Thank You to Abacus for sending us a review copy

General Information:
Manufacturer: Abacus / Uberplay
Author: Michael Schacht
Design: Michael Schacht
Number of Players: 3-5
Age: 12 years plus
Time: about 45 mins.
Year: 2005


Deutsche Spielerezension

Game Components:
1 gameboard - 57 region cards - 100 houses - 45 emissaries - 5 point cards - 5 fortifications - 9 scoring markers - 1 Emperor marker - 1 Rulebook (German, English, French, Italian)

It is 200 B.C. and the already ancient empire of China is restless. The emperor is weak and the mighty empire stands on the brink of a change in government. The players are the mighty provinicial governors - power-hungry and ambitious. Each of them wants to overcome the troubles and become the next emperor of China.

Before the game each player chooses a colour and gets all the emissaries in that colour. Give each player his/her houses. Each player places one of his/her emissaries onto the 0 on the scoring track. If only 4 players are taking part remove one region card in each colour, 2 if only 3 players are participating. Shuffle the remaining region cards and deal out 3 to each player. Put  4 open cards next to the deck. One player becomes the emperor, gets the Emperor marker and goes first.

The game is played clockwise and each player can choose one of the two options below:

1. A player may choose to play 1, 2 or 3 cards from his/her hand.
The player may now put playing pieces in any regions showing the same colour as his/her card. If their are two regions on the card the player has to choose one of the two. In his/her turn a player may only put playing pieces in one region. Each card enables the player to put one playing piece in the region. He/She may decide to place houses and/or emissaries.
After a player has played 1, 2 or 3 cards he/she now can replenish his/her hand back up to 3 cards. He/she can draw the replacement cards from the deck or may decide to take one to three of the face-up ones next to the stack. He/She may draw one from the stack and take two faces-up ones and so on. Any combination is allowed. When the player has finished drawing cards he/she draws as many cards from the stack - as he/she has taken face-up cards - and puts them - face up - next to the stack and it is the next player's turn.
  1. Whenver a player is not able or does not want to play a card he/she may decide to exchange one of his/her hand cards. He/she puts one of his/her cards onto the discard pile and draws a new card from the draw pile or takes one of the face-up cards. After he/she has done so he/she replenishes the face-up cards and it is the next player's turn.
When no more houses can be placed in a region (because all house spaces are occupied) all the players get points for that region. The player with the most houses in a region gets one point for each of all the houses in the region. The player who has got the second-most houses gets points equal to the number of houses of the player with the most houses in that region. The player with the third-most houses gets points equal to the number of houses of the second-most player in that region. And so on. If there is a tie both players get the same amount of points. Put a scoring marker into a region after it has been scored.

The game ends when the draw has been exhausted for the second time. The turn ends after the player on the right side of the emperor has made finished his/her move. The game also ends when no more playing pieces can be placed.  The players now get points: As before the players get points for houses in each region that has not been scored yet. Furthermore the players get points for their "alliances" (emissaries): There are 15 numbers on the board showing alliances between the two regions. A player can get points for an alliance only if he/she has got the majority in emissaries in both regions: A player then gets 1 point for each emissary (regardless of the colour) in both of the regions. If there is a tie both players get the points. If a player was able to place at least 4 houses in a row along a street he/she gets 1 point for each house in that row. Each house can only be counted once. The player with the most points becomes the new Emperor of China and is the winner of the game.

Optional rule "Fortification": When distributing the playing pieces before the game give one fortification to each player. Instead of playing or exchanging cards a player may decide to play either a card in a region's colour or a joker and then places his/her fortification onto an empty house space. Furthermore he/she can place one of his/her of his houses onto the fortification - if he/she can meet the card requirements. If not any other player may occupy the fortification by playing an adequate card. When the region's houses are scored a player gots twice the amount of his/her normal points if he/she owns a fortification in that region. At the end of the game a player gets twice the amount for a road which his/her fortification is part of.
(Troudi 02.08.05)

Further Information:
- Homepage of Abacus

Troudi says 8 out of 10 points:
As the predecessor "Kardinal & König" "China" is a most interesting game and highly tactical. Players have got a whole amount of options they can choose from but only one or two do really make sense. It is of utmost importance to get as much points as possible in each of the regions. The game becomes more interesting when using the fortifications: A player with most houses in a region is most likely to win the game if he/she uses a fortification. So be aware! Players should also be aware to prevent fortification-owners from getting 4 houses in a row. In the early stage of the game it is often difficult to decide whether to build a house in a new region (maybe risky because the subsequent players are maybe able to occupy all the house spaces) or wait and expand his/her possessions in another region. The game is also interesting because the game board has got two sides: One side for 3-4 players and the other one for 4-5 players. So "China" is really worth being at least tried out but and because it is not very expensive (about 34 Dollars) it is an investion without any risk.

Questions about China? Contact us!

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