How does one design a transcendental game? Here is an example of a hugely successful game. More successful than any Facebook, iPhone, Xbox, PlayStation game combined. Only time will tell which games will survive for generations.
“References to a game called xiangqi date back to the Warring States Period; according to the first century BC text, Shuo yuan (說宛), it was one of Lord Mengchang of Qi‘s interests. Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou once wrote a bookXiang Jing in AD 569. It is believed to have described the rules of an astronomically themed game called xiangqi or Xiangxi (象戲). The word Xiàngqí 象棋 is usually translated as “elephant game” or “figure game”, because the Chinese character 象 means “elephant” and “figure”; it originated as a stylized drawing of an elephant, and was used also to write a word meaning “figure”, likely because the two words were pronounced the same. But the name can also be treated as meaning “constellation game”, and sometimes the xiàngqí board’s “river” is called the “heavenly river”, which may mean the Milky Way. For these reasons, Harold James Ruthven Murray, author of A History of Chess, theorized that “in China it [Chess] took over the board and name of a game called 象棋 in the sense of “Constellation Game” (rendered by Murray as “Astronomical Game”), which represented the apparent movements of naked-eye-visible astronomical objects in the night sky, and that the earliest Chinese references to 象棋 meant the Astronomical Game and not Chinese chess”. previous games called xiàngqí may have been based on the movements of sky objects. However, the connection between 象 and astronomy is marginal, and arose from constellations being called merely “figures” in astronomical contexts where other meanings of “figure” were less likely; this usage may have led some ancient Chinese authors to theorize that the game 象棋 started as a simulation of astronomy.” Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xiangqi)