Who says you can’t explore the country when you are staying indoors? Here are 12 card and board games made by Malaysians, for Malaysians. The best part is that these games play on our “Malaysian-ness” – so you can understand what it’s like living in Boleh-land (and laugh over it).
What have we missed? Let us know in the comments!
To all Malaysians, while times are bad and we can’t travel as we please, remember to look for ways to stay positive, active and sane while we weather through our social distancing order. We can do it!
“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”Randy Pausch
1. The Lepak Game
Concept: It’s basically a spin-off of Cards Against Humanity, only you have to give the most Malaysian response. Good for 4 to 8 players, ages 15 and above.
If you have played Cards Against Humanity before then you can easily grasp how this works. Each player takes turns reading a scenario from a card, while other players choose most hilarious response they have. The player then picks which card has the best and most relatable response, which can be funny, ironic or crude. The one with the most selected responses wins the game. Mind you, this is not for the family or people who are easily offended.
The Lepak Game puts a local twist to it, with words entwined in our Malaysian slang, inside jokes, culture, food and politics. Raw and rambunctiously funny, if it doesn’t show your friends what a twisted person you probably are, then perhaps it’ll tap into your love for Malaysia.
The Lepak Game costs RM109 here.
2. The Cikgu Life
Concept: Your goal as a teacher is to get all the students in your class to the A class, while finishing all your paperwork. Not without some typical cikgu challenges, of course!
Remember those good ol’ school days? This time, you could relive it as a teacher for a change. Catch a glimpse of what it is like to be that teacher in a Malaysian classroom, along with all the issues they face while grading students, finishing their paperwork, dealing with the school system and nostalgic antics.
After a game, you’ll probably appreciate all the hard work it takes for teachers to mould our future generation.
Every ‘cikgu’ in The Cikgu Life will be given a different type of school: national, international, rural, vernacular, cluster, special education and boarding. This gives each player different privileges and challenges. If you have been through our education system, it could leave you in stitches (or maybe a pile of paperwork).
The Cikgu Life costs RM99 here.
Concept: Try to win the Malaysian general election – at all costs. Good for 2 – 6 players.
Inspired by Malaysia’s real-life Game of Thrones, Politiko turns players into representatives of political parties. Throughout the campaign, they can use different policies and tactics to win voters. Some of which may be familiar to fellow Malaysians.
In true fashion, this game isn’t about playing fair, not when you can make use of the privileges specific to your party. Strategies include subsidies, scandals, cash handouts, phantom voters, re-delineation and other absurd yet familiar tactics. Don’t get too worked up; at the end of the day it is about having fun and not being intimidated by politics.
Politiko has since added an expansion pack to feature East Malaysian counterparts, new mechanics and now has its own mobile app version.
4. The Malaysian Dream
Concept: Be the most Malaysian of all Malaysians by collecting dreams, gaining them through action cards. Good for 2 – 3 players.
Whether your dream is to pay off your PTPTN student loans, own a bungalow or win a Gold medal at the Olympic, you can achieve them all in one game – The Malaysian Dream.
You start the game as a Malaysian personality, such as a Menteri, Mak Cik Bawang, Raja Bomoh, National Athlete or MLM Agent. The player with the most dream cards wins, and you do so by collecting cash to buy your dreams, and use action cards to protect them.
Among the action cards you can find are amusing snippets of Malaysian idiosyncrasies and habits, such as “Go Khidmat Negara” (where you have to do jumping jacks) and “Halal Gap” (hold the card for 2 rounds). A great way to bond over our Malaysian-ness!
The Malaysian Dream Card Game costs RM39 here.
5. Kaki Lima
Concept: Miss walking around Penang? Now you can ‘walk’ around Georgetown heritage city. It is a light strategy game where you gain points for every destination you reach. Good for 3 – 8 players, for ages 8 and above.
Kaki Lima takes puts all we love about Penang into a board game – the beautiful streets, the heritage sights, the food, and the community. Now that Malaysians have to stay indoors, you can wander about as pedestrians through five-foot ways (or roofed walkways known as kaki lima by the locals).
The characters are based on real George Town residents the artist has seen on the streets, and the card designs are inspired by colourful tiles in the heritage city. To win, players earn points by ‘walking around’ to reach places on their task list, exploring different places, collaborating with players to remove obstacles and ‘ajak’ friends to meet up. Expect all sorts of Penangite quirks!
The game reflects simple daily activities in Penang. Perhaps it’ll remind you of the last time you truly took the time to appreciate the beauty of George Town, meet up with friends and have that plate of Char Kuey Teow.
Kaki Lima costs RM168 here.
6. Codenames (Malaysia Edition)
Concept: Guessing game where opposing teams must use one-word clues (codenames) to let their team mates know which words (secret agents) to pick. Good for 2 to 8 players, ages 14 and above.
There are many versions of Codenames worldwide, but only one that taps into our Malaysian lingo and culture.
In the game, players are divided into 2 teams. A spymaster will be chosen for each team, who must give one-word clues that can point to several codenames on the board. The others must guess which words belong to their team. You also have to avoid the assassin and words belonging to the opposing team.
For example, if you want your team mate to pick ‘Kek Lok Si’ and ‘Nyonya’ and ‘Laksa’, the best word to signify all three is ‘Penang’. Or to secure ‘Silat’ and ‘Batik’ you could say ‘Art’.
It’s a test on your ability to connect different words together, and it can be fun if you like figuring out clues.
Codenames (Malaysia edition) costs RM99 here. RM89.10 for members.
7. Drama Pukul 7
Concept: Your aim is to be the main lead of the show, but not without the craziest plot twists in your quest for the limelight. Good for 3 to 6 players.
Escape real life and be a part of a drama in this game. Inspired by Malay dramas, Drama Pukul 7 is where players try to rise into the spotlight by keeping a good reputation (using an aptly named scorecard called ‘Kad Air Muka’) while sabotaging other characters.
The other cards depict wacky episodes and plot twists in this drama, from love affairs to revenge tragedies, elopements and online scams. You can also earn items which represent power cards to boost your status.
After all, we need just a little bit of action in our lives, right?
Drama Pukul 7 costs RM85 here.
Concept: 4-in-1 educational card game. You can play snap, memory games, concentration and guessing games.
Learning about the local wildlife is easy with this educational card set, for both kids and adults. Rimba cards come in 4 colours – something like UNO or our regular 4-suit decks – but incorporates 120 animals native to Malaysia. You’ll probably be able to name a few of these animal in Malay after a few rounds.
The gameplay mechanics is quite simple and versatile. You can play snap, or test your memory by finding pairs, or get people to figure out which animal they picked based on yes/no questions. This is a fun way to teach our young ones about wildlife, while keeping them occupied for a few hours.
Rimba costs RM110 here.
9. Pasaraya: Supermarket Manager
Concept: With a mixture of Monopoly and Restaurant City, this game lets you become the best supermarket manager by building your deck and managing your resources.
Perhaps you’ve always wanted to open up your own supermarket and become a big shot in the industry. Or you may just want all the groceries you can ever have in a lifetime. Either way, Pasaraya: Supermarket Manager fulfills that dream.
The game involves deck building, whereby players start with a bank pile, supermarket area, some money, and some inventory cards. Players take turns stocking up the supermarket, hiring staff and managing resources. A bit like Monopoly, or Restaurant City – but with some Malaysian elements.
Pasaraya: Supermarket Manager costs RM129 here. RM116.10 for members.
Dear Malaysians, lease stay home during Malaysia’s Movement Control Order and only go out for groceries when necessary. Alternatively, here are grocery stores with online delivery!
Concept: Monopoly with a political Malaysian twist. Good for 2 to 4 people, ages 14 and above.
If you’re aware of our political climate in the past few years, you’ll find this board game relatable. Designed in the style of Monopoly, and revolving around the 1MDB scandal, this board game navigates the ins and outs of asset declaration, money laundering and anti-corruption work.
You can buy and sell high-end real estate in the game, but you can choose not to declare them in the game. With If you are caught, your assets can be seized and you’ll end up in jail. It’s all a bit of fun and made to educate people about the importance of asset declaration.
Concept: Outwit and outplay your opponents the Sarawakian way, by collecting as many Head Trophies as you can. Good for 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and above.
Parang is easy to learn, and what’s interesting is that it is inspired by the headhunting traditions of the Dayak. The players with the highest number of Antu Pala (head trophies) wins, and they do so by putting out cards depicting traditional Dayak warrior equipment.
Cards include the Parang (sword), Terabai (shield), Bulu (hornbill feathers typically worn as headgear) and Topeng (mask worn by the shaman to ward off bad spirits). There is also Wild (represented by the Rafflesia, the world’s largest flower, respected by tribes in Borneo), and Bunga Terung (traditionally tattooed on Iban tribe boys to mark their journey to become men).
It’s a bit like rock-paper-scissors where each item can beat a different item, so even weak cards can be useful if you play them right.
Concept: Explore the underground wonders of Gua Pelangi (Cave of Rainbows) to collect gemstones without getting caught by the Orang-gua
Gua! is a board game inspired by the Mulu Caves at Miri, Sarawak. Just as Mulu Caves has large caverns waiting to be discovered, this game takes players through the fictional cave of Gua Pelangi. Each of the six characters is based on real Sarawakian figures, while the deck is made of hexagonal tiles that can fit together in thousands of ways to resemble different caverns of a cave.
The idea is for the players to navigate the passageways and collect each type of gemstone without being caught by the Orang-gua. Play it right and you can influence the movements of the monsters to your advantage.