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  • 76 Rocks (wooden)
  • 1 Cloth Bag
  • 10 "Pass" cards -
  • 10 "Trips" cards
  • 10 "Foursome" cards
  • 10 "Straight Flush" cards
  • 6 Rock Garden player boards
  • 6 Rakes - one in each player color
  • 1 Bidding board


  • Place the Bidding board in the center of the table within reach of all the players.

  • Give each player a Rock Garden board and the matching color Rake. Rock Garden boards are double-sided. Each player may choose to use either side.

  • The player aide side is divided into regions for each different type of rock. It is designed to make it easier to determine if a player has any Forbidden Sets (see Scoring).

  • The other side doesn't have any divisions. Players may arrange their rocks freely to maximize the flow of chi through their gardens and bring balance and harmony to the lives of all who visit (and play).

  • Sort the Demerit cards into four stacks, by type. Arrange the Trips, Foursome, and Straight Flush stacks so that the 1 is on the top of the deck, and the cards proceed in order-down to the 10.

  • Put the single black rock on the space marked 1 on the Round Tracker, located on the outer (IM edge of the Bidding board.

  • Put the other 75 rocks into the bag and have each player draw five and place them in his Rock Garden.

  • Determine who will be the start player for round 1.

Bidding Board


As "Initiates Second Grade" in the Monkey Fist Feng Shui Monastery it will be your great honor to tend the Masters' rock gardens.

Each morning, the Grade Ones come to you with the rocks they've gathered and haul away the rocks that you and the other Grade Twos decide you don't need anymore.

But there aren't enough Grade Ones to go around, so there may be a little competition to get the best selection of rocks. The Grade Ones will give their new rocks to whoever gives them the fewest old rocks to haul away.

You may decorate your garden with almost any rocks you wish. There are just a few forbidden combinations that must be avoided. Every afternoon the Feng Shui Masters come by to check your work.

You'll get demerits if you create any of the forbidden combinations, but you'll also get demerits for your laziness if you don't add new stones each day, and you will suffer the dishonor of being sent down the mountain to haul a stone back for yourself.

The Masters' final evaluation will come with no advance warning. The Second Grade Initiate who has the fewest demerits at that time will advance to Grade Three, but whoever has the most demerits will be kicked down to Grade One.

Game Play

Each round is divided into five steps, which are executed in the order described below:

  1. The start player lays out new piles of rocks.
  2. Players bid to acquire the new rocks.
  3. Players turn in their bids and collect their new rocks,
  4. Players turn in any Forbidden Sets & collect the resulting Demerit Cards,
  5. The new start player advances the Black rock and begins the next round.

1. The start player lays out new piles of rocks

The start player begins a new round by making several piles of rocks on the Bidding board in the center of the table. There will be one fewer pile than there are players in the game.

So in a six player game, all five of the Bidding board's "wedges" will be used, but in a five player game only four will be used, and so on).

To create a pile of rocks in each wedge of the Bidding board, draw one rock at a time, and add it to the pile until the total value of the pile is 6 or more.

2. Players bid to acquire the new rocks

Beginning with the start player, each player will:

  1. BID for the pile of rocks he would like -OR-
  2. Pass.

A. Bid:

  • Players bid with the rocks already in their gardens, i.e. offering to trade some of the rocks they have for one complete pile of rocks on the Bidding board.

  • To make a bid, the player places the rocks he is willing to trade on his rake and next to the pile of rocks he is willing to take. As a quick way to remember whose bids are whose, the rake handle should point at the player who placed the bid.

  • There are no limits on what a player can bid. He may bid using every rock in his rock garden, or he may bid using no rocks at all, offering to take the new rocks without giving up anything.

  • Proceeding clockwise around the table, each player must either bid or pass.

  • If a player would like to bid for a pile of rocks which already has a bid next to it, the new bid must: Have a lower total value than the bid it is replacing or have an equal total value to the bid it is replacing, but use a lesser number of rocks.

  • The player whose bid was undercut takes back the bid and places the rocks bid back into his rock garden. He will be able to bid again when the turn comes back around to him. When it does, the player may bid on any pile he chooses, he is not limited to the pile from which he was bumped.

B. Pass:

A player may not pass if there is any pile left which does not yet have a bid. He does not necessarily need to bid on one of these "bid-less" piles (i.e. he can bid on a pile which has the bid of another player), but he may not pass.

3. Players turn in their bids and collect their new rocks

Once every pile has a bid, and a player chooses to pass, the bidding round is over. The passing player receives one Demerit card from the Pass cards stack (for his insolent laziness), and must draw a random rock from the bag.

Then all other players put the rocks they bid with into the bag and they put the rocks they "won" for their bid into their rock gardens.

4. players turn in any forbidden sets & collect the resulting demerit cards

Starting with the player who passed and proceeding clockwise, each player checks his rock garden for The 3 Forbidden Sets:

  1. "Pathstones to Trip the Wanderer" (Trips) are any set of three identical rocks.

  2. A "Dissonant Force" (Foursome) is any set of four rocks with the same value but four different colors.

  3. A "Strait of Conformity" (Straight Flush) is a set of a I, II, and III valued rocks of the same color.

If a player has one or more of these sets, he must put these rocks back into the bag and take the top card(s) from the corresponding Demerit card deck(s). The picture on the Demerit card shows how the associated Forbidden Set can be identified on the player aide side of the Rock Garden player boards.

Demerit cards are hidden information, and should be kept face down in front of each player.

  • The "Pass" Demerit Card.

  • Trips are 3 identical (in color and number) rocks occupying the same space on the Rock Garden board (Player Aide side)

  • A Foursome is any 4 different-colored rocks (with the same number) occupying the same row.

  • A Straight Flush is any 3 differently numbered rocks (of the same color) in the same column.

In spite of best efforts to avoid forming even one, if a player can form more than one Forbidden Set, he chooses which to turn in first.

For example, if a player had 1 2222 333 he could turn in the Foursome (2222) and then he would have 1 333 & would still need to turn in set of Trips (333) as well, earning him two Demerit cards, one from the Foursome deck & one from the Trips deck.

Or he could turn in the Straight Flush 123 & be left with 222 33, earning only one Demerit card from the Straight Flush deck.

(Which of these options is better depends on the situation with regard to the negative points showing on the topmost Demerit cards).

5. The new start player advances the black rock and begins the next round

When all players have turned in their Forbidden Sets, and taken any demerits they have earned, advance the Black rock one space on the Round Tracker.

If the Black rock was already on the last space of the Round Tracker, place it into the bag.

Players are now ready to begin the next round. The player who passed in this round becomes the start player and is responsible for refilling the Bidding board.

End of the Game

The game can end in one of two ways:

  1. When the Black rock is drawn from the bag the game will end.

    • If it is drawn when refilling the piles on the Bidding board, the game ends immediately.

    • If it is drawn by the passing player during a scoring round, then finish scoring that round. The passing player does not draw another rock to replace the Black rock, he simply does not receive an extra rock this round.

  2. The game also ends if the last card is drawn from any of the Demerit card decks. Finish that scoring round, keeping track of any extra demerits from the empty card stack(s) with pencil and paper.

At the end of the game, the winner is the player who has earned the fewest demerits (as shown by the points on the Demerit cards collected).

In the event of a tie, the winner is the tying player with the fewest rocks remaining in his rock garden at the end of the game.

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