#Boardgame culture or propaganda? When the CCP makes a boardgame.

I like reading the boardgame news. I like seeing what my favorite designers or publishers are planning on next. I also like the business side of the industry and am fascinated by how the hobby boardgame industry survives (or thrives?) in this COVID time. Along the way I often find new games. In the past few days I came across an article in the China Daily (Hong Kong Edition) titled, “A game where culture wins.”

Oh my! An article about a boardgame in China! Then I read the lede:

Players can enhance their knowledge of the country and good governance in an entertaining way, Hu Haoyu reports.

Hmm. “Knowledge of country” seems like history; I like that because I am all about historical gaming. But what could they mean by “good governance?” So I kept reading.

It is a game that tests their knowledge of culture and history and casts a keen eye on the future. Players are given scenarios that challenge their ability to ensure good governance.

There’s that phrase again. What does it mean? The next paragraph tells me:

The game, A Great Nation’s Dream, requires them to act as administrative figures to build a country in different scenarios while learning to apply the policies and theories of the Communist Party of China via series of questions and answers.

Oh.

The design is no accident. The committee of designers (“20 insiders from various industries”) thought a boardgame “might prove to be an effective method for people to learn more about the nation by, for instance, implementing policies like a good provincial chief, as well as providing information on such issues as patriotism, culture and political theory, among other things, through gameplay.” To ensure the quality of design they used three teams to develop the game and had over “1,000 gamers test-played it over the course of 300-odd rounds of evaluation.”

While many folks complain that Eurogames are a collection of soleless mechanics often with a loosely pasted on theme, I wonder if A Great Nation’s Dream is going to redefine what a “Party Game” is. I mean, look at the gushing comments!

Chen says, who adds that in the game all people, Chinese as default, work together to advance modernization in fields such as education, culture, social insurance and many other areas to attain harmony and happiness for all.

“With the explosion of knowledge nowadays, this game provided a creative way to let our society embrace patriotism education.”

“This game can help people to learn more about Party principles and theories in a fun, relaxing way, to get better motivated toward building our nation together….”

The article goes on to quote an American expat; “The game, Bass says, is fun, easy and educational; it evolves great strategies and “by making your citizens happy, you win.””

As of the publication of this post I could not find an entry on BoardGameGeek for the game or it’s publisher. I found that rather surprising given the politics of today. I was positive that many American universities or high schools (like my local radical woke district) would already be snapping up this game for use in Civics or Political Science classes.


Feature image “Young people play the board game, A Great Nation’s Dream, through which they learn while being entertained -they are given scenarios of various types to act as administrative figures to build the country in a comprehensive way, meanwhile learning to apply the policies and theories of the Communist Party of China. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)