US-China trade war inspires Singaporean couple to create card game

Ms Lai Yi Xuan and Dr Lin Zhiyong, creators of the Trade War Card Game, created the card game after seeing news about the tariffs imposed by both American and Chinese politicians in a tit-for-tat manner. PHOTO: LIN ZHIYONG

SINGAPORE - 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 tariffs imposed by both American and Chinese politicians in a tit-for-tat manner.

"I thought that resembles exchanges in a card game," Dr Lin told The Straits Times on Monday (Nov 11). "I told my wife that it would be interesting to come out 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 on Nov 19.

It is the couple's first business venture in the card game industry, and they have also set up a company called Tuttifi Solutions to expand their hobby into a business. Even so, the couple do not have plans to give up their current jobs.

Developing the game from scratch, Dr Lin said he dedicated time off work to create the graphics for the cards.

Dr Lin and his wife, Ms Lai, who is a violinist and YouTuber, share a passion for developing games for fun. Dr Lin said the experience of creating game rules and designing graphics for the cards has been fulfilling.

The couple 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 sell the game to consumers for $40.

But 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".

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