English reviews Strategiespellen



A game for 1 – 4 players
Playing time is around 60 – 120 minutes
Publisher is Sorry We Are French


The Qi kingdom is defeated, and the birth of the vast Chinese empire, of which the king of Qin proclaims himself emperor, choosing for himself the name of Qin Shi Huangdi.

This first emperor wastes no time and, after having unified his empire militarily, he undertakes actions aimed at standardizing all the base elements of Chinese society and culture. By building palaces, canals, and roads; he abolishes the feudal regime and installs local governors to avoid political chaos. Above all, he starts the works for the construction of the greatest building in the history of mankind: the Great Wall.
Knowing this, it’s on you to go along with the emperor’s plans by hiring workers to build magnificent palaces and contribute to the realization of the Great Wall.

So get your workers ready, and let’s start rebuilding this new empire.

Let’s get it on the table

Place the game board in the middle of the table, on the side that corresponds to the number of players, as indicated at the bottom right of the board. Then the Court board next to the game board. Now the Round marker on the 1st space of the round track and sort the 9 Mausoleum tiles by icon.

Related to the number of players, shuffle the Wall tiles related to the players and place a random one on each of the 6 Wall spaces on the game board. Also, shuffle the emperor tiles at random before placing them according to their backside on the corresponding Wall sections.

Shuffle the Palace tiles, then randomly place one face up on each Palace space in each region. Get the Governor tiles with bonuses and place 1 at random in each region, face up. Now a number of Master Alchemist cards equal to the number of players can be placed next to the game board. Sort the Unification cards by type: Writing, Currency, and Laws. Shuffle them separately and place them face down next to the main board.

Place the 3 large Unification tokens on their matching spot on the game board, in the Unification area.

Per player, place one 40/80 VP token at the end of the score track.

Then, draw at random 5 Governor tiles and place all the worker tokens next to the main board.

Each player places their player board in front of them and chooses a color with corresponding components.

Place the Governors, Palaces, Walls, and Terracotta Soldiers on the corresponding spaces.

Each player’s 9th Terracotta Soldier is placed at the entrance of the Mausoleum on the main board. Place each official, Alchemist, Architect, and General on their corresponding spaces.

Then, 1 set of 5 Alchemist cards face down. Then, each player takes 5 Unrest markers and places them on the 0 space of the Unrest track of each Region.

Each player places their Ship on the starting position of the Elixir route and their Score marker on the “0” space of the Victory Points (VPs) track.

Randomly determine the 1st player, deal 2 starting tiles to each player. They simultaneously choose one and get what is depicted on it.

And we’re ready to start the first round.

Let’s play

Zhanguo lasts 5 rounds, each of them being divided into 3 phases:

Phase 1 – Draw Cards:

At the beginning of each round, each player draws 2 cards from each deck (Writing, Currency, and Laws), for a total of 6 cards, and adds them to their hand.

Phase 2 – Play Cards:

Each player plays in turn exactly 1 card from their hand and performs 1 action. Proceed until all players have played their cards.

How to play a card:

When it is their turn, the player must play 1 card from their hand and either:

• Perform the Unification Action (A):

Place the card into one of the 5 regions of their player board.

• Perform 1 of the 6 Court Actions (B):

Place the card in the emperor area on the Court board by activating one of the following actions:

– Recruit 1 Official

– Search for the Elixir

– Install 1 Governor

– Hire 2 Workers

– Build 1 Palace

– Build 1 Wall

Phase 3 – Unification Rewards:
The player who contributed the most in each of the 3 aspects of the Unification (Writing, Currency, and Laws) gets a reward.

After phase 3 and collecting the Unification reward, the player may place one or more Terracotta Soldiers in the Mausoleum if they fulfill the conditions to do so. For each soldier, the player immediately scores the VP indicated in the space.

After the 5th round, the game ends. Players calculate their score by adding up these categories:

1. VP scored during the game
2. Majorities of Governors in each region
3. Alchemist cards and Ship progression
4. Mausoleum bonus
5. Walls
6. Extra Terracotta Soldiers Who has the most VP after these categories will win Zhanguo: The First Empire

Conclusion & final score

Difficulty: 3.88/ 5
Re-playability: 9
Our score: 8 out of 10 dice

What a nice and good game. We didn’t play the first edition of Zhanguo but checked it before playing this second edition. So, we need to say that publisher Sorry We Are French did a very good job on this second edition.

Also, the player boards and parts have been produced of good materials. The only thing which could have been a bit better is the inlay. Nevertheless, most of these types of games do not even have an inlay, so better something than nothing at all.

There are enough extra parts to make the replayability of the game easy and fun. Also, the mainboard and player mats are nicely done. If we need to say something that could be a point of discussion, it is the scoring amount of the Majorities of Governors in each region. It seems a bit overpowered and can lead to a big difference in the end.

Still, if you like the theme and aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty to build the great wall, then this is a must-have.

Dit vind je misschien ook leuk...