-5

From the novel Noble House, set in Hong Kong's 1960's business world.
[Review] (this site) Review B
James Clavell's Tai-Pan

Albie Fiore and Ian Bailey; FASA; 3-4

From the novel Tai-Pan. From the novel of the same name, 1840's trading in Canton, Hong Kong, India and Europe. Players sail clipper ships from England to India where they buy up opium, from India to China where they sell the opium and pick up silk, tea and spices and then race back to England. Each clipper sailing is a race in which greater profits are realized for coming first, and realized in ways that are very sensible for the theme. Arriving in England first means one gets to sell at the highest price and then lower the prices of whatever was sold for the next clipper. But clipper speed is dependent on card play, cards which also affect prices, the faster the card, the more it lowers prices. A very nice tradeoff. Another tradeoff is deciding to skip buying opium and sailing to China directly in order to be the first to buy there. In China, it is not simply a mechanical matter, but instead one actually directs three small lorcha boats to the various Chinese ports to discover what commodities are available and at what prices. There is also a wares auction at Canton (later Hong Kong). A large number of flavorful event cards also make things interesting, although some may complain that there is too much luck in the "take that" cards. Definitely the best entry in the James Clavell series. Review B

Valentin Siena; FX-Schmid; 2

Create patterns on a 9x9 grid to score and force your opponent into negative scoring patterns. B
Ting Tong

Alex Randolph; Ravensburger; 2-4; 5+

A memory game in which tokens are hidden under the bells with the object of uncovering them in proper sequence. All of those uncovered properly are kept for points.
Chee Chow: The Mystic Seven

(unknown); Saml. Gabriel Sons and Company 1-4

A Tangrams-style game, including sets of seven pieces each (2 large right triangles, 1 medium right triangle, 2 small right triangles, 1 square, and 1 parallelogram) in four colors, and a number of cards with silhouetted shapes. First player to complete their puzzle wins. A book of solutions is included.
Voyage à Pékin

2-8; 4+

Each player leaves Europe from a different city, racing to reach Peking first. Each city has various directions from which to depart, which is determined by roll of a special die.
c. 1845
Mah Jongg


A Rummy-like game, perhaps the progenitor of it in fact, of melding and discarding, often played for monetary stakes. However, is a challenging exercise without this additional drama. The traditional tiles provide nice tactile and even aural pleasures as they click, click, click along. Comes in Chinese, Japanese and American rules versions, with many additional variations besides. Those which do not use the flowers and seasons reduce the luck and are the most interesting for serious players. Probably invented around AD 1850 in the city of Ningpo, China, by two brothers from the earlier ma tiae. It was imported to the United States c. 1922 and in just two years became so popular that Congress had to enact a law regularizing the name under which it was published. Read more at or at Mah Jong Handbook: How to Play, Score, and Win the Modern Game [analysis] [scoring chart] Review B
Bo Bing

(unknown); (public domain); 2-10; 15

Invented in the Qing Dynasty, this dice game is traditionally played during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Six dice are cast into a bowl in an attempt to achieve one of six combinations.
Sheng Guan Tu

Ni Yuan-Lu; public domain; 2-5

"Promotion Official Chart" invented by a calligrapher living in the Ming Dynasty period is similar to Snakes and Ladders. In it players roll a top similar to a dreidel and attempt to rise to the top of the bureaucracy. This game was banned during the Cultural Revolution and has gone out of print.
Chinese Dominoes Unlike the Western set, a set consists of 32 tiles: one set of 1-2, 1-4, 2-3, 2-4, 2-5, 2-6, 3-4, 3-5, 3-6 and 4-5
two sets of 1-1, 1-3, 1-5, 1-6, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 4-6, 5-5, 5-6 and 6-6
The pips for one and four are red and six is half red-half white.
Game Cabinet Intro Game Cabinet rules Wikipedia
204 BC
Xiang Qi Also known as "Chinese Chess", the game probably has a common ancestor with Chess and similar mechanics. Some of the differences are that pieces travel on the line intersections rather than on the squares and the cannon pieces which are required to leap over others. Overall appears to have less depth than Chess. Review B
2000 BC
Wei Qi Better known in the United States as Go. Review B
Chop Suey

unknown; Bartl; 1+; 5+
Dexterity game of using chopsticks to pick up wooden "morsels" from a platform and deposit them in a cup.

Chung Kuo Chung Tzu (Chinese Gentleman)

unknown; unknown; 2-4

Made in China, seems to be similar to Cootie, but instead of building a bug one constructs a man composed of blocks representing hat, head, torso, arms, legs and feet. Dice control what can be built. B
5,000 Years of Chinese History

(published in Taiwan, Republic of China)

Basically a variant of Monopoly in which players attempt to collect various properties and not go bankrupt from paying rents. Review
Ni Hao Kai-Lan Dragon Boat Race Game

unknown; Nickelodeon; 2-4; 3+

Players spin to move their boat; first to cross the line wins. Includes a dragon mask and encourages holding a Dragon Boat Festival parade after the third race. B
Romance of the Three Kingdoms

(published in Taiwan, Republic of China)

Roll-and-move game with almost no decisionmaking. Published in Taiwan, Republic of China. [Rules] (this site)
Der Schatz des Marco Polo

ASS (Altenburger und Stralsunder Spielkarten-Fabriken); 2-4; 8+

Players are in Hang Chow looking for the treasure that Polo stashed there. He also left clues in various places around town and players go around picking up these. Having enough, players can recover a treasure. But other players can track him down and try to take it away.
Tian Di Hui

CW Karstens; unknown; 2-5
Card game of Triad gangs of the early 20th century. By purchasing black market item cards they build
Poker hands to see who wins the round. B

Zheng Fen Card game from China is in the family of climbing games which includes Corporate Shuffle, The Great Dalmuti, Tichu, Zoff im Zoo, and others. This realization has some quirky rules. Since in communist society everyone is supposed to be equal, cards are not dealt as this would make the dealer subservient. Instead they are drawn from the top of the deck by each player. An illustration of the inefficiencies of communism! The game play is a bit strange as well as easy-to-achieve hands like the full house seem to have more values than those which are harder to form. Probably the least interesting form of this game one could play.
Review [Rules] (Pagat)

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Further Reading
Games about the Silk Road
War Games Set in China

Spotlight on Games > Ludographies