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Thursday, July 28, 2011

I stand corrected. Two months ago, I thought the OKF characters were insane in their abilities. Boy was I terribly wrong! With the release of the final official expansion pack, the Hills Pack 山包 is already said to be the most highly-anticipated SGS add-on ever... and the most EXTREME of all the official packs. A new ability class will be created known as the "Awakening ability 觉醒技", which is reminiscent of "Super-moves" from the King of Fighter and Streetfighter videogames. That would be so cool!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Translation updates coming your way

Posted by Ricky Chua On 7:28 PM 2 comments
Dear Readers,

This blog is about to undergo spring cleaning! Over the months, there have been frequent updates on the FAQ and the official rules of some characters and cards.

In an effort to keep the data here as updated as possible, slight modifications will be made to select posts. Most of this changes will be so slight you would not even notice.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gāo Shùn 高顺

Posted by Ricky Chua On 8:30 PM 20 comments

Translated Description:
No Siege is Unsuccessful 攻无不克 (gōng wú bù kè)

Who is he:
His illustration looks scary enough. Is he some kind of ancient Chinese Ghost-rider on a horse? Maybe Vin Diesel behind a Slipknot mask, carrying a butcher knife as wide as a cow? What we know about Gao Shun is that he is a serious man of few words and strict discipline. Here is a military general in ancient China that abstains from alcohol, unheard of! He was one of the most respected generals serving under Lu Bu 吕布 and a man of integrity he was. Gao Shun took no bribes and put on no airs, but he had a fearsome presence that commanded immediate respect. The only thing he did less than talk (which he rarely did) was to drink wine. Gao Shun is also known to rebuke Lu Bu straight in the face when Lu Bu makes stupid decisions, but yet Lu Bu would not follow Gao Shun's advice.

Gao Shun has very little air time in the story, and most records of him are historical. Yet for what little air-time he was given in the story, Gao Shun was made partially responsible for one very prominent Wei general losing his eyeball. Can you guess which general?

Character ability 1: Ambush 陷阵 (xiàn zhèn)
During your action phase, you can Points Duel with another player.

If you win, you possess the following abilities till your turn ends.
- Disregard any distance between you and that player
- Disregard any equipped armor of that player.
- You can use as many ATTACK 杀 cards as you wish on that player.

If you lose, you cannot use any ATTACK cards for the remainder of this turn.

Limited to one use per turn.

Character ability 2: Abnegation 禁酒 (jìn jiǔ) [Enfored ability]
All your WINE 酒 cards must be regarded as ATTACK cards.

Ability's relation to the story:
"Ambush" does not seem to relate to any one particular incident in the story. The ability does seem to point towards Gao Shun's famed attacking ability. My personal feel about this ability is that it is extremely offensive and a choice of the Rebels 反贼! Particularly those who are at a distance too far away to strike the Ruler 主公. So if you are the Ruler, beware any player who chooses this character. Keep him bound and toothless for as long as you can!

"Abnegation" is a spin on Gao Shun's refusal to drink alcohol. The ability creator had a lot of different cards to replace WINE, but the choice to use ATTACK as a replacement was probably to further increase his offensive ability. Thankfully, the balance is he is unable to use WINE + ATTACK anymore, Phew!

Additional info from the story:
1. Most famous achievement - In Lu Bu's heyday, Gao Shun was sent to bout with Xia Hou Dun 夏侯惇 when the latter was sent by Cao Cao曹操 as reinforcement to rescue Liu Bei 刘备. Both the able generals went equally matched for "half a hundred bouts" before Gao Shun appeared to weaken. Gao Shun turned away from the duel and retreated, but the blood-thirsty Xia Hou Dun gave chase. Unbeknownst to Xia Hou Dun, Gao Shun's compatriot Cao Xing 曹性 lay in ambush and shot an arrow that pierced Xia Hou Dun's eye.

As was already known, Xia Hou Dun yanked out the arrow with his eyeball still on it, promptly swallowed his own eyeball, then skewered Cao Xing's face with his spear. Gao Shun gave chase on a wounded Xia Hou Dun, and eventually succeeded in chasing off the Wei forces.

2. Cause of death - As Lu Bu come under siege from Cao Cao, Lu Bu refused to take the advice of his advisor Chen Gong 陈宫. The indecision and poor choices of Lu Bu led to his downfall. Gao Shun, along with Chen Gong and Lu Bu were all captured and brought before Cao Cao. Gao Shun kept mum and never spoke a word, much less plead for mercy. Cao Cao then promptly executed him.

Wiki Link:
Gao Shun Wiki

Monday, July 18, 2011

Chén Gōng 陈宫

Posted by Ricky Chua On 4:38 PM 21 comments
Translated Description:
Upright and Heroic 刚直壮烈 (gāng zhí zhuàng liè)

Who is he:
Here is an intelligent advisor with great capability that, regrettably, served under a mediocre leader, Lu Bu 吕布. Chen Gong aided Lu Bu with sound and prudent advice, but it was Lu Bu who chose not to heed them. Chen Gong would have preferred to work under a stronger leader like Cao Cao. Possibly one of the first few people to see Cao Cao 曹操’s ruthless nature, Chen Gong was first introduced to the story as a magistrate of a county. One fateful day, a lone fugitive stumbled into his county and was recognized by the guards on duty. This fugitive was none other than Cao Cao, wanted throughout the land for the attempted murder of Dong Zhuo 董卓. The guards brought Cao Cao in front of Chen Gong, where Cao Cao lied about his identity and claimed to be a merchant. Chen Gong put Cao Cao in jail and proclaimed that he would bring Cao Cao to Dong Zhuo and receive his reward.

Secretly, however, Chen Gong had a lot more on his mind. Chen Gong despised Dong Zhuo and admired Cao Cao's courage in his murder plot. That very night, Chen Gong did the unthinkable and left his post as magistrate. He then escaped from the county with Cao Cao (the magistrate escapes with the fugitive!) in hopes of working with Cao Cao and achieve great things.

However, just three days after the escape, Cao Cao would do something so unthinkable that Chen Gong would forever abandon his dreams of working with him. What heinous act did Cao Cao do? Read on to find out!

Character ability 1: Brilliant Scheme 明策 (míng cè)
During your action phase, you can give an equipment card or an ATTACK 杀 card to any other player (the recipient). The recipient must then choose between 1 of 2 options.

1. This action would be viewed as having used an ATTACK on another player of your choice within the recipient's attacking range.

2. Draw a card from the deck.

Limited to one use per turn.

Character ability 2: Cerebral Delay 智迟 (zhī chí) [Enforced ability]
Whenever you receive damage during another player's turn, any ATTACK or Tool cards (except Time-delayed tool cards) have no effect on you until that turn ends.

Ability's relation to story:
The mechanics of "Brilliant scheme" is not based on any particular strategy employed by Chen Gong in the story, however this ability is incredibly clever! It definitely does justice to the intelligent advisor that Chen Gong was in his lifetime. By selecting option 1 of the ability, Chen Gong is able to strike almost any player in the entire game (you can give the card to any player), without having to use an ATTACK during his turn. The nasty thing about this ability is that Chen Gong gets to pick who to attack AFTER the recipient chooses option 1. Chen Gong can easily flip sides if he is the DEFECTOR and backstab his teammates at the most crucial moment. Brilliant!!

"Cerebral Delay" is quite messed up. According to the story, the words 智迟 was not a compliment to Chen Gong at all. It was used to describe Chen Gong as having fantastic analytical and intellectual capability, but needing to take a very long time before his strategies are conceived. In fact my initial translation for this ability was called "Sluggish Wisdom", which is a good fit to the story but a terrible clash for the ability mechanics. For whatever reason, the ability creator gave Chen Gong the ability to "delay" ("abort" is more accurate) damage dealt unto him. Thus I thought I would give the translation a touch of X-men while still keeping closely to the literal meaning of the Chinese words (智 = intellect, 迟 = late or to delay).

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - Technically what I shall write in this paragraph isn't an achievement, but more a significant highlight that burned into the reader's mind. After Chen Gong escaped with Cao Cao, they needed to find shelter and stay low. Cao Cao recommended that they stay over at his uncle's nearby. His uncle was an aged old man who, despite knowing that Cao Cao was a fugitive, immediately offered both of them shelter and lodging. As is Chinese custom throughout the years, wine is a necessity to welcome guests, what more people of stature such as Cao Cao and Chen Gong. The uncle promptly left to procure wine on his donkey. While the two fugitives sat, they overheard knives being sharpened in the adjacent room and someone saying "bind before killing". The overly paranoid Cao Cao feared they were being betrayed by his uncle. Both of them rushed into the household and slaughtered the entire family. All in all, eight innocent lives were murdered, after which the fugitives saw a pig in the backyard that was meant for the sacrifice.

Only then did they realize they were mistaken, but it was too late. Lives were lost, and they had to escape again. In the dark of night, they encountered his uncle making his way home after purchasing wine. The poor uncle, still oblivious to the fact that his entire family lay dead at home, insisted the pair stay for dinner before leaving. Cao Cao brandished his sword and promptly killed his uncle to silence the only witness, thence he spoke his most famous line:

"I would rather betray the entire world, than to have the entire world betray me."

Chen Gong realized he was on the run with a ruthless and cold-blooded monster, and he part ways with him the next morning while Cao Cao was still asleep. Their paths would cross again in the coming future.

2. Cause of death - Despite giving Lu Bu prudent advice to counter Cao Cao's invading forces, Lu Bu chose to lull in indecision. The defeat of Lu Bu was inevitable, as Cao Cao's forces were dispatched with the sole purpose of crushing him. Chen Gong was captured and Cao Cao offered him a place to serve under his leadership. Chen Gong refused and chose death instead. Cao Cao was impressed by Chen Gong's integrity, and chose to take care of Chen Gong's family after beheading him.

Wiki Link:
Chen Gong Wiki

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ranked Number 1 on Google

Posted by Ricky Chua On 9:42 PM 14 comments
It took almost 1 full year since this blog was launched. I'm very proud to write that this blog is now the top-ranked site when you Google either "San Guo Sha" or "Sanguosha".

Amazingly, this site has edged out even the official site by Yoka.

This could not have been possible without YOUR support and patronage. Thanks once again!

On a side note, the new OKF expansion has been absolutely incredible! I've been having so much fun ever since the pack was added that I've been playing SGS every weekend non-stop for nearly a month. My favorite character in the expansion has got to be Lady Wu (Wu Guo Tai 吴国太). It always feels the carpet is yanked from my opponents feet everytime I use her ability.

If you haven't gotten your OKF expansion pack, you don't know what you're missing out. Seriously.

See you all some time soon!

Have fun and 杀!

PS: Anybody out there from countries outside of Singapore want to have a game with me sometime? I'm planning an overseas trip but have not decided where. It would be awesome if I could go somewhere with SGS-lovers and have a game or two! :D Let me know!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fǎ Zhèng 法正

Posted by Ricky Chua On 12:50 PM 34 comments
Translated Description:
The Wind beneath Shu Kingdom's Wings 蜀汉的辅翼 (shǔ hàn dè fǔ yì)

Note: 辅翼 actually means "wings that support".

Who is he:
Some say he's a mercenary that cares more for his own benefits. Others say he is loyal and steadfast in his support of Liu Bei 刘备. Yet everyone would agree that Fa Zheng is one talented and intelligent individual. To put things into perspective, the true roles of Zhu Ge Liang 诸葛亮, Pang Tong 庞统 and Fa Zheng needs to be clarified. Though Zhu Ge Liang is widely celebrated for his god-like intellect, history records show that he was more a brilliant minister and statesman than a strategist. Pang Tong and Fa Zheng, on the other hand, are the true thinkers and conjurers. Pang Tong and Fa Zheng never did work together though. By the time Fa Zheng joined Shu Kingdom, Pang Tong was already dead.

So who exactly is Fa Zheng and how did he end up joining Liu Bei? Fa Zheng was one of the key personnel responsible for Liu Bei invading the western state of Xi Chuan 西川 that set up the Shu Kingdom. Fa Zheng worked closely with Zhang Song 张松 (the person responsible for giving the Atlas of Shu to Liu Bei) and was the brains behind the ploy that supplanted Liu Zhang 刘璋 with Liu Bei. In the time after, Fa Zheng was so highly regarded by Liu Bei that Liu Bei gave Fa Zheng something that he never gave any other Shu loyal.

What did Liu Bei give to Fa Zheng that was so unique? Read on to find out!

[2011 Old version]
Character ability 1: Reciprocation 恩怨 (ēn yuàn) [Enforced ability]
Whenever any other player regains your health by 1 unit, that player can draw 1 card. Every instance that any other player deals you damage, that player must give you an on-hand card of the "hearts" suit, or else that player will lose 1 unit of health.

Character ability 2: Artifice of the Masses 眩惑 (xuàn huò)
In your action phase, you can give one on-hand card with the suit of "hearts" to any other player, then take any 1 card from that player and immediately give it to another player. Limited to one use per turn.

(Note: For "Artifice", after you take 1 card from the player, you can choose to keep it in your on-hand cards. The words "give it to another player" includes yourself.)

[2012 New version]
Character ability 1: Reciprocation 恩怨 (ēn yuàn)
Whenever you receive 2 or more cards from another player, you can allow that player to draw 1 card. Whenever you have received 1 unit of damage, you can make the source of the damage give you 1 on-hand card, or he/she loses 1 unit of health.

Character ability 2: Artifice of the Masses 眩惑 (xuàn huò)
In the drawing phase, you can forgo drawing cards and force another player to draw 2 cards, then let that player use an ATTACK on another player of your choice that is within his/her attacking range. If the player does not abide by your instructions, you will receive those 2 cards that the player drew.

Ability's relation to story:
The ability "Reciprocation" is supposed to reflect Fa Zheng's mercenary tendencies, where he will readily reciprocate in kind or with harm to whomever shows him the same. This is debatable though, as the evidence of that personality trait just isn't overwhelming. So even though there is a link to the story, its the story itself that might be somewhat corrupted.

"Artifice of the Masses" has its roots in a particular story, which took place after Liu Bei overthrew Liu Zhang at conquered the West. Near the dying days of Liu Zhang's rule, one minister of Liu Zhang, known as Xu Jing 许靖, decided to surrender early to defect to Liu Bei. Unfortunately Xu Jing was unable to carry out his defection as planned. After Liu Zhang was overthrown, Liu Bei decided not to retain Xu Jing because of his display of cowardice and disloyalty. But Fa Zheng decided to intervene. In truth, Xu Jing was a well known person but supposedly average in capability. For Liu Bei not to employ Xu Jing would be sending the message that Liu Bei does not value capable men. Thus Fa Zheng insisted that Liu Bei retain Xu Jing, despite his unstellar abilities, so as to pull a hoax on the masses and create the illusion that Liu Bei treasures his human talents.

How does the game mechanics of "Artifice" link to the story? Well... there isn't much of a link! The original ability creator mentioned that this ability mirrors Fa Zheng's use of trickery and confusion to fool everyone else. A fantastic ability for the Defector to use, though it was little to do with history.

Additional info from the story:
1. Most famous achievement - The battle of Mount Ding Jun 定军山之战 where he assisted Huang Zhong 黄忠 in defeating Xia Hou Yuan 夏侯渊. In that battle, Huang Zhong had set up his camp at a higher vantage point than Xia Hou Yuan, which pretty much frustrated Xia Hou Yuan enough to launch an assault. Fa Zheng advised Huang Zhong not to advance, but to simply hold his ground till he gives the signal. When Xia Hou Yuan's forces became weaker after failing to penetrate Huang Zhong's defenses, Fa Zheng gave Huang Zhong the signal to strike, where Huang Zhong brought down Xia Hou Yuan with one swift strike.

2. Cause of death - Fa Zheng died from an illness in the year 220 AD. He was only 34 years old. Liu Bei was so devastated by the loss of Fa Zheng that he wept for days. Liu Bei then decided to do something which he has never done before, and would never do again. Liu Bei conferred on Fa Zheng the only posthumous title he has ever given anyone. "The Winged Marquis 翼侯" became Fa Zheng's posthumous title, which is related to the translated description at the top of this write up.

Wiki Link:
Fa Zheng Wiki

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