This week Thinking Past launched its Kickstarter campaign for Fujian Trader, a gateway strategy boardgame based upon the recently re-discovered Selden Map.

The Selden Map dates from the 17th century and is the oldest Chinese maritime merchant map still in existence. It is a monumental find as it’s existence and revealed trade routes imply that London was influenced more by the East than previously thought, challenging a Eurocentric view of history. Thus, thousands of pounds have been dedicated to the restoration of the Selden Map. Fujian Trader’s co-designer Robert Batchelor, a professor of British History, is credited with finding the map in the archives of Oxford University’s library and bringing it to the attention of geographers, historians and the greater public after it had been lost for nearly 300 years. The Selden Map is currently touring East Asia and is now considered one of Oxford’s greatest treasures.

Inspired by the map, Fujian Trader puts players in the shoes of the trader who would have used the map. A $55 pledge will get you a physical version of the game, while you can get a print-and-play version for a pledge of $20. One of the coolest parts? the $10 Teacher tier that gets you a lesson plan for incorporating Fujian Trader and the Selden Map into an educational environment.

Game Features

  • Theme and mechanics based upon the re-discovered Selden Map depicting 17th century trade in the East China Sea

  • Players take on the role of Ming-era merchant families who need to gain the most influence before the Manchu invade and the subsequent

  • Control ports to produce, trade, and sell the goods of iron, rice, and silk, earning you victory-points and influence

  • Strategize to receive the best exchange rate for your goods

  • Utilize fortune cards, create temporary alliances, and incite rebellions in order to gain more influence and victory-points than your opponents

  • Suitable for 3-5 players, ages 12+

The whole project is highly interesting to me. The relic and its history alone are amazing, and a game based off of the map is just a fantastic idea. Head on over to the Kickstarter page for more info, and a sneak peak at things to come if the game gets funded.