Liubo 六博棋

Liubo is an ancient Chinese board game originally played from about 500 BCE to 500 CE. The rules of the game have been lost to time, but our team is attempting to reconstruct the game based on what we do know. Today you will be helping us test our digital version of the game.

Goals for the project

  • Reconstruct and playtest this “lost” ancient board game, based on available artifacts, texts, records, English/Chinese-language scholarship, consulting with experts, etc. – plus our team member’s own ideas about player experience and which version of the game seems the most fun.
  • Create a digital method (a game, an app, etc.) to teach contemporary audiences how to play our proposed reconstruction of Liubo. Also convey some of the history of the game and information about how it’s been reconstructed.

Summary of the game

Liubo is a game about birds catching fish. Each player controls 6 pieces representing birds. These birds fly around the board in order to reach the center square, which represents a pond full of fish. Birds catch fish by crossing over or landing on this pond, and then score points by dropping the fish in the circle “Nest” spaces on the opponent’s side of the board. However, you can also score points by capturing your opponent’s birds before they reach the nests! Liubo takes between 10 to 45 minutes to play; the first player to 6 points wins!