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Spirit Games (Est. 1984) - Supplying role playing games (RPG), wargames rules, miniatures and scenery, new and traditional board and card games for the last 20 years sells Yunnan



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Yunnan - home of the delicious Pu'er tea.
For more than 1000 years, the tea dynasties are providing this sought-after good via their horse caravans to faraway Tibet, A network of paths and roads leading through the jungles of Yunnan, the steppes of Sichuan and over the peaks of the Himalaya - the 'Tea-Horse Road' is the traditional travel route of the tea traders.

In Yunnan, the players control the fate of their tea dynasties. Their main goal is to establish a broad and secure trading network to deliver the tea to the farthest provinces, doing it better than their opponents. The main work behind the scenes is done in Pu'er, their home location. New traders need to be trained, better horses need to be acquired, and a good number of border passes need to be requested to be able to reach the farthest provinces.
However, mere trading is not enough to beat the competition. Great social influence and building a prestigious tea house may come in handy to propitiate the province inspector. Bridges provide shortcuts and trading posts in faraway places secure the own path along the "Tea-Horse Road".

Yunnan is well suited for players who like tactical development games. Due to the interleaving game mechanisms, the players are involved in the game at all times. The great variety of available actions allows for different strategies. Only the player who calculates really tough, goes against the proper opponents and reacts to the actions of the other players swiftly and adequately, will win this game.


  • 1 Game Board
  • 5 Victory point markers
  • 5 Horses
  • 5 Income markers
  • 10 Progress markers
  • 5 Turn order markers
  • 35 Traders
  • 10 Bridges
  • 10 Trading posts
  • 10 Tea Houses
  • 35 "-100/0" markers
  • 1 Round marker
  • 1 Province Inspector
  • 14 Presents
  • 53 Coins
  • 1 Rule book

Reviews Review Game
By Sarcyn From Derbyshire in United Kingdom
I first played Yunnan on Boxing Day 2014, at the end of a day of fine games and this one belongs right up there in my opinion. Since Oridyne has already done a fantastic overview of the game and how it plays, I will just add a few thoughts from my own experience.

I’ve now played this game 3 times and each time it played differently, with players focussing on different aspects. The designer is very keen to point out on board game geek that this is a game where you have to pay attention to what your opponents are doing and react accordingly and I must say that for a game that definitely falls within the ‘euro’ genre this is a nice change. A lot of the time the criticism levelled at Euro games is that each player acts pretty much independently. This is certainly not the case here, and not just because of the potential for knocking other players traders back and causing them to lose out on some income.

I am a big fan of auction games, and Yunnan manages to tweak the auction experience in two ways that add a huge amount to the decision making when bidding. By having ‘safe’ spots where you can’t be outbid you always have the option of getting the privilege you want, and you have to decide whether to try and sneak in on the cheap or lock up the reward you need. The other aspect is the bank… and it can be a very good, if somewhat sneaky, strategy to run up everyone’s bids and then duck out to the bank.

The other unique mechanic that can have a massive impact on the game is deciding whether to take victory points or cash at the end of each round. In my most recent game we were all taken off guard by one player deciding to take all of his income as victory points at a point where most people were planning for their next two or three turns and were suddenly forced into a hasty rethink. While this might seem to detract from the pleasure of building up a great set of moves, it comes back to the designers claims about keeping an eye on the other players - if any of us had paid enough attention we would have realised that this move was on the cards and could have made adjustments sooner.

The other thing to note is that this is a game that really excels at the higher player counts. The extra completion for auction spaces and possibility of tea traders being knocked back several times makes the experience all the richer. It is worth noting that not many people recommend this at 2 players though. Our group features one member who generally dislikes games with 5 players, and even he admitted that this was good fun with 5 - probably helped by the fact he won!

By Oridyne From Staffs in United Kingdom

This is a game about Tea, with players playing Farmers and Traders plying their tea along the “Ancient Tea-Horse Road”.

The artwork on the board is very good and evokes the theme quite well. The player pieces are wooden, which is always nice, and again the designs fit well with theme.

The other components are cardboard tokens and coins, with the coins nicely shaped. Shaping is used as well to help distinguish function for some pieces which is a really helpful idea.

There is an auction phase where players bid for certain benefits like prestige, extra traders, move movement etc. On each building providing these there are several slots, the cheapest 2 slots you can be out-bid and forced to remove your bid. Later slots are more costly but are "safe" from being removed. This provides some interesting choices for players, especially as there is also a Bank option where once you place there you remove your other bids, if any, to the Pu'er starting position. The banks provides an amount of money based on the total bids that turn, so careful planning can drive the prices up before taking the bank!.

The rest of the turn is made up of several phases where players move their traders along the road, build items if they can, deal with the inspector, earn presents and calculate their potential income. One of the things with income is that you have an option to split this between money and VP's. Knowing when to start this and how to manipulate that split is a strong tactical part of the game.

There is also pro version of the rules where you can go into debt during the Auction phase, where as the normal game you have to have the right funds available.

The game provides some interesting choices as well as some player interaction that can have significant effect on their options. Whilst this is not a short game it certainly does not outstay its welcome and provides meaningful choices for the players in how to progress.

I really like this game there is some real strategy and tactics to be put into play here in order to maximise your earnings/point scoring options. There are choices to be made during this game which can impact what can be done later in the turn as well as other players options. Given the choices available each game does play differently enough to warrant many repeat plays, I have not yet played the Pro version of the rules but can see this being an interesting option once players become familiar with the gameplay.

The rulebook is well written, with the addition of side panels with the essential steps laid out to work as a memory aid for future games, rather than having to re-read all the rules.

I can recommend this game and it should see a good amount of table time as it has proved an excellent addition to my collection.

Yunnan by Board Game Geek Link for more Reviews

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10% over £100

These volume discounts are in addition to sale and special offer prices.

Related Tags
Playing Time
1 1/2 hours
Game Type
Network Building
Worker Placement
Argentum Verlag
No. Players
2-5 Players
Aaron Haag
12 +
Manufacturer's Code

Spirit Games (Est. 1984, Lefglow Ltd) - Supplying role playing games (RPG), wargames rules, miniatures and scenery, new and traditional board and card games for the last 35 years

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