Chinese Baijiu Toasts as an RTS Video Game

The “Chinese Banquet Baijiu Toast” video game needs to be made. (Indie game developers, this idea is free. Hurry up and go start a Kickstarter campaign!)

Starcraft Baijiu Banquet

I was having dinner last week with former AllSet intern Parry and current AllSet intern Ben, and we started talking about baijiu (白酒) drinking strategies. I told them about my friend Derek who kind of made himself into an authority on baijiu by drinking way more of the foul liquid than most white people ever have. And then we started talking about baijiu toasts at Chinese dinners. I told them about my experience in Baoding last CNY, and how our hosts had brought “baijiu assassins” to bring down my father-in-law, who’s kind of legendary in the bajiu-drinking department. And I told them about some of the different strategies that are used in big banquet situations where the baijiu flows freely.

What are these strategies, you ask? I’m not talking about cheap “drink water instead of baijiu” tricks, I’m talking about respectable above-board strategies for these drinking events. Some basic ones:

1. Ganging Up: Individuals go toast one particular person, one by one, in rapid succession. That way each “attacker” only has one shot of baijiu, but the “victim” has many, with no time to recover.

2. Table Takedown: Similar to “ganging up,” but you send one person from your table to toast an entire table (everyone at that table must do a shot). When that person from your table returns, you send another person from your table to toast the whole table again. Repeat ad nauseam (and I do mean nauseam!).

3. Empty Table: If things get hot and heavy and there are enough tables at the banquet, it might be wise for everyone at the table to fan out and do multiple table takedowns (or ganging up) at the same time. That way there’s no one left at your table to get taken down! This is also a good time to go to the bathroom, but beware: if you seem to just be running from your drinking duties, you’re just asking to get ganged up on.

Now rarely is there really this much strategizing going on, I think (although there certainly was that dark night in Baoding!). But it makes me think that this could make a cool strategy game. It all reminds me of an RTS (real-time strategy) game like Starcraft.

Starcraft Baijiu Banquet

Could some indie game developer make the Starcraft of Chinese Baijiu Toasts? That would be cool… As long as I don’t really have to drink any baijiu to play!

Starcraft Baijiu Banquet

Thanks to Mei for doing the PSing!


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. I could actually see a baijiu themed game being made for starcraft’s arcade mode. The protoss are hearty drinkers but have few numbers at their table, the zerg are lightweights but have a huge party, and the terrans are balanced between the two. Add in some special abilities (toast using high APV “local wine,” eat from neverending 18 course meal to replenish stamina) and the deadly potency of beverage combinations and you have quite a strategic game.

    • Nice! Could also add in special race-specific “cheating skills” (like the water trick). You could make certain races better at keeping large amounts of liquor down in the short run, but fading fast, and then other races do better in the long-term. How quickly a race can recover (possibly based on whether or not a unit stays awake or goes to sleep) is also an important factor. Plus bladder size (trips to the bathroom are necessary, but wasted time).

  2. To deter people from ‘ganging up’ on me and selecting an easier target I have occasionally resorted to the quick reply: following a toast to me I immediately toast back. To be effective you need to look your ‘opponent’ straight in the eye and feign enjoyment. You have to assess your drinking partners fairly well for this to work and have a fair tolerance for Baijiu yourself otherwise it can all end in disaster, but hey! after a few rounds it starts to taste nice anyway ;-D

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