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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.


  1. As a BANG! card game player, I would theorize that the reason why some of the abilities don't exactly match very well is because they were originally from the characters of the BANG! card game. I'm sure they liked some of the powers and assigned them to San Guo Sha characters that seemed to best fit them. In this case, Zhang Fei has Willy the Kid's power.

    P.S. I hope you don't mind me give commentary comparing particular cards with BANG! cards. I don't want to start any heated debates.

  2. Best to ally up with Liu Bei. Have Liu Bei to give all his attack cards to Zhang Fei...


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