Monday, 9 July 2007

Taiwan Boardgang

Carcassonne was the game that created my boardgame group in Taiwan (we called ourselves Boardgang, a play with the word "boardgame" and the way the Taiwanese sometimes pronounce it). My colleagues visited my apartment after dinner one day and noticed my small collection of boardgames on the shelf. So I pulled out Carcassonne to teach them. They all enjoyed it. Soon they became my boardgame group and we played together a lot.

We did not have a fixed schedule. Sometimes we played on Friday after work, sometimes on weekends, and sometimes even on other workday nights. Usually the venue was my apartment. We have also been to Peter's apartment, Crystal's apartment, Rick's apartment, Witch House, and another very nice, cozy home-like cafe which I cannot remember the name of. We have even planned trips on which we brought boardgames along to play. We had a day trip to the north east (I think) of Taiwan. We spent a weekend at Jessy's aunt's holiday house (小木屋). Those were good times. I think we even played on one of the typhoon "holidays" (typhoon was severe enough for the government to declare a no work day).

Dec 2004 at the Little Wooden House (小木屋). Peter, Cheryl, Cher, me, Jessy. This was the first time I taught them Puerto Rico, and the only time I have played Puerto Rico with them.

We played in the office during lunch time. Some of us would go out to buy lunch, while the rest set up the table and game. We used the Managing Director's (I think) office. He had his own office at another location and his room at BAROC was never utilised. In fact, I don't think I ever met him throughout my project. We could usually complete two games over lunch time. It is no surprise that they declared me the best project manager. My mum questioned me, "What kind of project manager are you? Leading the subordinates to play boardgames at the office?!".

Some of my boardgame friends taught their friends to play boardgames, especially Jessy, and Crystal too. And their friends liked the boardgames too. Some of them started buying boardgames too, but they were not as crazy as I was in buying boardgames. They only bought games that I've taught them and they liked.

The games we played the most of were Carcassonne and Ra, followed by Ticket to Ride. Other games we have played include Citadels, Category 5, Princes of Florence, Bohnanza, Coloretto (nicknamed "Make It Dirty!" / "弄脏它!") and Werewolf. These are the ones that I can remember which we have played more than once. When in Taipei, I have played with Jessy, James, Crystal, Peter, Cheryl, Cher, Ingrid, Rick, Carol, Stella, Joao, Angela, Yew Guan, Melissa, Shirley Chen, and Gloria.

The most memorable gaming moment in Taiwan was a game of Ra. During the time Ra, a well-liked Reiner Knizia auction game with an Egyptian theme (Ra is the Egyption sun god), was out of print. So I hand-made my own copy of Ra. It was tough work, with about 200 tiles in the game. Thankfully they liked the game and we played it a lot. Then one day at a gathering at Peter's home, I was the start player, and the first tile that I pulled out of the tile bag was... a full-coloured real tile from the real game! My friends had bought for me a 2nd-hand copy of this out-of-print game, all the way from Germany! They had intended to give it to me on my birthday but since it had arrived, they couldn't resist to surprise me. What a great bunch of friends!

My Taiwan Boardgang was the only real boardgame group I ever had (unless my regular 2-player sessions with Han is considered a "group"). It is a pity that I never managed to build up a regular group after I came back to KL at end of 2004. Over time, I have played with various friends, but I only have one regular gamer friend. The only other close friend who is into boardgames is Chee Seng, but he works in Singapore and I can only play with him when he's back in KL, or I visit Singapore.

I wonder whether my old friends in Taiwan still play regularly now. We don't keep in touch very frequently, and I think they only meet up once in a while. Jessy has visited me once when she was in Malaysia in Jul 2006 on a business trip. Well, the next time I visit Taiwan I will definitely meet up with them to play a few games.


deck said...

I've long thought about finding an easier way to get together a gaming group. Currently, I always play with my wife and Sean often joins in. Sometimes, I'd like to have sessions of specific games but it just feels awkward to ask around. For example, I currently want to find people to play Arkham Horror with me, but I don't really have a specific date in mind. I just want to put the word out that I'm interested so that people can volunteer to join if they want.

Ideally, we should have a website or something that everyone checks often so that you can put in stuff that you're interested in doing. Currently Sean just seems to telephone people, which is awful lot of work and very inconvenient. The Malaysia forum on BGG works for this, but not many people check it regularly. I suppose it would be possible to do this on Facebook since I'd guess that most people check it more often.

Hiew Chok Sien 邱卓成 said...

I'm also a bit shy about playing with complete strangers, and usually prefer meeting new friends via other friends.

Facebook is probably the most convenient way. Their events have the RSVP functionality. Maybe another way is group SMS, if you already have a semi-regular group of friends. At least it would be less painful than Chong Sean having to call people one by one. :-)

Aliensean said...

Hi It is great reading your blog - I too struggle to build a gamegroup so I know how you feel! I am from KL - sorry for my unpromted introduction - but now lives in vancouver/ : )

Hiew Chok Sien 邱卓成 said...

Hi Aliensean, should be easier to find a game group in Vancouver? :-) Nowadays I have a small but quite regular game group. Also once in a while I join another group which plays quite regularly too at an Old Town Kopitiam near my home.