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What It Took For This Introvert To Create A M’sian Board Game And Put It In Stores

Pasaraya: Supermarket Manager is the first game board game that is released under the Boxfox Games banner and it took 3.5 years from conceptualisation to the finished product.The person behind the game, Seh Hui made sure that it was completely made in Malaysia—from designing to production, everything was done in Malaysia.

Within the past few years board games have gone through an explosion of growth. In 2012, The Guardian went as far as dubbing it “A Golden Age for Board Games”, stating board games have seen a growth rate as high as 40% year over year. It’s also quickly becoming one of Kickstarter’s most funded project categories.

Surprisingly, Malaysia has been keeping up with the trend and we had a number of homegrown board games released the past few years, with the latest one—Pasaraya: Supermarket Manager.

The Manager Behind Pasaraya

Pasaraya is the first game board game that is released under the Boxfox Games banner and it took 3.5 years from conceptualisation to the finished product.

“Boxfox Games isn’t in any traditional way ‘officially’ established yet, in the sense that it is more akin to a passion project that at its market validation stage,” said Seh Hui, the brains behind Boxfox Games.

“So it’s literally a one-man show with a number of close friends who are supporting and helping me in making Pasaraya a reality. It started off with just blank business cards of two different colours to differentiate the card types and I just Sharpie’d and penciled in the stats,” he added.

After that, Seh Hui immediately ran it through with his close gaming friends to see how they responded to it.  Once he got approval from his friends, he ventured out and expanded play-test sessions to a much broader audience and with strangers.

He didn’t originally plan to enter the board game industry as one of his favourite YouTubers, Tom Vasel, has always cautioned against self-publishing a game as it is a full-time venture on its own.

“And oh boy, is he damn right about that until this day!”

The Challenges Of Running A Pasaraya

Seh Hui finds that there is one challenge that has been a constant limiter and barrier for him to push forward with the game: interaction.

“The reality is that you need to interact with a whole lot more people.”

“Convincing others to play-test your games, learning how to accept feedback and criticisms with an open mind, communicate and dealing with other people’s schedules, reaching out to find printers, suppliers and partners,” he added.

As a shy person and introvert who isn’t used to openly communicating with strangers, it is something that he has to constantly remind himself to break out of his comfort zone.

He also learned that it is okay to ask for help when you need it, no matter how big or small their contribution is.

“Knowing that someone has your back is a great confidence boost to push you forward. Just remember to treat them well and treasure them,” said Seh Hui.

Made In Malaysia

He takes pride in the fact that Pasaraya: Supermarket Manager is completely made in Malaysia.

“With all Malaysian talent working on the graphic design and writing and produced by a Malaysian printer,” Seh Hui said.

Some might doubt and question that ‘wouldn’t it be cheaper if it was produced in China?’. However, he thinks otherwise.

“I hold a strong belief that we shouldn’t be squandering the potential we have in our local talent and manufacturing capabilities—that exporting the business to China means that we never will have the opportunity to gain the experience in manufacturing analogue games.”

Due to that, he has also spent a five figure sum which most people would have bought a Malaysian-made car with that money.

“The project is fully self-funded thanks to 10+ years of frugal living and working in the tech industry,” he added.

Looking To The Future

So far, Seh Hui has been receiving positive feedback, even from people overseas.

“I am still surprised and extremely grateful that there are people from the USA who instantly bought it the moment they have tried it for the first time. It’s a great feeling knowing that my game is resonating with new people that I have never met.”

So far 31 people have pre-ordered the game and actually waited patiently for 1.5 years for the game to be released. These are the people that probably gave the motivation for him to continue on with the game.

“I would say that Pasaraya might not have happened without their support and validation,” he said.

For now, Seh Hui hopes to sell off his initial 1,000 copies of the game so that he can have a second print run. He also has more games that he would love to publish if given the opportunity.

For his final thoughts he said, “I’d love to see whether we have garnered enough sales and trust to become one of the first full-fledged Malaysian enthusiast game publishers.”

Pasaraya: Supermarket Manager is now available at local game stores such as Meeples, Boardgamecafe.net, Kohii.my and All Aboard Community Gaming Centre.

If you are interested and would like to order the game, just drop him a message through Boxfox Game’s Facebook pagePasaraya: Supermarket Manager is now available at local game stores such as Meeples, Boardgamecafe.net, Kohii.my and All Aboard Community Gaming Centre.

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Feature Image Credit: Seh Hui Leong and Geek and Sundry

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