Let’s face it – there’s only so many times you can repeat your well-rehearsed replies to the commonly asked questions during Chinese New Year gatherings before you lose your sh*t.
“Boy ah, you got girlfriend yet?”
“When you getting married, ah? Girl must marry before 30 leh…”
“I heard you got new job? Not bad ah… How much they paying you?”
I can imagine the barely suppressed groan by day three when an overly-concerned aunt ambushes you while you’re on the way to the restroom.
Oftentimes, after the formalities of exchanging oranges and greetings are over, there’s not much in common to talk about except sit in awkward silence. Some of us may turn to gambling to pass the time but not everyone wants to blow their newly acquired ang pow money.
It’s time to be strategic… with board games.
Circumvent stilted conversations with a little friendly feud! Board games are a fun and inclusive way to bring everyone together, including kids who are too young to gamble.
Why not distract your kaypo relatives and channel their nosy enthusiasm towards a friendly showdown? Here are 7 board games with distinct Singaporean themes that’s bound to intrigue anyone who’s a local!
1. The Singaporean Dream: The New Normal
The Singaporean Dream is an interactive card game that lets you pay, steal, and sabo your way to being the perfect Singaporean. You start by selecting one of several quintessential Singaporean personalities and your goal is to collect as many Singaporean Dreams as you can.
“The New Normal” edition comes with the most iconic moments of 2020 such as Circuit Breaker and #GE2020. New personalities have been added to include Safe Distancing Officers and there are new dreams to aspire to like lifting the Travel Ban and Finding a Vaccine for COVID-19.
Thanks to its humorously critical look at ourselves as Singaporeans, The Singaporean Dream: The New Normal is a suitable game for CNY gatherings where everyone at the table will be able to find its themes both funny and relatable.
Buy The Singaporean Dream: The New Normal at Games@Pi now.
For 2-6 players, 20 minutes playing time.
2. Wok and Roll
Let’s go back to what unites us all as Singaporeans: Our love for food. And what better way than to bring people together under our favourite context.
Wok and Roll is about becoming the best zi char eatery in town.
As you’re dishing out details about the game, someone in your party is probably about to mention either the best or worst zi char place they’ve recently been to. Better pause to pin that down in Google maps.
The gist of this game is simple – You and your fellow players have to roll the dice to gather the best ingredients for your menu. But don’t be fooled by its simplicity as there is a sabo element to this!
During each turn, the active player rolls the dice and determines which ingredient to keep, leaving the remaining not-so-great items for the other players to use.
Wok and Roll comes with two menus so you’ve got plenty of replayability, especially with different people during CNY gatherings. Play it before dinner and hopefully, the menus are inspiring enough for a quick consensus on what to order for tonight’s zi char takeaway.
You can buy it now at Games@Pi.
For 1-5 players, 30-45 minutes playing time.
Ah… the dreaded chope war at a hawker centre. Remember the one time you had to eat lunch alone and you found yourself standing with a plate of nasi lemak, unable to locate a table without tissues on it? Wasn’t it terribly frustrating?
Now you can have your revenge with Chope! Respect the Tissue. Challenge your friends and relatives at CNY gathering to a chope war and emerge victorious as the kiasu king or queen of chope-ing.
Chope! requires you to order as many hawker dishes as you can afford, then chope enough tables for your food and siam when the mynahs descent.
The winning element of Chope! is dexterity, where you’ll need to rely on your reaction time to be the first to slap your Chope tissue or Siam card on the table.
It’s quick to set up and learn, and comes in a small package, making it the perfect board game to carry around for short sessions during CNY visits.
Chope! is available at Games@Pi.
For 2-6 players, 15-20 minutes playing time.
4. Saucy Grannies
Paying respect to our elders is a core tradition of Chinese New Year. And one of the most memorable aspects of our grandparents is their drool-worthy home cooking. When grandma decides to whip up her specialty dishes, it’s a momentous affair, seeing as you only get to eat them once or twice a year.
So how about celebrating CNY with a board game that’s dedicated to grandmothers? Introducing Saucy Grannies – a fast-paced and fun card drafting game, featuring blind bidding and set collection mechanics.
You play as a grandmother who sends her family members to buy choice ingredients for making various signature sauces that you’ve learnt from fellow grannies. You have to make smart choices on which family member to send and which ingredients to get. Family members can only be sent once and ingredients are finite, so strategic bidding is crucial!
You can also try role-playing Saucy Grannies as an intense grocery run with the overhanging threat of COVID-19 during circuit breaker for a high stakes adrenaline rush.
For 2-6 players, 20 minutes playing time.
Who doesn’t love bubble tea? I, for one, get #bbt cravings at least once a week.
Doing CNY visits on the hottest of days calls for a refreshing cup of bubble tea. Now, boba fans can take it one step further and have everyone join in on a board game involving bubble tea while sipping on the sugary goodness.
Teabbles is a card drafting game about making your favourite beverage. There are three gameplay variants in the set, namely Original Play, Bluff and Boba the Builder.
In Original Play, you compete with friends by drawing ingredients from the Inventory card pile and fulfilling drink orders that are revealed from the Drinks card pile. While Boba the Builder is a more advanced version of Original Play, Bluff mode on the other hand, requires social deduction as you try to catch your friends for lying about having the correct ingredients.
Teabbles is the perfect party game for fellow bubble tea lovers and in Singapore, there’s no short supply of fans. You can buy it now at Games@Pi.
For 2-5 players, 15-25 minutes playing time.
6. Bye Bye Virus
I can’t find a more suitable board game for our bleak, pandemic-hit reality than a game like Bye Bye Virus. It’s a humorous re-look at the tough days of Circuit Breaker, filled with memorable STOMP affairs of panic buying and hoarding.
In Bye Bye Virus, there’s a virus outbreak and players have to stay safe while real-life obstacles of a pandemic get in their way. The goal is to be the first to collect five Protect items – disinfectant, a mask, soap, gloves and hand sanitizer, and shout “Bye bye virus!” without getting caught by the police.
Prepare for hilarious yet #TooReal situations like emptied supermarket shelves causing you to lose a turn, and Panic Hoarding cards of toilet paper and ramen. Become the STOMP aunty you always wanted to be and hoard at your own risk!
For 2-6 players, 15-30 minutes playing time.
7. Limpeh Says
Now that the kids are asleep, it’s time to say what’s on your mind without having to censor anything.
Let your mouth run with Limpeh Says, an (18+) party game, that’s basically a Singaporean version of Cards Against Humanity. The goal is to be the funniest or wittiest in the room, sans the pressure of being morally right or politically inoffensive.
Each round, one player – the Limpeh – selects a red card and everyone else – the Citizens – will have to answer with their funniest white card. The best combination wins the round.
Limpeh Says has been around since it’s Kickstarter project back in 2016, so I’m not surprised if you’ve played it before. But I can see how it could be entertaining to scandalise your relatives at CNY gatherings. Or maybe you’d be surprised by how open-minded some of them could be!
Limpeh Says is available at Games@Pi.
For 2+ players, 10-30 minutes playing time. Ages 18+. Not for the faint of heart.
Bring the F-U-N to Chinese New Year Gatherings!
And there you have it – 7 made-in-Singapore games that you can bring to your next CNY gathering to spice things up.
Even if you can’t get your kaypo aunty to play board games with you, at least you’d have the benefit of looking too busy to entertain her nosy questions, aye? 😉
Thinking of Creating Your Own Board Game?
You’ve got a fantastic board game idea and you’re keen to get it off the ground. But where do you start and what’s the process of making a board game? What goes into product development and how do I manage game testing?
If these are the kinds of questions that keep you up at night, it’s time you reach out to us.
Maybe all you need is a nudge in the right direction, a little help with content writing or advice on crowd-funding options.