YES! Ginseng Card Game

A Beautiful Card Game Introducing You to Taiwan’s Night Market Snack Foods

TEXT: TWELLI
PHOTOS: DOPLAN


(Note: The following is sponsored content.)

My first impression of this game is, wow, this is well crafted, beautifully designed. The game comes in a small white box with an image of a steam basket, the kind that is used to steam buns and other morsels. Attached to the side of the box is a pair of chopsticks, making it look like a take-out lunchbox ordered in Taiwan at restaurants during lunch break. Note: This is one of two YES! Ginseng card games, for the other, look here.

“Lunchbox” with chopsticks

After opening the box you’ll first find the instructions, a beautifully illustrated booklet in Chinese and English. The English is excellent, well written and easy to understand.

The game instructions are in the Game Book

There are three cardboards, each imprinted with 20 one-dollar coins, you can easily pluck out to have the “cash” needed for the game.

The cash
One-dollar coins

There are three decks of cards.

51 Card with a blue-colored back, labeled “Ingredient”

  • 12 Rice/Flour cards + 1 Stale Rice/Flour card
  • 12 Soup cards + 1 Spoiled Soup card
  • 8 Vegetable cards + 1 Rotten Vegetable card
  • 8 Seafood cards + 1 Rotten Seafood card
  • 4 Meat cards + 1 Rotten Meat card
  • 2 Ginseng cards
Ingredient cards

26 Card with a green-colored back, labeled “Order”

  • 12 cards with dishes priced 1 dollar
  • 8 cards with dishes priced 2 dollars
  • 3 cards with dishes priced 3 dollars
  • 4 cards with dishes priced 4 dollars
Order cards

27 Card with a red-colored back, labeled “Special”

  • These are different cards used by players to gain an advantage over their opponents.
Special cards

There is one more card with quick instructions, in case you forget how to play the game while playing it.

Instruction card

By just looking through the cards and before reading the instructions, I am really impressed by how much effort the creators and designers have put into creating the game. The cards are beautiful and feel nice in your hand.

Beautiful cards

So how is the game played? In order to understand the game, you do need to read the manual.

How many people are playing?

Recommended are 2-6 players, aged 8 years and above. Games last 15-20 minutes, and you can learn how to play in less than 3 minutes.

The game is quite easy to learn. At the start each player receives three Ingredient cards and two Special cards. Three Order cards are placed in the center of the table. Players act as night-market stall proprietors and the goal is to get as many orders as possible. The Order cards placed on the table show the amount of money you will get (1, 2, 3 or 4 dollars) when receiving an order.

Three Order cards are placed in the center of the table

The money in hand can be used to buy Special cards (2 dollars for one card). These cards allow you to affect your own and the business of other players to gain an advantage. In order to get one of the Order cards in the center of the table you have to check the multi-color wheel on the left side of each card. These colors indicate the color of the cards you need in your hand to “pay” for the order.

Here is an example:

If you want to get the Order card “chou dou fu” (Stinky Tofu), you need to pay with 1 Rice/Flour card (gray color) and one Vegetable card (green color) because the color wheel on the Order card shows the colors Gray and Green.

With a received order you also get the amount of money shown on the Order card, 1 dollar in the case of the Stinky Tofu. The money earned can then be used to buy Special cards when it is your turn.

One of the Special cards

What about the 2 Ginseng cards? Well, they act like Joker cards. If you have one of the Ginseng cards you can use it instead of two Ingredient cards, but you have to say “Yes! Ginseng” before you do so.

Ginseng card

Easy? Easy!

This is definitely a game that is a lot of fun and you will learn quite a bit about Taiwan’s night market snack foods. On each Order card the name of the dish is written in Chinese and Hanyu Pinyin Romanization. If you want to find the proper English name and a bit of information about each dish, look at pages 23 through 49 of the manual.

Taiwan Street Food introduction
Oyster omelet and stinky tofu are common night-market dishes

A game’s purpose is certainly to give players a fun time, and this game is a lot of fun indeed. But it is more than just a card game, it’s a fantastic introduction to local cuisine culture, both for foreigners who have yet to visit Taiwan and experience one of the many night markets here, and also Taiwan residents (Taiwanese or foreign) who can add a thing or two to their knowledge bank of snack-food culture.

Final words. I am really impressed by the quality and the beautiful design of this game. There is so much detail and its very professionally made. The game is fun to play especially with the many Special cards allowing you to apply strategies giving you the edge over your night market rivals.

YES! Ginseng, well done!

For more information about this beautiful game, visit www.yesginseng.com.
Currently, the game can be bought in the following stores, price is around NT$1,000. (This list will most certainly be expanded, please find more stores on the official YES Ginseng website.)

SHOPS
Cloudhues (大稻埕 雲彩軒)
SongYan Gallery (松菸 小賣所)
SongYan Design Pin 松菸 設計點
National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (國立台灣美術館​)

ONLINE SHOPS
Citiesocial (找 好東西)
uDesign (有.設計 )
Book Your Life (博客來)

HOTELS
Evergreen International Hotels (長榮國際連鎖酒店)
Play Design Hotel (玩味旅舍)
The Door Inn ​(門草行旅)

COOKING CLASS
CookInn Taiwan

AIRPORT
Duty Free (采盟免稅商店)