Card & board games by Malaysians

M'sian games cover pic
Image adapted from: @rojakculture and @ashley_limwy

Card and board games haven’t lost their fun factor, especially since many of us still whip them out for entertainment during gatherings and parties. It’s safe to say that most of us have mastered classics like Monopoly and The Game Of Life, but now there are plenty of new games that have the “Made In Malaysia” stamp on the back.

If you’re feeling unsure about whether they’ll stack up to the games we already know and love, this list may just convince you that local creatives are worthy of your support: 

For other fun ideas to do with friends, check out these articles:

1. The Lepak Game – Cards Against Humanity spin-off 

Lepak Game (1)
Image credit: @qamillahairany

Cards Against Humanity has been hailed the ultimate party game that tests how horrible of a person you are. The game starts with a player reading out a scenario from a card, and everyone else has to anonymously put out cards with the funniest or crudest response. 

The player then gets to pick which response they find most hilarious, and that’s how you get a hilarious winning line like This is the prime of my life. I’m young, hot, and full of crippling debt.

As entertaining of a party game it is, it’s not family-friendly enough to be played outside of wild parties and your group of tight knit friends. This is where The Lepak Game comes in as not only do they keep it PG, the cards also test your Malaysian-ness with a slew of slang words. 

Lepak Game (2)
Instead of explicit situations and crude words, you’re thrown into the most absurd Malaysian scenarios.
Image credit: @rojakculture

The entire deck of cards comprises localised words like “MRT” and “Karipap”, so more often than not, you’ll find yourselves laughing at inside jokes only a Malaysian would know. You can also try spotting easter eggs from viral news stories that have emerged over the past few years that include meme-worthy statements from political figures.

Essentially though, the game is played just like Cards Against Humanity. But instead of revealing your twisted side, show off your Malaysian pride by putting out the most relatable card according to the scenario. 

Lepak Game (3)
Image credit: @rojakculture

The game can be played among 4 to 8 players, for ages 15 and above.
Get it here for RM109.

2. The Malaysian Dream – from paying off PTPTN loans to winning an Olympic gold medal

The M'sian Dream (1)
Image credit: @maslight

Ask Malaysians what some of their dreams are and they’re likely to come up with a bunch of witty answers, from having free petrol for life to their favourite artist coming to Malaysia for a concert. Well, it seems MGAG has compiled almost every wishful thought out there and turned it into a game that any Malaysian can relate to: The Malaysian Dream.

The M'sian Dream (2)
Image credit: @ashley_limwy

The player with the most dream cards wins the game, so you can either gain dreams the honest way or steal them from players. There are also power cards like “Lee Chong Wei won medal”, so players will gain extra actions from the “public holiday” the next day. Thanks Dato!

The M'sian Dream (3)
Image credit: Toy Tag

The game can be played among 2-6 players, for all age groups.
Get it here for RM39.

3. Drama Pukul 7 – be the protagonist of your show

Drama Pukul 7 (1)
Image credit: @amirulazharqwert

Drama series are just about the same everywhere, be it Korean, Taiwanese, or even Malay – full of over-the-top plot twists that’ll leave you on the edge of your seat as you watch. 

Now you can get in on the action with Drama Pukul 7, which takes inspiration from Malay dramas in particular. The characters here are extra feisty and you’ll never know what dirty tricks they have up their sleeves. 

Drama Pukul 7 (2)
Image credit: Drama Pukul 7

The aim of the game is to be the main character, so you’ll need to maintain a good reputation while tarnishing the good name of other players’ characters. The easiest way to do this is by sabotaging them with trump cards, but you’ll need to make sure that you can survive through all the plot twists and episodes too. 

In this game, all the classic drama tropes come into play – finding out a secret affair, eloping with your partner in crime, and even waking up to realise that it was all just a dream. 

Drama Pukul 7 (3)
Image credit: @zenderson

From 5-star homes to luxurious cars, you’ll be able to flaunt off your riches in the game – just like the chaebols, or sons of CEO, in Korean dramas where they’re often caught trying to win over a girl’s heart by flaunting off their riches.

The game can be played among 3-6 players, for all age groups.
Get it here for RM85.

4. Kaki Lima – get to know George Town like a true Penang lang

Do a quick Google search on where to find the best food in Malaysia and you’ll be directed straight to Penang. While almost every restaurant and hawker stall in the state serves mouth-watering food, nothing beats having a Penang lang as a tour guide to show you the true ins and outs of George Town. 

Kaki Lima (1)
Image credit: Board Game Geek

Kaki Lima has everything you need to know about George Town, Penang packaged into a fun game. It depicts the day-to-day lives of Penangites living there, so it’s a chance to get insider tips on how you should plan your vacation itinerary.

Kaki Lima (2)
The pedestrians are as diverse as our community IRL
Image credit: Board Game Geek

To play, first choose a “pedestrian” as your character and score points by reaching places on your task list. You’re only given 5 steps for each turn, so you need to put your thinking hats on and strategise your best move. 

Kaki Lima (3)
Tasks that need to be cleared before you win the corresponding points
Image credit: Kaki Lima

Since it was inspired by the town itself, expect the places and tasks to reflect the daily lives of locals living there and the landmarks they frequent to. 

Kaki Lima (4)
Image credit: Kaki Lima

The game can be played among 3 to 8 players, for ages 8 and above.
Get it here for RM168.

5. Pasaraya: Supermarket Manager – build a pasaraya empire through strategy

Everyone can relate to being dragged to the pasaraya with our parents when we were younger. It might’ve seemed like such a chore back then – we even had to be bribed with candy. But now that most of us are adults, we find ourselves making trips to the grocer on our own accords, and the thought of stocking up the fridge actually makes us excited.

Now with Pasaraya: Supermarket Manager, we get to own a supermarket and lowkey realise our fantasy of having a lifetime’s worth of food and household products.

Supermarket Manager (1)
Image credit: whatsericplaying

But managing the store means we can’t actually take things for free. Players will have to approach the game with a business mindset while they juggle between responsibilities. You’ll need to stock up on goods, efficiently manage cash flow, and supervise staff to make sure business is booming. 

The deck-building gameplay may seem complicated at first glance, but you’ll soon get the hang of it after a couple rounds. Each player has their own deck that is slowly built upon round after round by adding in more cards – sort of like Monopoly Deal.

Supermarket Manager (2)
How the deckbuilding gameplay works
Image credit: whatsericplaying

The game can be played among 2-4 players, for ages 12 and up.
Get it here for RM129.

6. The Cikgu Life – a day in the life of a teacher

The Cikgu Life (1)
The packaging resembles those brown cover notebooks we used to have as students
Image credit: The Cikgu Life

There’s a misconception that teachers have the best work-life balance as they get perks like shorter working hours and longer holidays. But a lot of people seem to forget their other commitments like grading papers all day, coming up with lesson plans, and most importantly, shaping youth who’ll go on to become future leaders. 

The Cikgu Life (2)
Image credit: The Cikgu Life

Enter The Cikgu Life, a board game for those who want to take a break from constant #adulting. As you navigate through a day in the life of a teacher, you may even be reminded of some throwback moments from when you were still in school – giving excuses for not having done your homework, dozing off in class, and maybe even passing love letters. 

The Cikgu Life (3)
Image credit: The Cikgu Life

Nostalgic memories aside, it’ll take just one round to see that being a teacher is not as chill of a job as it may seem. But for board game purposes, their hectic working life actually makes it a pretty fun one to play.

The game can be played among 2-5 players, for ages 14 and up.
Get it here for RM85.

7. Codenames (Malaysia Edition) – find secret agents’ identities through their codenames

Cpdenames (1)
Image credit: Giftr

For the uninitiated, Codenames is essentially a guessing game where players need to use their wits to figure out all the secret agents on their team based on a set of codenames. 

Players are split into 2 teams, and a spymaster for each will be elected while other players take on the role of secret agents. Spymasters are only allowed to give 1-word clues that can refer to multiple codenames on the board. Secret agents have to guess their team’s words while avoiding the codenames belonging to the opposing team. 

It’s a lot like playing a game of Taboo, except you’re not given a list of words that you’re not allowed to say. 

Codenames (2)
Image credit: Meeples

Creators of the game have come out with a Malaysian edition of the game that includes an additional 40 cards based on Malaysian culture and slang. Among the ones you’ll see are: Laksa, Kopitiam, Mamak, and even Kek Lok Si, the famed temple in Penang. 

The game can be played amongst 2-8 players, for ages 14 and up.
Get it here for RM99.

8. Rimba – know your local animals A to Z

Rimba (1)
Image credit: Kinokuniya Malaysia

Rimba, a set of educational cards on local wildlife, reminds us of our school days – Bahasa Melayu classes in particular, where the phrase “flora dan fauna” were keywords we kept using in our karangans.

They were considered “big” words that earned us extra points, so imagine if we had Rimba lying around the house back then. We could’ve used “kubong” and “penyu belimbing” to try and sound even smarter in our essays. 

With 120 animals, there’ll definitely be some that even our teachers wouldn’t have known about. But this card game isn’t just for kids – us adults can have some fun with it too. It’s a 4-in-1 game where we can play memory games, snap, finding pairs, and even “who am I?”, where players need to ask each other yes or no questions to try and figure out the animal. 

Rimba also makes a great gift for kiddos as it’s a fun way to teach them about local wildlife. There are so many more animals they can learn about in this deck that they wouldn’t have otherwise known about, even after a trip to the zoo. 

Rimba is suitable for all ages.

Get it here for RM110.

Support local card & board game creators

For quality bonding time, throw in a card or board game into your usual lepak night with friends. Don’t just settle for the usual games of Monopoly or Uno though, especially when we have an arsenal of locally made board games that are just as fun. 

No gathering is complete without food, so here are some ideas on where to feast:

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