China Underground > Entertainment > Most popular board games in China

Most popular board games in China

Last Updated on 2021/06/18

China is known around the world for its ability to provide the planet with a number of different things, with a lot of the products made available in the world having seemingly been manufactured within the country.

However, China should also be known as a country where plenty of tradition can be found, as well, whilst there are plenty of things that have come from the region in which have a truly historic meaning and have influenced parts of the globe today.

Indeed, some things that can be found include some of the world’s oldest board and card games that can still be played today, with many of them still incredibly popular with the country’s population, despite having been around for centuries in some cases.


Perhaps one of the oldest and most popular table games to have ever come out of China and still be played is Mahjong. Table games have always proven to be popular for players who visit, but it could be argued that they are nowhere near as popular in any other region in the world other than China.

Mahjong is thought to have been around since 500 BC when Confucius invented the game, although there is still plenty of mystery around the game and how it came to how it is played today. There is a suggestion, though, that the tile-based games’ current form did not actually exist until the mid-19th century.

The tiles used in this classic game that is known all around the world feature designs that have been inspired by another Chinese game called Ya Pei, which was played in the Sung Dynasty during 900-1279 CE. The game has continued to evolve and develop but continues to remain incredibly popular with players all around the world.

Wei Qi

Wei Qi is another classic board game that has retained its popularity in China, despite having been created thousands and thousands of years ago. Known simply as “Go” in English, the game was originally thought to have been Japanese, however it has since been considered to be of Chinese origin, although that remains up for debate as it has been hard to prove.

Many believe Wei Qi has been around for at least 4,000 years, with the earliest mention of the board game thought to have been in the 4th century.

This game, though, is arguably one of the hardest to master and will take some time to learn as there are several intricate rules. Players will simply need to try and control more territory than their opponent and will then need to try and surround them as if they are in a battle. The game is played between two players, using black and white counters on a board that features a 19×19 grid.

Pai Gow

Perhaps one of the most famous games to have ever originated from China for casino lovers is the game of Pai Gow. This game is a traditional gambling game that can be found in many casinos across the world and is one of the oldest to have ever been made available to play.

The term Pai Gow means “card nine”, thus referring to the fact that the maximum score a player can receive for their hand is nine, although those that play will know there are a few exceptions to the rules.

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