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Even today in China, the unmistakable evidence of a fascinating story is everywhere. Hundreds of years ago, the country teetered on the brink of a change in power. Regional rulers fought continuously with each other with only one goal in mind: to become the new Emperor. They erected imposing houses and sent their emissaries to the regional courts.
This fascinating game of domination combines multiple tactical possibilities with simple-to-learn rules and a short playing time! China is based on the multiple award-winning game Web of Power by master game designer Michael Schacht.
Players: 3 - 5
Time: 60 minutes
Ages: 10 and up
Est. time to learn: 10-20 minutes
Weight: 915 grams
Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.
- 1 game board
- 57 region cards
- 100 houses
- 45 emmissaries
- 5 point cards
- 5 fortifications
- 9 scoring markers
- 1 emperor marker
Average Rating: 4.4 in 4 reviews
I recently played this game with my friends Kevin and Chris. Out of the clear blue sky this weekend, Kevin came over for our weekly game session with this little Überplay game. We played only one game but it was enough for me to see that this game has potential beyond our first brief encounter. The game is managed by cards, and plays a lot like Ticket To Ride in that aspect, so if you're familiar with T2R then this game will come to you quickly. If you're trying to introduce a new player to T2R then teach them this first (if you have it already) they'll catch on to T2R faster that way.
The printing is nice, and Überplay has done something you don't usually find from most board game companies. They printed on BOTH SIDES OF THE BOARD!!!! The reason for this is one side is used for 2-3 players and the other for 4-5 players. The map is the same on both sides, but there are more roads, and more towns connected by them. Basically it's a game of area control, but it's also a game about building, and creating roads, much again like, T2R. You have houses you can place, and emissaries you can use to control certain areas. All the pieces are wood, and have that Carcassonne "Meeple feel" to them. It is my belief that whatever printing company Carcassonne was printed by, was also the same one that printed this. If not, then perhaps the same artist was used? Either way, the artwork, and interior of the box for both (Carcassonne and China) really look alike. I'm sure we'll play it again, and often. The game is small compared to other board games, but there's a lot of little wooden pieces, and the board leaves plenty of table space for your beer, ashtray, dice, and other knickknacks.
The game sets up fast, play is fast, maybe 30 minutes tops once you play it enough, and is a lot of fun. There's a predetermined ending (2 shuffles of the draw deck), and scoring is done when territories are filled in, and/or at the end of the game. So if you like T2R, Carcassonne, territory control games, or you're looking for a game like T2R for younger players, this is THE game to get. I think it merits 5 stars, but I need more game play on it to know for sure, but I'll mark it as 5 for now, perhaps later on, I'll have to come back and edit this to reflect a lower rating, but I doubt it.
And remember you can't pass "GO" if you don't play the game!!!!
Area control is becoming one of my favorite categories of gaming, and Michael Schacht has become one of my favorite game designers. Some of my favorites, Coloretto, Zooloretto, Hansa, and having just discovered recently, China, are all creations of Mr. Schacht. The rules for China are pretty straight forward, with only a few small twists that increase the tactics of the game in a good way. There are multiple ways to score points, but of course you can never do everything you want to do. In a nutshell, you have two options. Place a house on a house space, and when all house spaces are full in a region you stop and score, or you can place an emissary on the dragon symbol in the middle of the region.
Secondly, you can exchange one card, picking another from the draw pile or the four face up cards. The houses score in sort of a cascade, i.e., the player with the majority of houses score 1 point for each house regardless of color. The player with the second most scores 1 point for each of the leader's houses. The third place player 1 point for each of the second place player, etc. The rest of the points are scored at the end of the game. One point for each house in a straight row of 4 or more.
Finally, a preset number of provinces are compared and if someone holds the majority in both of the two regions they score1 point for each emissary. This one is the most difficult to achieve as the number of emissaries in your supply is limited. What makes it so much fun is that there is a lot to think about as you play, but it is also a very accessible game. I haven't played all of Mr. Schacht's games , but this is currently one of my favorites.
BUT The double-sided board(one side is for 3 to 4 players, the other side support up to five) don't have much difference, that bring much limitation to the game, making it no good for 3 players.
Moreover, the CHINA MAP is a TOTAL TURN OFF to me! I hate the designer using a Chinese (or Eastern) Background for gimmick. I doubt whether the designer ever do any research before making the board. LU was just a very little tiny vassal state of QI, if there should be a strong state southward to QI, it was SONG. Thus YIN was always the weakest kingdom in the Warring States Period.
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