Chinese board games: Mahjong, Go, Xiangqi & Halma (introduction)

Czech China Club and Center for Asian Studies (CAS) organised on November 23 its next chinese board games event. This time we played Mahjong, Go, Halma & Xiangqi.




Some introduction to the games:

Mahjong, sometimes called „Game of four winds“, originated in China during the Qing dynasty. It is played with a set of 144 tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols (seasons, winds, dragons…) Even though both skill and chance play a fundamental role in the game, there is no shortage of superstitions in which players believe (seats with the best Feng Shui).

The GO game was invented in ancient China more than 2,500 years ago, and is therefore believed to be the oldest board game continuously played today. It was considered one of the four essential arts of the cultured aristocratic Chinese scholars in antiquity.
Go is also often a subject of scientifical studies. For example, researchers at the University of Toulouse have published a paper on their statistical analysis of go games played by humans and computers. They studied differences between human and computer decision-making processes, which could be applied in many different areas.

The Xiangqi game represents a battle between two armies, with the object of capturing the enemy’s general (king). Distinctive features of xiangqi include the cannon (pao), which must jump to capture; a rule prohibiting the generals from facing each other directly; areas on the board called the river and palace, which restrict the movement of some pieces (but enhance that of others); and placement of the pieces on the intersections of the board lines, rather than within the squares.