Gugong is still a pretty recent Kickstarter title. The original campaign happened back in 2018, got more than $300.000 in funding and attracted nearly 5000 backers. Andreas Steding, is however not new when it comes to creating board games. The German designer debuted with self-published Hispania back in 1994. Later on he made his first huge hit with Hansa Teutonica (rank 118 on BGG) and kept delivering high quality euro games over the years.
Now, after a year long break Steding’s Gugong is back on Kickstarter and includes 4 modular expansions as well as a deluxe Big Box hosting everything. Fans of the original can make their games even better, and these who’ve missed on the initial campaign (like me) can finally get their hands on this not-so-little gem.
Your Story in 16th Century China
The game makes you a leader of an influential family during a very chaotic era in the history of China. The 16th century was when the Ming dynasty reigned. During that time the Great Wall got expanded, printing techniques were developed, medical science made colossal advancements, legendary novels were written and the China itself was the largest economy of the world. Sadly, one not so visible problem was devouring the country from the very core – corruption.
The original game belongs to the worker placement genre with resource management, hand management and set collection mechanics. Your noble family tries to keep their high status, earn money while bending the legal system as much as possible not to get into trouble. The concept itself seems so refreshing to me, since many euros just make you a chieftain of some village, farm or factory.
Another great thing in Gugong is the sheer amount of things to do when you want to achieve your goals. Wandering around the country, sailing to trade for goods, starting manipulative plots and playing dirty with political schemes. The final goal is becoming so powerful to get a real audience with the Ming dynasty emperor himself.
Gugong: Panjun Expansion
The new modules in Panjun expand the game even further. They’re modular and can be added according to your taste – whether you want new ways to get gifts or some deeper political gameplay.
The Summer Palace adds a new board with new opportunities to gather jade, mingle with court ladies and work with some new valuable gifts.
The Peasants Revolt is certainly less peaceful than the expansion above. The country is in unrest and the lowest masses are starting to get angry, You can either fight them or side with them and use their revolt to achieve your political goals.
The Stairs of the Palace offers alternative tracks leading to your audience with the emperor. This expansion will allow players to change the dynamic of the game to their preferences.
Extra Decrees and Gift Cards is a module that simply adds more components to the core game including new decrees and gifts: from jade daggers to beautiful Ming dynasty vases.
The New Kickstarter Campaign
Backers interested in getting Panjun (the set of 4 modular expansions described above) will have to pledge $50. Owners of the original Deluxe Edition can get the expansion set published in a similar, deluxe manner for $65. If you want to get everything the campaign has to offer – there is an All-in Pledge priced at $125.