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End Times 2022: Pingyao - First Chinese Banks


It's not expected of me to enjoy playing a game about banking. I'm not the biggest fan of economic games, and the mere sound of the work 'bank' is simply never evocative of fun in my mind... Or is it? Do I like earning and saving money? I sure do. Do I like milking other people by giving them loans? Well, not in real life, but I enjoy playing as a blood-thirsty vulture. Pingyao is here to indulge this guilty pleasure. And it does so in an exotic (in my eyes), old Chinese setting that makes me feel even more corrupt.

2022 is finally coming to an end and, during these End Times, Athena and JW will share some thoughts on what they played this year.

If you missed out on the Kickstarter, I recommend checking if your local store carries it. It really is a wonderful solo game. You win by fulfilling the objectives of a goal card, and, while there is no opponent, you use the other players' dice to occupy spaces on the board and potentially block actions you might want to take. Rules are easy to follow but I had to watch a video to fully understand what to do.

The artwork is somewhat lifeless yet very elegant, like the opulent living room of a deeply rich man. You are this very rich man, or rather, you plot your way towards swimming in riches. You give out loans with outrageous interest, provide remittance services, open new bank branches, and gain fame and employees. At first, money is a bit tight but, with the passing of each round, your coffers become more and more full.

I haven't played the game enough to get bored of it, but I suspect one may feel they have seen it all if they win every objective (you can up the difficulty if you like though). I didn't pledge for the expansion, so I can't say what it adds and if it's worth buying, but I may seek it out. So yeah, for me, banking in China is a lot of fun. The game comes with metal coins and sycees (silver ingots) that really add to the experience. If you happen to come across Pingyao, go for it. It's a good investment.

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