Playing the Tang Dynasty Poetry board game

Playing the poetry game
The Tang Dynasty Poetry board game

I recently had a little reunion with my fellow Confucius Institute Scholarship winners from last year. We met up in Utrecht, at the office of one of us, Danny. Everyone was there except one girl, who was still travelling in South-East Asia. We had a lot of fun catching up and exchanging experiences. The conversation was not in Mandarin, though; because two of us had only been in China for the first semester, for them the experience was already a bitfurther in the past. Add to that the fact that they were both beginners when they left, and it is not so strange that fluent conversation in Mandarin was a bit too much to ask. For me and Danny, who are a bit further along in the learning process, conversation was not difficult - and nice to have an opportunity to speak Chinese again! In the Netherlands, this is often lacking somewhat, especially when you compare it to my past year, where I spoke Mandarin all day every day!

But after warming up a little bit, the Chinese skills of the other two did come back quite quickly, so it is true what they say: you never really forget such things, they just get a bit rusty from disuse :-) I took the opportunity of meeting with fellow China-lovers to play the small board game I had bought in Dalian. It is a game you can probably only find in China: a Trivial Pursuit-like game dedicated entirely to Tang dynasty poetry! :-D

Figuring out the rules from the instructions was a bit of a challenge, since it was all in Chinese and not too clearly described in any case, but we figured it out. Playing was fun, especially since some of the assignments involved reciting the poem on your card. Needless to say this was a hard task for anyone except Danny, whose Chinese level is awesome. He could even strike the over-the-top enunciations that is a characteristic of proper reciting in Chinese. I don't remember who won in the end, but we did have fun. A well-spent twenty yuan, even though this was probably the only group of Dutch people in the Netherlands both capable of and interested in playing this game :-)