Fujian Trader is a gateway strategy game based on a recently re-discovered 17th century trading map of East Asia uncovered in the archives of Oxford University's library. The map, which is the oldest Chinese maritime merchant map still in existence, is currently touring East Asia, and is now considered one of Oxford’s greatest treasures. The map shows the routes used by Chinese traders across East Asia, and as a player you get to travel these routes once again. Fujian Trader’s co-designer Robert Batchelor, a professor of British History, is credited with finding the map and bringing it to the attention of geographers, historians and the greater public. Batchelor is on a mission - “I want to make the map and its rich history accessible and intriguing to a larger audience. I believe we can do this with Fujian Trader by getting players to learn about the map and experience its’ meaning through play.”
Want to learn more about the Selden Map?
Game Board: The game board is based upon a digital reproduction of the map. The addition and reduction of colors highlights the areas of play while retaining as many of the actual features from the original map.
Pieces: Constructed in wood, ships, buildings and goods (rice, silk and iron) add a tactile layer to gameplay. Silver and dragon are constructed in plastic.
Cards: Event cards and Fortune cards bring the history and culture of the map into the experience of playing the game.
The game is structured around events. At the end of each round an event card is revealed, triggering an event (like a famine, blockade or war), which affects game play for the following round. The event card deck also includes “Manchu Move” cards. When three of these cards are revealed, the Manchu move through the Great Wall and into China, marking the year 1644, and triggering the last three rounds of the game.
Fortune cards are based on the Yijing (I Ching), a system of divination that would have likely been used by Chinese merchants at the time to make decisions about business, relationships and travel. There are 64 individual Fortunes, which provide unique and varied strategies each time a game is played.
Goal: Players take on the role of merchant Chinese families with the goal of gaining the most amount of influence after the empire is toppled by the Manchu invasion of 1644.
Gameplay: To gain influence, players build up networks of ports outside of China. These ports produce goods (rice, silk, iron) for players. Players take these goods, and send their ships throughout East Asia looking for the best exchange rates to sell them for silver. By creating intrigue and challenging other players' ports, exchanging goods for fortunes, and purchasing influence over provinces, players position themselves to win the game after the fall of the Ming empire.
Events & Rounds: Each round of the game is marked by an event, like a famine, war, blockade or disaster, which changes an aspect of gameplay for one round. Other events trigger the Manchu movement towards Beijing, bringing the game closer to its conclusion. In the last three rounds of the game, the Manchu enter Beijing, provinces fall, and players scramble to grab ports and silver before the entire empire collapses.
Winning: At the end of the game, players convert their ports, routes and silver into influence points. The player with the most amount of influence wins.
A Game Overview of Fujian Trader is available here: PDF File
We've also prepared several instructional videos given by Robert Batchelor.
Note - We refer to combat in the game as intrigue.
Here's how we'll be spending the Kickstarter funds. The majority is going to be allocated towards the manufacturing and shipping of the game. Funds will also be set aside for taxes and service fees.
We'll reveal stretch goals as our project proceeds. Join us on our journey and check back often to find out our stretch goals.
Sari Gilbert is a designer, entrepreneur and educator with over 20 years of experience in interactive entertainment. Ms. Gilbert began her career as the producer and designer of the top-selling JumpStart titles, was a Senior Producer at Disney Online, and has also founded three Internet based technology companies. She is the author of Designing Gamified Systems: Meaningful Play in Interactive Entertainment, Marketing and Education to be published by Focal Press this summer. She is a professor at the Savannah College of Art & Design in the department of Interactive and Game Design where she is developing game-based learning projects with scientists, historians and STEM faculty at several universities in the region.
For information on Gilbert’s upcoming book visit: www.gamifiedsystems.com
Dr. Robert Batchelor is a historian whose work focuses on the history of East Asia and its influences on 17th century Europe. He is known for his discovery of the Selden Map of China, a treasure of the Bodleian Library. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book London: The Selden Map and the Making of a Global City, 1549-1689, published by University of Chicago Press. Robert has taught at Stanford University and currently holds the position of associate professor of history at Georgia Southern University.
Read the Times Literary Supplement review of Batchelor’s book.
Additional Team Members
We Couldn't Do It Without:
We want to recognize Joyce Johnson for all of her help. We also want to thank the many students and professors at SCAD and Georgia Southern University who helped us make the game great.
Risks and challenges
Rest assured that we have done everything we can to mitigate the risks associated with crowd sourced fund raising projects. We have the two fundamental components to ensure a successful project--an experienced team and a product that is ready to be built.
Ms. Gilbert, leading the production of the game, is a seasoned producer who has run many projects and built several companies. She has set up all the key relationships to make sure a high quality game is produced and delivered to backers by the delivery date promised in this campaign.
Fujian Trader has been tested for over two years with hundreds of different players, including professional game designers. In addition to design, we have also put over a year into fabrication. The pieces, cards and boards have been refined and are now fully prototyped as they will appear in the final product. Once we raise our funds, the large scale manufacturer that has one of these prototypes will immediately begin manufacturing the game to our detailed specifications.
We hope that you feel a little more confident about participating in this particular Kickstarter. Now, we need you. Make Fujian Trader real, become a backer!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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