The Story Behind the Game
In development for over five years, Wu Wei: Journey of the Changing Path has been play tested by various groups including the First Exposure Play Test Hall at Indy GEN CON. Wu Wei: Journey of the Changing Path is the first board game to be officially recognized by the Martial Arts History Museum and will feature the museum’s logo on its box.
The Taoist Institute
Every journey has a beginning and mine started when I washed up on the shores of a school called the Taoist Institute. They took me in with open arms and started teaching me the mysterious arts of Kung Fu, Tai Chi Chuan, Qi Gong, and various other disciplines. I was immediately struck by the ordered nature of everything we were doing and in an effort to make sense of this new world, I began cataloging the common themes between these disciplines.
Flash forward two years or so and I am still extremely busy absorbing all of this new information. And then one morning I woke up as if hit by a bolt of raw inspiration. As I wiped sleep from my eyes I tried to jot down as much information as I could about some kind of board game I was supposed to develop. Believe me when I say that I had no intention of traveling this path. It just came to me and I felt an obligation to see it through.
All of the lessons I had been absorbing about Shaolin and Taoist martial arts started to come together. I thought about the four directions, the changing seasons, the five elements, the different animal forms and it all started to fit together into a beautiful lattice-work. These concepts are thousands of years old and I know I’m not the first one to draw conclusions about their significance or their interrelated natures but I may be the first one to try and turn them into a board game!
After putting together the basic parameters of the board I quickly spiraled out into a game mechanic quagmire. Everything was precious. I didn’t want to leave any concept out. That’s when I realized that simplicity and conservation of energy were the hallmarks of all of these arts. From that point forward I began cutting away and modifying the game so it became simpler and easier to understand. I think the whole reason this idea came to me in the first place was to offer people an opportunity to understand and embrace the simple beauty I had the fortune to receive in lessons from my martial arts teacher Sijo Carl Totton.
In many ways, this game is my love letter to Martial Arts and Taoism. The evolution of Wu Wei parallels my personal journey from white sash to black sash in Kung Fu and Tai Chi. My martial arts education continues and I have no doubt that there are lessons buried in this game that have yet to break the surface. I’m hoping that people playing Wu Wei: Journey of the Changing Path will have their own unique experiences and get inspired to learn, create, adapt, and share! Above all, I hope the game will give folks an opportunity to become one with the Tao and experience the wonder of effortless action.
The Tao of Kung Fu
Watch this video to learn from the man himself! Kung Fu Grandmaster Carl Totton explains the geometry of combat using the circle, square, and triangle. He also talks about the five animals of Kung Fu and establishing and adapting patterns of interaction with your opponents.