For years, bubble tea has been a Singaporean obsession and stores selling the sweet treat have steadily popped up all over the island.
Mega-chains like Koi and Gong Cha, as well as specialty brands like Tiger Sugar, tend to draw hoards of bubble tea lovers to them.
Teabbles — a bubble tea card game — is the latest addition to the collection of products inspired by the sugary drink.
Launched in December 2020, the game was created by husband-and-wife team Aaron Tan and Jolene Yang.
From A Nation’s Favourite Drink To Card Game
Aaron, 30, and Jolene, 27, are both bubble tea fans, as well as card and board game lovers.
As a child, Aaron used to play games like Uno, Monopoly and Scrabble with his family.
However, as technology improved over the years, various forms of entertainment like film and gaming came about, making card and board games less relevant.
The self-proclaimed card game geek told Vulcan Post that he feels that the technological entertainment we all consume today seems to be “lacking the aspect of human interaction.”
This is why he came up with the idea of creating a family-friendly, yet competitive game. The idea for Teabbles hit him in August 2019.
While I had many ideas previously, Teabbles just stuck and I decided to make it into a reality by conceptualising the game to see how viable it was.
I played the game with a small group of friends and most of them expressed their interest in purchasing the game, so I decided to take it to the next stage.Aaron Tan, Co-founder of Teabbles
Since he had done his market validation, he decided to start sourcing for suppliers to have the game mass-produced.
Now, Teabbles is launched under WYX Studio, which stands for wǎn yóu xì (玩游戏) — it means “to play games” in Mandarin.
Three Games In One
The duo behind Teabbles shared that the game is truly “made in Singapore”, from end-to-end.
Instead of sourcing for suppliers to produce the cards overseas, they decided to support local.
However, being an entirely locally-made product, the Teabbles’ cost price is higher than the other games manufactured overseas.
Therefore, Aaron had to rethink the value proposition of the game and see what else he could bring to the players.
“While the cards will definitely be of high quality, there was also a need to make the game value-for-money,” he said.
He added that what sets Teabbles apart from other games is that there are three different ways to play it.
The variants are named ‘Original Play’, ‘Bluff’, and ‘Boba the Builder’. Players can choose a variant to suit their cravings, “just like their bubble tea orders.”
‘Original Play’ was the first variant created, ‘Bluff’ was inspired by a wrong order received from a bubble tea store, and ‘Boba the Builder’ was modelled after how businesses manage their inventory space.
Besides having three games for the price of one, Teabbles is also thoughtfully designed with magnetised packaging and thick cards that are water-resistant.
The final version of Teabbles is the result of a cumulative effort in refining the gameplay and design, with the look credited to Jolene and their illustrator, Ansley Toh.
Going Strong Despite The Pandemic
Aaron told Vulcan Post that starting Teabbles in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic came with a whole set of challenges.
The team had placed an order for 50 sets of prototypes and was excited to play-test and refine the game further, but was hit with the nationwide circuit breaker before the prototypes arrived.
Even after the lockdown eased and people were allowed to meet again, it was difficult to play-test and distribute the prototypes quickly because of safe-distancing restrictions.
Despite the challenges faced, response to the game has been positive.
Since its launch last month, Teabbles has managed to break even and has just begun preparations for printing a second batch of cards.
Even before launch, Teabbles had already received around 100 pre-orders.
The duo has also partnered with several local retailers such as Toystation and Batttle Bunker, to bring Teabbles to even more people around the island.
Aside from Teabbles, they also have a few other game ideas in mind, and hope to start the prototyping for one of them soon.
The reviews [for Teabbles] have been good so far. We hope it will continue this way when Teabbles launches overseas, and there can finally be a “Made in Singapore” game among the many popular games in the world.Aaron Tan, Co-founder of Teabbles
Featured Image Credit: Teabbles