Kickstarter Corner – Boba Mahjong

Hello! It’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted here, but I’m back! Today, I’ve decided to highlight a two player card game about one of my favourite drinks: bubble tea.

Bubble tea is a Taiwanese drink that originated in the 1980s, combining milk tea (usually a black tea) and tapioca pearls, or “boba”. While originally the drink was served hot, most bubble tea nowadays is served cold and comes in a wide variety flavours. Along with the aforementioned boba, other toppings and add-ins can be used.

My favourite bubble tea: a cold salted caramel milk tea with brown sugar tapioca pearls.

Boba Mahjong is a two player set collection game from Sunrise Tornado that’s all about making these delicious drinks. Players, referred to as “bobaristas”, are looking to create the best bubble tea drink by collecting sets of ingredient cards and then scoring them.

At the beginning of the game, three cards are placed face-up to create “mixing piles”. Each player is then dealt a hand of five cards with the remaining cards being set aside as a supply pile.

Players take alternating turns where they may first draw two cards from the supply or draw one card from one of the mixing piles. Then, if they are able to, they may create up to three sets, using either three cards from their hand or two cards from their hand and a card from the top of a mixing pile.

A set in Boba Mahjong can consist of cards of any colour, but must either be a run of any three consecutive numbers (ex. 1-2-3 or 3-4-5), or be three numbers of the same value. Cards marked with a 0 are considered wild cards and may be used to complete sets. A set may also consist of any three topping cards but wild cards can not be used to complete those sets.

The ingredient and topping cards from Boba Mahjong, featuring artwork by Holly Chiu (Source: kickstarter.com)

After creating a set or sets, players then choose one card from the set to keep for end game scoring. The other two cards are discarded onto the mixing piles however the player wishes. When a player keeps a topping card for scoring, the ability on the card is activated and can be used immediately.

The game ends when a player either has ten cards for end game scoring or the supply deck runs out. Players may choose up to six of their cards to score at the end of the game. Scoring is based on five categories: Freshness (cards of the same number or topping), Smoothness (A straight of three cards or more), Complexity (any two toppings), Presentation A (Same colours) and Presentation B (Different colours).

The player aid which helps detail the end of game scoring (Source: kickstarter.com)

Originally included in the cancelled Sunrise Market Kickstarter campaign, designer Ta-Te Wu relaunched Boba Mahjong on its own. The art has been revamped along with some of the rules, as the campaign makes a point of. Overall, these changes seem to be an improvement over the original.

The original cover art vs the relaunch cover art (Source: boardgamegeek.com)

A pledge of $10 USD will get you a copy of Boba Mahjong. There are multiple add-ons available, including some adorable bubble tea themed enamel pins. For backers in the United States, options to add-on copies of Ta-Te Wu’s previous games Cat Sudoku and Macaron are also available.

The bubble tea enamel pins. They are $12 USD each or $40 USD for the whole set (Source: kickstarter.com)

As of this writing, Boba Mahjong is fully funded, having reached $9,444 USD of its $5,000 USD goal with 27 days to go. I’ve backed this one myself and I’m looking forward to it. You can back Boba Mahjong on Kickstarter HERE. If you want to try the game out beforehand, Boba Mahjong is also available on Tabletopia.

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