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 a 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 digital walking routes as well as in printed city guides and maps. And now, thanks to the game developers of 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
Thomas founded People On Board back in 2012, fulfilling a childhood dream: "I enjoyed board games ever since I was little; the highlight of my school life was becoming the chairman of the chess club." For many years his job as a social worker ate away most of his free time, but when Thomas became a father himself - he has two daughters - this triggered a motivation to start a creative endeavour. The Wong family tries to spend as much quality time with them as possible. Instead of watching television or playing video games, they started designing their very own mini-board games.
Thomas was soon contacted by other parents to share his love for games and gave up his job to dedicate himself full-time to game design. People on Board now collaborates with different organisations and corporations to design and produce board games that fit their mission and vision. Some of their most memorable creations include an MTR board game, a Stock Trading Guru Challenge for the Investor Education Centre and a Smart Saving Game for AXA Insurance. A social worker at heart, Thomas choose for People On Board to be a Social Enterprise. That means that they reinvest the profit back into the company, with the purpose not to just make money, but also to create jobs, promote creativity and enhance family relationships.
His daughters are his biggest fans and the chief game testers for every game that the company launches: "My girls are creative and amazing, and it’s good practice to see a game through the eyes of a child." A recently released transport game now includes a magic carpet that rewards players with a swifter journey. "That’s definitely something I would never have thought of myself!" shares Thomas.
What makes a good board game?
When creating a game, Thomas sticks to three principles: it has to be fun, and educational, and shouldn’t take long to finish the game. Seventy per cent of our customers are local parents who want to play with their kids in a positive and educational way. Since Hong Kong kids are always busy with homework and extra-curricular activities, family quality time is limited. Hong Kong parents don’t even like Monopoly because it takes too long to finish! The People On Board designers try to keep the game’s rules simple and the message clear, so that both the parents and the kids get something out of the game.
Thomas explains that they often inject local elements into the games to help promote and preserve some of the unique cultures in Hong Kong. The ‘Ding Ding ‧ HK Tramways’ board game is a great example of that philosophy. They also integrate academic elements to encourage kids to learn through playing. Their wet market game, for example, teaches kids to calculate quickly.
Capturing the spirit of Hong Kong in a game
For the ‘Hong Kong On Board’ game designers were inspired by the beautifully illustrated iDiscover maps that grasp the true spirit of different neighbourhoods throughout Hong Kong. The designers turned typical Hong Kong street elements into locally-themed player pieces game and used the fun facts and stories about neighbourhoods in Hong Kong for the game trivia. In the game, players navigate the streets of four quintessential Hong Kong neighbourhoods - Sham Shui Po, Kowloon City, Kennedy Town and Shek Tong Tsui to win points.
East meets West in this dynamic metropolis. Hidden between the skyscrapers are some surprisingly lively and authentic neighbourhoods where the city spirit is alive. The objective of the game is to explore these neighbourhoods and collect tokens. The winner is the first player to collect all five tokens, one in each category.
The iDiscover Hong Kong On Board game set is co-produced by iDiscover Academy and People on Board and illustrated by local artists Que Chan, Little Importance Design Co., Maoshan Connie & Missquai.
What’s in the set?
- 4 handcrafted maps of Hong Kong’s four most captivating neighbourhoods: Sham Shui Po, Kowloon City, Kennedy Town & Shek Tong Tsui
- 32 story-telling game cards in English and Chinese to help you explore the city like never before
- 4 locally-themed metal player pieces
- 20 tokens in 5 categories: iSee/ iEat/ iDrink/ iShop & iSurprise
Explore like a local in Hong Kong with iDiscover: roll the dice, learn the stories & start exploring! Buy the Hong Kong On Board game 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
Or explore the four neighbourhoods on foot with the locally curated iDiscover digital walking trails.
Walk in HK 活現香港
Walk in Hong Kong offers lovingly designed and well-researched walking tours in Hong Kong that are fun, informative and celebratory of the city’s tales, past and present, and show the lesser-seen sides of Hong Kong. 活現香港提供匠心獨運、知識與趣味並重的本地導賞團。www.walkin.hk
Little Importance 小不啦嘰
Little Importance is a design studio set up by two local illustrators Edchi & Kelv, who share a passion for food, travel and local culture. 小不啦嘰由兩位身兼設計師、插畫師的自由創業者Edchi和Kelv成立，他們尤對食物、旅遊和本地文化的插畫感興趣。www.little-importance.com