- 1 game board
- 10 score displays
- 40 action cards
- 10 warlord cards
- 5 event cards
- 21 red soldiers
- 21 blue soldiers
- 1 Sun Tzu miniature
- 1 King of Chu miniature
Object of the Game
The game is played over a maximum of 9 rounds. The winner will be either the player to reach the maximum score at the end of the 3rd or 6th round or whoever has the most points at the end of the 9th round.
'The game board
1is placed in the center of the table.
Randomly draw 5 score displays
2. Each one is placed with its orange side next to the name of a province located on the left and right sides of the board.
The other five score displays are removed from the game.
The gold miniature
3is placed on the first position of the round counter, and the silver miniature 4is placed on the central position of the track score.
Optiona: Shuffle the five Event cards and place them in a face-down pile. Turn the top card face-up.
Each Player (blue: Sun Tzu, Red : King Chu)
Takes 18 armies of his color: they constitute his reinforcement pool.
The remaining three armies are set aside.
Secretly selects one of his 5 Warlord cards. The four other cards are removed from the game.
Takes the 6 Action cards from his color numbered from "1" to "6" (those 6 Cards are the only ones with numbers written within a Frame).
Shuffles the remaining 14 Action cards of his color. This constitutes the player's draw deck that is positioned in front of him, face down.
Draws the first 4 Action cards from his draw deck. Therefore each player now has 10 cards.
Beginner version: For a smoother first game, remove the +2 and +3 Action cards as well as the 10 Warlord cards. Each player starts the game with 21 armies.
The game is divided into rounds, each composed of five phases:
- Advancing the round marker
- Placing Action cards
- Revealing Action cards and battle resolutions
- Drawing new Action cards
1. Advancing the round marker
The round marker is placed on position 1 at the beginning of the first round. It is then advanced one space at the beginning of each following round.
2. Placing Action Cards
Each player plays an Action card face down in front of each province, starting with Qin province and going towards Wu province (i.e. 5 cards each round).
3. Revealing Action Cards and Battle Resolutions
Once all the Action cards have been placed, they are revealed and compared (see battle resolution).
In the first round of play, the cards are revealed and battles are resolved from Qin to Wu.
During the following rounds, the player with the fewest armies on the board at the beginning of Phase 3 decides the order of the provinces for revealing and battle resolutions.
In case of a tie, the last player to choose the order keeps this privilege. If nobody had that privilege, players continue to use the order of the first round until someone earns this privilege.
In each province, the newly revealed Action cards are compared. The difference between the cards represents the change in the armies in the province. A player having at least 1 army in a province controls this province.
For example: On province Wu, Blue plays a 5 Card and Red a 9 card. There is a difference of 4 in favor of Red.
Situation 1 - If the Wu province was empty or already controlled by Red: the Red player adds 4 Wu armies.
Situation 2 - If the Wu province was controlled by Blue, with more than four armies: Blue removes 4 armies but remains master of the province.
Situation 3 - If the Wu province was controlled by Blue with exactly 4 armies: Blue removes its four armies. The province is now empty and no longer belongs to anyone.
Situation 4 - If the Wu province was controlled by Blue with fewer than four armies: Blue removes all his armies and Red adds armies to equal the difference between his advantage and the eliminated armies. (If Blue had 3 armies in Wu, they are eliminated and Red adds 4 - 3 = 1 army). Now, Wu is controlled by Red.
Armies eliminated after a fight are returned to the reinforcement pool of the player.
Following the resolution of a battle, a player MUST place as many armies as required in the province. If a player does not have enough armies in reserve, he MUST transfer armies of his choice from one or more provinces which share a border with the province being resolved.
If he has insufficient armies in neighboring provinces, armies must be moved from another province on the board.
Many cards have no numerical Action value, but have a special effect instead. These are described at the end of this booklet.
At the beginning of the game, a player has 3 armies which have been set aside. Additionally, during the game other armies can be set aside if he uses the +2 and +3 Action cards (as detailed at the end of this booklet).
At any time, a player can add one of these armies to his reinforcement pool. To do so, he must perma- nently discard a card from his hand (excluding the 1-6 Action cards). The discarded card is shown to the opponent.
4. Scoring' (rounds 3, 6 And 9)
Scoring occurs at the end of the 3rd, 6th and 9th game turns. Each side of the score display has 3 values. The values represent the number of points each province awards during the scoring phase (the values are the same on all 3 sides).
In order to properly read the points to be scored during the next scoring round, when preparing the game arrange have each score display with the orange side up towards the board: The first scoring phase is in color, and the later rounds are in greyscale.
At the beginning of Round 4, the score displays are turned to show the red face, where the second scoring phase is in color.
Finally at the beginning of round 7 the score displays are turned again, the third scoring phase is in color.
If a player controls a province at the end of the end of the 3rd round, 6th round, and 9th round, he scores the corresponding points.
When a round is scored, the players move the scoring marker according to the difference of points between them.
For example, after the third round, the Red player scores 3 (2 +1) and Blue 6 (3 +2 +1). The difference between the two players is 3. The Blue player moves the marker 3 spaces towards his side on the scoring track.
5. Drawing' New Action Cards
After battle resolution, each player takes back any Action cards numbered 1 - 6 (those with a value surrounded by frame). Other cards played during this round are removed from the game.
Then, each player draws two cards from the top of his deck, looks at them and adds one of them to his hand. The other card is placed at the bottom of the deck.
If there is only one card available to draw, the player draws and retains that one.
If there are no more cards to draw, the player must play with the cards he has left in his hand.
End of the Game
If at the end of the third or sixth round, the scoring marker reaches the maximum for one player (the large box at each end), that player wins the game instantly.
Otherwise, at the end of the ninth round, the player with the most points (scoring miniature on his side) wins the game.
In case of a tie, the winner is the player with the greatest number of armies in his reinforcement pool.