How To Play the Mooncake Dice Game

How To Play the Mooncake Dice Game


By Koji Arsua on September 7, 2014

“Tomorrow, our Chinese friends will be celebrating the Mooncake Festival, a celebration of the autumn equinox and the moon, when it’s supposed to be at its roundest. The festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar.”

[Ethos]In this beginning, the author established his ethos by using his own experience of his Chinese friends celebrating the Mooncake Festival. He also shows logos by saying on this day the moon is supposed to be at its roundest, so it make sense that people want to view and admire the moon, and name this festival Mooncake Festival.
It dates back 3,000 years ago when Chinese emperors worshipped the moon for a good harvest. Today, the Chinese community, and everyone who wants to join in on the fun, eat mooncakes, a sinfully-delicious*1 pastry with a crust made of the yolk from salted duck eggs*2, and filled with red bean or lotus seed taste. In the middle is one or a few salted duck egg yolks to symbolize the full moon.

(*1.[Pathos] was evoked by the subjective adjective–sinfully delicious. If you look on Lexipedia, the word delicious is mainly associated with positive feelings, including enjoyable, lovely, adorable, endearing, precious, wanted, beloved, pleasureful, good, charming, fabulous. By examining these words, you will find no negative words. Seeing from the words associated with delicious, it is not hard to predict that people will likely be evoked positive feeling by this word, and associate good thing with mooncake and this festival.) (See picture of Lexipedia-Delicious)Lexipedia-Delicious

(*2.This shows the limitation of the author.Because the crust of mooncake is not made by yolk from salted duck eggs. But the stuffing of mooncakes sometimes are. The author Koji Arsua, is a filipino. He is not a Chinese, let alone a native people in Fujian, where this game is popular. So it is highly likely that he gain knowledge about this festival and game from friends, mouth to mouth. Because of language barriers, such misunderstanding can arise.)

Of course, we Filipinos think the mooncakes are the best thing about the Mooncake Festival, because of course: food. But if there’s one thing that could make the celebration even more festive, it’s the Mooncake Dice Game. Come on, who doesn’t like games? And if it means possible winning a grand prize, it’s sure to make the day even more memorable!

The Mooncake Dice Game was first developed 1,500 years ago, and little has changed over the years. It was used by scholars of the time looking for success in imperial exams*3 Today, it is used by the Chinese community and their Filipino friends to win big. All you need to play is six dice, a big bowl, and 63 prizes. That’s right! Everyone has a chance to win the Mooncake Dice Game!

*3(Here is another evidence showing the limitation caused by the nationality and race of the author. The author got the origin of the game wrong. He said that the game” was used by scholars of the time looking for success in imperial exams” but that was wrong. The game is related to scholars and imperial exams, but the scholars were not the people who play this game. But the names of the different prizes for this game are actually adopted from the different titles of ancient scholars decided by their ranks of imperial exams. The origin of this game is believed to be the general wanted to cheer up lonely soldiers who miss their home on this festival, so he invented this game. But that was on a war defending the Taiwan Island from the colonists, happened in Fujian province, therefore even people in other district of China may not know about it. So it is not surprising that this foreign writer got it wrong. )

The prizes are the best part of the game. You can ask everyone in the family to contribute. You can even have a certain budget for each prize. You will need:

  • 32 pieces of 6th place prizes
  • 16 pieces of 5th place prizes
  • 8 pieces of 4th place prizes
  • 4 pieces of 3rd place prizes
  • 2 pieces of 2nd place prizes
  • 1 piece of 1st place prize

The prizes can be as simple or as extravagant you want. You can use food, gift certificates, money, tickets to a movie or a concert, or even a gadget if your family is up to chipping in for a new toy!

The mechanics are simple*4: you roll the dice, and you win a prize based on the dice combinations, which are named after imperial titles. Each player rolls one per turn, until all the prizes have been given out. If a die rolls out of the bowl, you lose your turn. (*4Simple is another subjective adjective that is likely to draw people to this game, because no one enjoy a game that is too complicated, especially for foreigners, Since this passage is written in English, it must be intended for English-speaking people.) Here are the winning combinations and what you can win:

  • If you roll one 4 + assorted numbers, this is called the Xicuai and you win a 6th place prize
  • If you roll two 4s + assorted numbers, this is called the Juren and you win a 5th place prize
  • If you roll three 4s + assorted numbers, this is called Tanhua and you win a 4th place prize
  • If you roll four of the same number, except 4, this is called Jinshi and you win a 3rd place prize
  • If you roll 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, or three of the same number and three of another number, this is called Bangyan and you win a 2nd place prize
  • If you roll four 4s or five of any number, this is called Zhuang Yuan and you win the 1st place prize

But the best combination, which can win ALL the prizes, even those that have been already won is:

  • If you roll six 1s or six 4s, this is called the Ultimate Throw and you are the Ultimate Champion (we made the Ultimate Champion up)

That’s it! It’s the kind of simple but fun(evoke pathos) game where you can win great prizes with the roll of the dice. Good luck, enjoy, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Some general comments:

I searched “Mooncake dicing game”in Google, and this came out. Because it is a Chinese custom, so not many websites have introduction about it in English. And I was pulled in by this website because first, it appeared to be the third one of all the searching results. The results in total are more than 10 pages. I clicked the tenth page. The content there are not necessarily worse than the ones that show on the first page. But because people are not patient enough to go over ten pages of searching result, the  few results on the  top of the first page are more likely to be clicked in than others. I guess that is why some website will pay large sum of money to put their website on the front of all search results.  The second reason why I was drawn to this website is because its name is–How to play the mooncake dice game–When in Manila, so I guess this is a passage written by a person outside of China, and I kind of want to see from an outsider point of view.

But I don’t know if it is a coincidence or what, the very next searching result, which is also on the top few results on the first page, contains the name of my hometown “Xiamen”. It reminds me of the filter bubbles we talked about in class. Maybe the computer, the search engine of Google remembers me typing in “Xiamen”, which I supposed I must have done unconsciously multiple times. Well, if you ask me whether I am conscious that the website is designed for me, whether I was conscious that I was pulled in, the answer is no. When I talked about this filter bubbles issue with a friend majored in computer science, he told me that that is what they are learning to achieve and design. But this issue was not brought to public attention until Edward Snowden revealed it.

Seven months ago, the world began to learn the vast scope of the National Security Agency’s reach into the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe, as it collects information about their phone calls, their email messages, their friends and contacts, how they spend their days and where they spend their nights. The public learned in great detail how the agency has exceeded its mandate and abused its authority (cited from Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower, by The Editorial Board)

Not realizing that the internet is catering to your tastes can add to the limitation of your knowledge source. It is narrowing your choice of information, without your permission.

As for the motives of the writer, I think it is to promote this game to the public. That is pretty obvious because this passage is actually pretty subjective.

The writer’s word choice is mainly positive or associated with positive feeling like ”enjoy, prizes, delicious”(See picture of Words Frequency).Words Frequency 2

The writer may be aware of his motive, I think because he is sharing his own experience, he would like to write it into a joyful and positive one.

The arrangement of this passage is first introducing the origins of the festival and game, then it tells what materials and tools this game will need, lastly it tell about its rules. This arrangement is easy to take in, going deeper and deeper. It is like first introducing the value of the thing he explained, testing whether you are going to be interested enough to read on.


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