28 Nov Discover Hong Kong Through A Unique & Family-Friendly Board Game
Hong Kong’s neighbourhoods are jam-packed with stories waiting to be discovered, told, shared and enjoyed. Over the years, our team has accumulated quite the collection of local tales — heard first-hand from Hong Kongers from all walks of life, from craftsmen to coffee shop owners and grannies — which we are sharing in our free app as well as in printed city guides and maps. And now, thanks to the fabulous folks of Hong Kong-based board game developer People on Board, we can share the city’s history, culture, insider favourites and more in the most playful way possible. Our very own board game, Hong Kong on Board, is a fun way for adults and children alike to learn more about four neighbourhoods in Hong Kong: Sham Shui Po, Kowloon City, Kennedy Town and Shek Tong Tsui. But exactly how does one capture the spirit of Hong Kong in a game? And what makes a good board game? We caught up with Thomas Wong, social worker-turned-lead game designer for People on Board, at his PMQ store to find out more.
How it all started
I founded People On Board back in 2012, partially to fulfil a childhood dream of mine – I have always enjoyed playing board game ever since I was little; I even used to be the chairman of the chess club at school! My family was another motivation for me to start all this. I’m a father of two daughters and I’m trying to spend as much quality time with them as possible. We all agreed to do fun and meaningful things as a family rather than just watching television or playing video games, which is how we started designing our very own mini-board games together. This inspired me to share the fun with other local parents and start my own company. Words couldn’t describe how pumped my daughters were by this idea! As of today, they’re still the chief game testers for every game that we’ve launched. My girls are creative and amazing, and it’s interesting to see a game through the eyes of a child. Once we asked for their opinion on a game about transportation. They thought it was too realistic and kind of boring, so they suggested that we should include a magic carpet that rewards players with a swifter journey. That’s definitely something I would never have thought of myself!
“When creating a game, we stick with three principles: it has to be fun, educational, and shouldn’t take long to finish the game.”
What makes a good board game?
When creating a game, we stick with three principles: it has to be fun, educational, and shouldn’t take long to finish the game. Seventy per cent of our customers are local parents who’d love to play with their kids in a positive and educational way. Since Hong Kong kids are always caught up with homework and extra-curricular activities, they usually don’t have hours to spend on a board game. Hong Kong parents don’t like Monopoly because it takes too long to finish! Therefore, we always try to keep the game’s rules simple and the message clear, so both the parents and the kids get something out of the game while having lots of fun playing it.
People on Board’s HK Tramways board game and Hong Kong MTR board game
We often inject local elements into our games to help promote and preserve some of the unique cultures we have here in Hong Kong. Our ‘Ding Ding ‧ HK Tramways’ board game is a great example of that philosophy! On the other hand, we also integrate academic elements into our games to encourage kids to learn through playing. Our wet market game, for example, teaches kids to calculate quickly.
“We often inject local elements into our games to help promote and preserve some of the unique cultures we have here in Hong Kong.”
We always try to join forces with a business partner to create a new game, which may help us receive a bit more funding to improve the quality of said game. Working with reputable partners is also a great way to upscale our brand quicker. Once we have agreed on the collaboration, we come up with game plans that in most cases correspond with our partner’s line of work.
Capturing the spirit of Hong Kong in a game
Let’s take the ‘Hong Kong On Board’ game we developed with you guys as an example; we initiated this creative collaboration knowing that iDiscover specialises in map-making and grasping the true spirit of different neighbourhoods throughout Hong Kong. Our game designers made good use of the elements we found in your products to create a locally-themed game. Your eye-catching map designs and illustrations, for instance, are perfect for creating a map for a board game! Fun facts and stories about, and history of, neighbourhoods in Hong Kong that your team has collected over the years are incorporated in the game to teach players more about the city.
When we have a trial version ready, we invite groups of kids to test out the game. This is an important step in the process of creating a board game: we rely on first-hand experiences to collect feedback and modify the game until we think it’s good enough to be launched.
In the future, we would like to give back to the community and empower different minorities through our work. If possible, we would also really love to collaborate with iDiscover again! Our team has always envisioned to create a neighbourhood game for all 18 districts in Hong Kong, and we believe that with your resources we can attain this goal!
Feel like discovering Hong Kong through our board game yourself?
Click here to go to our shop to purchase the iDiscover x People on Board Hong Kong on Board game! The Hong Kong On Board game set can also be purchased at the following retail points of People On Board:
- H304, Block B PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong
- 03-102, 1F, Barrack Block, Central Police Station, 10 Hollywood Rd, Central, Hong Kong
Our app, board game, city guides, neighbourhood maps and framed prints are created by locals, designed by locals and powered by locals… with a little help from iDiscover. Hear their stories, share their passion and learn what they love!