August 21, 2008

"King of Siam" boardgame out of Germany

Andy over at Changwat, Amphoe, Tambon has posted about a new German boardgame, "König von Siam" (King of Siam).

Here's the board:

The game's story goes like this: The year is 1874, and civil war has erupted as King Chulalongkorn tries to centralize authority and unify Siam. Players battle to increase their influence in the various regions, representing the Siamese royalists, the Lao, and the Malays.

The creator, Peer Sylvester, has this to say of the impetus behind the game's creation:
Everything started in late 2003 when I was in Siam, nowadays Thailand. I had been working there for over a year as a teacher, and I was curious to learn more about Thai history. But that wasn’t easy, since the International schools where I was working did not teach Thai or Asian history, but only European history. Thus, there were no books for me to read and no teachers for me to question. However, what information I was able to gather fascinated me. Especially intriguing was the fact that Siam was successful in averting colonization. By the start of the 20th century, all of Southeast Asia was colonized except for Siam. How did the Siamese accomplish that? The idea for a game was born.
You can read more of the creator's notes in the complete rules in English (PDF).

Well, this game isn't going to teach much history. The creator has taken historical liberties to make the game work. But that's okay. Unlike other equally fantastical re-imaginations of Southeast Asian history, this all in the name of fun. I wouldn't mind playing a round myself.

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