Playing the ancient Chinese meritocracy game
February 14, 2013 10:57 PM   Subscribe

Shengguan Tu (升官圖) "Promoting the Officials" is a Chinese board game " where players assume the of an aspiring mandarin, moving through the imperial examinations and through the bureaucracy, eventually rising to the “Da Nei” or inner sanctum Grand Secretariat in the imperial household. Along the way, players pay “donations” to higher ranked players in each department." It has existed in some form since the Tang dynasty (618 - 906 CE) at least and now it's a Flash game. Programmed by Dave Lyons who also wrote a quick introduction to the game, from which the above is taken.
posted by MartinWisse (7 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
That's actually a Java applet as far as I can tell, for anyone else who has uninstalled Java.
posted by XMLicious at 11:04 PM on February 14, 2013

posted by Herodios at 3:33 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Do I have to become a eunuch enable Java to make it to the inner sanctum?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:10 AM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

I can't get the game to actually load, but the thesis, that the reputation for meritocracy in Imperial China is overrated, is pretty accurate as far as I can tell. Now, looking at the linked articles here, there is a certain amount of China-basing going on, but I think there is also a certain amount of hand-waving away a long-established culture of nepotism and cronyism which has pretty much define Chinese politics since long before the First Emperor.

Also, that board looks crazy!
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:07 AM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Chinese Azad, heh.
posted by oonh at 6:40 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

this is cool, thanks for the link
posted by Bwithh at 2:55 PM on February 15, 2013

I could almost swear I read about this in one of the Judge Dee books.
posted by homunculus at 9:52 PM on February 15, 2013

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