This S’pore Couple Created A Bubble Tea-Themed Card Game

For years, bubble tea has been a Singaporean obsession, and stores selling sugary treats have regularly popped up across the island.

Mega-chains like Koi and Gong Cha, as well as specialty brands like Tiger Sugar, tend to attract hordes of bubble tea lovers.

The bubble tea craze doesn’t stop there, and has spread to a whole range of other products such as bubble tea hot pot and bubble tea ice cream.

Teabbles – a Bubble Tea card game – is the latest in the collection of products inspired by the sweet drink.

Released in December 2020, the game was created by husband and wife team Aaron Tan and Jolene Yang.

From a nation’s favorite drink to the card game

Teabbles Bubble Tea card game
Image Credit: Teabbles

Aaron, 30, and Jolene, 27, are both bubble tea fans, as well as card and board game enthusiasts.

As a child, Aaron played games like Uno, Monopoly, and Scrabble with his family.

However, as technology improved over the years, various forms of entertainment like movies and games appeared, making card and board games less relevant.

The self-proclaimed card game geek told Vulcan Post that he believes the tech entertainment we all consume today seems to “lack the aspect of human interaction.”

This is why he had the idea to create a family but competitive game. The idea for Teabbles hit him in August 2019.

While I had many ideas before, Teabbles got stuck and I decided to make it happen by conceptualizing the game to see how viable it was.

I played the game with a small group of friends and most of them expressed interest in purchasing the game so I decided to take the next step.

Aaron Tan, co-founder of Teabbles

Since doing his validation on the market, he has decided to start looking for suppliers to mass-produce the game.

Now Teabbles is launched under WYX Studio, which means wǎn yóu xì (玩 游戏) – it means “play games” in Mandarin.

Three games in one

Teabbles Bubble Tea card game
Image Credit: Teabbles

The duo behind Teabbles said the game was truly ‘made in Singapore’ from start to finish.

Instead of looking for suppliers to produce the cards overseas, they decided to support the locals.

However, being an entirely locally made product, the cost price of Teabbles is higher than that of other games made abroad.

Therefore, Aaron had to rethink the game’s value proposition and see what else he could bring to the players.

“While the cards were certainly of high quality, there was also a need to make the game profitable,” he said.

He added that what sets Teabbles apart from other games is that there are three different ways to play it.

The variations are named “Original Play”, “Bluff” and “Boba the Builder”. Players can choose a variant according to their desires, “just like their bubble tea orders.”

“ Original Play ” was the first variation created, “ Bluff ” was inspired by a wrong order received from a bubble tea store, and “ Boba the Builder ” was modeled on how companies manage their inventory space.

As well as having three decks for the price of one, Teabbles is also thoughtfully designed with magnetic packaging and thick water-resistant cards.

The final version of Teabbles is the result of a cumulative effort to refine gameplay and design, with the look attributed to Jolene and their illustrator, Ansley Toh.

The game can be played in groups of two to five people and consists of 39 drink cards and 88 inventory cards. It can be purchased on Shopee for S $ 30, or from one of Teabbles’ resellers.

Go strong despite the pandemic

Teabbles bubble tea set
Image Credit: Teabbles

Aaron told Vulcan Post that launching Teabbles amid the Covid-19 pandemic came with a whole host of challenges.

The team had placed an order for 50 sets of prototypes and were excited to test and refine the game, but were hit with the National Breaker before the prototypes arrived.

Even after the lockdown eased and people were allowed to meet again, it was difficult to quickly test and distribute the prototypes due to safety distance restrictions.

Despite the challenges encountered, the response to the game has been positive.

Since launching last month, Teabbles has managed to break even and has just started preparations for printing a second batch of cards.

Even before its launch, Teabbles had already received a hundred pre-orders.

The duo have also teamed up with several local retailers such as Toystation and Batttle Bunker, to bring Teabbles to even more people on the island.

Besides Teabbles, they also have a few other game ideas in mind and hope to start prototyping one of them soon.

The opinions [for Teabbles] have been good so far. We hope this will continue when Teabbles launches overseas, and that there can finally be a “Made in Singapore” game among the many popular games around the world.

Aaron Tan, co-founder of Teabbles

Featured Image Credit: Teabbles

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Jothi Venkat

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