OWL Magazine Korea

“History Board Game ‘Scholars with Swords'”

The history board game “Scholars with Swords,” set against the backdrop of the Imjin War, is a game created by Park Sang-jun, operated by the “Play History Classroom.”

Based on the Japanese invasion of Korea during the Imjin War of the Joseon Dynasty, this board game has a feel similar to a kind of war simulation.

“The Internal and External Despair of Joseon”

The initial response of Joseon during the Imjin War was utterly inadequate, or one might say, too complacent, resulting in a desperate and tragic situation. The Joseon military suffered consecutive defeats against the Japanese army, leading to the king and the royal family fleeing the palace.

Enraged citizens even set fire to the deserted Gyeongbokgung Palace. There were absurd situations like executing General Shingak for not following orders.

The appearance of figures like Yi Sun-sin, who achieved overwhelming victories at sea against the Japanese, somewhat alleviated the crisis. However, even General Yi Sun-sin went through a period of trials due to erroneous judgments.

The Imjin War was a time of multiple absurdities and despair, both internally and externally, for Joseon.

“‘Scholars with Swords’: A History Board Game Based on the Imjin War”

“Scholars with Swords” is a board game based on these historical facts. It focuses solely on “war” and “combat” and does not delve into other political aspects.

It’s a kind of strategy simulation game where the goal is to deploy and annihilate each other’s forces based on the actual historical forces and armies of Joseon and Japan during that time.

“A Strategy Simulation-Based Board Game”

Unit matchups and prominent figures representing the Imjin War are implemented. However, if every battle follows a straightforward unit matchup, it can become too predictable. To address this, tactical elements and variations were added through tactic cards. These tactic cards serve as a stepping stone to turn the tide in unfavorable situations.

It’s a strategy game harmonizing historical generals, troops, and tactic cards that introduce variations, providing various scenarios.

“Various Scenarios Offered in the Game”

The game offers various scenarios based on battles that actually occurred in history. While they may not exactly replicate historical events, players strategically deploy troops according to the scenario, engaging in a kind of educational board game.

Conveniently, game guidelines are produced as “videos” and shared on YouTube. Additionally, the “Play History Classroom” channel provides background music suitable for the board game.

As a board game created based on the painful history of the Imjin War, it offers the advantage of allowing players to naturally reflect on our painful history through gameplay.

From this perspective, one can understand why this game was developed and released by the company “Play History Classroom.”