Components

  • Gameboard
  • 3 Destiny Dice
  • Day Tracker
  • 32 Travel Tokens
  • 5 Envoy Meeples
  • 5 Traveler Tokens
  • 15 Canal Ships
  • Next Start Player Medal
  • 5 Intrigue Markers
  • 5 VP Trackers
  • Start Player Token
  • 38 Gift Cards
  • 20 Jade Tokens
  • 15 Decree Tiles
  • 5 Player Boards
  • 60 Servant Cubes
  • 5 Forman Tokens
  • Rulebook

Setup

  • Place the Game Board in the middle of your playing table. Depending on the number of players, place it with the side for a game with 2 or 3 players or the one for 4 or 5 players.

    The Game Board depicts the Forbidden City and its surroundings. It shows the 7 available actions of the game, where you will exchange your Gift Cards, highlighted by 7 location frames.

  • Roll the 3 dice and place them on the indicated spaces. These determine which Gift Cards will deliver you extra Servants and even Victory Points at the end of each round.

  • Shuffle all the Travel Tokens and randomly place 1 on each city face-up on the Travel action. Stack the remaining tokens on 2 facedown draw piles of equal size on the indicated spots. Players will move with their Travellers from city to city to receive the benefit indicated on each individual token.

  • Place the Day Tracker on the first space of the Day track. It will indicate in which round you're playing.

  • Place all players' Envoy meeples on the starting location of the Palace of Heavenly Purity action. Only if your Envoy reaches the Palace will you be able to win the game.

  • Place all players' Travellers next to the map. The Traveller will be used for the "Travel" action.

  • Place these next to your Player Board. They will be used to trade at Harbors along the Grand Canal.

  • Place the Medal tile on the appropriate space, next to the card location of the Intrigue Track. Every round, 1 player can obtain this token to become the start player in the next round.

  • Place all players' Intrigue markers on the starting location of the Intrigue track, with the starting player's marker at the bottom, and the last player's on top. This marker will be used to indicate your amount of influence in the Forbidden City. It will resolve all ties in the game and delivers Intrigue benefits.

  • Place the VIP disks on the "0" spot of the Victory Points (VP) track. This is used to track your score in the game.

  • The Start Player Token indicates which player is the start player for the current round. At the beginning of the game, randomly determine a start player through your preferred method or through the Game Brewer Start Player App.

  • Randomly place the Gift Cards marked with the symbol face-up on the 7 Gift Card locations. Shuffle the cards marked with the symbol, and place them face down near the Game Board as a draw pile.

    Each player receives a set of four Gift Cards, as determined by the number of segments of the fan icon that are filled in. The starting player receives the cards marked with , the player to her left receives the cards marked with , and so on. Return any remaining Gift Cards to the game box.



  • Place 1 Jade on each of the indicated spots and place the remaining ones in a general Jade supply on the square of the Jade action. You'll be able to collect Jade in the game to score Victory Points at the end of the game.

  • Sort the Decree tiles by their level (1, 2 and 3). Shuffle each stack and then draw 2 tiles from each stack, placing them face up on the appropriate spaces on the Game Board. Return the unused tiles to the game box; you won't need them this game.

    These tiles represent special advantages and VPs you can obtain during or at the end of the game.



  • Each player places the Player Board of their chosen color in front of them. This is where players will store their Gift Cards, Servants and Foreman.

    It's also a player aid, showing the course of each round, the result of exchanging Travel Tokens, the claimed Harbor rewards and the end of game scoring.

  • Place the Foreman token on your Player Board on the appropriate space. This token counts as 2 Servants and can be obtained through the Grand Canal action.

  • Players start the game with 6 Servants (cubes) on their Player Board, and 6 are placed next to their Player Boards as a general supply. The Servants on your Player Board are called the Servant pool and represent the available Servants to perform actions with.

    At the beginning and end of every round, players will receive a number of Servants from the general supply back onto their Player Board.



Game Play

"Gugong" is played in 4 rounds, representing 4 Days. Each Day consists of 3 Phases:

  1. The Morning Phase, where players prepare the game for the coming Day.
  2. The Day Phase, where players perform multiple actions.
  3. The Evening Phase, where players check if they have successfully matched cards in their discard pile with the Destiny Dice.


At the end of the 4th Day, players receive additional VPs for the completion of the Wall, the level 3 Decrees, their collection of Jade, and their arrival order in the Palace.

The player with the most Victory Points at the end of the game is declared the most influential Chinese Family and wins the game. But watch out! Players who don't manage to get their Envoy into the Palace of Heavenly Purity by the end of the game, won't be eligible to win.



Phase 1: The Morning Phase

Note: the Morning Phase is skipped altogether in the first round of the game. You've already executed it in the setup of the game.

In the Morning Phase, players prepare the Board for the coming round. This is a 5-step process:

Step 1: Determine Start Player



If a player took the Start Player Medal () in the previous round, they

become the new start player for this round. The new start player receives the Start Player token () and places the Start Player Medal back on the indicated location on the Game Board.

If no one took the Start Player Medal in the previous round, the start player doesn't change.

Step 2: Refill The Map



Fill up all the empty city spaces (the ones without a Travel Token or a Traveller) on the map with Travel Tokens (). If the draw piles are empty, shuffle the discard pile back into 2 new draw piles and refill from the new draw piles.



Step 3: Roll The Destiny Dice



Roll the 3 Destiny Dice and place them on the indicated spaces on the top edge of the Game Board.

Step 4: Execute Decree Advantages



All players that have a Servant next to Decrees with the Morning symbol (level 1 Decrees) now receive the indicated advantages in player order.

Step 5: Receive New Servants



Move the Day Tracker. All players may move the number of Servants indicated next to the day tracker from the general supply to their Servant pool.


Phase 2: The Day Phase

In the Day Phase, players perform various actions by exchanging Gift Cards with the Officials working in the Forbidden City, represented by the 7 Card locations on the Game Board.



Beginning with the start player and going around the table in a clockwise fashion, players will take turns exchanging Gift Cards and performing the appropriate actions.

Play continues with each player taking a single action per turn. When a player runs out of hand cards, they must pass. Once all players have passed, the Day Phase ends and the Evening Phase begins.

If you have at least 1 card left in your hand, you take these steps during each turn:


1. Exchanging Gifts

At the beginning of your turn, you MUST exchange 1 Gift Card from your hand with a Gift Card on the Game Board.



If your Gift Card has a higher value than the value of the card that you'd like to choose on the Game Board, you may freely exchange them.

If your Gift Card has a lower or equal value than the card you choose on the Game Board, you may exchange them, if you first:


  • Remove 2 Servants from your Servant pool to the general supply;


  • OR discard any other Gift Card from your hand to the discard pile on your Player Board;


  • OR exchange the Gift Card without performing any actions.

    Skip step 2 (Perform Actions), and if you still have at least one Gift Card in your hand, you will return to step 1 (Exchanging Gifts) in your next turn.

Exception: The Gift Cards with value 1 can be exchanged freely with the Gift Cards with value 9.

(Why is that? Even though the value-1 Gift, the fruit bowl, has an apparently low value, some exotic fruit types are very hard to find on the common street market and Officials are sometimes tempted to do an impulsive exchange for them).

Place the Gift Card that you took from the Game Board face-down onto your discard pile on your Player Board.

The discarded cards will become your new hand cards in the next Day. You may look at your face-down pile at any time. Your opponents, however, may not ask which cards are in your discard pile.


2. Perform Actions

After your Gift Exchange, you MAY immediately perform:

  • the action of the Gift Card that you placed on the Game Board (if applicable, some cards don't have a Card action)

  • OR the action of the Location where you placed your Gift Card

  • OR both actions. If you perform both actions, the Card action must be done first.


Gift Card Actions



After your Gift Exchange, you may perform the Gift Card's action , provided there's an action depicted on the card.

Most of these actions refer to a Location action:



Some Card actions give you other benefits:

Immediately add 1 Servant from the general supply to your Servant pool.


Immediately add 2 Servants from the general supply to your Servant pool


Swap 1 of your cards (a hand card or a card in your discard pile) with 1 of the cards on the Game Board. If you swapped a hand card, take the new card in your hand. If you swapped a discarded card, place the new card on your discard pile.

The Gift Card action and Location action can be the same. In that case, you just do the same action twice.



Location Actions

7 Officials oversee the main functions of the Chinese State, represented by 7 Gift Card locations on the Game Board. If the player exchanges a Gift Card with 1 of these 7 Officials, they may perform the action on this location.


1. Travel

Exchange your Gift with the Revenue Official and send your Traveller to cities throughout China to collect taxes for the Longqing Emperor, which come in all shapes and sizes.

When you perform this action, you may either:

  1. Move your Traveller once, collect 1 Travel Token and may immediately receive its benefits.



  2. Remove 2 Servants from your Servant pool to move your Traveller twice: First move your Traveller 1 step, collect 1 Travel Token and may immediately receive its benefits. Then repeat this a second time.



The first time you choose this action (A or B), place your Traveller on any space on the map with a Travel Token.

From then on, whenever you may move your Traveller, it moves from the city where it currently resides to another city that still contains a Travel Token, following the indicated roads on the map, but ignoring the presence of other Travellers and empty spaces.

This means that your Traveller can jump over empty cities and cities occupied by other Travellers.



Keep any collected Travel Tokens face down on your Player Board on the appropriate space.



At any time during the game, you may exchange Travel Tokens for certain benefits:

Exchange 2 Travel Tokens to receive 1 Servant from the general supply and immediately place it in the Servant pool on your Player Board.

Exchange 4 Travel Tokens to immediately receive 2 VPs.


Exchange 6 Travel Tokens to immediately receive 1 Jade from the general supply.


Important: Whenever you own more than 6 Travel Tokens, you must immediately exchange Travel Tokens for Servants, VPs or Jade, until you have a maximum of 6 tokens left.

Exchanged Travel Tokens are placed in a discard pile near the Game Board. Don't add them to the draw piles on the Game Board.


2. The Great Wall

Exchange your Gift with the Public Works Official and participate in the renovation of the Great Wall of China. This will allow you to take part in the Intrigue Benefits and potentially gain VPs and move your Envoy towards the Palace of Heavenly Purity.

When you perform this action, you may either:

  1. Place 1 Servant from your Servant pool onto the Wall



  2. Remove 1 Servant from your Servant pool to place 2 other Servants from your pool onto the Wall.


When the Wall is completed, immediately execute the Great Wall Scoring and Intrigue Benefits. Depending on the number of players, the Wall is complete when there are at least 4/5/6/7 Servants on the Wall track if you play with 2/3/4/5 players respectively.

Great Wall Scoring

The player with the MOST Servants on the Great Wall receives 3 VPs and moves their Envoy 1 step on the Palace track. In case of a tie, use the Intrigue track as tie-breaker.

Then, the same player returns all of their Servants from the Wall to the general supply. Fill up empty spaces by moving any remaining Servants to the left. Next, Players will receive Intrigue Benefits.


Intrigue Benefits

All players present on the completed Wall before it was scored, MAY choose to take 1 of the Intrigue benefits. Players do this one by one, following the order of the Intrigue markers on the track, starting with the player whose marker is lowest on the track. In case of a tie, the bottom marker is the lowest one.

To take a benefit, lower your Intrigue marker as many steps on the track as indicated. The available benefits are:

Intrigue Track Benefits

Lower your Intrigue marker 1 step to gain 1 Servant in your Servant pool.


Lower your Intrigue marker 3 steps to gain 2 Servants in your Servant pool.


Lower your Intrigue marker 5 steps to choose 1 Destiny Die and turn it to the side of your choice. It can happen that the same Die gets turned by more than 1 player when the Intrigue Benefits are executed.

Lower your Intrigue marker 7 steps to gain 1 Jade stone from the general supply.




3. Jade

Exchange your Gift with the Jade Official to be introduced to the Jade market vendors and buy Jade.

When you perform this action, choose one of the houses and remove the indicated number of Servants from your Servant pool to gain 1 Jade from that house.

Jade generates VPs at the end of the game. When all Jade stones in the houses are gone, you can always gain 1 Jade from the Jade square for 5 Servants. The Jade supply is considered to be unlimited; use replacement components in the rare case that Jade is completely sold out.




4. Intrigue

Exchange your Gift with the Shady Official to climb up on the Intrigue track, which indicates the hidden influence of your family in the Forbidden City.

This track counts as a tie-breaker for all comparisons with your opponents in the game. Or you can gain one of the Intrigue Benefits whenever you help to complete the Great Wall.

When you perform this action, you may either:

  1. Advance your Intrigue marker 1 step on the Intrigue track.

    The first player to choose this option in the current round also takes the Start Player Medal and will become the start player in the next round.



  2. Remove 1 Servant from your Servant pool to advance your Intrigue marker 3 steps on the Intrigue track.


Whenever your Intrigue marker lands on the same space as 1 or more markers of your opponents, place your Intrigue marker on top of the other Intrigue marker(s).

The track is limited to 14 steps. Your marker can't progress any further.

Tie-breaker

Whenever a tie occurs in the game, the player whose marker is highest on the Intrigue track will win the tie. When 2 Intrigue markers are on the same space, the topmost marker is considered highest on the track.

Ties can, for instance, occur when resolving the Great Wall Scoring, when determining the Destiny Dice Bonus or to deter- mine the order in which Intrigue Benefits may be taken.


5. The Palace of Heavenly Purity

Exchange your Gift with the Censorate Official to progress towards the Palace of Heavenly Purity and reach an Audience with the Emperor before the end of the 4th Day.

When you perform this action, you may either:

  1. Advance your Envoy 1 step on the Palace track.



  2. Remove 2 Servants from your Servant pool to advance your Envoy 2 steps on the Palace track AND move your Intrigue marker forward 1 step on the Intrigue track.



When you progress to the 8th and final step of the Palace track, you've reached the Palace of Heavenly Purity. Place your Envoy on the location with the highest available VPs, which you'll score at the end of the game.

Once your Envoy has reached the Palace, any action that would cause you to move further up on the Palace track gives you 1 VP instead for each additional step.



At the end of the game, only the players who have reached the Palace of Heavenly Purity are eligible to win the game. If you fail to get your Envoy meeple into the Palace by the end of the 4th Day, your total end score will be 0.


6. Decrees

Exchange your Gift with the Decrees Official to gain special Decree advantages during the entire game and/or VPs.

To obtain a Decree's advantage, return the number of Servants from your Servant pool to the general supply as depicted on the Decree plus 1 extra Servant for each of your opponent's Servants already present on that Decree. Then, place an additional Servant onto the Decree.



Score the Decree's VPs immediately if applicable.

Level 3 Decrees only gain you VPs at the end of the game.

From then on, you'll profit from the Decree's advantage for the rest of the game. The Servant remains on the Decree to indicate this.

You can obtain each Decree's advantage only once.


7. The Grand Canal

Exchange your Gift with the Trade Official to send your Servants on a journey on the Grand Canal, to trade with people outside of Beijing. This will grant you all sorts of permanent rewards.

When you perform this action, you may either:

  1. (Optionally) place 1 of your Servants on 1 of your Ships AND (optionally) move 1 of your Ships 1 step to the next free Harbor space.



  2. Remove 1 Servant from your Servant pool to place 2 other Servants from your pool on 1 or 2 of your Ships.



Servants are added on free spaces on your Ships on the Grand Canal and/or on 1 or 2 new Ships. Each Ship must carry at least 1 Servant. Each player has 3 available Ships, which can be used multiple times. Placing a new Ship on the Canal is not considered as a movement.

When placing a new Ship on the Grand Canal, you must place it on a free Harbour, as close to the starting Harbor of the Canal (Beijing) as possible.

In a 4-5 player game there are 2 Grand Canal routes with 2 starting Harbors. When placing a new Ship, choose 1 of the 2 routes and place your Ship on the first free Harbor space of that route. Ships can never be moved from one route to another.

You can only move your Ship if there's a free Harbor space left on this Canal. When moving your Ship, you're allowed to skip occupied Harbors and move to the next free Harbor. The Ship that you move may be different from the Ship that you just placed 1 Servant on.

You may claim a reward if your Ship carries 3 Servants and reached a Harbor with a reward that you'd like to receive. To do so, take 1 Servant () from your Ship, place it next to an available Harbor reward on your Player Board, and immediately take that reward. Immediately take the indicated reward. Return your Ship next to your Player Board and the remaining 2 Servants to the general supply.

Available Rewards:

  • Harbor 1 (Beijing): Starting Harbor, no reward.

  • Harbor 2 (Cangzhou): Immediately receive 4 VPs.


  • Harbor 3 (Jininga): Immediately take the topmost Gift Card from the draw pile and add it to your hand. From now on, you will have 1 extra card in your hand.

  • Harbor 4 (Huai'an): Immediately add your Foreman to the Servant pool on your Player Board. This special Servant is now part of your Servant pool and can be used in a variety of ways.

  • Harbor 5 (Hangzhou): Immediately receive your choice of the benefits from harbor 2, 3, or 4, i.e 4 VPs OR an extra Gift Card OR your Foreman.

    In order to claim a reward, you must have a free space next to it on your Player Board. You can take your Foreman only once, an extra Gift Card twice and 4 VPs three times.



Foreman

Each player has 1 available Foreman on his Player Board at the beginning of the game, which he can bring into play by the Grand Canal action. Once you've unlocked the Foreman, the foreman is treated and kept like all other Servants.

When it's unlocked, a Foreman can be placed upright (vertically) or lying down (horizontally). When you place it vertically, it counts as 1 Servant, when you place it horizontally, it counts as 2 Servants.

Gaining your Foreman

Whenever you would gain 1 Servant from the general supply to your Servant pool, you may take your Foreman.

Removing your Foreman from your Servant Pool

Whenever you need to remove 2 Servants from your Servant pool to the general supply, you may remove your Foreman instead of 2 Servants.

Great Wall or Grand Canal

Whenever you may place 1 Servant on the Great Wall or a Ship ( Grand Canal), you may place your Foreman, placing it horizontally and occupying 2 spaces and thus counting as 2 Servants.

If you may place 2 Servants on the Great Wall or a Ship, it's even possible to place 1 normal Servant and your Foreman, thus counting for 3 Servants in total.



Although you're allowed to use your Foreman to place it on a Decree or claim a Harbor reward, it's probably not wise to do so, as it can only be used vertically here to occupy ONE space in both cases, counting as only 1 Servant, and you'll lose it for the rest of the game.


Phase 3: The Evening Phase

When all players have run out of Gift Cards in the Day Phase, the Evening Phase commences. This is a 2-step process:

Step 1: Check Destiny Dice Values



All players check simultaneously whether the value of each Gift Card in their discard pile matches the values of the Destiny Dice.

For each matching value, you may gain 1 Servant from the general supply and place it in your Servant pool. If 2 Destiny Dice have the same number, each matching card will yield 2 Servants.

Then the player with the most matching Gift Card values additionally receives 3 VPs and may advance their Envoy 1 step closer to the Palace of Heavenly Purity. In case of a tie, the order of the Intrigue markers will decide.


Step 2: Move All Ships

Move all the Ships on the Grand Canal 1 step forward, starting with the ships furthest ahead on the Grand Canal.

If a Ship was docked in the Harbor of Hangzhou (the 5th and final step of the Grand Canal), It is lost at sea: Return your Ship next to your Player Board and the Servants to the general supply.

Then, Players with full ships remaining on the Grand Canal may decide (in the playing order of this unfinished Day) to claim a Harbor reward from their Ship's new location. Read on page 12 how this works and what rewards can be claimed.

If this was the 4th day, the End of the game final scoring is performed. In all other cases, enjoy a new morning!


End of the Game

After 4 completed Days, proceed to the final scoring in this order:



  1. If there are still Servants on the Great Wall, score it as usual. The player with the most Servants on the Great Wall receives 3 VPs and moves their Envoy 1 step on the Palace track.

    Note: this can cause a player to ultimately reach the Palace of Heavenly Purity, making them eligible to win the game!



  2. Players receive VPs depending on their arrival order in the Palace of Heavenly Purity.



  3. Players receive VPs for the level 3 Decrees they own. Check page 11 for detailed descriptions of all the Decrees.



  4. Players receive 1/3/6/10/15 VPs for possessing 1/2/3/4/5 Jade stones. Each additional Jade beyond 5 is worth 2 VPs.

Players who didn't manage to get their Envoy into the Palace of Heavenly Purity after the final scoring aren't eligible to win the game. Their VP disks are removed from the Scoring track.

Of the remaining players on the Scoring track, the player with the most Victory Points is declared the most influential Chinese Family and wins the game.

In case of a tie, the order of the Intrigue markers is decisive (we are consistent).



Expert Variant

To spice up your game a little, once you've played Gugong a few times, you may change the setup of the game, by shuffling all Gift Cards marked with a symbol, a symbol and all unused player Gift Cards. Place all those cards near the Game Board in a face down draw pile. Draw the topmost 7 cards and place them randomly on the 7 Gift Card locations on the Game Board.


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