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Saturday, July 10, 2010

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!

Let's say Andy is the RULER 主公 for this round and the other 3 players are sitting round the table as shown below. The game play proceeds anti-clockwise as shown in the orange arrows.

Notice that only Andy has his role card exposed since he is the RULER. At the center of the table is the game card deck. Designate any available space for the discard pile. Here's a more in-depth look at the player's immediate area.

Place the role card on the left most, followed by the character card and the health card. The area in front of these cards is where you shall be placing your equipped items later on.

At the start of the round, every player gets 4 playing cards. So go ahead and deal every player 4 playing cards from the deck.

Now the game officially begins! 

Every player will go through a sequence of phases in a fixed order as follows. For now just pay attention to those highlighted in yellow:
1. Character ability phase (only where applicable and is quite rare)
2. Judgement phase 判定阶段 (only when there are any Time-delay tool cards 延时类锦囊牌 that require judgement)
3. Drawing phase 摸排阶段
4. Action phase 出牌阶段
5. Discard phase 弃牌阶段
6. End turn

"Drawing Phase 摸排阶段"
At the start of a player's turn, that player draws 2 cards from the deck. The first turn always begins with the RULER, so Andy draws 2 cards from the deck. He now has 6 cards on-hand.

"Action Phase 出牌阶段"
During the action phase, a player can choose to use whichever cards or take whichever actions he wishes. There is no order for using any of the items listed below. Feel free to use whichever you choose, in which ever order you like.

Using "tool cards 锦囊牌"
You can use as many tool cards as you wish in your turn, as long as the tool card satisfies the range criteria for use (if any). Note that you cannot use NEGATE 无懈可击 unless you actually have something to negate.

Using "basic cards 基本牌"
Only one ATTACK 杀 card can be used in a turn (unless special weapons or conditions are met). PEACH 桃 can only be used if your health is not at your character's max. For other basic cards, please refer to my write-ups about those cards.

Using "equipment 装备"
To equip an item, place the item card in the equipped items area just in front of your character card. A player is allowed only one of each of these 4 equipment:

1. Armour
2. Weapon
3. "+1 horse"
4. "-1 horse"

Be careful! Once equipped, it cannot be brought back into your on-hand cards. To change an equipment, discard the current equipment into the discard pile before placing the new equipment card in its place.

Note: You cannot voluntarily remove any equipped items. You can only replace it, or have another player use DISMANTLE 过河拆桥 to have it discarded.

Using "character abilities"
This is completely governed by the rules of the ability for each character. Refer to my write-ups for individual characters for a detailed explanation of their abilities.

The bottom line of the action phase is you can keep using cards and skills throughout your turn as long as you are allowed to use them. It is perfectly possible to use up all your on-hand cards by the end of the action phase.

"Discard Phase 弃牌阶段"
When you are done with your turn, you need to check the amount of cards you have on-hand. You can only hold as many on-hand cards as you have units of health. If you have 4 units of health, you can keep 4 cards on hand. If you only have 1 unit of health left, you can only keep 1 card. If you have too many cards on hand, pick the cards you want to keep, then discard the rest. Once that is done, your turn ends.

Let's revisit our 4 players. 

After a couple of turns, Andy has received 3 units of damage. His life would be reduced as such:

He has equipped a few items along the way. Andy's play area now looks like this:

The horizontal card on the top-right is a time-delay tool card used on him by Beck (the player on his right). The next time Andy's turn comes around, he needs to go through the "Judgement Phase" for this card before Andy can proceed to draw 2 cards.

Tip: Can you guess the Beck's role?

Death of a player
When a player has ZERO units of health left, that player is still not dead... yet! That player is officially "on the brink of death 濒死状态". Any other player can save that player by offering to use PEACH. Only one player can save him and only one PEACH can be used.

If nobody saves that player, that player is dead and officially out of the game. Once the character is dead, the role card is flipped over to expose his or her true identity. Rewards and punishment for killing the character are as follows:
1. Kill a REBEL 反贼, the killer gets to draw 3 cards (regardless of what role the killer is)
2. Kill the RULER, DEFECTORS 内奸 and REBELS get points, but nobody really bothers to keep score.
3. Kill the DEFECTOR, nobody gets any reward or punishment
4. Kill the LOYALIST 忠臣, DEFECTORS and REBELS do not get any reward, but if the RULER killed his LOYALIST, the RULER loses all cards, both on-hand and equipped.

The game progresses until one of these 2 conditions are met, which declares that the round has ended.

Condition 1: The RULER dies. Bad guys win!
Condition 2: All DEFECTORS and REBELS are dead. Good guys win!

In short, this should get you going for a while. In Game Rules Part 3, I shall be explaining more about physical and attacking range. That portion deserves its own page since it can get pretty complex. Click here to go to Game Rules Part 3: Range 距离.


  1. During the discard phase can you intentionally discard your entire hand?

  2. No you cannot. You can only discard cards up till number of on-hand cards = no. of health.

  3. Hey guys, I have a question. Say when you're using Sima Yi, and you have 1 life point left. When somebody attacks you, and you lose that final life point, can I still use Sima Yi's special ability to take a card from that player's hand/field. Because if so, by chance, I can grab a peach and save myself.

  4. Hi. When a player reaches zero health (brink of death), every other action is postponed to determine whether this player will be rescued or not.

    Which means to say Sima Yi cannot pick a card from the other player until he has been rescued by Peach or he saves himself.

    This also applies to other characters such as Cao Cao and victim of Xiao Qiao.

  5. I was reading another translation for this game. For winning conditions it said the following:
    - Prince and Advisers win if all Outlaws & Spies die.
    - Outlaws win if Prince dies.
    - Spy wins if everyone else dies(can play spies as working together or last man standing).

    So is this correct?

  6. Yes, this is correct.

    See here for more clarification on the objectives:


  8. If the RULER use a 南蛮入侵 or 万箭齐发 and in doing so caused the LOYALIST to die,will he loses all cards?

  9. Yes, he will.
    There are 2 exeptions, however (probably more than 2, but can`t recollect other situations right now):

    1. If there is Meng Huo among in-game characters and he is not the Ruler, the Loyalist died by BARBARIANS will be considered killed by Meng Huo because of his "Smoking Gun" skill. Similarly, if Meng Huo is the Ruler, he will contribute/suffer from all deaths caused by BARBARIANS.

    2. If the Ruler is Zhang Chun Hua, she won`t contribute/suffer from any deaths caused by her due to her "Ruthless" ability.

  10. Can two players equip the same weapon/equip at the same time?

    1. There is no limitation regarding same weapon/armor being equipped among players concurrently as long the cards are officially available in the deck.

  11. Hi, when damage is dealt is it dealt in one chunk or in multiple chunks or one? For example:

    Jamie is on 2 health and struck by lightning. Does it read

    "Jamie takes 3, goes to brink of death. Peaches will save him,"
    "Jamie takes 1, is a at 1 hp. Jamie takes 1, is at 0 HP. Peaches will save him." Then if he IS saved, lightning will deal it's third damage, putting Jamie back on 0 and needing another Peaches to be saved?

    [I must admit it sounds quite funny to be eating peaches while be continually struck by lightning!]

    1. Its all at once but you can have negative health, so in your case Jamie is at -1, someone needs to play 2 peaches to bring him back (or play 2 wine cards)

  12. How many cards are in a deck? How many of each card in a deck?

  13. I have a purple role card. What role is that?

  14. Purple Role card is only for kingdom wars, another mode for Sanguosha which is totally different from the identity mode

  15. Really beautyful Article. Keep it up See more quality recumbent bike


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