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Saturday, July 10, 2010

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!

Step 1: How many players?

As different number of players will have different number of role cards, it is critical that you know how many are playing for that round. Note that if someone else wants to join in halfway through the round, the entire round has to be reset! You'll see why as we go along.

Use the following table to pick out the number of "Role cards". The role cards look like these below and I shall refer to them by colour for now.

3 players (minimum) = 1 red, 1 blue, 1 green
4 players = 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 blue, 1 green
5 players = 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 blue, 2 green
6 players (option A) = 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 blue, 3 green
6 players (option B) = 1 red, 1 yellow, 2 blue, 2 green
7 players = 1 red, 2 yellow, 1 blue, 3 green
8 players (option A) = 1 red, 2 yellow, 1 blue, 4 green
8 players (option B) = 1 red, 2 yellow, 2 blue, 3 green
9 players = 1 red, 3 yellow, 1 blue, 4 green
10 players (maximum) = 1 red, 3 yellow, 2 blue, 4 green

Note: You can choose not to follow these number of role cards. In fact when we play, we regularly create our own role options. 

As an example, let's pretend that there are 4 players. I shall use this number of players throughout my run-through.

Step 2: Pick your Role

Turn the role cards face down and mix them up well on the table. Have every player pick 1 role card each. DO NOT EXPOSE YOUR ROLE CARD! Keep your role secret! Take a peek at your role card. If it is the red card (and only if it is the red card), turn yours over so everyone knows you have the red card. Therefore only 1 role is exposed, the others are all unknown.

Everyone needs to know the objective for their role. Here's what each role needs to do:

Red Card = RULER 主公 (zhǔ gōng)

Classification: Good guy!

1. Survive!
2. Kill all the REBELS and all the DEFECTORS and your team (the good guys) win!

If you die... the game is over and the bad guys win!!

Yellow Card = LOYALIST 忠臣 (zhōng chén)

Classification: Good guy!

1. Protect the RULER at all costs!
2. Kill all the REBELS and all the DEFECTORS and your team (the good guys) win!

If you die... it depends on who killed you.
(a) If the bad guys kill you, the game simply goes on without you. Your killer gets no bonus for killing you.
(b) If your RULER kills you, the RULER loses ALL the cards in possession. This includes on-hand cards as well as equipped cards.

Green Card = REBEL 反贼 (fǎn zéi)

Classification: Bad guy!

1. Kill the RULER! Kill the RULER! Kill the RULER!!!

If you die... your killer gets to draw 3 cards from the deck, regardless of what role your killer is! Fratricide anyone?

Blue Card = DEFECTOR 内奸 (nèi jiān)

Classification: Super bad guy!

1. Kill everyone else first before personally killing the RULER.
2. Confuse the RULER by pretending to be LOYALIST. Mind games!!

If you die... the game goes on without you. Nobody gets to draw any cards for killing you. Awwww!!!!

Step 3: Pick your character

Next every player needs to pick a character to use. Character cards look like these below.

3 important things to pay attention to on the character cards. I have circled them in red circles above.

(A) Allegiance - The chinese word here depicts the character's allegiance. The background surrounding the portrait picture also tells you the allegiance. There are 4 "kingdoms" where all characters belong.

蜀 (red backing) - Kingdom of "Shu" (Shu Han 蜀汉)
魏 (blue backing) - Kingdom of "Wei" (Cao Wei 曹魏)
吴 (green backing) - Kingdom of "Wu" (Sun Wu 孙吴)
群 (grey backing) - Heroes without allegiance (hereafter referred to as "Heroes" 群雄 (qún xióng))

(B) Number of units of health - Most combat characters have 4 units while strategists have 3 units. Grab a health card that corresponds to your character's health limit. The health card looks like this:

Important note: the RULER player gets one extra unit of health if there are 5 or more players!

Tip: If you cannot find the health card that has number of health that you need, flip over a few of them. You will find that they are printed on the reverse side other health cards.

(C) Character abilities - Every character has different abilities. If the chinese words confuddle you, look up my english translations for every character in this blog! The player gets to use ALL of the abilities listed.

Now that you are familiar with the 3 important items of every character, it is time to select characters!

[RULER picks first]
The first player to select a character is the RULER. He gets to choose 2 ways to select a character:

Option A - Pick one of the "RULER characters" of his choice. As of this moment, there are 7 "RULER characters", Liu Bei 刘备, Cao Cao 曹操, Sun Quan 孙权, Yuan Shao* 袁绍, Zhang Jiao* 张角, Cao Pi* 曹丕, and Dong Zhuo* 董卓.

* These 4 characters are only available if you purchased the Fire, Wind and Woods Expansion packs.

Option B - Have someone give the RULER player X** number of character cards, and the RULER player picks one out of those cards.

** X can be any number agreed upon by everyone. This number can change depending on how many players and how many character cards there are in total. Typically, X is between 3 to 8.

Once the RULER has selected the character, announce to everyone the character selected. This character will influence the character choices of the other players!

[Everyone else selects their characters]
Have someone deal out X number of character cards to every player (excluding the RULER). Every player will select 1 character to use out of these X number of cards. Do not expose the character selected yet! Keep the selected character card faced down on the table. This is because other experienced players will choose characters to counter yours! Discard the other character cards that were not selected.

Tip: You should consider your role carefully when selecting your character. This is why you need to pay attention to the character selected by the RULER before selecting your own.

When everyone has selected their character cards and placed them face down on the table, no further changing of characters shall be made. Have every player flip over their character cards.

Now that everyone has a role and has selected a character, it is time to go into the game play! Click here to go to Game Rules Part 2: Game Play.


  1. theres one more ruler, Cao Pi

    1. Also Sun Ce(from Wu), Liu Chan (from Shu)

    2. Wei: Cao Rui
      Shu: Liu Chen
      Wu: Sun Hao, Sun Xiu, Sun Liang
      Qun: Yuan Shu(lightning), Himiko (Taiwan)

  2. Thanks for the reminder. I've updated the post accordingly.

  3. This game is so much like Bang! just that its chinese version. wonder which came out first

  4. If I'm not mistaken, BANG! came out first. I think this game came out of people saying "I wish there was a chinese version of BANG!" haha, but correct me if I'm wrong.

  5. Yes Bang! came out first, and there's a hoo-haa abt SGS copying Bang! and potential lawsuits. I don't have any solid material about this though, only hearsay.

  6. I want to ask how do you know what cards to put into a deck that the players are to draw from? Is there a specific number of Kill, block armor and tools?

  7. Hi Danny, there's no need to select which cards go into the deck. Use all the playing cards!!

  8. We can use the king cards as regular cards for other roles right? Is that an Aux rule? Or is it part of the official rules?

  9. Yes all the ruler cards can also be used as other roles, with the exception that they cannot use their Ruler abilities.

    This is part of the official rules.

  10. Suppose the game is left with 2 defectors and 1 ruler, do the 2 defectors have to kill each other first before killing the ruler?

    If they kill the ruler straight without killing wach other, does it counts as the defectors had win the game together?

  11. I'm actually surprised at the answer that i found to your question.

    For Defector to win, he must be the LAST MAN STANDING. Which means to say the 2 Defectors have to kill each other first before the Ruler is killed.

    The official stand is:
    (A) If only 1 Defector is the sole survival of the game, that Defector is the ultimate winner (tough job!)

    (B) If only 2 Defectors are alive after the death of the Ruler, this counts as the REBELS team winning the game. The logic is as long as the Ruler dies, the REBELS win unless the sole survivor is the Defector (Scenario A).

    By the way, according to the official rules, the only way you will have 2 defectors in the game is when you are playing a 10 player game. For the 2 Defectors to be left standing is one heck of a tough mission!

    1. It is especially unlikely for this case to happen since there is no player left who has any interest in killing the ruler prematurely.

  12. But still,it can happen. In my group, when we played, we even had that situation twice in a row, with the defectors winning both times. Very weird though...

  13. Yes pretty unlikely. You must be a lucky bunch to have a table of 10 players!

  14. Do you have to choose a general of the same faction as the ruler?

    Say the ruler picks Yuan Shao, can other players be from Wu, Wei etc even if they are loyalists?

  15. You can choose ANY character you want.

  16. In a 4 player game, does the ruler get to have 1 more life if they are using strategist character with only 3 health bar?

    And is there any other special game rule for 1 player game? I read that there is 1 per the instruction booklet, but couldn't find it anywhere.

  17. In a 4 player game, the Ruler still gets 1 extra unit of health.

    For the 2nd point, do you mean 1 vs 1? The rules for that is found on page 15 of the manual. In fact it is exactly at the center page of the booklet where the staples are visible.

  18. I think in a 4 player game, the Ruller doesn't gets 1 extra health.Otherwise, the ruller is too strong to kill. Please correct me if I am wrong.
    --David Xue

  19. Yes, the ruler only gets 1 extra maximum health if there are 5 or more players.

  20. The defector rule is so vague I wonder if i can get some clarification.

    The rule for defector in the games , in chinese rule book online and the one printed, says only the part where "内奸:除掉自己外所有的人,成为最后的胜利者。 translated to, he who is the last soul survivor wins the game.

    In games where there is 2 defectors, the rule is now vague, in the chinese forum and on here there seem to be this "must duel 1 on 1 with ruler in the end" to win a game which I can no find it anywhere in the official rule book.

    So if the situation comes down to 2 defector and 1 ruler left in game, does?

    A) defectors killing the ruler and win together because they are a team?
    B) defector must kill the other defector so he can duel off the ruler? ( seem really unfair to both defector at this point since the ruler will just weaken both before one is killed)
    C) both defector try to kill off anyone possible so he can be the last survivor?

    C is how i interrepte this rule right now but I'm seeking official ruling on this, it has generated heated debates in our games.

    1. Anon above left out D) defectors rush to kill the ruler and the one who actually delivers the damage that kills the ruler is the winner.

      D is what the game actually says, regardless of other house rules you may replace it with.

  21. B is the official ruling.

    C is flawed. If ruler dies first, the game ends. And if defector has not satisfied his win condition of being "sole survivor", the win goes to rebels.

  22. The victory condition of rebels is "The ruler dies AND the ruler and the defector are not the only remaining character that are left." Or else rebels can win with the Defector. Please modify it.

  23. If a defector shackle the ruler to a loyalist and he kill the loyalist with a fire element 杀, does this consider as his victory or rebel victory as both ruler and loyalist are killed together

  24. The Defector will be the winner as long as you attack and kill the loyalist. Once you use the fire attack to the loyalist, he will receive damage first, then before damage is transmitted to the ruler, you must first see if anyone will save the loyalist. A player on death row will always receive the most priority. Once the loyalist is dead, then the ruler will receive the damage and die. Therefor by the time the ruler is dead, it will be just the defector and the ruler left.
    If you were to attack the ruler first, by the same reasoning the loyalist will be alive at the moment the ruler is considered dead, and therefor the rebels will be the winners.

    1. Defector must more adaptable
      Play as spectator to witness their death

  25. What role does allegiance play? (Red, blue, green, grey)

  26. Is there any difference if I want to play with demi god

  27. It's late but my game has no rules. From what i can tell from the instructions it says to play with 2 characters of the same nation but I dont know how that would work.

    1. 2 character in same nation then it's KW or Kingdom Wars section

  28. Detector must cheat other players
    And balance the game
    Not just pretend as loyalist
    Those are called as “死忠內”
    Master games can quickly penetrate his role


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