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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Translated description:
"Queen of the Yellow Turban Rebels 黄巾女将 (huáng jīn nǚ jiàng)"

Who is she:
The above question is one I wish I had the answer to! This character has been abuzz in many SGS threads in China: Who the hell is Bian Shi?! And why is she Queen of the Yellow Turbans?!

Let me tell you what i do know. There IS a Bian Shi in ROTK. In fact she is a true historical figure. Bian Shi was one of the wives of Cao Cao 曹操, and none other than the mother of Cao Pi 曹丕. She was highly respected and arguably Cao Cao's favorite wife (out of more than 15 wives/concubines).

But there was never any mention that Bian Shi had anything to do with Zhang Jiao 张角 and his Yellow Turban Army 黄巾军. This is probably where myths and fantasy combined. Do a quick Google cross reference of Bian Shi and Zhang Jiao and suddenly some interesting articles pop out. These articles appear to be fantasy novels of some sort (of which I am, unfortunately, not familiar with). In these articles, Bian Shi seems to refer to Zhang Jiao as 师兄 or "Senior", and they both seem to have some kind of god-like superpower to bring about Armageddon. The language in which they are written are modern, thus are probably fictional creations of modern day authors. In fact, the backdrop of these stories appear to be similar to the Final Fantasy franchise!

Perhaps these stories are the link between Bian Shi and the Yellow Turban Army?? Anyhow, do take this particular character with a pinch of salt, as she appears to be completely fictional (as a party to Zhang Jiao). Unofficial cards tend to have such issues, I guess? Sigh.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Yes, yes, yes. It is a buffalo! How could an animal that moves as quickly as a shopping cart be given a "-2" distance rating?? Well... this is no ordinary buffalo. This is the king of all buffalo! The literal translation for its Chinese name is "Jade-eyed Three-horned White Buffalo 碧眼三角白水牛". Unfortunately, that does not help in visualizing how speedy this beast can be... if it is even speedy at all.

Historical basis:
This White Buffalo was Sha Mo Ke 沙摩柯's steed. It does not seem to stem from the ROTK storyline, but rather spin-off stories from ROTK. A ferocious animal that was known as the "King of all Buffalo". It was said that this beast could run pretty darn quickly, but only "almost as fast as a horse".

Yes, I feel pretty cheated. It's not even quick enough for a normal horse! And they're giving it a "-2"?! That's like faster than the Red Hare 赤兔! Oh well... this IS the unofficial pack. *shrug*

Tsk!... a buffalo?! Come on. Seriously.
Pain on a stick. It's a simple weapon: spikes on ball on rod, bash with enthusiasm. The only difficult thing about this weapon is pronouncing its proper Chinese name. I must admit, before I did any research on this weapon, I only recognized two of characters in its traditional form (铁 which means metal, 骨 which means bone).

The Spiked Mace is a weapon that actually belonged to a character in the ROTK story. Can you make a guess which character owns this?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wanted: SGS Meet-up Task Force

Posted by Ricky Chua On 10:45 PM 1 comment
Dear Readers,

Let's meet up and play SanGuoSha! It's about time the readers of this blog come together for a game.

For the meet-up to work well, Task Forces need to be set up in the respective regions that you are at.

Are you the sort that loves to organise gatherings? 

Well volunteer yourself! I can't do this on my own!

Interested to just help out? Leave a comment below!

Here's what we probably need for each region:

1. An overall Person-in-charge

2, A venue to play for at least 3 hours. Cheap.

3. Transport recommendations and "How to go there" guidelines.

4. Ready the logistics (How many sets of SGS? With unofficial? Any food and drinks?)

5. Keep track of how many are coming for the event.

6. Any plans afterwards (dinner? tea?)

If you would like to be the person-in-charge for your area, do drop me an email at I will help you publicize your meet-up on this blog!

Come on! Give me a hand here will ya? Hope to see you all soon!

来!快来杀一下!(Come! Let's SHA!)

Atlas of Shu 蜀道图 (shǔ dào tú)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 6:23 PM No comments
Imagine this scenario. A scholarly male with an ugly not-so-pleasant-looking face approaches you, walking with a limp. He claims he can show you the way into a bank vault that is wide open, literally inviting you to plunder it to your heart's content. And he isn't kidding. You know there is some truth to his claim.

Would you take up his offer?

Cao Cao 曹操 did not. He was not interested in talking with the fuglies and showed this scholar little respect.

Big mistake. Cao Cao had hit the biggest jackpot of his career and he threw it away. Liu Bei 刘备 seizes the opportunity and took up the offer. It was thence, the Kingdom of Shu 蜀国 was born. Who was this ugly scholar? And what was the "bank vault"? Read on the find out.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Literal Translation:
Create noise in the east, but strike from the west.

Tactical Classification:
Distraction + Deception

Historical Basis (Wikipedia):
Various. Again, there is no direct elaboration on Wikipedia. One of the instances where this Stratagem was used in ROTK was at the beginning of the Three Kingdoms era. Zhang Jiao 张角's yellow turban rebellion was at its height and Zhu Jun 隽 (loyal to the dynasty) used this Stratagem against the peasant rebels. He gathered his troops secretly at the North-east corner of the fort, yet prepared his drums at the South-west corner. When the drums were struck, the tactless peasants rushed towards the drums, leaving the North-east unguarded. Well... need i say more?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Part 6: The Saboteur Mod

Posted by Ricky Chua On 4:01 PM 8 comments
A simple modification. Tremendous difference.

The Saboteur card game that inspired this mod.

This modification will change the way you enjoy SanGuoSha. It increases the uncertainty of victory. It turns the guessing of roles into a nightmare. If you love the mind games aspect of SGS, you are going to thoroughly enjoy this mod. And the best part about this mod is you do not need any additional purchases or any expansion packs! Everything you need is already part of the original pack. Interested to know more? Read on!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Plastic Protection

Posted by Ricky Chua On 2:05 PM 3 comments
I've been getting queries lately about bringing in laminated SGS cards. Due to the cost of manpower, it only makes sense to have it laminated in China before bringing it over in shipments. I can't help but ask myself this question:

"What if I bring it in but nobody wants to buy?"

So i'm doing the next best thing... asking you for your opinion.

I have also listed down some of the common objections to laminated cards. Please have some fun in giving me your comments. I love to hear from you.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Read this cipher, and you can begin to control the weather. "Storm" from X-men would be proud. The Mystic Cipher is a mysterious text that is only mentioned in reference in the ROTK story. The actual cipher was never described. Still, This makes wonderful fodder for all kinds of mystical and magical stories, linked to that era.

Yet due to its "magical" powers, any mention of the Mystic Cipher is peppered with animated impossibilities. This makes verification of any historical accuracy pretty difficult, so it would be much more fun to just enjoy the fairy tale. Forget about the reality check for now. Just go with it!

A wet blanket for you. Despite all its magical ability, this card's ability in SGS is somewhat disappointing.

A collection of books, works, medicinal recipes and techniques written by the great physician of that era, Hua Tuo 华佗. This set of works is so legendary that it borders on the mythical. Though Chinese literature mentions the Green Salve Anthology, nobody has seen these works in the flesh for over 1700 years. Why is this so? Read on to find out.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Bronze Phoenix Quatrain is a poem. Yes, you read correctly. It is a poem. Better yet, this poem his nothing to do with war! It is a poem written by Cao Zhi 曹植, Cao Cao 曹操's third son, celebrating the construction of the Bronze Phoenix tower.

Though this is no sword or shield, a rare treasure it is! Cao Zhi was known as an incredibly talented poet, whose works have survived up till today, nearly 2000 years since they were first written. What is the Bronze Phoenix tower and what relevance does it have in the story? Read on the find out.

Unlike what I would usually write to describe equipment, this armor is NOT anything magical. Yes, it does appear in the story, and yes, it's owner is very conspicuous. But no, this armor did not save its owner. In fact it did not do anything except look good.

Which of the characters in the ROTK story is the ill-fated owner of this Berserker Mail? The answer is revealed in the "Historical Basis" section below.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This insane collection is back... with a new tag-along.

The new Art-of-War Expansion (unofficial, of course)

As promised, the SGS Unofficial Hamper has been re-stocked! This time it comes with 2 new items included in the hamper:

Any Singaporean's out there keen to meet up to play SGS?

Come on, tell me what you think by filling out the form below. If response is good, I'll get this going within February!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Latest addition to the SGS FAQ team

Posted by Ricky Chua On 10:20 AM No comments
Dear readers,

A big thank you to our latest FAQ arbitrator nick "Princemousey"!

If you would like to join us as part of our expert FAQ panel, please email me at

Hope to hear from you!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

First Look: The SGS English Guide Booklet

Posted by Ricky Chua On 10:12 AM 14 comments
My jaw hit the floor when I saw what my graphic designer did.

An ancient secret manual?
Artistic talents are rare. In this aspect, my graphic designer is a true genius. I assure you the graphic work for the contents of this booklet is incredibly impressive. Of course, his services don't come cheap, but i'm willing to even make a loss for the creation of this booklet. Does not make sense to you? Let me explain.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

FAQ Arbitrator needed

Posted by Ricky Chua On 1:43 PM No comments
Know the game rules well? Take it to a new level.

It began about 2 weeks ago. In the 5 months leading up till then, I only received a question here and there about once a day. These questions primarily centered around character ability ambiguities and game rules. Suddenly, the floodgates opened about 2 weeks ago and i've been swamped with questions since. Just yesterday alone i received close to 20 questions! I'm left wondering... what happened? 

The Singaporean Influx
According to my blog statistics, the number of readers has been increasing steadily, with the most significant group of new visitors coming from none other than my home country, Singapore. Boy am i proud that my fellow countrymen are asking all the questions they can. After all, haven't we always been criticized for being passive learners? 

War Elephant 南蛮象 (nán mán xiàng)

Posted by Ricky Chua On 1:40 PM No comments
Elephants are seldom part of Chinese history. Flip through 3000 years of wars and you will see countless mention of horses, but few about elephants. This is similarly reflected in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, where only 1 chapter out of 120 mention this beast.

In chapter 90, the King of the Southern Barbarians, Meng Huo 孟获, has been repeatedly humiliated by Zhu Ge Liang 诸葛亮 in battle. In his desperation to revenge, Meng Huo receives news of another barbarian king known as King Mu Lu 木鹿 and asks for his help to defeat Zhu Ge Liang. Mu Lu rides on a (you guessed it) white elephant. Though there was little mention of other elephants beside the King's ride, it can  be understood that there are elephant warriors in the midst. One other barbarian king that appears in the same chapter is King Wu Tu Gu 兀突骨, also riding atop a white elephant. Both these kings were killed by the Shu army in the battles of Meng Huo vs Zhu Ge Liang.

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