San Guo Sha (三国杀 or “Killers of the Three Kingdoms”) is a popular Chinese board game set in the Three Kingdoms period. The rules of the game follow the rules of Bang!, a world-famous card game inspired by spaghetti westerns. How’s that for East meets West?
Ages: 8 and up
Type of game: Card/board hybrid
Number of players: 2-10
Each player plays one of four roles: lord, loyalist, rebel, or spy. As the game begins, each player must randomly draw a “role card” to determine their role. Whoever draws the “lord” card must reveal their role card to the rest of the players. Those who draw other roles must keep them hidden until they are defeated over the course of the game. Different roles have different victory conditions:
- The lord must survive and defeat all rebels and spies;
- The loyalist must prevent the lord from dying, and kill all the rebels and spies;
- The rebel must kill the lord;
- And finally, the spy must kill all the loyalists and rebels, then the lord.
Over the course of the game, each player is dealt three “hero” cards. Each hero has a different ability and is loyal to one of the three warring states of the period: Wei, Shu, or Wu. After the players have each selected one hero from the ones they have drawn, players draw cards in an effort to defeat players from the opposing team. Some cards are weapons, some are utilitarian, some allow you to attack, some allow you to defend, and so on.
Game Over: Each character has 3-5 health points. Every time you are successfully attacked, you lose a health point. If you run out of health, you are defeated and thus taken out of the game. As mentioned above, each role has its own victory conditions. The game also ends immediately if the lord is killed or all the rebels and spies are killed.
Photo via paopaoche.net