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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Auxiliary Rule Part 8: Hidden Ruler Mode

Posted by Ricky Chua On 8:45 PM 7 comments

Prologue by Ricky:
The Hidden Ruler mode is the first of a compilation of "official" auxiliary rules that was published in Zhuo You Zhi magazine. The post you see below is a direct translation of the original chinese article, thus all credits go to Zhuo You Zhi magazine.


Hidden Ruler mode 暗主公模式

The Hidden Ruler mode is one of the earliest unofficial modes, created based on the standard (25 characters) pack. The rules of this mode are almost the same as the standard ones with a slight difference:

The Ruler 主公 is unknown at the beginning of the game.


Recommended number of players: 4-10


Difficulty in learning this mode: 1 out of 5


Strategy involved: 3 out of 5


Fun factor: 2 out of 5



Basic rules

1. Pick your role card in the same way as the original gameplay. DO NOT EXPOSE YOUR
ROLE CARD EVEN IF YOU ARE THE RULER.

2. Pick your character in the same way as the original gameplay. YOKA suggests that
every player gets 5 character cards and choose one among them.

3.Game start: Every role card is upside down (which means the Ruler is hidden). And
place your character card normally as the official rule says. Every player’s health units
will be exactly the same as the character’s.

4. Choose a random player and let him or her choose a random number. Start with the
chosen player and count from one to the chosen number counterclockwise. The player
who gets the chosen number gets an additional health unit and has to expose his role
card, then gets to play first.

5. The game’s ending conditions and the Points-scoring system are the same as the
official ones.


Tips


1. Every player gets to think about how to play according to the only exposed Role card
and his or her own Role.

2. If you are the hidden Ruler, and you also choose a character with Ruler ability, you can
use the ability if and only if you choose to expose your Role card.

3. If the number of players is odd and the only exposed Role is a Defector, restart the
game.


Comments


The players are supposed to guess who the Ruler is in-game according to the situation
and other players’ actions. Though it’d probably cause lots of chaos and be hard to
guess the players’ roles, it would definitely be a new adventure to the people who are
used to playing SGS according to the official rules.


Contributing Writer:
- Cherry Cat

Monday, December 19, 2011


Article Contributed by: 
- Kalvin Li

Description:
Dual Characters, as the name kinda suggests, this rule involves you possessing two character’s abilities and health. For example: Sun Quan and Lu Bu, they will have 8 health and have both their abilities. This game mode can incorporate the expansion pack, expansion characters and even Demi-Gods if you wish. Of course there are certain loop-holes in this mode such as Hua Tuo 华佗 and Huang Gai 黄盖 combined.

Gender:
The gender of a pair of characters can be determined by his or her health: You take on the gender of the character with higher max health limit. For example, Zhu Rong 祝融 (Female, 4 Health) and Lu Xun 陆逊 (Male, 3 health), you would be female. If both of your characters have the same amount of health and they are of different gender, you are considered “Unisex”, and that makes you vulnerable to all gender-related abilities and implications.

Allegiance:
The allegiance of a pair of characters can be determined in the same way as gender (higher max health), but if both your characters have the same health, the Ruler will choose your allegiance for you at the start of the game. If one of the pair of characters you have chosen is a Ruler Character, then you are automatically that character’s allegiance.

Of course, there are different adjustments for different game types.

3 on 3:
Besides the character distribution process, everything else remains the same. Instead of the characters being selected by the Defector 内奸 and the Ruler 主公, the players are handed out 4 characters to choose from. Each player can swap 1 character with any other player but the characters must be placed face down when swapped (like a points duel), this is called the “Swapping Phase”. The Ruler and the Defector may look and choose their loyalist or rebel’s characters at their team mate’s characters only after the “Swapping Phase”.

5-10 Players:
Rules that were previously mentions and can be applied will be applied The only difference is the Ruler’s Character selection. At the start of the game he is handed 3 Ruler Characters to choose from. The players must select which Ruler Character he/she wants to be, they are THEN handed 2 other characters to choose as their second of the pair.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dear Readers,

In all honesty, i have always felt that the Sino-Games.com webshop has a lot of room to improve. It just isn't anywhere near as user-friendly as I would like it to be.

Then I stumbled upon "Tackthis!", a software which allows the creation of Facebook shops, and its pretty user-friendly as well.

But I'll let you be the judge of that, so go ahead and surf around a bit on the shop. You can find it under the "Tackthis!" tab on the left-column of the SGS English page. Go check it out!

Click on the picture to visit Sino-games.com's Facebook "Speed-shop"

One thing to note though, the Facebook Speed-shop is not the full-fledged Sino-Games.com shop since it only handles very light orders (such as SP cards, Demi-God cards, Expansion packs, and replacement cards). That's why it's a "Speed-shop", for quick purchases and light postage. Perhaps in the future I will consider porting everything over, provided the platform works well.

Thanks for all your support! 杀!
Description:

Unlike some of the other weapons in SGS, the Silver Moon Lance didn’t really exist in history. It’s an imaginary spear that was designed by Kayak, one of the founders of the game. According to Kayak, the aim of this weapon was to introduce Zhao Yun 赵云’s weapon into SGS, yet the name was completely made-up because the real name of Zhao Yun’s weapon could not be found in any records. According to the historical descriptions, we only know that it was a lance, not exactly helpful for generating a "magical" killing tool.

This card first appeared in 2008 when SGS was created, but early players quickly found its ability over-powered, especially when equipped by certain characters. In 2009, YOKA “fixed” the bug by inexplicably making it even more destructive than the Zhu Ge Crossbow 诸葛连弩. It was also a lot more confusing to calculate damage. The writings were clearly on the wall for this card and YOKA removed this weapon altogether from the current deck we know today. As if in repentance for all that power in this weapon, the card is replaced with a NEGATE 无懈可击 card, a form of atonement perhaps for all the units of health that were lost while the Silver Moon Lance roamed.

Special ability:
Whenever you play a black-suited card outside of your turn, you can immediately ask a player within your attacking arrange to play a DODGE 闪 card or else that player will lose one unit of health.

Characters that match this weapon best:
All the characters that have abilities related to black-suit cards. For example, Zhao Yun and Demi-god Zhao Yun (who can use a black-suit ATTACK as a DODGE), Zhen Ji 甄姬 (who can use any black-suit card as a DODGE), Younger Zhuge Liang 卧龙诸葛亮 (who can use any black-suit card as a NEGATE), Sima Yi 司马懿 and Zhang Jiao 张角 (who can replace or exchange cards with their black-suit cards).

Why is it an SP card?
This is probably the first card that became a collectible because it is part of SGS Legend. It is also the only weapon in SGS whose ability can be activated outside of a player’s round. That means it’s not only a weapon but also acts like an armour. It can be incredibly powerful when paired with characters mentioned above. So in order to prevent a game from being over too quickly, the card was removed from SGS. It is for this exact reason that this card has become valued as a collector's item!

How to obtain this weapon?
It is not available on SGS online (and won’t be available in the future either). For obtaining this card (2011 version), you can purchase ZYZ magazine issue #10 (October 2011). If you want to obtain the first-edition card (2008 version), you have to look for it via websites like e-bay and it would be pretty expensive, good luck!

Contributing Writer:
- Cherry Cat

Friday, December 9, 2011

Q Version Blog completed

Posted by Ricky Chua On 11:24 PM No comments
Dear Readers,

The Q version blog is finally complete, and ALL characters and cards have been updated. The only thing i did not do is create a "How to Play" page yet, because that's just very similar to the current game.

But for now, just enjoy all the cute pictures. Click on the images to go to the SGS Blog!





Have fun with the Q-version!! 杀!

Zhōu Tài 周泰

Posted by Ricky Chua On 11:14 PM No comments

What's with the cartoon?
They can't show the original portrait of Zhou Tai being pierced by spears! It's a kids game for goodness' sakes! So let's make it more family friendly by piercing him with a kitchen knife, bread knife, fork, and a plunger just for good measure. Sheesh!

Who is he:
If there was a commando spirit in any of the Three Kingdoms characters, it would be Zhou Tai. If I had my way, I would rewrite his description as "Never say die". He began his military career as a pirate-convert under Sun Ce 孙策, but Sun Quan 孙权 quickly took a liking and requested Zhou Tai be transfered over to his command. It was from then on that Zhou Tai would save Sun Quan's ass many times from certain death. In one significant scenario in the story, Sun Quan asked Zhou Tai to remove his clothing during a banquet and show his battle scars for all those present. Zhou Tai remembers the battle behind every scar, most of which he earned valiantly serving the cause of the Sun Quan's Wu Kingdom. It is thus that Sun Quan treats Zhou Tai as one of his most trusted and capable generals, as kin as a brother to him.

Character ability: "Refuting Death 不屈 (bù qū)"
When Zhou Tai's health reaches zero (brink of death), one playing card must be flipped from the deck and placed on his character card. Zhou Tai is not considered dead at this point and the game continues. Whenever he loses an additional unit of health from here on, an additional card will be further added on top of his character card. As long as none of these cards have the same "number" (ie: from ace to king), Zhou Tai will remain alive. Whenever there is a card or more placed on his character card, he will always be considered as being on the "brink of death".

Disambiguation:
1. Can the card displayed after Zhou Tai's health reaches zero be "tinkered" with by Si Ma Yi 司马懿 or Zhang Jiao 张角?

Ans: No. It is not a judgement card and cannot be changed by these 2 characters.


[Added Feb 2011] 2. Can other players use PEACH 桃 on Zhou Tai when he has "brink-of-death" cards displayed?

Ans: Only under specific circumstances. Other players can only use PEACH on Zhou Tai when:
(a) When Zhou Tai receives damage
(b) Right after a "brink-of-death" card is flipped.

3. What happens when another "brink-of-death" card has a number that matches one of the other cards already displayed?

[Updated Feb 2011] Ans: Zhou Tai DOES NOT die immediately. Instead the other players have the option of using PEACH to save him, or he can use PEACH or WINE 酒. Once saved, the most recent "brink-of-death" card can be discarded.


[Added Feb 2011] 4. Can Zhou Tai use PEACH or WINE in his turn to remove "brink-of-death" cards, even though he did not receive damage?

Ans: Yes. 

5. What is the largest number of health units that Zhou Tai can have in total before he dies?

Ans: 16!! 3 units of health deducted the normal way plus a possible 13 different cards can be displayed without any repeating number.

Ability's relation to story:
His ability "Refuting Death" is a wonderful match from the story! Many times Zhou Tai risked life and limb to save Sun Quan, each time getting injured and cut up but he survives! This ability is a tribute to the Zhou Tai that "never says die".

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - Immense bravery in rescuing Sun Quan at the battle of Ru Xu Kou 濡须口之战. Upon the failure of Sun Quan's attack, he found himself surrounded by enemy troops. Zhou Tai had already dashed to safety, but seeing that Sun Quan was nowhere to be seen, dashed into the chaos of battle once again. He told Sun Quan to follow behind as he slashed a path out to safety. Yet Sun Quan was once again surrounded very quickly and all seemed lost. Zhou Tai dashed into battle a second time, but this time the enemy was raining arrows on them. Zhou Tai told Sun Quan to dash straight out to safety as he covered to rear this time. They succeeded but Zhou Tai was injured in numerous places in his body. But that wasn't the end. After Sun Quan was safe, he dashed into the chaos a third time to rescue Xu Sheng 徐盛 successfully.

2. Cause of death - Zhou Tai died of illness at an old-age. It is estimated that he was 62 years old at the time of his death. 

Zhāng Jiǎo 张角

Posted by Ricky Chua On 11:10 PM No comments

What's with the cartoon?
He looks more similar to Rambo in this new portrait. The key detail here is the spade that seems to be generating the lightning for him, which as you know is spot-on for Zhang Jiao's deadly abilities!

Who is he:
The leader and inciter of the yellow turban rebellion, Zhang Jiao became a hero to the those suffering under the corrupt and decaying Han Dynasty 汉朝. Due to a terrible famine that hit China at around 180 AD, the people suffered terribly and yet were further tormented by corrupt and greedy officials. It was then that Zhang Jiao met a strange old man in a cave which gave him 3 books, said to contain the ways of a mysterious art. After mastering the books, Zhang Jiao could control the wind, rain, and lightning and became a sorcerer. Despite having these powers, Zhang Jiao won the hearts of the people by providing aid and supplies to those in need. It was thus that tens of thousands rallied behind Zhang Jiao in his bid to overthrow the Han Dynasty. He never succeeded however, and was defeated by those who were loyal to dynasty, namely Liu Bei 刘备 and Cao Cao 曹操.

Character ability 1: "Lightning Strike 雷击 (léi jī)"
Whenever Zhang Jiao uses a DODGE 闪 card, he can target any player to make a judgement. If the judgement card is of the "spades" suit, the target player suffers 2 units of lightning attribute damage.

Character ability 2: "Dark Sorcery 鬼道 (gǔi dào)"
Zhang Jiao can exchange the judgement card of any player before it takes effect with any of his "spades" or "clubs" suit cards (on-hand or equipped). Note that the cards are exchanged, meaning Zhang Jiao can retrieve the original judgement card back into his hand.

Character ability 3: [Ruler ability] "Amber Sky 黄天 (huáng tiān)"
All Heroes 群雄 characters can give Zhang Jiao one DODGE or LIGHTNING 闪电 card during their individual turns.

Ability's relation to story:
In the story, there wasn't much mention of Zhang Jiao himself. From what is written, it is known that can he control the weather (like Storm from X-Men). Therefore "Lightning Strike" is a direct link. There is no mention of any form of deception or intervention such as "Dark Sorcery", however.

"Amber Sky" actually has a link to the story. Part of the slogan of the Yellow Turban Rebels goes something like this:

"The Dynasty is dead, arise the Amber Sky 苍天已死, 黄天当立"

where Amber Sky is a celebratory designation that Zhang Jiao gave himself, akin to calling himself the Amber Emperor.

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - Inciting the Yellow Turban Rebellion and opening the epic Three Kingdoms story. Zhang Jiao appears in Chapter 1 of the story and his valiant efforts in galvanizing the people led to the rebellion. This rebellion is critically important as it marked the beginning of the end of the Han Dynasty, though the rebellion itself fizzled away quickly.

2. Cause of death - Unknown! It was only written in a passing statement that Zhang Jiao had died, and no reference was made as to who killed him and how. The story then put the focus on Zhang Jiao's brother Zhang Bao 张包 and his battle with Liu Bei 刘备.

Yú Jí 于吉

Posted by Ricky Chua On 11:04 PM No comments
What's with the cartoon?
Does his pose look familiar to you? It looks like the sleeping buddha pose doesn't it... with one difference. The crude way in which he sticks up his legs is more like the "Beggar Monk 济公", which is sort of what Yu Ji is in the story. A strange old priest with strange old powers. Players who use him shouldn't be as relaxed though. Everyone usually wants Yu Ji dead before anyone else. 


Who is he:
This Daoist priest had only half a chapter's air-time, but his impact on the story was enormous. If not for Yu Ji, Sun Quan 孙权would not have become ruler of the Wu Kingdom. While Sun Ce 孙策 was still alive, the officers of Wu Kingdom gathered around an old Daoist priest  one day. Sun Ce was very averse to superstition and became extremely upset that his people were listening to hocus-pocus nonsense. That Daoist priest, Yu Ji, was thus thrown into prison, which greatly alarmed many officers and citizens. Till then, Yu Ji has constantly been healing the sick with magic for free and has done a lot of social good. Sun Ce refused to pardon Yu Ji and ordered him executed. Alas, the magic of Yu Ji cursed Sun Ce and Sun Ce began seeing apparitions of Yu Ji everywhere he went. It was thus that Sun Ce went mad and died from a ruptured wound.

Character ability: "Bewilder 盅惑 (zhōng huò)"
Whenever Yu Ji uses a Basic Card (like ATTACK 杀, PEACH 桃 etc.) or Non-Time-Delay Tool cards (such as DISMANTLE 过河拆桥NEGATE 无懈可击 etc.), he can verbalize the intended card but play a card faced down on the table. If nobody doubts the authenticity of the card, the card takes the effect as verbalized. If there is (are) any player(s) that doubt the authenticity of the card, the card must be flipped over to expose the true identity of the card.

- If the card is real, every player that expressed doubted will lose 1 unit of health.
- If the card is a fake, every player that expressed doubt gets to draw 1 card from the deck.

Regardless whether the card is real or fake, the card is rendered useless as long as it has been flipped over UNLESS the card is both real and has a suit of "hearts", in which case the card still is effective.

Ability's relation to the story:
Yu Ji never actually spread any stories or propaganda in his time alive, but Sun Ce simply refused to believe it. Thus the basis of the ability "Bewilder" comes from Sun Ce's accusation that Yu Ji was bewildering his citizens.

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - Controlling the weather. Yu Ji was asked by Sun Ce to prove that he was no trickster by summoning the rain amidst a drought. Yu Ji successfully brought the rain, which came in torrents and flooded the city, but still Sun Ce was not appeased.

2. Cause of death - Executed in public by Sun Ce. After bringing the rain, Sun Ce ordered Yu Ji beheaded. His officers pleaded on behalf of Yu Ji, which enraged Sun Ce further. He questioned all within earshot if they were revolting because of this priest, and no one dare speak up after that. After Yu Ji was executed, Sun Ce had his body displayed in public for all to see, but the corpse mysteriously vanished the following day. Thereafter, Yu Ji haunted Sun Ce till he became mad and died.

Xiǎo Qiáo 小乔

Posted by Ricky Chua On 11:01 PM No comments

What's with the cartoon?
They have finally admitted!! Xiao Qiao's skirt is too bloody short in the original portrait and it's been giving 12 year old boys who play SGS teeny hard-ons. Now with the Q-version, they intend to bring the hard-on right down to the 4 year olds... by making her do a Marilyn Monroe!! Nice!

Who is she:
Wife of Zhou Yu 周瑜 and younger sister of Da Qiao 大乔, Xiao Qiao is the starry-eyed girl next door famous for her musical talent. As explained in my post on Da Qiao, the two sisters were one of the major reasons for the Kingdom of Sun Wu 孙吴 going to war with the Kingdom of Cao Wei 曹魏, which quickly resulted in the battle of Red Cliffs 赤壁之战. Xiao Qiao was notably more vocal and expressive than her aloof elder sister, thus it seemed like Xiao Qiao was the more musically talented of the two, but it has been argued that Da Qiao is equally skilled in music and just chooses to play only for her beau Sun Ce 孙策.

Character ability 1: "Heavenly Scent 天香 (tiān xiāng)"
Whenever Xiao Qiao receives any damage, she can choose to pass the damage on to any other player by discarding an on-hand card that has a suit of "hearts". The victim that receives the damage gets to draw X number of cards from the deck, X being the total amount of health loss (measured from the character's maximum health level) after the deflection. Xiao Qiao is left unscathed once the damage is passed to another player.

[Updated]
For example, Xiao Qiao receives 2 units of damage and she discards ONE on-hand card of "hearts" suit to pass the damage on to Zhang Fei 张飞 (who currently has 2 units of health left with a maximum health of 4). Zhang Fei loses 2 units of health due to damage passed by Xiao Qiao, however he does not get to draw 4 cards (Max health = 4, subtract current health = 0, equals 4 cards to draw) until he has been rescued from the brink of death.

Character ability 2: [Enforced ability] "Youthful Beauty 红颜 (hóng yán)"
All cards with a suit of "spades" will ALWAYS be regarded as the suit of "hearts" as long as it is part of Xiao Qiao's action.

This effectively means that her "Heavenly Scent" ability will also work if she discards a "spade" since it is regarded as a "heart". This also means that LIGHTNING will NEVER strike her since she is the one that conducts the judgement for LIGHTNING and it requires "spades" to strike. An additional bonus is that she has a stronger chance of overcoming ACEDIA since judgement card of "spades" will equal to "hearts".

Ability's relation to story:
Neither of her abilities have any link to the story. Despite her "Heavenly Scent" being horrifyingly powerful, there is just no mention in the story about anything related to her scent doing demonic damage.

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - Marrying the brilliant Zhou Yu. I know it sounds derogatory to say that marrying someone of stature is an "achievement", but she would probably have been viewed upon with envy in her time. Besides, there really isn't much material I can work with here.

2. Cause of death - Unknown. Conflicting stories mixed with contaminated legends have churned out an array of different endings for Xiao Qiao. The two most common are "grieving for Zhou Yu till she died of old age" and "dying of illness".

Xià Hóu Yuān 夏侯渊

Posted by Ricky Chua On 10:58 PM 1 comment

What's with the cartoon?
Look! It's ROCKMAN doing some sort of powerdash... thing. Anyway this deviates slightly from the original portrait because he has lost his weapon, but he does look a lot cooler here!

Who is he:
Perhaps less famous than his cousin Xia Hou Dun 夏侯惇 but a one of the pillars of Cao Cao 曹操's army, Xia Hou Yuan was highly praised for his efficiency in logistics. He has been credited as one of the main reasons Cao Cao rebounded from his defeat at the battle of Red Cliffs 赤壁之战 so quickly, thanks to his reliable and prompt logistics handling. In the battlefield, Xia Hou Yuan earned his nickname "Cheetah of the West 西部猎豹" for his lightning fast capture of the cities on the western border of the Wei Kingdom 魏国. Unfortunately, many of these details would have been left out if you had read the simplified version of Romance of Three Kingdoms. The big highlight of Xia Hou Yuan was his death at Han Zhong 汉中 under the hands of Huang Zhong 黄忠.

Character ability: "Godspeed 神速 (shén sù)"
Xia Hou Yuan can use either or both of the following options listed below. When any of the options below are activated, it is equivalent to using an ATTACK 杀 card on any player (no distance limitations).

1. Skip his judgement phase as well as his drawing phase (no judgement and no drawing of 2 cards from the deck)

2. Skip his action phase as well as discard one equipment card (horse, armour or weapon). This means he can no longer use any other card in his turn. Note that this option can only be used once a turn, regardless of how many equipment cards you have.

Note: Using this ability does NOT count as having used an ATTACK card. Which means to say if Godspeed option 1 is used, the player can continue to use an ATTACK card during the action phase. Both the options can be used consecutively in one turn, thus skipping judgement, drawing and action phase whilst being able to ATTACK twice.

Ability's relation to story:
Xia Hou Yuan was known for his speed in moving his troops and catching his opponents off-guard. In his effort to capture the city of Chang Li 长离, Xia Hou Yuan discarded most of his supplies so as to be able to achieve surprise. This is probably the link behind "Godspeed" option 2 ability. In general, Xia Hou Yuan in the cardgame does bring an element of speed since he can choose to ATTACK immediately even before drawing cards. Though this speed is of no consequence whatsoever in terms of dealing damage, it does make him a very useful character since he will always be able to use ATTACK on any player at least once a turn.

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - In his attack on Song Jian 宋健, Xia Hou Yuan was able to capture the city within two months, a very short timespan in those days. Song Jian and all his officers were massacred by Xia Hou Yuan, which ultimately scared the balls off the other opponents in the nearby region. Within a year, most of these opponents surrendered to Cao Wei 曹魏 out of fear of Xia Hou Yuan.

2. Cause of death - The tragedy of Xia Hou Yuan is the glory of Huang Zhong from Shu Han 蜀汉. The story goes that Huang Zhong set his troops up a hill overlooking Xia Hou Yuan's camp at Han Zhong 汉中. Xia Hou Yuan got upset that his camp was being spied on and rallied an attack on Huang Zhong. Huang Zhong held firm till Xia Hou Yuan's troops became weary from fighting uphill, then led a massive counter-attack downhill. Huang Zhong himself cut Xia Hou Yuan into two. 

Wèi Yán 魏延

Posted by Ricky Chua On 10:55 PM No comments
What is with the cartoon?
OMG it's Eric Cartman from Southpark! Yes it is another broadly similar portrait with the original, but Wei Yan just looks like he's having lots of trouble taking a crap.


Who is he:
We all know a rebellious kid back in school who just refused to listen to instructions. Wei Yan is a competent Shu Han 蜀汉 general who was similar to that kid. Though not an outright rebel, Wei Yan always had that streak in him that made him difficult to lead. If there was a phrase that he would say, it would probably go along the lines of "Why should I (bla bla)...". In true dramatic fashion, Wei Yan became the "bad guy" when he revolted against Zhu Ge Liang 诸葛亮 and Shu Han. In today's world, he would probably make a pretty successful entrepreneur!


Character ability: "Insanity Streak 狂骨 (kuáng gǔ)" [Enforced ability]
Whenever Wei Yan causes damage to any player within physical range of 1, he regains 1 unit of health for every 1 unit of damage caused. Taking this to the extreme, Wei Yan can regain 4 units of health if he has equipped "-1 horse", uses BARBARIANS 南蛮入侵, and the 4 players to his immediate left and right all suffer damage. Since this is an enforced ability, he cannot choose not to absorb health.

Ability's relation to story:
A vampirical character is fun to have in a game, though there is no mention of any blood-sucking characters in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Of course, Wei Yan was never a vampire and wasn't even portrayed anywhere near one. So this ability is purely just for gaming sakes.

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - The rescue of Huang Zhong 黄忠 from execution at the city of Chang Sha 长沙. Wei Yan got pissed off by Han Xuan 韩玄's distrust of Huang Zhong and decided to take matters into his own hands. He killed Han Xuan, rescued Huang Zhong, then surrendered the city to Liu Bei. Huang Zhong went on to become one of Liu Bei 刘备's most important generals. If not for Wei Yan, there would be no legend of Huang Zhong.

2. Cause of death - After Zhu Ge Liang died, Wei Yan openly revolted against Shu Han. Zhu Ge Liang, being all godly and smart, knew that Wei Yan was going to revolt once he died. Therefore he tipped off Wei Yan's partner Ma Dai 马岱, and laid a trap. In the midst of open revolt, Wei Yan challenged Shu Han's forces and shouted "Who dares to kill me?". Ma Dai happily decapitated him from behind.

Huáng Zhōng 黄忠

Posted by Ricky Chua On 10:52 PM No comments
What's with the cartoon?
They removed the old man's horse and made him look like a severely over-aged cupid, but generally it is still similar to the original portrait.

Who is he:
Quite possibly the oldest general by age in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. By the time of his fatal injury that he sustained in combat, Huang Zhong was already 75 years old. His age is probably exaggerated, much like many of the other details in the story. In fact, no record exists that could determine his age. The legend of Huang Zhong is, therefore, 80% influenced by Romance of the Three Kingdoms and not so much by true history. Nonetheless, Huang Zhong was an incredible general, very powerful in combat and deadly accurate with the bow and arrow. The game makers of San Guo Sha 三国杀 really put his attacking abilities to the extreme! More about his character abilities below.

Character ability: "Fearsome Archer 烈弓 (liè gōng)"
In the action phase, Huang Zhong's ATTACK 杀 cannot be evaded by DODGE 闪 under the following 2 circumstances:

1. The number of on-hand cards of the target player is less than or equal to your attacking range.


2. The number of on-hand cards of the target player is more than or equal to the units of health you have remaining.


With a little extrapolation of the possibilities, you will notice that when Huang Zhong has only 1 unit of health left, any target player he uses ATTACK on cannot DODGE. "Undodgeable" ATTACK by Huang Zhong is therefore possible anytime his health remaining is less than or equal to his attacking range.

Ability's relation to story:
I wonder if the game makers are helping Huang Zhong make up for his age by giving him such an extreme character ability. Nothing close to this kind of combat prowess (where enemies cannot escape his attacks) is described in the story. A thin link to the story is possible when you consider that Huang Zhong is a celebrated archer. Perhaps the game makers wanted to give this famous archer the advantage by matching his weapon. Read about his matching weapon below.

Matching weapon: "Unicorn Bow 麒麟弓 (qí lín gōng)"
Okay okay, don't send me hate mail! I know that the 麒麟 is not a unicorn! You can read more about that in the trivia section of the UNICORN BOW post. Anyway, this is Huang Zhong's weapon and it is quite obvious what a huge advantage this weapon gives him. UNICORN BOW has an attacking range of 5, which means when Huang Zhong equips this weapon, your opponent needs to have at least 6 cards on-hand to be able to DODGE your ATTACK! Very few characters can hold that many cards outside of their turn! Off-hand I can only think of Lu Meng 吕蒙 and Cao Ren 曹仁. Do add on other characters by leaving me a comment!

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - Although his biggest credit was killing the Cao Wei 曹魏 general Xia Hou Yuan 夏侯渊 at the battle of Mount Ding Jun 定军山之战, I prefer to think that honor is equally shared with his advisor Fa Zheng 法正.

Instead I feel his most memorable achievement was his chivalry when Guan Yu 关羽battled him in their first meet. At that time, Huang Zhong was defending the city of Chang Sha 长沙 from the forces of Liu Bei 刘备. Guan Yu was sent to duel with Huang Zhong, both of them ferocious but chivalrous. Huang Zhong purposely shot an arrow that hit Guan Yu's helmet instead of killing him, for he had grown to respect Guan Yu very quickly. Guan Yu killed Huang Zhong's horse in battle, but instead of taking advantage, Guan Yu let Huang Zhong rest and find another suitable horse to do battle again. The next day, Huang Zhong repeatedly took shots at Guan Yu with his bow, but did not load any arrows, as a subtle way of thanking Guan Yu. Eventually, Huang Zhong surrendered to Liu Bei after being rescued by Wei Yan 魏延 after Han Xuan 韩玄 ordered Huang Zhong executed for disloyalty.

2. Cause of death - Huang Zhong was shot by a poisoned arrow in an ambush laid by Pan Zhang 潘璋. This happened after Guan Yu's death and Liu Bei led a campaign against the kingdom of Sun Wu 孙吴 for revenge. Huang Zhong did not die in battle, but his old age caused him to succumb to his wounds later that night.

Demi-God Lǚ Méng 神吕蒙

Posted by Ricky Chua On 10:48 PM No comments
What's with the cartoon?
This is just a cutesy version of the original portrait, but this time holding a heart-shaped lollipop which is symbolic of his abilities.

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 the drawing phase, Lu Meng 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 the action phase, Lu Meng can view all the on-hand cards of 1 player. He 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, Lu Meng can chose 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.

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