Singaporean couple create card game for 'light-hearted' participation in trade war

Ms Lai Yi Xuan and Dr Lin Zhiyong with the Trade War Card Game they created to make the US-China trade war easier to understand and more relatable to people. The couple plan to launch the game on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter next Tuesday.
Ms Lai Yi Xuan and Dr Lin Zhiyong with the Trade War Card Game they created to make the US-China trade war easier to understand and more relatable to people.PHOTO: LIN ZHIYONG

The United States-China trade war might have the global economy on edge, but it also got a young Singaporean couple thinking about how to make the issue easier to understand and more relatable to the man in the street.

Their answer? A game dubbed Trade War Card Game.

The husband-and-wife team, Dr Lin Zhiyong, 30, and Ms Lai Yi Xuan, 24, created the card game after seeing news about the tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by American and Chinese politicians.

"I thought that resembled exchanges in a card game," Dr Lin told The Straits Times yesterday.

"I told my wife that it would be interesting to come up with a game mimicking the trade war to allow people to participate in 'ending' the war and engage them in world politics in a light-hearted manner."

After about five months of work on the game, Dr Lin, who works as a medical practitioner, said they plan to launch Trade War Card Game on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter next Tuesday.

They developed the game from scratch, and Dr Lin said the experience of creating game rules and designing graphics for the cards has been fulfilling. He and his wife, who is a violinist and YouTuber, finalised their initial designs with freelance graphic designers they found online.

"We ran multiple tests of the game to make sure it is a fun political-themed game that our players will enjoy. We also e-mailed successful card game creators, such as the people behind Potato Pirates and Exploding Kittens, for feedback.

"One highlight is definitely receiving replies and advice from the game creators we idolise," he said.

If the couple's Kickstarter campaign for the game is successful, they plan to price the game at $40.

While he acknowledges the US-China trade war might be a touchy subject for some, Dr Lin said the objective of the game is to allow ordinary people to "engage in politics in a light-hearted manner and encourage players to be more interested in global politics".

This is the first foray into the card games business for the duo, who share a passion for developing games.

They have set up a company called Tuttifi Solutions to expand their hobby into a business, but do not plan to give up their current jobs.

If the campaign does not work out, Dr Lin said they will learn what they can from the experience and try again in the future.

While he acknowledges the US-China trade war might be a touchy subject for some, Dr Lin said the objective of the game is to allow ordinary people to "engage in politics in a light-hearted manner and encourage players to be more interested in global politics".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 12, 2019, with the headline 'S'porean couple create card game for 'light-hearted' participation in trade war'. Print Edition | Subscribe