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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Preview: SGS English Plugin

Posted by Ricky Chua On 3:25 PM 3 comments
Here's a preview of the improved Translation Plugin. It's going to be a card format printed on both sides that serves as a reference. The size is going to be identical to the character card size, so it will fit nicely with your other cards in the box. 

Front
Back

Feedback welcome!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Disaster!!

Posted by Ricky Chua On 2:28 PM 6 comments
It's one thing to translate every card from Chinese to English, but it's quite another to want to squeeze all the long english words into 2cm x 4cm space and still be legible.

In a disastrous last minute crash-out, I found to my heart-wrenching horror that my english-plugins contain words that are too damn small to be readable! NOOOOOOOO!!!!! After all those hours of work!!!!!!

ROAR~~!!!!!!


No matter!! I shall find a way around it! I am determined to release this english plug-in for the benefit of all my readers!

I'll be back!!!! 他妈的我杀死你!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Welcome to the new mini-series on Auxiliary Rules! In this series, there will be a mix of official rules and some unorthodox suggestions. For those of you who are getting sick of the usual game style, here are a few interesting variations to this already very complex game.

So, are you ready? Here we go into Part 1!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Launching soon!!! A few more days!!

Posted by Ricky Chua On 12:47 PM 8 comments
Hi everyone, there have been a lack of posts recently because i have been busying myself with an original SGS-English product for the card game!

I'm incredibly excited about it and i cannot wait to show it to all you readers and make it available! It would take me a few more days of work, but trust me... ITS GOING TO BE WORTH IT!!

In the meantime, i'll do my best to put up the alternative rules and FAQ disambiguations. :)

Have fun and 杀!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

SGS in Australia: The Perth Mystery

Posted by Ricky Chua On 11:55 PM 6 comments
A big Hello to the readers from Australia! 

Something has been puzzling me since i began tracking readership. Australian readers are the 4th most active in reading this blog (behind USA, Singapore and Canada), and to my surprise, the location of these readers are exclusively from the Eastern half of Australia!


There's Sydney with the highest readership and Melbourne at second... but not a single reader from Perth?!

Isn't that where the highest density of Chinese are in Australia? Maybe they don't know about SGS yet??

Ok i'm just being curious for the sake of being curious. I do hope somebody can enlighten me... if you're bored enough. :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Guān Yǔ 关羽

Posted by Ricky Chua On 11:59 PM 7 comments
Translated description:
"Bearded Gentleman 美髯公 (měi rán gōng)"

Who is he:
He is a god. No kidding. The legend of Guan Yu and his strong sense of chivalry and brotherhood has transcended two millenia and is still widely revered today in Chinese culture. Mention his deity name "Guan Gong 关公" and most elder chinese would relate to you legendary stories of Guan Yu's strong sense fairness, justice and brotherhood. The 2nd eldest among the three sworn brothers, Liu Bei 刘备, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei 张飞, Guan Yu is usually the most rational. Of course, his combat ability is incredible and his weapon the "Green Dragon Crescent Blade 青龙偃月刀" has become the stuff of legends.


Character ability: "Warrior Saint 武圣 (wǔ shèng)"
You can use any card with a "heart" or "diamonds" suit as an ATTACK 杀 card.

Ability's relation to story:
Like most of Shu Han 蜀汉's "combat" characters in the San Guo Sha 三国杀 card game, there is only a superficial link between their character ability and the story. In the case of Guan Yu, the game makers decided to make it easy for Guan Yu to attack other players. Unlike Zhao Yun 赵云 who has an advantage in dodging, Guan Yu's advantage only lies in attack. Perhaps its the game makers' way of paying tribute to Guan Yu's courage and raw power.

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - I'm putting my personal opinion into this one. Despite all the battles won by Guan Yu, I remember him best for his role in letting Cao Cao 曹操 escape. When nearly all hope was lost for Cao Cao after the huge loss at Battle of Red Cliffs 赤壁之战, he had the ill-fortune to be confronted by Guan Yu. Cao Cao knelt down before Guan Yu and said it was his fortune to die in the hands of the respected Guan Yu, rather than in the hands of some other unknown character. However Guan Yu let Cao Cao go because he was once indebted to Cao Cao, who spared his life in a reversal of fortunes many years before. The key thing to remember here is that Guan Yu is liable for punishment by death for this chivalrous act, yet he still let Cao Cao go. Now that is a classic example of chivalry indeed.

2. Cause of death - Guan Yu was captured by troops from the Kingdom of Sun Wu 孙吴 after his own men deserted him. Guan Yu had severely underestimated his enemies and left the city of Jing Zhou 荆州 poorly guarded. While he was away attacking Cao Ren 曹仁 at Fan Cheng 樊城, the troops of Lu Meng 吕蒙 moved in and captured Jing Zhou. Guan Yu's men, who were mostly from Jing Zhou, deserted him to return to the safety of their family. Guan Yu was then captured at Mai Cheng 麦城. He was executed together with his son Guan Ping 关平 since they refused to surrender.


Wikipedia link:



FAQ and Disambiguation:

Warrior Saint
1. Can Guan Yu use an equipped item that has a red suit as ATTACK?

Ans: Yes, with conditions. If the ATTACK to be used requires the item's ability or range, then it CANNOT be used. Eg: the target is distance 5 away from Guan Yu, then Guan Yu cannot use his equipped weapon (assuming red suited +5 distance) as ATTACK since that would mean the weapon's range is forfeited. 2nd Eg: Guan Yu equipped red-suited Zhu Ge Crossbow 诸葛连驽 and has already used an ATTACK card in that turn. He cannot use the Zhu Ge Crossbow card as an ATTACK since that would mean he is using 2 ATTACKS in a turn and he requires the Zhu Ge Crossbow to be equipped when he uses more ATTACK cards.


2. If Guan Yu uses a red-suited card (eg: PEACH) to ATTACK Cao Cao 曹操 and causes him damage, does Cao Cao keep the red-suited card that was used? (eg: In which case he gains a PEACH?)

Ans: Yes Cao Cao keeps the red-suited card.


3. With regards to a target equipped with Ren Wang Shield 仁王盾, is any red-suited card used as an ATTACK by Guan Yu considered a red-suited ATTACK card?

Ans: Yes. As long as the card is red-suited and used as ATTACK, they are considered red-suited ATTACK cards.

Zhào Yún 赵云

Posted by Ricky Chua On 12:05 AM 11 comments
Translated description:
"The young general 少年将军 (shào nián jiāng jūn)"

Who is he:
The hunk in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Zhao Yun is portrayed like the Antonio Banderas of ancient China, complete with sword wielding abilities equal to Zorro (or probably better?). Always the general of Shu Han 蜀汉 that appears to save the day when their need is crucial, Zhao Yun is arguably one of the most well-liked characters in the entire story. If you expect this character to have abilities to be feared in the card game, then you are right.

Character ability: "Dragon Heart 龙胆 (lóng dǎn)"
All your ATTACK 杀 and DODGE 闪 cards can be used interchangeably.

Ability's relation to story:
Scant relation to the story, really. We all know Zhao Yun is a really good fighter, so I guess it was natural to make his ability skewed towards attack. But the cool thing about Zhao Yun's "Dragon Heart" ability is he has a much stronger evasive ability than most players. Compared to Guan Yu 关羽 and Zhang Fei 张飞 who can heap loads of attack damage, Zhao Yun has an abnormal amount of ATTACK cards at his disposal but also has an incredible amount of DODGE as well! You kind of get the impression that the game makers want us to think that Guan Yu and Zhang Fei are pure brute strength while Zhao Yun has more dexterity and flexibility.

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - Zhao Yun's rescue of Liu Shan 刘禅 at the Battle of Chang Ban 长板. This story is the stuff of legends. Zhao Yun is separate from Liu Bei 刘备 in the chaos after Cao Cao 曹操 attacks. Liu Bei's generals reported seeing Zhao Yun dash in the direction of the enemy alone, inferring that Zhao Yun has deserted Liu Bei and joined the enemy. Liu Bei would have none of it and believed Zhao Yun must have some plan up his sleeve. True enough, Zhao Yun ran into the enemy to search for Liu Bei's wife and son, Liu Shan, who was missing as well. After finding Liu Shan but not being able to rescue Liu Bei's wife, Zhao Yun dashes back towards Liu Bei, encountering literally thousands of enemy troops alone. One versus a few thousand, Zhao Yun manages to slay over 50 of Cao Cao's generals and hundreds of troops before successfully escaping. When Liu Shan was finally presented back to Liu Bei, Liu Bei tosses the baby on the ground, exclaiming that his son's life was not worth endangering his great general.

2. Cause of death - Zhao Yun died of old age, which was a remarkable feat not to have died in battle in that era. He remained undefeated in battle till his death. Most of the other Shu Han generals were all killed in action.


Wikipedia link:



FAQ and Disambiguation:

Dragon Heart
1. When Zhao Yun has equipped Serpent Halberd 丈八蛇矛, can he use any 2 on-hand cards as DODGE (since interchangeable with ATTACK)?


Ans: No. Equipment effects are not interchangeable under Dragon Heart, only the cards themselves.


2. When equipped with EIGHT TRIGRAMS 八卦阵, can he choose to activate judgement to flip a red card and use as ATTACK (since interchangeable with DODGE)?

Ans: No. Refer to 1.


3. If Zhao Yun uses DODGE as an ATTACK card, will there be any elemental attribute to the ATTACK?

Ans: No. They will be viewed as normal ATTACKs.


4. If Liu Bei uses "Rouse"(Shua Characters use ATTACK on his behalf), can Zhao Yun use a DODGE card as ATTACK for him?

Ans: Yes.


5. If Zhao Yun equips Eight Trigrams 八卦阵 , can he use it to generate Dodge but used as an Attack?

Ans: The official FAQ answer is no,though this point is still widely contested.





Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Game Rules Part 7: Reincarnation 转世

Posted by Ricky Chua On 11:50 PM 10 comments
Welcome to Part 7!

In this section, i'm going to talk about one of my favorite auxiliary rules known as the Reincarnation Rule. Simply put, it allows a player to remain in the game despite being killed and after his or her role card has been exposed.



The original logic of this rule was to minimize the amount of waiting time for the dead players before the next round starts, especially when there are more than 7 players in the round. Quite considerate, no?

(By the way, this rule is auxiliary, meaning its not compulsory. In fact it's rarely used, but heck of a lot of fun. Strong recommend that you test this out the next time you play!)

So, let's begin!
I must admit, I knew NOTHING about the Romance of Three Kingdoms story before I played SanGuoSha. Although my Dad is a Chinese history buff who constantly promoted the story to me, I always felt those were for the graying population like him.

Then came along SGS and my world changed.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I'm happy to report that the Demi-Gods are up, which means that all the official characters are up on this blog! WOO HOO!!

Now for an update on every character to include the FAQs and other stuff i missed out. That would REALLY fatten up the content here.

Also, look out for the alternate rules to the game that i shall be putting up soon.


One important thing, i realized that the Flip Character Card rules i put up are incorrect. My initial research plus original plays were inline with what i wrote, but within the past 2 weeks there have been some changes and the common consensus of the mechanics of the Flip has changed. I shall be updating it tomorrow.

Till then, Have fun! 杀!

Demi-God Zhōu Yú 神周瑜

Posted by Ricky Chua On 11:05 PM 20 comments
Translated description:
"The God of Fire at Red Cliffs 赤壁的火神 (chì bì dè huǒ shén)"

Why is he a Demi-God:
People familiar with the Romance of the Three Kingdoms story would know that Zhu Ge Liang 诸葛亮 and Zhou Yu were both instrumental in defeating Cao Cao 曹操 at the Red Cliffs. However the historians that distilled out the "Romance" from the story found that Zhou Yu was the main architect of the victory, while Zhu Ge Liang had far less involvement. Even then, we can already tell in the story that Zhou Yu did a lot of the dirty work in putting the pieces together. These include:

1. Setting up Pang Tong 庞统 to deceive Cao Cao into shackling his ships together.

2. Sending Huang Gai 黄盖 to feint defection in order to set start the fire.

3. Planning for the cut off of Cao Cao's retreat.

Ultimately, Zhou Yu deserves the credit for destroying Cao Cao's entire army and that is why Zhou Yu deserves to be immortalized as a Demi-God!


Character ability 1: "The Sound of Music 琴音 (qín yīn)"
During your discard phase, when you discard 2 or more on-hand cards, you can choose to force all players (including yourself) to regain 1 unit of health or lose 1 unit of health.

Character ability 2: [Single-Use ability] "Searing Heat 业炎 (yè yán)"
During your action phase, you can select 1 to 3 players and distribute a total of 3 units of fire attribute damage between them. If you allocate 2 units or more of damage to any of the players, you need to discard 1 card of each suit (4 cards in total) and lose 3 units of health.

Ability's relation to story: 
Although Zhou Yu is known for his superb skills with the Qin instrument, there does not seem to be any mention of him playing the Qin during the Red Cliffs episode. Thus I believe "The Sound of Music" is just loosely based on his ability to play. "Searing Heat" probably just refers to his fiery achievement in defeating Cao Cao, but there is no reference for his sacrificing his health in the story at this period of time. Therefore this is probably also loosely-based on the story.

Demi-God Zhū Gě Liàng 神诸葛亮

Posted by Ricky Chua On 9:30 PM 18 comments
Translated description:
"The Sorcerer at the Red Cliffs 赤壁的妖术师 (chì bì dè yāo shù shī)"

Why is he a Demi-God:
In an act of mischief, Zhu Ge Liang decides to fool Zhou Yu 周瑜 into thinking he has the ability to control the weather. At an elaborately set up altar, Zhu Ge Liang performs a mysterious rite that he says will help change the wind direction, which was necessary in order for their fire strategy to work against the ships of Cao Cao 曹操. True enough, by that night the wind directions turn 180 degrees, finally putting in place the final gear in the machine that would be Cao Cao's terrible defeat. Everyone is fooled by Zhu Ge Liang, who absolutely cannot control the weather at all. He simply knew how to read the stars to foretell the weather. Easy peasy! All those meteorologists with their high-tech doppler radars should be ashamed of themselves!


Character ability 1: "The Seven Stars 七星 (qī xīng)"
At the very beginning of the game, when the initial 4 cards are being distributed amongst all players, you will be given a total of 11 cards. Pick 4 out of these 11 to be your starting hand, while the remaining cards are placed face down elsewhere (out of the game area). These extra cards will be referred to as "Stars". During your turn, right after the drawing phase, you can interchange any number of your on-hand cards with an identical number of your Stars.

Character ability 2: "Strong Gale 狂风 (kuáng fēng)"
At the end of your turn, you can discard 1 of your "Stars" and select 1 target player. From then till your next turn, this target player will suffer 1 additional unit of damage for all fire attribute damage.

Character ability 3: "Heavy Shroud 大雾 (dà wù)"
At the end of your turn, you can discard X number of "Stars" and select X number of target players. From then till your next turn, these target players will be protected from all damage except Lightning attribute damage.

Ability's relation to story:
Since Zhu Ge Liang knew how to read the stars to foretell weather, it is only natural that "The Seven Stars" is intricately linked to the story, specifically to the battle at Red Cliffs. What's more impressive is the game maker's use of weather elements in his other abilities "Strong Gale" and "Heavy Shroud". We already know that a gale was necessary for the fire to spread towards Cao Cao's army, and the deeper reference to fire attributed damage is well-appreciated.

"Heavy Shroud" is not part of his hocus-pocus ritual, but it still is related to the Red Cliffs battle. Prior to the main battle, Zhu Ge Liang used boats of straw to "harvest" 100,000 arrows for Zhou Yu. The shroud of haze was also fore-told in the stars and he used that to his advantage, deceiving the enemy into shooting at figurines of straw in the poor visibility.

Demi-God Lǚ Méng 神吕蒙

Posted by Ricky Chua On 8:50 PM 15 comments
Translated description:
"The Minister with Divine Enlightenment 圣光之国士 (shèng guāng zhī guó shì)"

Why is he a Demi-God:
I wish I had an answer to this question that I am whole-heartedly convinced with. Unfortunately, I do not. "Divine Enlightenment" is an exaggeration of Lu Meng's studious discipline, where he turns from a military brute into a learned minister. His remarkable improvements are due to his own hard work and there was nothing divine about his new found enlightenment. Perhaps by giving this character a tinge of divinity, he rises to join the immortal Demi-Gods? Of course, my aim is not to pick the minor faults of this game, given the huge amount of literature references in all the cards combined.


Character ability 1: "Browse Through 涉猎 (shè liè)"
During your drawing phase, you can choose to carry out the following action to replace the drawing of cards: Flip over 5 cards from the top of the deck and take 1 card of each suit (max 4 cards: 1 heart, 1 spade, 1 clubs, 1 diamonds). Discard the remainder.

Character ability 2: "Strike at the Heart 攻心 (gōng xīn)"
During your action phase, you can view all the on-hand cards of 1 player. You can then pick 1 card with a suit of "hearts" from this player's on-hand cards and display it for every player to see. After doing so, you can choose to either discard this "hearts" card or place it at the top of the deck.

Ability's relation to story:
"Browse Through" is the very phrase that Sun Quan 孙权 used to advise Lu Meng to read more and be knowledgeable. Of course, Sun Quan's intention was not to turn Lu Meng into a PhD, so he only advocated browsing through as many books as possible to get a wider breadth of knowledge. Using a wordplay on the ability name, Lu Meng can now "browse through" the first 5 cards of the deck and take his pick. Very nice fit!

"Strike at the Heart" is also another wordplay. In his attack on Jing Zhou 荆州, Lu Meng used psychological tactics to defeat Guan Yu 关羽. He "attacked" the hearts of the civilians of Jing Zhou by treating them well and with respect. It was thus that Guan Yu's troops began deserting him.

Demi-God Lǚ Bù 神吕布

Posted by Ricky Chua On 8:14 PM 15 comments
Translated description:
"The Way of the Asura 修罗之道 (xiū luó zhī dào)"

(Asuras are mythical Demi-Gods in Buddhist mythology that are wrathful, prideful, arrogant, and love to fight. Click here for Asuras Wiki.)

Why is he a Demi-God:
Let's list out a couple adjectives to describe Lu Bu -

1. Arrogant (Striking his halberd with an arrow to win a truce between Yuan Shu 袁术 and Liu Bei 刘备)
2. Wrathful (Killing Dong Zhuo 董卓 over Diao Chan 貂蝉)
3. Loves to fight (1 vs 3 against the sworn-brothers-three)
4. Prideful (Loves to hear compliments and receive gifts that stroke his ego).

... and lastly...

5. Not very bright (no relation to the Asuras)

Notice that the description is quite accurate about him, placing his personality amongst the Asuras. Perhaps that is why he is a Demi-God: because the Asuras are Demi-Gods themselves. Therefore this Demi-God character has nothing to do with his death, but everything to do with his actions while he was alive.


Character ability 1: [Enforced ability] "Violent Rage 狂暴 (kuáng bào)"
At the beginning of the game, you get 2 "Rage 暴怒" tokens. Every 1 unit of damage you cause or suffer, you receive 1 Rage token.

Character ability 2: [Enforced ability] "Simpleton 无谋 (wú móu)"
Every time you use a tool card (with the exception of Time-delay Tool Cards), you must discard 1 Rage token or lose 1 unit of health.

Character ability 3: "Unprecedented 无前 (wú qián)"
During your action phase, you can discard 2 Rage tokens and select 1 target player. For the rest of your turn, the target player's Armour becomes ineffective. In addition, you acquires Lu Bu's "Without Equal 无双" ability.

Character ability 4: "Asura's Fury 神愤 (shén fèn)"
During your action phase, you can discard 6 Rage tokens. Every player (except yourself) will:

(Carried out in order from 1 to 3)
1. Receive 1 unit of damage
2. Discard all equipped cards
3. Discard 4 on-hand cards

After this is done, you must flip your character card. Limited to once per turn.

Ability's relation to story:
Abilities 1, 3 and 4 are created for this character with little to no link to the story. "Simpleton" has some links to the story, but I need not elaborate here as it has been described in my previous post on (normal) Lu Bu.

Demi-God Guān Yǔ 神关羽

Posted by Ricky Chua On 7:19 PM 16 comments
Translated description:
"The Return of the Ultimate Ghost 鬼神再临 (gǔi shén zài lín)"

Why is he a Demi-God:
There is no ghost quite like the ghost of Guan Yu in the Romance of Three Kingdoms story. No doubt he is not the only supernatural character to re-appear after death (Yu Ji 于吉 also came back to haunt Sun Ce 孙策), but the ghost of Guan Yu did more than spook the mortals. No, that would belittle him! The ghost of Guan Yu possessed his killer, Lu Meng 吕蒙, and took over control of his body. The possessed Lu Meng grabbed Sun Quan 孙权, and tossed him to the ground. Guan Yu even cursed Sun Quan through Lu Meng's mouth, then promptly killed Lu Meng from the inside, blood oozing out of the eyes, ears, nose and mouth. But the ghost of Guan Yu was not done yet! After Sun Quan sent Guan Yu's head to Cao Cao 曹操, Guan Yu's head awoke in its box and Cao Cao collapsed on the ground in fright. Cao Cao quickly gave Guan Yu a colossal burial fit for a prince and even posthumously named Guan Yu as Prince of Jing Zhou 荆州.


Character ability 1: [Enforced ability] "God of War 武神 (wǔ shén)"
Every "heart" suited card will be regarded as ATTACK 杀. When you use one of these "heart" suited cards, the ATTACK has no range limitations.

Character ability 2: [Enforced ability] "Warrior Spirit 武魂 (wǔ hún)"
For every 1 unit of damage that any player that inflicts on you, that player will receive 1 "Nightmare 梦魇" token. When you die, the player with the most number of Nightmare tokens must flip a judgement card. Unless the judgement card is PEACH 桃 or PEACH GARDEN 桃园结义, that player dies immediately.

Ability's relation to story:
"God of War" does not have any link to the story. I guess this is simply paying homage to the numerous military achievements of Guan Yu in his lifetime. "Warrior Spirit" is a fantastically created ability that has clear links to Lu Meng's death. The game makers want to re-create the retribution effect of Guan Yu's killer, and I think they put it together perfectly.

Trivia:
The illustration of the card follows the author's description of the ghost of Guan Yu. After the burial given by Cao Cao, Guan Yu's spirit lingers and wanders to Yu Quan Hill 玉泉山 where a priest see's a ghost in the nightsky with the shape of man mounted on a horse. The priest then recognises that it is the ghost of Guan Yu.

Demi-God Cáo Cāo 神曹操

Posted by Ricky Chua On 6:11 PM 25 comments
Translated description:
"A Hero that transcends time 超世之英杰 (chāo shì zhī yīng jié)"

Why is he a Demi-God:
Nearly every Chinese in the world would have heard of his name. It is not just his achievements that are spectacular, his use of military tactics and his overall leadership ability is legendary. The description is no exaggeration; Cao Cao truly is a hero that has transcended time.  That fact that we are playing a card game that is built-upon that the Three Kingdoms story is proof of this. You might ask, "What about Liu Bei 刘备 or Sun Quan 孙权? Are they not in the same league?" Perhaps. Both of them were extraordinary in their own rights, but the drama that is Cao Cao is what makes him stand out from those two. It is well-known that the Romance of Three Kingdoms story down-played a lot of Cao Cao's achievements and his more humane side, thus what we know from the story is only a part of his full story. Cao Cao deserves to be a Demi-God, because he is arguably the most important person in the entire era.


Character ability 1: "Homage 归心 (guī xīn)"
For every 1 unit of damage that you receive, you can draw one card from every character in play (equipped cards, on-hand cards, or pending judgement cards). After doing so, you must flip character card.

Character ability 2: [Enforced ability] "Flying Shadow 飞影 (fēi yǐng)"
When other characters consider their distance from you, you will always have additional +1 distance away (equipped +1 horse by default).

Ability's relation to story:
"Homage" is exactly what the word means; bow to the God that is Cao Cao and offer him your cards for his picking. "Flying Shadow" is a word play on his favorite steed "The Shadow 绝影", which is a +1 horse in this game.
Alright!! Woods Expansion done!! Now only 6 more characters left before i'm done with all the official characters...

THE 6 DEMI-GODS ARE UP NEXT!! MUAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

AAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

...


Anyways yesterday was another marathon session of SGS and we decided to go crazy with the super characters again. This time, on top of the 6 Demi-Gods, we mixed up 4 of the unofficial Demon cards into play: They are...

Jiǎ Xǔ 贾诩

Posted by Ricky Chua On 5:23 PM 54 comments
Translated description:
"Cold-blooded Advocate for Murder 冷酷的毒士 (lěng kù dè dú shì)"

Wikipedia link: Jia Xu Wiki

Who is he:
His description portrays him as a mass-murderer, and history seems to back that up. After the death of Dong Zhuo 董卓, Jia Xu adviced Li Jue 李催 to take advantage of the chaos in Chang An 长安 and grab the Imperial power for himself. This would prove to be the biggest black mark on Jia Xu's life as Li Jue and Guo Si 郭汜 went on a rampage in Chang An, killing and abducting innocent civilians, burning and robbing property. Later historians place the blame squarely on Jia Xu for the holocaust. The fact is Jia Xu is an incredibly gifted advisor whose predictions have come true many times. The sad thing is his leaders did not always listen to him! While serving under Cao Cao 曹操, Jia Xu was one of the rare few who did not support the attack on Sun Wu 孙吴. Not heeding this advice, Cao Cao later met with disaster at Red Cliffs 赤壁之战. Years later while serving under Cao Pi 曹丕, Jia Xu again advised a defensive strategy instead of supporting Cao Pi's attack on either Sun Wu or Shu Han 蜀汉. Once again, his advise proved to be correct as Cao Pi was not victorious.

Character ability 1: [Enforced ability] "Unmitigated Murder 完杀 (wán shā)"
During your turn, with the exception of yourself, only characters who are on the brink of death (health equals zero or less) can use PEACH 桃.

Character ability 2: [Single-Use Ability] "Descend into Chaos 乱武 (luàn wǔ)"
During your action phase, you can force every player, other than yourself, to use an ATTACK 杀 on another player at the least distance away. If a player is unable to do so (no ATTACK cards to use or attack range cannot reach any player), the player will lose 1 unit of health. Recipients of the ATTACK need to use DODGE 闪 to evade. This ability will proceed in succession starting from the player on your right.

Character ability 3: [Enforced ability] "Behind the Curtain 帷幕 (wéi mù)"
You cannot become the target of tool cards with the suit of "clubs" or "spades".

Ability's relation to story:
No direct link is made to "Unmitigated Murder", though it can be inferred that the game makers want to add drama to this "cold-blooded murderer". "Descend into Chaos" is referring to the massacre at Chang An carried out by Li Jue and Guo Si.

"Behind the Curtain" is interesting. Jia Xu happens to be the longest-living advisor in the Three Kingdoms Era, and the reason for this is rather unglamorous. He is remembered as someone who will save his own ass before the higher purpose. Numerous times he has switched allegiance as his leaders started to fail, finally ending up at Cao Wei 曹魏 till his death. Even then, Jia Xu stayed away from expressing emotions that would compromise his true thoughts. In his later years he became a recluse, and did not even speak in private to anyone else. The "Curtain" in this case is his silence and evasive character, making him less susceptible to ploys and schemes. Thus the ability is apt for him since it makes him impervious to a large number of tool cards.

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - Advising Li Jue to Guo Si to take the empire for themselves. Eventually Lu Jue and Guo Si tore each other apart and Jia Xu prudently distanced himself from them.

2. Cause of death - Jia Xu died of old-age at the age of 77 years old. Not bad for a public enemy, don't you think?


FAQ and Disambiguation

1. For ability 1, does this mean if Jia Xu attack the RULER who begins with 1 life and drops to 0 , only the RULER can use PEACH to save himself , and that nobody else can use PEACH to save the RULER?

Ans: Yes only the RULER can save himself. It does not even have to be damage caused by Jia Xu . For example , if Jia Xu was a Loyalist and he attacks Zhang Jiao, but Zhang Jiao uses his Lightning strike ability to strike the ruler, whose health reduces to zero , nobody else except Jia Xu can use PEACH to save him. So this can be potentially disastrous if the consequences are not properly thought through.


2. For Ability 2, Jia Xu  is 1 distance away from Player A, and Player B is 1 distance away to the right of Player A . If Jia Xu forces Player A to attack , and both Jia Xu and Player B are equidistant from Player A , who gets to choose who gets hit?

Ans:  The player who is executing the ATTACK gets to choose , which means there is a chance that Jia Xu himself  will be the target of ATTACK from the 2 players on his left and right .


3. For Ability 3, what happens if a club Lightning passes through him ? Would it immediately move from the player to his left to the player to his right? Or would it be discarded as soon as the player on his left was done with it?

Ans: Assuming the direction of play is anti-clockwise , once the Lightning moves into Jia Xu's zone from the player to his left,it immediately skips him and move to the player on his right. The rules for removing Lightning from  play applies : only Dismantle ,Steal, or the Lightning strikes someone will the card be removed from the play area.


4. How often can single-use abilities be used?

Ans: It can only be used once PER GAME.


5. Can Jia Xu's tool card be Negated by other player?

Ans: Black negate do have an effect on Jia Xu's tool card. This is because the negate is use on the tool card and not on Jia Xu himself.


6. Do barbarian cards has an effect on Jia Xu?

Ans: Both barbarian cards are black, therefore they have no effect on Jia Xu.


7. Can a Dismantle target Jia Xu's horse and equipment count as targeting Jia Xu?

Ans: Using Dismantle on his equipment still counts as targeting Jia Xu( Since these belongs to him)


8. Can Yu Ji use his ''Bewilder '' skill to play ''colourless'' Barbarian to attack Jia Xu?

Ans: Yes, Yu Ji cards when played faced down are all suitless and colorless .They will work on Jia Xu


9. When Xiao Qiao uses Barbarian that is spade suit, will it be regarded as a Heart Barbarians by everyone including Jia Xu?

Ans: yes all of Xiao Qiao's ''spades'' cards are viewed as ''hearts'' .So even though she uses a spade Barbarian ,it will be regarded as a Heart' Barbarian by everyone .Therefore it will work on Jia Xu.


10. If the second ability activates and someone gets hurt because he could'nt attack anyone(no attack or no range) does Jia Xu gets the rewards and punishment for causing that damage?

Ans: For 2nd ability (Descend into Chaos 乱武) if a player dies because he is unable to use Attack, nobody gets to draw any rewards or punishment.
Note: If a player dies during this ability because he is a victim of another player's attack , the player that use the Attack becomes the source and  gets all the rewards/ punishment accordingly.


11. During ''Descend into Chaos 乱武' ability, does the player being attacked need to use dodge or suffer yet another damage?

Ans: Yes . The player being attacked needs to use Dodge or suffer damage.


12. Can Da Qiao deflect the attack skills for Jia Xu's Ability 2?

Ans: Yes, Da Qiao can use her ability normally.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Many thanks to the readers of this blog for visiting, commenting, correcting my mistakes, and spreading the word. When I started this blog, I expected my target audience to be confined to the tiny red dot called Singapore. I really did not expect the worldwide audience that now reads this blog.


Here are the top countries that visit this blog as compiled by Blogger Stats.


Are you surprised to find your country's ranking on this list? So from where in the world are you reading this? Drop me a comment and say "Hi!".

Have fun!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Xú Huǎng 徐晃

Posted by Ricky Chua On 10:18 AM 11 comments
Translated description:
"Reminiscence of Zhou Ya Fu 周亚夫之风 (zhōu yǎ fū zhī fēng)"

(Zhou Ya Fu was a general during the Han Dynasty that died about 60 years before the start of the Three Kingdoms era. He is regarded as the epitome of military discipline and integrity.)

Wikipedia link: Xu Huang Wiki

Who is he:
One of the 5 most important generals to Cao Cao 曹操, Xu Huang is a man of righteousness. He first came to Cao Cao's attention as a general of Yang Feng 杨奉, an enemy leader that Cao Cao intends to vanquish. Seeing Xu Huang's strong combat ability, he convinces Xu Huang to join him. Xu Huang agrees to defect, but refused the request to murder Yang Feng, exclaiming that he would not do such a dishonorable deed. Xu Huang then became fast friends with Guan Yu 关羽 in the short period that Guan Yu was with Cao Cao, but when they eventually stood on opposite sides of the battle field, Xu Huang made clear to Guan Yu that his duty was kill him and cannot let personal ties get in the way. Such integrity and responsibility was highly appreciated by Cao Cao, who likened him to Zhou Ya Fu.

Dǒng Zhuó 董卓

Posted by Ricky Chua On 12:05 AM 35 comments
Translated description:
"Demon King 魔王 (mó wáng)"

Wikipedia link: Dong Zhuo Wiki

Who is he:
Despite the unpopularity of Cao Cao 曹操 or Si Ma Yi 司马懿, people give due credit to their accomplishments. Dong Zhuo, on the other hand, is unpopular to the point of hatred. He was a general with a bad name before he answered the call to rid the Emperor of the corrupt officials. In the ensuing chaos, the young Emperor and his half-brother was separated from their guards and loyalists. By a stroke of luck, Dong Zhuo found the Emperor and used the opportunity to seize power. He proclaimed himself Chancellor and brutally executed those who opposed him. Nobody, not even the Emperor, dared to speak out against him. From then on, the Imperial palace became Dong Zhuo's garden of sin. He ate and pampered himself as if he was Emperor, even slept on the Emperor's bed and raped the palace maids and concubines. His thirst for lust would become his downfall as a wedge was driven between him and his foster son (and his greatest military general) Lu Bu 吕布, thanks to the appearance of the beautiful Diao Chan 貂蝉.


Character ability 1: "Drown in Wine 酒池 (jiǔ chí)"
You can use any of your on-hand cards with a suit of "spades" as WINE 酒.

Character ability 2: [Enforced ability] "Garden of Lust 肉林 (ròu lín)"
When you use ATTACK 杀 on a female character and vice versa, the targeted character needs to use 2 DODGE 闪 cards to successfully evade the attack.

Character ability 3: [Enforced ability] "Disintegrate 崩坏 (bēng huài)"
At the end of every turn, if your health is not the least or amongst the least, you must lose 1 unit of health or reduce his maximum health by 1 unit.

Character ability 4: [Ruler ability] "The Tyrant 暴虐 (bào nüè)"
When other Heroes 群雄 characters cause any damage to other players, you can flip a judgement card. If the judgement card is the suit of "spades", Dong Zhuo will regain 1 unit of health.

Ability's relation to story:
"Drown in Wine" is based on him abusing his status and indulging in alcohol. It can be assumed that the palace is in large supply of wine and that Dong Zhuo will drink himself happily silly every night.

"Garden of Lust" is interesting. We know that Dong Zhuo is every woman's nightmare: burly, ugly, smelly, lusty, but powerful. Female characters would be at a disadvantage against a brute like him, thus the penalty of 2 DODGE cards. However Dong Zhuo's downfall was also due to a woman! The game makers penalized him by according him the same disadvantage. Very clever on their part!!

"Disintegrate" might be referring to his indulgent days ebbing away his ability to do anything else. The story never specifically pointed this out, but I suppose this is what the game-makers intended. Either that or they just needed a reason to justify giving him 8 units of health!

"The Tyrant" has little basis in the story and is probably created to counter the effects of "Disintegrate"

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - Killing the "Emperor". Dong Zhuo replaced Emperor Shao 汉少帝 with Emperor Xian 汉献帝, then confined Emperor Shao and his mother. As the coalition led by Yuan Shao 袁绍 began stirring trouble for Dong Zhuo, he grew weary of keeping Emperor Shao alive. He forced the ex-Emperor, his mother and their servant to commit suicide by drinking poison.

2. Cause of death - Killed by his foster son, Lu Bu. After Diao Chan is betrothed to Dong Zhuo, Lu Bu becomes irrational with jealousy. It became easy for Wang Yun 王允, the mastermind, to convince Lu Bu to kill Dong Zhuo and take Diao Chan for himself. By tricking Dong Zhuo into thinking that the Emperor was going to abdicate the throne to him, they managed to lure Dong Zhuo into the palace unarmed. The troops were ordered to kill Dong Zhuo, and in a panic Dong Zhuo cried out to Lu Bu for help. The disloyal Lu Bu promptly impaled Dong Zhuo by the throat.


FAQ and Disambiguation


1. Can Dong Zhuo use his 4th ability if he is not the Ruler?

Ans: No he cannot.


2. When can wine be used?

Ans: Wine can only be used when his life reach ZERO. So when his health is 6, he cannot use Wine to increase his life. Only Peach can do that. On the other hand,Wine can be used at any time with Attack  to increase damage.


3. Can a judgement card be drawn if Dong Zhuo is the ruler and a Hero character attacks him and caused a unit of damage?

Ans: Yes the Ruler ability disregards who the victim is . Therefore when any heroes character cause damage to anyone ,even to Dong Zhuo himself, he can flip a judgement card.


4. If a hero does more than one damage(ie wine attack or barbarian), does he get to draw judgemnet based on each individual damage dealt, or just once?

Ans: If Barbarians was used as  " Heroes  群雄 '' player, every single player that gets damaged will result in Dong Zhuo drawing judgement. If there was 7 other players who are damaged by Barbarians , Dong Zhuo can flip judgement 7 times. Same apply to Raining Arrows and other multi-player damage cards.


5. What happens if Zhou Tai is in play, and his health is at -1, and Dong Zhuo's health is at 1, would he have to kill himself?

Ans: Yes. Provided Dong Zhuo has been around so long that his health and health limit has been reduced to only 1 unit . If Zhou Tai is still around in his perpetual brink of death status , Dong Zhuo would have to kill himself !


6. If Dong Zhuo is the ruler then how much health he gets ?

Ans: He gets 9 units of health .

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Zhù Róng 祝融

Posted by Ricky Chua On 11:45 PM 30 comments
Translated description:
"The Savage Queen 野性的女王 (yě xìng dè nǚ wáng)"

Wikipedia link: Zhu Rong Wiki

Who is she:
The only female in the entire Romance of Three Kingdoms story to ever take part in battle, Zhu Rong is one fearsome woman. Not only was she brave, she was also capable in combat and intelligent. Wife of the Barbarian King, Meng Huo 孟获, she led an army to invade Shu Han 蜀汉 after her husband was cowed by Zhu Ge Liang 诸葛亮's advancing troops. She did so well in battle, in fact, that she captured 2 of Shu Han's generals; Zhang Yi 张嶷 and Ma Zhong 马忠. Her next opponents were the highly decorated generals Zhao Yun 赵云, and Wei Yan 魏延. Both these generals fled without much of a fight, but Zhu Rong smelled a rat and did not give chase. She was no fool as Shu Han had a trap set for her indeed. Yet when Wei Yan turned back to hurl insults at her, her emotions got the better of her and she gave chase. She fell into Shu Han's trap and was captured. By then, she had already left a deep impression as a woman not to be messed with.


Character ability 1: [Enforced ability] "Giant Elephant 巨象 (jù xiàng)"
The tool card BARBARIANS 南蛮入侵 has no effect on you. When any other player uses BARBARIANS and the card's effects are concluded, you will acquire the BARBARIANS card that was used.

Character ability 2: "Fearsome Blade 烈刃 (liè rèn)"
Whenever your ATTACK 杀 successfully damages your target player, you can choose to "Points Duel" with that same target player. If you win the Points Duel, you gets to take 1 card (on-hand or equipped) from the target and keep for yourself.

Ability's relation to story:
Contrary to what the game makers want you to conclude, Zhu Rong did not ride on a "Giant Elephant". That privilege was reserved for King Mu Lu 木鹿大王, an ally of the Southern Barbarians. Zhu Rong is good at taming elephants and use them in war, as well as calling them back after war.

"Fearsome Blade" could be referring to Zhu Rong's incredible knife throwing skills. It is said that she never misses at her throwing. Of course, it also has little to do with the ability mechanics of grabbing a card from the opponent. It is probably just paying tribute to her skill.

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - Riding out to attack Shu Han and capturing Zhang Yi and Ma Zhong. Significant as this was for showing her ability, this entire scene was described in only 1 paragraph in the story.

2. Cause of death - Unknown. Zhu Rong is fictional character that the story teller added for effect. There is no record of her existing and definitely no record of her death. Thus with the closing of the chapter on Zhu Ge Liang subduing Meng Huo, no more mention is made of Zhu Rong.


FAQ and Disambiguation


1. If Cao Cao is damaged by a BARBARIANS card, who gets the card? Zhu Rong or Cao Cao?

Ans: Cao Cao will get the card. This is because Zhu Rong only gets the card after all effects have been concluded while Cao Cao gets any card that causes him damage immediately.


2. Is it possible to create a loop between Cao Cao and Zhu Rong using BARBARIANS card?

Ans: Yes.

Loop start: Any player uses barbarians. Cao Cao chooses to suffer 1 damage, and picks up the barbarians card. This takes precedence over Zhu Rong since he can pick it up immediately once he suffers damage where as Zhu Rong needs to wait till all effects are concluded.

Loop propagation 1: Cao Cao uses the barbarians he picked up. After all effects concluded, Zhu Rong picks the barbarian card.

Loop propagation 2: Zhu Rong uses the same barbarians card she picked up. Cao Cao suffers damage again and picks up the card.

Loop End:

1. Cao Cao does not pick up the card(running low on health or forcefully negated by someone else.
2, Barbarians card gets dismantled or stolen or used in another form.
3. Game is over (objective met)


4. If Zhu Rong attacked one of the Qiao sisters and they passed the attack off to someone else, would Zhu Rong points-duel the new target, or the intended Qiao?

Ans: Zhu Rong's ability should be used on the character that suffers the damage. Which means the Qiao's will not be affected by the ability, but instead the player whom she passed the damage to will be subjected.




Mèng Huò 孟获

Posted by Ricky Chua On 10:57 AM 27 comments
Translated description:
"King of the Southern Barbarians 南蛮王 (nán mán wáng)"

Wikipedia link: Meng Huo Wiki

Who is he:
After the Kingdom of Shu Han 蜀汉 had been established in the west for several years, Meng Huo invaded Shu Han from the south. By this time, Liu Bei 刘备 had died and Zhu Ge Liang 诸葛亮 made all the major decisions as Prime Minister. Meng Huo sarcastically commented that the occupation of Shu Han over the western lands was a barbaric act, thus Meng Huo was going to claim back the land where their ancestors roamed. Zhu Ge Liang decided that an all-out war would exhaust supplies as well as cause too many innocent casualties. He also predicted that even if Shu Han was victorious, the barbarians would retaliate or harbour thoughts of revenge, thus it was best that Meng Huo and his people can be subdued by winning their respect. Meng Huo attacked Shu Han on different occasions but Zhu Ge Liang outsmarted him every single time, capturing Meng Huo but freeing him. Every time Meng Huo blamed external circumstances for his defeat and refused to acknowledge Zhu Ge Liang was the stronger. In the end, Zhu Ge Liang captured Meng Huo 7 times before Meng Huo finally gave in and subdued his people. From then on, the barbarians never invaded Shu Han again and were loyal to Zhu Ge Liang.


Character ability 1: [Enforced ability] "The Smoking Gun 祸首 (huò shǒu)"
The tool card BARBARIANS 南蛮入侵 has no effect on you. You will be the source of any damage caused by the use of BARBARIANS.

(This means any follow-up ability (retaliatory or advantageous) of other characters will target Meng Huo instead of the character who played the card.)

Character ability 2: "Arise Again 再起 (zài qǐ)"
During the drawing phase, iIf you are not at full health, you can choose to give up the drawing phase and, instead, flip X number of cards from the deck (X being the amount of health you have lost thus far). Of these X cards, you will regain 1 unit of health for every card with the suit of "hearts". The cards with "hearts" will be discarded while the remaining cards that were flipped will be kept into your hand.

Ability's relation to story:
Meng Huo's abilities have direct links to the story. He is the King of the Barbarians, therefore it is no surprise that his is "the smoking gun" for any damage caused by BARBARIANS. "Arise Again" probably has links to being released by Zhu Ge Liang 7 times. Meng Huo had the "never say die" attitude that pushed him to attack Shu Han repeatedly, despite so many failed attempts.

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - Repeatedly attacking Shu Han, but ultimately was not Zhu Ge Liang's match. Still, most would have given up after the 2nd or 3rd attempt. Meng Huo kept on fighting for 7 times.

2. Cause of death - The story does not further mention Meng Huo after he admits defeat, however historical records state that Meng Huo might have become an official in Shu Han and he died of old-age. Word of caution though, the historical (real) Meng Huo deviates significantly from the story. He was never caught 7 times by Zhu Ge Liang, and he was not even a barbarian, much less the barbarian king.

FAQ and Disambiguation

1. For Meng Huo's ''Arise Again'' ability, can the flipped card be tinkered by Si Ma Yi/ Zhang Jiao?

Ans: No. This is because it is not a judgement card.


2. If another player uses BARBARIANS and damages Xia Hou Dun, does Xia Hou Dun's ''An eye for an eye'' ability target the user of the card or Meng Huo?

Ans: It would target Meng Huo.


3. Does the player used Barbarians have to use an attack to save himself since Meng Huo is the source of damage?

Ans: No the player who uses the Barbarians card NEED NOT use an ATTACK card for himself.
USER of the card > The player who uses the barbarians card will never need to use ATTACK to save himself.
SOURCE OF DAMAGE > The player whom all reward and punishment will go to due to barbarians.


4. Must the cards flipped for ''Rise Again'' be shown to everyone?

Ans: Yes. Everyone will get to see all the cards flipped out.


5. If Meng Huo is Ruler and someone uses BARBARIANS and kills the Loyalist, must Meng Huo discard all his cards?

Ans: Yes


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