XCJ Card Game

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The Chinese (and eventually international) experience of making Hackerspace projects as a card game to be enjoyed during the holidays.

Game parts

  • List of rules
  • Two die
  • Special game deck of cards (without or with expansion packs)
  • "Fake" money (poker tokens, monopoly money or even real money...)
  • Piece of paper and pen to keep track of scoring and taught skills

Game Start

  • Everyone starts with a preset budget
  • Players start with no skills and no cards

Game Goals

  • Get a project schematics
  • Learn the skills
  • Get the components and software
  • Build, Program and Test
    • Each project is worth a certain number of points awarded to the player

First one to reach a pre-set number of points wins!

Game mechanics


  • Every turn, each player picks a card from the pile
    • If it is a skill, the player can elect to pay the workshop fee (if any) and put the card in front of himself, face up
      • A player can never lose a skill
      • A player may teach it to others
    • If it is a part, the player can elect to purchase the part. If not, the card is put in the discard pile.
      • Component prices are determined by the roll of two dices (2 to 12 credits)
      • If both dices have equal values, the player pays but receives a broken part
  • Once the deck of card has been fully played, the discard pile is remixed and used as the deck of cards
  • Before picking a card, the player may elect to:
    • Use any special card
    • Get rewarded for points for completing a project
    • Sell or buy skills with other players
      • When a player teach another player the skill, a note is written down on the note paper granting the skill

Game cards

  • The back of the cards must have the same graphic (the XCJ logo)
  • The face of all cards must include the description in at least English, with a possibility of Chinese

Project schematics

  • How to make the project
    • List of parts
    • List of tools
    • List of required skills
    • First project can be a Roboracer as a sample
      • More projects can be added in expansion packs
    • Players can elect to study projects list before playing to "plan ahead"
  • Player must have the project schematic in-hands to complete project

Components cards

  • Gives you the opportunity to buy the parts you need of a particular type
  • Mechanics:
    • Wheels
    • Servo motors
    • Stepper motors
    • Frame
  • Electronics
    • Resistors
    • Wires
    • Transistors
    • Leds
    • Push buttons
    • Distance sensor
    • Batteries
    • Motor drive
    • Microcontroller
  • Software
    • Servo control library
    • Motor control library
    • Stepper motor library
    • Distance sensor library


  • Soldering
  • Ability to use multimeter
  • Ability to use oscilloscope
  • Shop Tools:
    • Milling
    • Drilling
    • Lathing
    • Digital logic
  • Programming:
    • Programming AI
    • Programming motor control

Special cards


  • Mean lady that always sells too high
    • Pay double the roll of the dice for your next purchase
  • "The components have to be delivered from Shenzhen"
    • Skip a turn
  • "lost it" 
    • Lose one component (or your choice) to the discard pile


  • "Nice guy/gal"
    • Force a trade with another player
  • "Borrowing"
    • Take a component of your choice from another player
  • TaoBao: the Chinese ecommerce market
    • Order anything from Taobao at half price (but wait one turn for delivery)

Making money in the game

  • Writing articles
    • Share one skill to all players for a pre-set price
  • Selling parts or teaching skills to other players
    • can occur at any time

Hackerspace community cards

Special Hackerspace card to get some help (example: XinCheJian)

  • Buy at XinCheJian: any component, not broken, faster - a bit more expensive!
  • Community help: special community member that can be used once anytime
    • David: get any unused community member on the table
    • TheNelson: get a complete motor control subsystem
    • Ricky: complete any project without schematics
    • Min Lin: next component purchase at half price
    • Michael: builds you mechanical parts at half the price
    • Edward: free useless machine
    • QiChen: gain all skills to build the quadcopter
    • Paul: get any software you want
    • Lio: substitute any part of the same type for another
    • Clemence: get any project schematic on the table
    • Rockets: pick any part from the discard pile


  • Fun!
  • Promotion of hackerspaces
  • Good promotional or fund raising gift
  • Learn the Chinese/English terminology while building simple circuits.
  • Collaboration with other hackerspaces (expansion packs that can be mixed in)
  • Explains the process of building projects
  • Localized cards to each different hackerspaces surrounding providing socio-cultural insights