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Several families fight for supremacy in China in the 14th century. As head of the families, the players travel throughout the 6 Chinese provinces to increase their influence and support there in order to gain the favour of the emperor.Over 6 rounds, the players place family members in political offices to strengthen their standing among the population and in the emperor's palace. They found cloisters in the individual provinces to strengthen the spiritual life of the Chinese middle class. But only the player who reacts to the actions of the other families will, at the end, through balanced and flexible tactics, earn the most points and become the next emperor. Contents:
|By||Oridyne||From||Staffs in United Kingdom|
The artwork is extremely good and the quality of the components is also very good.
However, despite the manual looking very pretty in full colour and showing shots of the pieces and board to help explain the game, it is either badly translated, badly written or both. Reading the rules makes its very hard to understand how to play this game as certain points are not made very clear. Once you get past this though and play a couple of rounds you will find the game is actually quite good and not that hard. It's a very strategic game and certainly will get played again now the pattern of play is understood.
This aim is to accumulate as many points as possible, this is achieved by getting your people into the cities, or occupying cloisters. The other way is to collect sets of district markers (6 different districts) which score highly in the first round and diminish as rounds go on.
The game is played over 6 rounds, with scoring on rounds 2,4 and 6. Your prince piece starts in a district of your choice (for which you get a counter). Starting with the first player you place one of 5 family members on a province square at the edge of the board, this continues until you place all of you 5 family members. This has 2 purposes, first is that any province square you have a person on allows you to take the face up movement card next to it (which is used to move your prince around the board), secondly when your prince finishes his movement in a province you can move between 0-3 family members from the corresponding province square.
Movement between and around provinces is done my discarding a card with a symbol matching the mode of transport indicated at the border on the game board. Dragon Cards are wild and can purchased during the card pickup phase by paying for it with a family member from your pool on the district squares. You can move your prince as far as you like or leave him where he is but you must always discard a card. Also you can not end your princes movement in a district that already contains a prince. Once you have finished your move you may place your family members, each player does this in turn until everyone has passed (not explained well in the rules).
When you are about to move your family members into the district you can elect to move one into the cloister instead, however you can not then move any into the district. This scores you 4 points every scoring round until replaced by another players piece.
Scoring is done district by district, the person with the most family members in a district gets to place 2 people in the city slots, the second place person gets to place 1. There are rules to cover ties. At this point the players can use some special cards to decide how many people to leave in the city, each person left in the city scores points (getting less each scoring round) but is also removed from the game. A bonus score is awarded for having the most people in the city, ties are resolved by including the people in the district, if thats still a tie the points are shared.
Play continues in this fashion until the final scoring round, where the people in the city score nothing but the bonus for the most in a city still scores.
This games plays very well and requires a deal of thought into your moves as you can have a carefully constructed hand of cards only for someone else to block part of your path with their prince.
There is plenty to think about and there is not much downtime between between plays and I would recommend this to anyone, however I would suggest reading the rules carefully whilst trying out a round or two of play to get the gist of how each segment of the turn actually works.
These volume discounts are in addition to sale and special offer prices.
1 1/2-2 hours
Hans im Gluck
Robert F Watson
10 to adult
Spirit Games (Est. 1984) - Supplying role playing games (RPG), wargames rules, miniatures and scenery, new and traditional board and card games for the last 29 years
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