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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Robotic Ox 木牛流马 (mù niú liú mǎ)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 11:38 PM 6 comments
Description:
To the uninitiated, this item would make absolutely no sense whatsoever. A robot shaped like an ox in the Three Kingdoms period?! If you thought Leonardo Da Vinci's inventions were ingenius for his time, well this came 1200 years before he was even born!

Literally translated as "Wooden Ox, Flowing Horse", this ancient invention is the brainchild of (you guessed it) Zhu Ge Liang 诸葛亮. In his final campaigns against Si Ma Yi 司马懿, the troops of Shu Kingdom 蜀国 needed to traverse narrow mountain paths between camps. Since supplies are the lifeline of any army and transporting supplies along those mountain paths were a drag-ass affair, Zhu Ge Liang's "Robotic Ox" invention revolutionized logistics!

The Robotic Ox was said to look like a cross between a wheel-barrow and a shopping trolley. The "Ox" and "Horse" was thrown into the name since those animals were the prevailing mode of logistic transport in those days. Made purely out of wood, this gem of an invention was a vital part of the Shu army's campaign in the north. So revolutionary was this tool, that Si Ma Yi wanted to steal one and reverse engineer it for the army of the Wei Kingdom 魏国!

Ability description:
Once equipped, you can give all your cards that you discard in the discard phase (after exposing the cards for all to see) to any player.

Historical Basis:
There is some semblance of basis here. The Robotic Ox was a logistical utility after all, meant to transport supplies from one camp to another. If we assume that this tool will only be used to give cards to allied players, then this is similar to Zhu Ge Liang's intended use anyway.

Trivia:
Apparently the Robotic Ox is no fictional entity. There actually exists detailed measurements of some components of this tool. The strange thing is, despite the measurements, the actual appearance of the complete Robotic Ox is still a mystery. It is supposed to look like an Ox... somehow. It is also supposed to gallop when pushed. How much of reality has been contaminated with two thousand years of storytelling, we may never know. What we DO KNOW is, this thing is significant enough to have its own Wikipedia writeup! 

6 comments:

  1. Can you choose not to give any cards? Or do you have to give every card you discard?

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Phil K: its optional. you can give either one, two, all or even none of your discarded cards to any player. but only ONE player

    ReplyDelete
  3. I would say its questionable. It does not say that it is an enforced ability, but the phrasing in Chinese does feel like it means ALL OR NONE discarded cards must be given away.

    Of course, this is the unofficial pack. Bugs bugs bugs!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Can you choose to give the cards back to yourself?

    ReplyDelete
  5. As Ricky said, this is an unofficial card so the text is rather ambiguous.. It doesn't actually say that it has to be cards discarded during the discard phase.

    "After being equipped, you may give your discarded cards to any one player after revealing them." So, I would rule that you can give the cards back to yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  6. can dismentle disarm these treasure item? or using steal to steal these item?

    ReplyDelete

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