How to play the Chinese Moon cake game known as博饼
(or Pua Tiong Chu in Hookien)
It is the Mid-Autumn Festival on September 13. And once more, Chinese all around the world are busy preparing for the holidays. Luxury hotels are coming out with their special mooncake sets. While Chinese friends left and right have started making plans to bring friends and family together. To play what is colloquially known in the Philippines as Pua Tiong Chu or the Mooncake Dice Game. Let’s play!
History of the Mooncake Festival
But before we go into explaining the mechanics of how to play the game, a bit of history about the “Mooncake Festival”. Or officially known as the “Mid-Autumn Festival” or 中秋节. The festival, like any other Chinese holiday, follows the lunar calendar. And falls on the 15th date of the eight lunar month. As it’s rumored to be the month when the moon is at its fullest.
Digging deeper into history, the 15th date of the eight lunar month also marks the day that the Chinese people overthrew the powerful ruler of the Yuen Dynasty known as Marco Polo. It was during this time that the revolutionists took advantage of the full moon. And they circulated their propaganda movement to revolt throughout the country through Moon Cakes. Families gathered under the pretext of a festival and succeeded bringing about the beginning of the Ming Dynasty in 1367 A.D.
I have been scrambling to look for the game rules online. So it’s such a god-send that our friends from Eng Bee Tin brought together the blogging community last September 29. For everyone to play this Traditional Mid-Autumn dice game to bring in lucky, harmony, and to strengthen bonds among friends and family. They even stuck to tradition and made sure that the prizes were increasing sizes of Hopia! I didn’t walk away a winner, sadly. But I do wonder what the rest did with all their Hopia!
How to Play the Mooncake Dice Game
Now on to the game rules!
How to play the Mid-Autumn Mooncake Dice Game:
- The game is played with players (and you can have as many as you like) rolling 6 dice in a porcelain bowl. All six dice must be rolled in one go. While the youngest player rolls first.
- After checking to see if the roll was successful, the bowl and the dice passes on to the next player. In a clockwise direction and step 1 is repeated.
- The game continues until all prizes have been won. Once the last non-1st PRIZE has been won, each player gets one last roll to try and win the 1st
Mooncake Dice Game Prizes:
There are SIX prize tiers in the Mooncake Dice Game. Prizes are won based on the patterns that you roll. So it’s useful to keep this guide flashed on the screen. Or better yet, printed on papers for everyone to refer to. I’ve indicated the value of the dice in Roman Numerals to avoid confusion with the # of dice that should show the value
1st PRIZE – This one’s a bit tricky because there are tiers to the 1st prize. The list below is ranked based on the strongest combination (1) and the lowest possible (7). You must roll:
- Four [ IV ] and two [ I ]
- Six [ IV ]
- Get Six [ I ]
- Six of any number except [ I ] and [ IV ]
- Five [ IV ]
- Get five of any number except [ IV ]
- Four [ IV ]
2nd PRIZE – Roll Half-Half (e.g. VI-VI-VI-V-V-V) or a Straight (I-II-III-IV-V-VI)
3rd PRIZE – Roll three IV
4th PRIZE – Roll four of the same kind, except four IV
5th PRIZE – Roll two IV
6th PRIZE – Roll one IV
If you’re planning to enjoy this game with friends and play it the traditional way, head over to Eng Bee Tin Bakery. Why? Well, they have the best Hopia, of course!
Plus their Mooncakes as prizes are a real treat for sharing and as prizes! Thank you Lawrence for the invite and Eng Bee Tin for having us! Plus it’s also home to many delicious Chinese food at The Great Buddha Cafe upstairs. 🙂
Eng Bee Tin Bakery (Main Branch)
628 Ongpin St., Binondo, Manila