This week we look at four tabletop products featuring Asian and Asian American creators! Check it out in Tabletop Corner!
The events these last year has been a struggle. I, as biracial Chinese American man, have seen the news and have found myself disheartened. So, I have opted to take a few moments and shine a light on some tabletop products that are created by Asians or feature a heavy Asian team. Now, this is nowhere a comprehensive list, but these are the products I am familiar with and inspire me.
JIANGSHI: BLOOD AT THE BANQUET HALL
Writer: Banana Chan and Sen-Foong Lim
Publisher: Wet Ink Games
This one is interesting to me because I have heard stories as a kid of some of my relatives that lived through this time. It brings the player characters to 1920s with a family running a restaurant in America’s Chinatowns. Your family spans three generations who faces racism during the day but Jiangshi at night. This is a solid game because it takes every aspect of everyday life and tells a unique story unlike any game that is out there. During the day, the GM will present a bunch of restaurant cards that players try to complete by the end of the day. At night, they may encounter Jiangshi who could turn the PCs undead. There is even some mechanics about the dream phase of the evening. Overall, this is a great game to check out.
The Team: Daniel Kwan, Ammar Ijaz, Agatha Cheng, Jayd Matyas
This is a Gold Ennie Award winning podcast that examines Asian representation in tabletop games and culture. I was on the fence about putting a podcast on this list, but this group of people have intelligent conversations about the state of the tabletop community. One of their earlier episodes examines Orientalism and what that means in gaming. A lot of these discussions have shed some light on ways to make my own gaming better. Overall a high recommendation from me and check out their actual play if you want to see a game with Asian themes.
HEART OF WULIN
Writer: Lowell Francis and Agatha Cheng
Artist: Minerva Fox
I want to preface this with being aware that one of the main authors is not Asian. However, I think the themes of this game show that there is a lot of consideration to the themes here and he is surrounded by a good team. Hearts of Wulin is a Wuxia based game in the Powered by the Apocalypse system. I specifically love the attribute system here, as each core attribute is based on the Chinese elements. I love this concept because elements represent your approach to the game. If you do something with focus, you use your wood attribute. If you are creative, then you will use fire. I believe this would cover a lot of bases and you can tell an exceptional story with this.
Creative Team: Anthony Alipio, Steve Huynh, Kat Kruger, Daniel Kwan, Jacky Leung, Kevin Nguyen, Collette Quach, KC Shi, Russ Wilde, Ethan Yen
This is one of the best supplements for your Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition game. It features ten original adventures and many Asian-inspired monsters, magic items, and folklore. I have gotten tired of running games that are Grecco-Roman based. In fact, in recent years, I have begun to bring stories from my own childhood and present Chinese-inspired storylines. Resources like this cuts my work to a minimum and is a great resource at your table.
There are many other creators creating accurate games from other cultures. I wish I had the resources to check out them all. However, I feel confident about this particular list is a good place to start if you are looking for a change of pace in your game.