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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Younger Zhū Gě Liàng 卧龙诸葛亮

Posted by Ricky Chua On 1:53 PM 11 comments
Translated description:
"Hidden dragon 卧龙 (wò lóng)"

Wikipedia link: Zhu Ge Liang Wiki

Who is he:
The second of three versions of Zhu Ge Liang in the card game, Younger Zhu Ge Liang depicts the ridiculously omniscient Zhu Ge Liang in the early days of his career with Liu Bei 刘备. Not to say that his "powers" got any weaker with age, but it does seem like the writer of Romance of Three Kingdoms (Luo Guan Zhong 罗贯中) intended for Zhu Ge Liang to appear with a bang. This was the Zhu Ge Liang that literally frustrated Zhou Yu 周瑜 to death. However since a lot of the background on Zhu Ge Liang will be repeated in all three versions of the character, I'll take the opportunity to talk about his days just prior to joining Liu Bei.

Character ability 1: "Eight Trigrams Formation 八阵 (bā zhèn)" [Enforced ability]
When no armour is equipped, you will always have the protection of the EIGHT TRIGRAMS 八卦阵 armour by default.

Character ability 2: "Arson 火计 (huǒ jì)"
All your on-hand cards with a red suit ("hearts" or "diamonds") can be used as BLAZE 火攻 during your action phase.

Character ability 3: "Scient 看破 (kàn pò)"
All your on-hand cards with a black suit ("clubs" or "spades") can be used as NEGATE 无懈可击.

Ability's relation to story:
Zhu Ge Liang actively trained the troops of Shu Han 蜀汉 during lull periods. His mastery of military formations gained the respect of many of his adversaries, not least Si Ma Yi 司马懿 in the later years. The Eight Trigrams Formation is one of the most famous that Zhu Ge Liang used very well.

Arson was used by him from the very first battle he oversaw, which resulted in huge losses for the enemy. Later, both him and Zhou Yu came up with the same idea to use fire against Cao Cao 曹操 at the battle at Red Cliffs 赤壁之战.

Of course, Zhu Ge Liang was depicted as so god-damned smart that every teeny weeny little action of his enemies, he understood their intent. His 3rd ability "Scient" plays on the fact that no tool or ploy works on him, since he can see through it all instantly. Smart ass.

Matching weapon: "Feathered Fan 朱雀羽扇 (zhū què yǔ shàn)"
Though the feathered fan is Zhu Ge Liang's prized item in the story, the weapon in this game is not a perfect match for his abilities. Feathered Fan brings the same advantage to any other player anyways. Besides, with half the entire deck being of red-suited cards, Younger Zhu Ge Liang has more than enough fire attribute offensives as it is!

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - In his younger days, before joining Liu Bei, Zhu Ge Liang was sort of a guru in his hometown. The story depicts the countryside where Zhu Ge Liang lived to be similar to Barney-the-purple-dinosaur land; everyone smiling and singing happily. Though no direct link is made between their state-of-mind and Zhu Ge Liang's presence there, nonetheless it makes for more interesting story-telling to believe that was the case. He would have chosen to stay as a happy farmer for the rest of his life had Liu Bei not paid him repeated visits.

2. Cause of death - Same as the write-up for Elder Zhu Ge Liang 暮年诸葛亮. (How many different causes of death could there be for one person?!)

FAQ and Disambiguation:

1. Does his default Eight Trigrams work against the Blue Steel Blade?

Ans: No it does not.Blue Steel Blade overrides all armor including his default Eight Trigrams.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wèi Yán 魏延

Posted by Ricky Chua On 5:41 PM 15 comments
Translated description:
"The blood-thirsty lone-wolf 嗜血的独狼 (shì xuě dè dú láng)"

Wikipedia link: Wei Yan Wiki

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 you cause damage to any player within physical range of 1, you regain 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.

FAQ and Disambiguation

1. If Wei Yan uses BARBARIANS and everyone who is in play is damaged, will Wei Yan be able to heal himself through his ability?

Ans: Yes, but only from those within his physical range on his left and right.

2. Would Wei Yan heal himself if he uses Fire/Lightning attack on a player that is shackled to other characters?

Ans: Yes he would ONLY if the ATTACK successfully cause damage to a player within a range of 1.

3. Does Wei Yan's ability still apply if he causes damage to himself?

Ans: Yes, because he falls within his own physical range of 1. See next question for more details.

4. If Wei Yan attacks Xiao Qiao and she transfers the damage back to Wei Yan, how should this be resolved?

Ans: Follow this sequence below:

1. Wei Yan damage Xiao Qiao (eg: 2 units)
2. She transfers back to Wei Yan.
3. Wei Yan suffers his own damage first.(lose 2 units) IMPT! If Wei Yan in on the vrink of death, he must be rescued first before step 4 activates.
4. Wei Yan regains 2 units of health due to his ability.(total, no loss in health)
5. Wei Yan draws cards for Xiao Qiao's deflect.Number of cards calculated based on his health after step 4.

Páng Tǒng 庞统

Posted by Ricky Chua On 5:40 PM 24 comments
Translated description:
"Rising Phoenix 凤雏 (fèng chú)"

Wikipedia Link: Pang Tong Wiki

Who is he:
The second smartest person of the era, but also probably the ugliest in looks. Pang Tong is supposedly Zhu Ge Liang 诸葛亮's equal in the brains department. Where Zhu Ge Liang is given the nickname "Hidden Dragon 卧龙 (wo long)", Pang Tong is given the nickname "Rising Phoenix 凤雏 (feng chu)". However his hideous looks made some doubt his ability, such as Sun Quan 孙权. Pang Tong is credited as the critical link behind Cao Cao 曹操's spectacular defeat at battle of Red Cliffs 赤壁之战, but he did not live very long to share his talents. Imagine how the world would have been different had Pang Tong lived a decade longer, where both he and Zhu Ge Liang were helping Liu Bei 刘备.

Character ability 1: "Shackle 连环 (lián huán)"
Every on-hand card that has the suit of "clubs" can be used as IRON SHACKLES 铁索连环.

(This also means that card, regardless of its original function, can perform RE-DRAW 重铸, ie: discarded and replaced with a new card from the deck).

Character ability 2: "Nirvana 涅盘 (niè pán)" [Single-use ability]
When you are on the brink of death, you can choose to discard all your cards (both on-hand and equipped) and resurrect yourself. You will have 3 units of health after resurrection and can immediately draw 3 cards from the deck.

(This ability can only be used once. A symbol or marking (unspecified in the instructions) should be used to inform all players that "Nirvana" has already been used once.)

Ability's relation to story:
"Shackles" is a perfect match for Pang Tong since he practically masterminded the shackling of Cao Cao's ships at the battle of Red Cliffs. The shackles turned out to be the key reason for the blaze which wiped out Cao Cao's troops. You can read more about this incident in my write-up on IRON SHACKLES.

"Nirvana" is an interesting ability. Players have commented that the game makers are making up for Pang Tong's early death by allowing him to resurrect in the card game. Then again, a lot of other characters died early but the game makers never gave them resurrection abilities. I mean look at Guo Jia 郭嘉, he was an exceptional advisor and died young. No second-life for him in this game!

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - Tricking Cao Cao into shackling all his ships together prior to the battle of Red Cliffs, such that when Zhou Yu 周瑜 set the ships ablaze, there was no escape! Pang Tong is also credited as the main motivator behind Liu Bei's occupation of the west, which became the stronghold for Shu Han 蜀汉.

2. Cause of death - Pang Tong was ambushed by arrows as he led troops to attack Luo Cheng 罗城. Liu Bei decided to send Pang Tong by the shortcut, where ambushes were to be expected, even though Liu Bei himself was the combat personnel and Pang Tong was an advisor. The location of Pang Tong's death is called Luo Feng Po 落凤坡, which translates to Valley of the fallen phoenix. How apt.

FAQ and Disambiguation

1. If Pang Tong is the Ruler, does he get reincarnated with 4 health units or just 3?

Ans: After reincarnation , he gets only 3 units health. But as a ruler, his max health is still 4 units. Therefore he can use one PEACH card to increase to 4 units of health.

2. Does Pang Tong gets to pick a new character for his second life?

Ans: No. You must still remain as Pang Tong.

Mǎ Chāo 马超

Posted by Ricky Chua On 5:39 PM 13 comments
Translated description:
"Lone horseman that can outmatch a thousand troops 一骑当千 (yì qí dāng qiān)"

Wikipedia Link: Ma Chao Wiki

Who is he:
The valiant general known for his horsemanship and combat ability, Ma Chao is one of Shu Han 蜀汉's 5 greatest generals. Typically depicted riding a horse, he initially led rebellions against Cao Cao 曹操 before eventually finding his place under Liu Bei 刘备. Ma Chao was highly regarded by Zhu Ge Liang 诸葛亮 as an all-rounded civil and military leader.

Character ability 1: "Horsemanship 马术 (mǎ shù)" [Enforced ability]
You will always be -1 distance in any range calculations.

(This means that when he equips a "-1 horse", he will have a physical distance advantage totaling -2.)

Character ability 2: "Iron Calvary 铁骑 (tiě jì)"
Whenever you use an ATTACK 杀 on any target player, you can choose to flip over one judgement card from the deck. If the judgement card is of a red-suit (hearts and diamonds), the ATTACK cannot be evaded with DODGE 闪.

Ability's relation to story:
His "Horsemanship" ability is a given. Both him and Pang De 庞德 are known for their skilled horsemanship from the moment they appeared in the story. "Iron Calvary", however, is probably just an added skill by the game makers so as to tackle the "dodgy" characters, such as Zhang Jiao 张角, Younger Zhu Ge Liang 卧龙诸葛亮 and Zhen Ji 甄姬.

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - Probably the uprising he led against Cao Cao, where he very nearly captured Cao Cao alive. Cao Cao retaliated by executing over 100 of Ma Chao's family and extended family members. Though the uprising gave him prominence and respect from the kingdom of Shu Han, the death of hundreds of his family members due to his uprising would haunt him and disgrace him. It even led to an aborted marriage.

2. Cause of death - Ma Chao succumbed to illness and died. In the story version, Liu Bei dies before Ma Chao, however it seems the actual historical version of events was Ma Chao died earlier and even wrote a parting letter to Liu Bei.

FAQ and Disambiguation

1. Does Ma Chao's judgement effect take place if he uses DUEL on someone and vice-versa?

Ans: No, the judgement effect does not take place. This is because during a DUEL, there is no need for the opponent to use Dodge.

2. Can Iron Calvary be used AFTER the opponent has used a Dodge?

Ans: No it cannot.

3. Must Iron Calvary be used immediately after using ATTACK?

Ans: Yes it must. The judgement must come before the opponent uses Dodge.


Rattan Armour 藤甲 (téng jiǎ)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 1:11 PM 28 comments
Body armour that is impenetrable... at least in those days! Used by the Southern Barbarians 南蛮, this armour thwarted the arrows and blades of the troops of Zhu Ge Liang 诸葛亮. It's a nice addition to the cardgame, albeit a little too difficult to overcome!

What it does:
BARBARIANS 南蛮入侵, RAINING ARROWS 万箭齐发, and normal ATTACK 杀 has no effect on you. Fire attribute damage against you is increased by 1. RATTAN ARMOUR has no defense against any form of Lightning attribute damage.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Huáng Zhōng 黄忠

Posted by Ricky Chua On 1:12 PM 23 comments
Translated description:
"Old but vigorous 老当益壮 (lǎo dāng yì zhuàng)"

Wikipedia link: Huang Zhong Wiki

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, your 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.

FAQ and Disambiguation

1. Does it matter how many cards the opponents have if Huang Zhong is equipped with the Unicorn Bow?

Ans: No it does not matter. That is because every player will either have 5 cards or less on-hand (smaller/equal to Unicorn Bow's range) or 4 cards or more(greater/equal to Huang Zhong's health). Thus all attacks by him are undodgeable once his unicorn bow is equipped.

2. Is there a need for both circumstances  for his ability to be fulfilled ? Or will either do?

Ans: No. If either 1 of the cicumstances is fulfilled, the attack cannot be dodged.

3. Does Huang Zhong's ability still work when he is the victim of DURESS outside of his turn?

Ans: No his ability no longer works. This is because his ability only works in the action phase of his turn.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ren Wang Shield 仁王盾 (rén wáng dùn)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 10:51 AM 24 comments
I'll be honest. At first glance, the picture of the REN WANG SHIELD looks more like some kinky tube swimsuit. Till today, I still don't think it looks like a shield. The REN WANG SHIELD is another very useful armour to have that would frustrate your opponents endlessly. It has its weaknesses, especially against characters that can use other cards to replace ATTACK 杀, such as Guan Yu 关羽 and Zhao Yun 赵云.

What it does:
All "black suited" ATTACK cards have no effect on you. This also encompasses cards that substitute for the ATTACK card, such as when "Serpent Halberd 丈八蛇矛" is equipped and any 2 cards are used as ATTACK.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A funny looking helmet with a funny sounding name. The SILVER LION HELMET is a damage limiter, which is great when there are high-damage elements in play such as LIGHTNING 闪电. Otherwise, it does not really protect you in anyway when damages inflicted are only 1 unit. To make up for that, the game makers decided to allow this thing to heal you when it is removed. Don't ask me why, I'm not one of the game makers!

What it does:
Limits all damage received to only 1 unit of damage. Heals 1 unit of health when this is un-equipped. This can happen when you choose to equip another armour or it is the subject of DISMANTLE 过河拆桥 or STEAL 顺手牵羊.

Eight Trigrams 八卦阵 (bā guà zhèn)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 11:35 AM 10 comments
Your guardian angel. This is a godsend to have equipped, but an absolute pain in the arse to overcome if you're the aggressor. Countless times have players been saved from certain death by this armour. If you get it, hang on to it like no tomorrow!

What it does:
Every time there is a need to use DODGE 闪, EIGHT TRIGRAMS can automatically use DODGE for you. Judgement needs to be passed for it to work. If the judgement card is a red suit (hearts or diamonds), the attack is automatically dodged.

Huáng Yuè Yīng 黄月英

Posted by Ricky Chua On 10:49 AM 12 comments
Translated description:
"Veiled heroine 归隐的侠女 (guī yǐn dè xiá nǚ)"

Wikipedia link: Huang Yue Ying Wiki

Who is she:
The wife of Zhu Ge Liang 诸葛亮, Huang Yue Ying is a minor character in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Apparently the name Huang Yue Ying may be a fictional one altogether since no historical records exists of Zhu Ge Liang's wife's real name. Some say she is even smarter than Zhu Ge Liang, but most would agree she is usually remembered for being ugly. So ugly, in fact, that she hid her face behind veils under the shadow of moonlight. In the card game, Huang Yue Ying is one of the most popular characters to use. She can be deadly when luck runs in her favour, and the odds usually side her since all she needs are tool cards.

Character ability 1: "Assembling Wisdom 集智 (jí zhì)"
Everytime you use a tool card (except time-delay tool cards), you can immediately draw another card from the deck.

(This is valid even if the tool card is used outside of that player's turn (such as when NEGATE 无懈可击 is used). This is the ability that makes her very deadly. When Huang Yue Ying has a hand-full of tool cards, her turn seemingly never ends. Although she can only ATTACK 杀 once, tools can be used without restriction. She can draw 3 cards when she uses DRAW2 无中生有.)

Special note about her skill "Assembling Wisdom" when using IRON SHACKLES 铁索连环. When the card is played as "RE-DRAW 重铸", Huang Yue Ying cannot draw take 2 cards instead of 1 from the deck. This is because "RE-DRAW" is not considered using the card, but simply exchanging it for another. This information is acquired from the official game forum, though the post is all in Chinese. Click here to visit the post.

Character ability 2: "Genius 奇才 (qí cái)"
There is no range restriction on all your tool cards.

(This means she can use STEAL 顺手牵羊 and RATIONS DEPLETED 兵粮寸断 on any character in play.)

Ability's relation to story:
Both of her abilities are based on her superior intellect. Exactly how smart is she? *shrug* There does not seem to be any parallel of her character abilities in the story though.

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - Getting herself married to Zhu Ge Liang?! Since the story goes that she is ugly as heck, that is quite an accomplishment don't you think? Like I mentioned, Huang Yue Ying is usually remembered for hiding her face behind veils to conceal her hideousness to potential suitors.

2. Cause of death - Wikipedia says she died after the Battle of Wu Zhang 五丈原之战. I'm not all too familiar with this one. Any corrections and contributions appreciated! Leave me a comment!

FAQ and Disambiguation:

1. Does stealing/dismantling Huang Yue Ying's cards let her draw a new card?

Ans: No it does not. She only gets to draw a new card if she is the user of the tool card ( ie: when she is the one using STEAL or Dismantle) . But if other players use tool cards on her, she cannot draw another card.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Zhāng Fēi 张飞

Posted by Ricky Chua On 4:20 PM 2 comments
Translated description:
"A thousand men can't stop him 万夫不挡 (wàn fū bù dǎng)"

Wikipedia link: Zhang Fei Wiki

Who is he:
The ruffian. The impulsive. The brute. Zhang Fei is the youngest amongst the 3 sworn brothers. Compared with his 2 elder sworn brothers, Liu Bei 刘备 and Guan Yu 关羽, Zhang Fei tends to get in trouble for his quick temper and his love for alcohol. Some say his fighting ability is the strongest of the three. Zhang Fei is probably amongst the 5 most famous and popular characters in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. One of the reasons for that is the fact that he may well be the only comedic character in the entire cast of over 1000 characters in the story. Judging by most portraits of him, you wouldn't be blamed if you thought you was half-man, half-woolly mammoth.

Character ability: "Berserk 咆哮 (páo xiāo)"
You can use as many ATTACK 杀 cards as you wish during your turn.

(Effectively, Zhang Fei has the Zhu Ge Crossbow 诸葛连弩 equipped by default. He will always have the "Berserk" ability regardless of what weapon he has equipped.)

Ability's relation to story:
The literal translation for 咆哮 means "roar". Zhang Fei is famous for his loud roar that scared away an entire Cao Wei 曹魏 army. That, however, has nothing to do with the game character's ability to repeatedly use ATTACK. You kind of get the feeling that the game makers based the ability of Shu Han 蜀汉's generals not so much on their historical basis, but more for the completeness of the game mechanism (ie: "it would be nice if a player could do THIS... let's allow Zhang Fei to do that").

Matching Weapon: Serpent Halberd 丈八蛇矛 (zhàng bā shé máo)
This weapon is a wonderful match for Zhang Fei. The most irritating thing that can happen to a strong attacking player like Zhang Fei is to have no ATTACK cards on-hand to use. The Serpent Halberd allows him to use ATTACK by discarding any 2 cards. The flip side is Zhang Fei rarely has the opportunity to accumulate more than 6 on-hand cards. Still, sometimes all it takes to end the game (and save the world) is to be able to ATTACK twice consecutively.

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - Ask any Chinese in the know what is Zhang Fei's most awesome achievement and they would undoubtedly say "scaring the shit out of Cao Cao 曹操's army at the bridge of Chang Ban 长板桥". He roared so loud that one enemy general fell off his horse and died while 10,000 enemy troops ran away in fear. For more on this story, read my write-up on DISMANTLE 过河拆桥 or on Wikipedia!

2. Cause of death - Zhang Fei's brutish and unreasonable nature makes him a terrible superior to work with. After Guan Yu died, Zhang Fei ordered Zhang Da 张达 and Fan Jiang 范疆 to prepare mourning clothes for his entire army within 3 days. Both of them pleaded that it was impossible to accomplish. Zhang Fei put down an ultimatum: that they would be beheaded if it was not done in 3 days. Fearing for their lives, Zhang Da and Fan Jiang cut off Zhang Fei's head while he was asleep and surrendered themselves to the Kingdom of Sun Wu 孙吴.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hallelujah!! You would seldom see anyone be unhappy to get this card. DRAW2 is one of those cards that gives you a benefit without any side effects (such as HARVEST since others get cards too). Besides, very rarely do players NOT want cards. Even if they were using Elder Zhu Ge Liang 暮年诸葛亮 and planning to use the "Empty City 空城" ability, it is always prudent to draw more cards first to hurl some damage at opponents.

What it does:
DRAW2 allows the user to draw another 2 cards from the deck. Duh.

Harvest 五谷丰登 (wǔ gǔ fēng dēng)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 6:15 PM 7 comments
Share the joy, give everyone in play an extra card! When HARVEST is used, everyone is happy... everyone except the player whose turn is just before yours. Though this is usually seen as a defensive tool card, expert players know how to use this card as an offensive against certain characters. Read on to find out more!

What it does:
When this card is played, cards from the deck are flipped around for every player to see. Flip open as many cards as there are players still in play (5 players still alive, flip 5 cards). The player who used HARVEST gets to choose which card he or she wants first. This is followed by the player after him or her, and so on until the final card is taken by the player whose turn was just before the user. In this way, the user has the most cards to choose from, and the player to his left (if play is anticlockwise) has no choice since only 1 card is left.

There was a scene from Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers, where Aragorn commands the elven archers to release their arrows against the orcs attacking Helm's Deep. Arrows rain from the sky, instantly impaling hundreds of orcs. This enactment is pretty much the same in the era of the Three Kingdoms. Use RAINING ARROWS to release arrows against every player. Players must use DODGE 闪 or NEGATE 无懈可击, or suffer 1 unit of health damage.

What it does:
A multi-player attack where every player must use DODGE or lose 1 unit of health. NEGATE can also be used to neutralize this tool card. Rules of engagement is identical to BARBARIANS 南蛮入侵 where it is recommended to have players use DODGE in an orderly manner starting from the user's right.

Note that since DODGE is required, a player that has equipped the EIGHT TRIGRAMS 八卦阵 can choose to use auto-DODGE (judgement required).

Negate 无懈可击 (wú xiè kě jī)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 6:15 PM 17 comments
The all-important card! NEGATE is arguably one of the most useful cards in the entire game. If you are familiar with the card game "Monopoly Deal", you would quickly see the similarities between NEGATE and "JUST SAY NO". Every tool card can be negated, including NEGATE itself! NEGATE can be used by any player at any time. You don't have to use it during your turn!

What it does:
It renders the tool card or its effects useless. Where the tool card affects only 1 player, using NEGATE renders the tool card useless. Where the tool card is a "Multi-player effect" tool card such as RAINING ARROWS 万箭齐发 or HARVEST 五谷丰登, using NEGATE only renders the effect of the tool card useless on 1 player.

Another rare dual-purpose card (to be very anal about it, it is actually tri-purpose). The phrase "killing 2 birds with 1 stone" is taken to the extreme with the IRON SHACKLES card. Use this card to shackle players together, then watch them all fry when any 1 of them receives Fire attribute or Lightning attribute damage. Technically, you can shackle every goddamned mofo that is in play if you have enough of this card. What benefit would that bring, you ask? Well, read on to find out!

Assuming you have no wish to shackle people together, then you can choose to use "RE-DRAW 重铸" to exchange for another card from the deck.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The first two words 桃园 means "garden of peaches", so make a guess what the PEACH GARDEN card does? When this card is used, every player that is still alive in the game recoups 1 unit of health. Everybody happy? Not necessarily. In fact most players that draw this card either uses it with care or choose to discard it altogether. That is because it also heals the bugger whom you wanna kill. Therefore this card usually brings more headache than smiles.

What it does:
Heals 1 unit of health for every player still alive. Note: this card cannot be used to rescue a player at the brink of death. Plus, this card is a tool card and, therefore, is susceptible to NEGATE 无懈可击.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fancy that beautiful RATTAN AMOUR 藤甲 equipped by your neighbouring player? Wish you had that GREEN DRAGON CRESCENT BLADE 青龙偃月刀 for yourself? Now you can! With STEAL, any card from an adjacent player (physical distance 1) can be yours!

What it does:
Allows the user to pick 1 card (either on-hand or equipped) from a player at physical distance 1 from you. The stolen card is added to your cards on-hand or can be equipped immediately. This is also one of the only 2 ways to remove LIGHTNING 闪电 from the playing field.

The "world" is suddenly overrun by barbarians who appeared from the South! The literal translation of 南蛮入侵 is "under siege from the southern barbarians". The barbarians don't give two hoots about taking sides, they simply slaughter everyone. Every player needs to use an ATTACK card to fend them off or suffer 1 unit of health damage.

What it does:
Delivers 1 unit of health damage to every player (except the user) unless they use an ATTACK card.

Duel 决斗 (jué dòu)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 2:50 PM 13 comments
Mano-a-mano. Grunt and spit as two characters prepare to do battle one-on-one. Who can outlast the other? That depends on how well you judged the capability of your opponent. True to the meaning, there is a very possible likelihood of causing yourself damage if you take on someone much more able. Got the balls?

What it does:
1 unit of health damage to the loser of DUEL. A useful side-effect of DUEL is it usually wipes out all the ATTACK 杀 cards of one (if not both) of the players involved in DUEL.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Duress 借刀杀人 (jiè dāo shā rén)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 8:29 PM 19 comments
Out of ATTACK 杀 cards to use? Your target opponent out of range? Want to hold a member of the opposite team hostage? This is the tool card to use. Although DURESS can be used on any player, it is most effective when used on LOYALIST 忠臣 or DEFECTOR 内奸 against RULER 主公. The only requirement, though, is that the target player must have a weapon equipped to become susceptible to DURESS. Now sit back, have a cup of tea and enjoy being evil.

What it does:
DURESS forces the target player to use an ATTACK card on another player of the user's choice. Note that the intended recipient of the ATTACK must be within attacking range of the player held under DURESS. If the target player refuses to use an ATTACK card, he or she must give up the equipped weapon to the user. The user then keeps the unethically acquired weapon as an on-hand card. The weapon can also be equipped immediately.

Blaze 火攻 (huǒ gōng)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 7:49 PM 13 comments
One of the more complicated cards to use, BLAZE can be very useful... if you know what you are doing. It is an inefficient tool for causing damage to an opponent since it needs to expend 2 on-hand cards, though that might be well worth it if your opponents are under the effects of IRON SHACKLES 铁索连环 or has equipped RATTAN ARMOUR 藤甲 or both! You can also just use it to glimpse one of your opponent's on-hand cards, especially if it is the only card left in his or her hand. Peek-a-boo!

What it does:
If damage is effected, the victim receives 1 unit of fire attribute damage. Since it is fire attribute damage, all players shackled to the victim also receive 1 unit of fire attribute damage. Accordingly, victims equipped with RATTAN ARMOUR receive 2 units of damage.

The saviour! There are too many instances where players are left completely helpless, restricted by their opponent's +1 horse or armour. Many can only wish to draw this card. Most never do. Probably the most reliable way (and sometimes the ONLY way) to tear down an opponent's defense, DISMANTLE should always be amongst your most treasured tool cards on hand! Between DISMANTLE and STEAL 顺手牵羊, DISMANTLE is probably the stronger tool card since it is not limited by range.

What it does:
As the name implies, it dismantles ANY card from ANY player. It can be used on equipped weapons, armour, horses or cards in the hand. Heck, it can even be used to remove TIME-DELAY TOOL CARDS 延时类锦囊. It is also one of the only 2 ways to remove LIGHTNING into the discard pile after it has been used.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lightning 闪电 (shǎn diàn)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 6:49 PM 33 comments
Be afraid of this card. Be very afraid. When LIGHTNING appears, either a particular player has become desperate and suicidal, or the "judgement tinkerers" Si Ma Yi 司马懿 and Zhang Jiao 张角 have reared their ugly head. Typical exclaimations by players when LIGHTNING is used range from "Oh maaaaaaan~" to "Oh f******k~" to "WAH LAO EH~!" Strangely, more often than not the player who activates the LIGHTNING card ends up regretting it.

Acedia 乐不思蜀 (lè bù sī shǔ)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 6:12 PM 21 comments
If you read "Romance of the Three Kingdoms", you would know very clearly which historical figure is guilty of acedia (neglecting to take care of something that one should do). I am referring, of course, to Liu Shan 刘禅, son of Liu Bei 刘备, the wimpy ruler of the Kingdom of Shu 蜀国 in the dying days of the Three Kingdoms era. The game-makers ingenuously simulated the consequences of acedia with this ACEDIA card. When you fall victim to ACEDIA, remember to sing, dance and smile gleefully like you were high on crack.

The literal translation of 兵粮寸断 means "breaking every inch of military rations". The RATIONS DEPLETED card simulates starvation, helplessness, and even the feeling of despair in battle by preventing the target player from drawing any cards during his round! Falling victim to this card is a royal pain-in-the-behind. Somewhat the harbinger of doom, players who are on the receiving end of RATIONS DEPLETED often get eliminated within the coming round. Thank goodness there are only 2 of these cards in the entire deck!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Peach 桃 (táo)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 8:55 PM 13 comments
The life-saver. PEACH cards refill one unit of health. Wondering why peach was chosen instead of apples, oranges or durians? Apparently the peach appears in classical novels in Chinese literature, such as Journey to the West 西游记. It is a fruit associated with the heavens for imparting longevity. Read the trivia section below to find out more inconsequential information about Peaches in Chinese culture.

What it does:
It refills one unit of health up to the maximum health limit for the character. It can be used at zero health (brink of death) or even in negative health!

Wine 酒 (jiǔ)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 8:54 PM 23 comments
Liquor, wine, whiskey, whatever you like to call it... served in ceramic urns for that manly bravado when drunk without a straw. Despite stiff penalties for swinging barbaric spears and axes with undeniable intent to kill while under the influence of alcohol, the game makers have decided to put a cheery spin on the WINE card. In fact they made it so celebratory that WINE can bring a player back from the brink of death!

What it does:
The WINE card is one of the rare cards with dual actions. It can inflict an additional unit of damage to your ATTACK 杀, or it can bring you back from the brink of death!

Lightning Attack 雷杀 (léi shā)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 8:53 PM 4 comments
The LIGHTNING ATTACK card can be obtained if you have purchased the Battle Expansion Pack. It works the same way as the normal ATTACK 杀 card, except that the damage inflicted has a lightning element attribute.

What it does:
There are 2 scenarios where LIGHTNING ATTACK is different from normal ATTACK.
1. When your target opponent is linked to another opponent by IRON SHACKLES 铁索连环
2. When your opponent has equipped RATTAN ARMOR 藤甲.

In scenario 1, multiple players may be shackled to the target player being attacked with this card. If the target player fails to dodge, every player shackled to the target will receive 1 unit of damage.

In scenario 2, the player that equipped RATTAN ARMOR is impervious to all normal ATTACK but is susceptible to 1 unit of damage if the player fails to dodge the LIGHTNING ATTACK.

Fire Attack 火杀 (huǒ shā)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 8:53 PM 7 comments
The FIRE ATTACK card can be obtained if you have purchased the Battle Expansion Pack. It works the same way as the normal ATTACK 杀 card, except that the damage inflicted has a fire element attribute.

What it does:
There are 2 scenarios where FIRE ATTACK is different from normal ATTACK.
1. When your target opponent is linked to another opponent by IRON SHACKLES 铁索连环
2. When your opponent has equipped RATTAN ARMOR 藤甲.

In scenario 1, multiple players may be shackled to the target player being attacked with this card. If the target player fails to dodge, every player shackled to the target will receive 1 unit of damage.

In scenario 2, the player that equipped RATTAN ARMOR is impervious to all normal ATTACK but is susceptible to 2 units of damage if the player fails to dodge the FIRE ATTACK.

Dodge 闪 (shǎn)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 8:08 PM 6 comments
Dodge! Duh!! When someone uses an ATTACK 杀 card on you, use this card to prevent suffering damage. Used to best effect by making a silly face at your attacker right after you use the card. Neh neh ni bu bu~

What it does:
Do you really need me to spell it out for you?! Dodge! Evade! Get out of the way!

Attack 杀 (shā)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 7:31 PM 4 comments
Probably the most basic card in the game. As the name implies, the action is simple: ATTACK! Use this card to inflict damage on your opponent. The damage will have no elemental attributes to it. Plain ol' knuckle busting.

What it does:
In the simplest sense, using this card is equal to taking one stab/slash/chop/whatever-barbaric-attack-you-prefer at your opponent. Yes only ONE. Of course, your opponent can dodge the attack if he has the DODGE 闪 card.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Game Rules Part 5: Points Duel

Posted by Ricky Chua On 8:49 PM 13 comments
Welcome to Part 5. In the expansion packs for characters, a new action term is introduced by the game-makers known as "Points Duel 拼点" (previously translated as "Matching scores". This is a minor component of the game but important to grasp. It also has a very useful side-effect of "Forced DISMANTLE 强硬过河拆桥". For terminology, I shall refer to the player initiating the Points Duel as the "initiator".

Let's get started!

Game Rules Part 4: Judgement

Posted by Ricky Chua On 8:49 PM 12 comments
Welcome to Part 4! 

In this segment, I will elaborate about a significant part in the San Guo Sha 三国杀 card game known as "Judgement 判定".

In numerous abilities and tool cards 锦囊, there is a pinch of luck involved that determines if the ability or card takes effect. This factor of luck is controlled by a "judgement". Judgement is the reason all the cards have poker-like numbers and suits in the upper left corner of the playing cards. These numbers and suits are used to determine judgement.

When is "judgement" required?
Judgement is only used when a card or an ability requires it. For example, ACEDIA 乐不思蜀 requires judgement before it takes effect. Ma Chao 马超's "Iron Calvary 铁骑" is an ability that requires judgement as well.

How is "judgement" performed?
When a player performs "judgement", he or she flips open the top card of the entire deck of playing cards. This card is known as the "judgement card 判定牌". The type of card and its original functions are ignored. Only the poker digit and suit on the upper left is considered. Whether the tool card or ability takes effect depends purely on the judgement criteria described in the card or ability.

What happens to the "judgement card" after judgement is performed?
In most cases, this judgement card is immediately discarded into the discard deck. There are few scenarios where this does not apply.

1. The character performing the judgement is Guo Jia 郭嘉, in which case all his judgement cards he can keep as an on-hand card.

2. The judgement card is swapped by Zhang Jiao 张角, in which case the original judgement card is taken into Zhang Jiao's hands and replaced by another card from him.

3. The judgement is performed for Yan Liang & Wen Chou 颜良文丑's "Dual Heroes 双雄" ability, in which case the player has to flip the judgement card over to show everyone what suit colour the judgement card is. He can then proceed to keep that judgement card into his hand.

If you know of other scenarios, please contribute by leaving me a comment!

Can "judgement" be avoided?
It depends on what is being judged. If it is a tool card such as LIGHTNING 闪电 or ACEDIA, judgement can be avoided if anyone uses NEGATE 无懈可击 before the judgement card is flipped over. Remember, this only applies to tool cards!

A special note here. Other than the 3 tool cards LIGHTNING, ACEDIA and RATIONS DEPLETED 兵粮寸断, every other judgement call benefits the person making the judgement. Therefore it does not make sense to want to avoid judgement in those cases. Fortunately, this means that opponents cannot stop you from using judgement of these abilities either!

Which are the characters whose abilities require judgement?
I have tagged the characters that have abilities requiring judgement into a category known as "Judgement-required abilities". Click on the link to view the characters. It may be incomplete now since I have not finished my write up on all the characters.

[Updated: 31st Jan 2011] When there are more than 1 pending judgement card, what is the order of judgement?
The order of judgement follows the "last out, first in" principle. The most recent judgement card to be received  will be the first to be judged. This means order of judgement is in the reverse order from which they judgement cards arrived.

Eg: Player A receives ACEDIA 乐不思蜀 first, followed by RATIONS DEPLETED 兵粮寸断, and finally LIGHTNING 闪电. When it is Player A's turn, the order of judgement will be (1) LIGHTNING, (2) RATIONS DEPLETED and lastly, (3) ACEDIA.

As this segment is written as an FAQ format, I'll leave this open to further questions. So do feel free to shoot questions my way and I shall update accordingly.

The next part of the FAQ will talk about a new game mechanism first introduced in the Fire Expansion Pack 火包 known as the Points Duel. Click here to go to Game Rules Part 5: Points Duel 拼点.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Welcome to Part 3!

Here I will talk in detail about "range", which is one of the most difficult things for beginners to grasp. In all honesty, the concept is simple. All you need is to be clear about the differences between:

1. Attacking Range vs Physical Range
2. "-1 horse" vs "+1 horse"

Ok so here we go!

Game Rules Part 2: Game Play

Posted by Ricky Chua On 10:12 PM 19 comments
Ok, so everyone is set up with a role and character, eager for action. In Part 2, I will be bringing you through the game and the various things that happen in a turn. First, a gentle reminder that I shall be using an example of 4 players (referred to as Andy, Beck, Christie and Donna for simplicity). So here goes!

Game Rules Part 1: Game Set Up

Posted by Ricky Chua On 10:07 PM 41 comments
This is no simple game to pick up. There are many rules, explicit and ambiguous, which require a fair bit of playing to really get the hang of. Up till today there are many rules and character abilities that I'm still grasping (and it's been about 5 months since I've been playing this game). But once you do, this game has great replay value!

Here's what this section will NOT do. This section will not throw you the entire suitcase of information for you to read, 'cause you'd definitely get lost within 5 minutes! Instead, I'll give you a run-through. It's best that you have the game with you and follow along as you read. So here goes!

Friday, July 9, 2010

The 36 Stratagems 三十六计

Posted by Ricky Chua On 9:11 PM
The 36 Stratagems is a collection of military tactics accumulated over 3000 years of Chinese history. It is separated into 6 chapters, with 6 stratagems per chapter.

In this section, I shall provide a simple historical walk-through of the stratagems and simple scenarios of how it can be applied in SGS.

[Updated 22nd February 2011] In essence, only Chapters 1 and 6 of the 36 Stratagems applies to SGS. As such I shall only create posts for these two chapters.

Click on the links below to access the Stratagems.

Chapter 1

Stratagem 1: The Open Feint 瞒天过海
Stratagem 2: Take a Hostage 围魏救赵
Stratagem 3: Outsourcing Murder 借刀杀人
Stratagem 4: Sit and Wait 以逸待劳
Stratagem 5: Stealing amidst Chaos 趁火打劫
Stratagem 6: Ruckus Decoy 声东击西

Chapter 6

Stratagem 31: The Beautiful Maiden Ploy 美人计
Stratagem 32: The Empty Fort Ruse 空城计
Stratagem 33: Sow Dissension Ploy 反间计
Stratagem 34: Trojan Flesh Ploy 苦肉计
Stratagem 35: The Domino Effect 连环计
Stratagem 36: Fight Another Day 走为上

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Unofficial 民间

Posted by Ricky Chua On 8:20 PM
[Updated: 14th January 2011]

With the release of the Unofficial Cards Hamper, there have been an explosion of new cards and characters. For your ease of reference, the unofficial cards have be sub-categorized according to the expansion pack they belong to.

Some of these expansion packs are proper add-on units with fantastic packaging. Others are a haphazard  scatter of cards put together.

Click on the images below to access the individual expansion packs.

1. Demon Characters 鬼牌
2. Wraith Characters 妖牌 (coming soon)
3. Other Characters (coming soon)
4. Special Roles (coming soon)
5. Other Playing Cards (coming soon)

Demon Expansion Pack

Everything else below Coming Soon!
Wraith Expansion Pack

Saint Expansion Pack

Extinct Cards

Unofficial Demi-Gods

Demi-God Weapons

Unofficial Upgrade Cards

Card Translations

Posted by Ricky Chua On 6:48 PM 29 comments
This "Card Translations" page has been updated and moved to a new location!

Click on the "Terminology" button on the header row to access the new location, or simply click here.

Remember to update your bookmarks!

Horses 马

Posted by Ricky Chua On 6:40 PM 4 comments
Original Pack

Unofficial Cards

Demon Expansion Pack

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