China, 2000 years ago: Loyang has risen to become the Capital of the Han Dynasty and one of the four great Capitals of old China.
The economic upturn of the now-flourishing city requires a better supply of basic foodstuffs. These are provided by the local farmers, who plant wheat, pumpkins, turnips, cabbages, beans and leeks in their fields.
After each harvest, the farmers assemble at the gates of Loyang to sell and trade their vegetables. They deliver to their regular customers or lucratively sell their vegetables to passing shoppers. Vegetables can also be traded at Market stalls or used for seed and planted in fields.
If the farmers need vegetables that they don't have in stock, they can buy them in the Shop. Twenty different helpers, each with different individual skills, are available to assist them.
The most successful farmer will be the one who moves furthest along the Path of Prosperity within the given timeframe. Each step costs more and more money, which is also needed for investments. Farmers have to find the right balance.
The coins have square holes, so that they can be held on strings. They have the Chinese name "Cash", which is the derivative of the modern term.
- 1 Rule booklet
- 4 T-shaped game boards (with Path of Prosperity and Shop)
- 12 Satisfaction markers (blue/red)
- 24 1-Cash coins (small)
- 14 5-Cash coins (large)
- 237 wooden tokens
- 4 "Storehouse / Cart" cards
- 4 "Turn Summary" cards
- 6 "Loan" cards
- 36 Private fields
- 70 action cards
For the first game, we offer an "Introductory version". This incorporates two small changes, which are included in the rules in red boxes. These changes make it easier to start playing the game, but otherwise have no real influence on its play.
Footnote: The expression "Cash" is derived from the Sanskrit "karsha" (small coin with a particular weight) and the Tamil word "kasu" (small piece of money). Cash coins were used for almost 3,000 years, and were only replaced by the Yuan at the end of the 19th century.
Special rules for different numbers of players:
These game rules apply to any number of players, with the following exceptions:
- With 2 players, there is a difference in the play of the Card phase.
- With 4 players, two players will take their actions simultaneously.
Separate the money, the vegetables, the Satisfaction markers and the Loan cards and place them on the table as the Supply.
There should be an adequate supply of all components. Should there, unexpectedly, not be enough, players should improvise additional tokens.
Special Rules For The Introductory Version:
Shuffle the 4 Regular customers that are marked with a blue dot in the space for the Satisfaction marker. Deal one, face-down, to each player.
Players look at the cards and can hold them in their hand until they decide to play them during a Card phase. In a 2- or 3-player game, any remaining Regular customers are returned to the Action card deck.
Shuffle the Action cards and place them in a face-down pile.
Each player receives the following items, which are laid out as shown in the illustration:
- 1 T-shaped game board
- 10 Cash
- 1 Home field
- 1 Scoring' token (place it at the bottom of the Path of Prosperity)
- 1 "Storehouse / Cart" card (with the side shown facing up)
- 1 "Turn Summary" card
- Vegetables to stock the Shop: 3 wheat, 2 pumpkins, 2 turnips, 2 cabbages, 1 bean and 1 leek.
(The two pale-colored spaces in the Shop remain empty. As a general rule: dark price tags show the cost that must be paid to buy the vegetable; pale price tags show the price a player can receive for selling it to the Shop).
- 8 Private fields (with green backs): 2 sets, each of 4 cards with 3, 4, 5 and 6 spaces. Shuffle each set of 4 cards then place one set on top of the other, face-down and to the left of the Home field. This forms the Field pile.
Choose a Starting player, who takes the larger Starting player token. (The smaller Starting player token is not used at the start of the game).
Beginning with the Starting player and continuing in clockwise order, each player buys 1 vegetable from his own shop and plants it in his Home field. (Price: see the dark price tags between the vegetables in the Shop).
"To plant" means to place the vegetable on a Field card. All other spaces on that field are then filled with the same vegetable. The additional tokens are taken from the Supply.
There are two restrictions here:
Only the vegetables that are shown on the Home field card can be bought and planted (that is, only wheat, pumpkins or turnips)
No more than 2 players may plant the same type of vegetable at the start of the game.
The game is played over 9 Rounds. Each Round consists of 3 Phases:
- Harvest phase (players receive one new field and harvest vegetables from their fields)
- Card phase (players each play 2 Action cards, then a new Starting player is chosen)
- Action phase (players buy and sell vegetables, then progress on the Path of Prosperity).
During the Card phase, players receive new cards. They use these in the Action phase to convert the harvested vegetables to money.
Players can take out loans at any time during the game.
At any time during the game, players can see how many rounds are left by counting the remaining vegetables on their Home field.
Phase 1: Harvest Phase
All players carry out the Harvest phase simultaneously.
Each player turns over the top field from his Field pile and places it to the right of his other fields. In the last round, there is no new field to uncover.
Each player harvests exactly 1 vegetable from each of his fields. He places the harvested vegetable(s) and any vegetables that were left in his Storehouse from previous turns on (or beside) his Cart. (Unlike the Storehouse, there is no limit on how many vegetables a Cart can hold).
Once the last vegetable has been removed from a Private field, it is removed from the game. In contrast, fully harvested Common fields from the Action card deck are placed on the Action card discard pile ("The Discard pile").
(Common fields from the Action card deck can be recognised by the Cost symbol at the top left). Fields that have not yet been sown are not discarded.
Phase 2: Card Phase
At the start of the Card phase (and only then), create a new Draw pile by shuffling the Discard pile into the remaining Draw pile.
Deal each player a hand of 4 Action cards.
Next comes the Distribution round. Each player will play 2 Action cards face-up into his own playing area.
Note: A card, once played, cannot be discarded until it has been used. Helper cards ONLY can be discarded at any time.
If this is the first time you are reading these rules, you can skip the section on the Distribution round. Exactly how players acquire their 2 Action cards is not important for understanding the flow of the game.
During the Distribution round, each player plays exactly 1 card from his hand and exactly 1 card from the common "Courtyard":
The player with the larger Starting player token places one card from his hand face up in the centre of the table, opening the "Courtyard".
Players then take turns in clockwise order. On his turn, a player must choose one of the following two options. Passing is never allowed.
The player places 1 card from his hand into the Courtyard; or
The player takes exactly 1 card from the Courtyard and exactly 1 card from his hand.
He plays both cards by placing them face-up in the appropriate part of his own play area. Any remaining cards from his hand are placed face-up in the Courtyard, and the player takes no further part in the Distribution round.
Note: The last player left to choose in a given round may no longer place any cards into the Courtyard, but must immediately choose from the available cards.
Special rules for the introductory version
When playing the two cards, a player may play the Regular customer that was dealt to him at the start of the game instead of a card from his hand. There is no restriction on the number of rounds for which a player may hold this Regular customer.
As well as this Regular customer, the player also chooses a card from the Courtyard. He may not play a card from his hand. Once he has played, all the remaining cards in his hand are placed in the Courtyard.
Special Rules For 2 Players:
During the Distribution round, at the start of his turn, a player may choose to turn over the top Action card from the Draw pile and place it in the Courtyard. (This is also allowed when only one player is left and he must immediately choose from the available cards.
This special rule gives players a wider choice of cards. The rule also allows the Starting player to immediately make a selection, even before his opponent has had a turn).
Whenever a Regular customer is played, immediately place a Satisfaction marker (with its blue side up) on the marked area on the right hand side of the card.
Whenever a Market stall is played, immediately fill it with the vegetables shown.
Whenever a player plays a "Field" Action card, he must immediately pay 2 Cash for it. To make the payment, the player may (even out of turn) sell vegetables to his Shop, use Helpers, or take out a Loan, (Private fields are free, but there is a charge for Common fields).
Notes and Special Cases:
A player may never choose to play 2 cards from the Courtyard or 2 cards from his hand; he must always play 1 card from the Courtyard and 1 from his hand.
If the active player has only 1 card remaining in his hand, he must immediately play it and choose 1 card from the Courtyard. A player's last card may never be placed in the Courtyard; it must be played from his hand.
There is no limit to the number of cards that may be placed in any row of a player's play area.
At the end of the Distribution round, the remaining cards in the Courtyard form a new face-up Discard pile. They will be shuffled into the Draw pile at the start of the next Card phase.
End of the card phase
Choose A New Starting Player
The last player to play two Action cards during the Card phase receives the large Starting player token and becomes the Starting player.
The second last player to play two cards receives the smaller Starting player token and becomes the Second player.
Phase 3: Action Phase
A player may take actions in any order during his turn. The Turn Summary card gives an overview of all actions. A player may take any action, with the exception of Action H, "Buy a Two-pack", as many times as he wishes during a round.
A player who takes an action more than once may also take other actions in between.
At the end of their turns, players must store their vegetables and may move their Scoring marker. The Starting player begins, then the Second player. In a three-player game, the player with no Starting player token is third to play.
Special rules for the four-player game
In each round, the Starting player chooses one of the two non-Starting players as his partner for the Action phase. The other non-Starting player is paired with the Second player.
The Starting and Second players take their Action phase at the same time. Once they have finished, their partners can have their turns.
Note: Whenever a player takes an action that refers explicitly to "the other players", only the player's current partner may be affected. Cards which allow this type of action can be recognized by a Chinese lantern symbol.
The Individual Actions
A. Sow Vegetables as Seed
The player takes 1 vegetable from his Cart and places it on an empty held. The remaining spaces on the field are filled with vegetables of the same type, which are taken from the Supply.
The top border of each field shows which vegetables can be planted on it. The more spaces on a field, the fewer types of vegetable can be planted.
B. Buy Vegetables in the Shop
The player buys 1 vegetable from his own shop and places it in his cart.
A player can only buy vegetables that are available in his Shop. The purchase price is shown in the Shop, on the darker price tag beside the vegetable.
C. Sell Vegetables to the Shop
The player takes 1 vegetable from his Cart and sells it to his own Shop.
Each place in the Shop is reserved for a specific type of vegetable. A player can only sell vegetables if he has appropriate free space(s) in his Shop.
The selling price is shown in the Shop: use the lighter-colored price tag, (Players receive 1 Cash for selling Wheat, Pumpkins, Turnips and Cabbages, and 2 Cash for selling Beans and Leeks).
Note: This action can be taken at any time during the game. This includes during the Card phase or during Action H (Buy a Two-pack), in order to finance purchase of a new Field.
D. Trade Vegetables at a Market stall
The player trades 1 or 2 vegetables of his choice from his cart for 1 vegetable from a market stall.
The number of bowls on the Market stall shows how many vegetables must be traded for the one that is on offer.
These are returned to the Supply. The player then moves the vegetable from the Market stall to his Cart. If a Market stall is empty after an exchange, it is immediately placed on the Discard pile.
Notes and special cases:
When a player plays or reveals (see Action H) a Market stall, immediately fill it (from the Supply) with the vegetables shown on the card. Fill the Market stall immediately, even if another player has caused it to be revealed.
Players may trade in a vegetable for the same type of vegetable (e.g. Wheat for Wheat).
A vegetable which has been acquired from a Market stall may immediately be traded for another.
Once a Market stall has been played, it cannot be discarded until it has been completely emptied.
E. Play or discard a Helper
A player can use a Helper's skills or discard the Helper without using it.
Most Helpers are played during the Action phase, but some can also be played in other phases of the game: the phase is indicated in the text on the cards. As soon as a Helper is used, place it on the Discard pile. Helper cards are the only kind of card that can be discarded at any time without being used.
Notes And Special Cases:
There are 20 different Helpers. Each Helper appears on one card, with the exception of the Trader, who appears on three.
Some Helpers (marked with a purple lantern) refer to "otherplayers". These allow players to affect other players' playing areas.
If a player removes the top card of another player's Two-pack, the lower card is immediately moved to the appropriate place. (Neither player can stop the lower card from being revealed). Remember: In a 4-player game, all Actions that refer to "another player" only refer to the active player's partner for that Action phase.
Some Helper cards offer a choice of two Actions ("or"). A player can only ever use one of the two options when using that Helper.
There are no Helpers that can affect another players Home field, Cart or Storehouse. Vegetables in these areas are always safe from other players' actions.
F. Deliver to a Regular Customer
A player can deliver vegetables to his Regular customers in any order.
Each Regular customer card contains eight empty spaces; the two vegetables shown will be delivered here for four rounds. Regular customers want to receive these two vegetables exactly once in each round, starting with the round in which the card was played.
When a player plays a Regular customer, place a Satisfaction marker with the blue side facing up on the marker space at the top right of the card. If a player cannot or does not wish to deliver to a Regular customer in a particular Round, he turns the Satisfaction marker to the red side.
If the player does not deliver to a Regular customer when the red side is already facing up, he must pay a penalty of 2 Cash to the Supply.
If this player misses another Delivery, a 2 Cash penalty must be paid. For the last Delivery, this player is paid 7 Cash.
Notes And Special Cases:
Fill the Regular customer card from the bottom to the top. The arrows between the prices are a reminder of this.
When a player makes a delivery to a Regular customer, he receives the payment for the delivery immediately.
Players may not partially fill a row (that is, only supply 1 vegetable).
A Regular customer's first delivery is due in the Round when it is played.
If a player's Regular customer is revealed during another player's action (see Action H), it only requires delivery in that round if the player has not taken his turn yet.
To raise money to pay the penalty of 2 Cash, a player can sell vegetables from his Cart to the empty spaces in his Shop, place Helpers or take out a Loan.
Immediately after the fourth (top) line of a Regular customer is filled, the card must be emptied and discarded.
Once a Regular customer card has been played, it cannot be discarded until the Regular customer has received 4 Deliveries.
Nina places the Regular customer who pays 5/6/7Z8 Cash for Turnips and Cabbages in front of herself. She places a blue Satisfaction marker on the card. During this Action phase, she must deliver to the Regular customer: she delivers 1 turnip and 1 cabbage as required and receives 5 Cash.
In the next round, she does not deliver the two vegetables, and she turns the Satisfaction marker to the red side. In the following round, she delivers again and receives 6 Cash. The Satisfaction marker stays red. (Only the "Saleswoman" Helper can turn a Satisfaction marker from red to blue again).
After this, Nina misses another delivery and must pay the penalty of 2 Cash. In the next 2 rounds, she delivers again, receiving first 7 and then 8 Cash. She then discards the Regular customer, including the 8 vegetables and the Satisfaction marker. Until it is discarded, she must either deliver to the Regular customer or pay the penalty.
G. Deliver to a Casual Customer
A player can deliver vegetables to his Casual customers in any order.
The player takes the 3 named vegetables from his Cart, returns them to the Supply, and receives the purchase price:
- If he has the same number of Regular and Casual customers, he receives the price shown.
- If he has more Casual than Regular customers, the price paid is reduced by 2 Cash. This is a penalty for players who make it too easy for themselves and avoid responsibilities to Regular customers.
- If he has fewer Casual than Regular customers, he receives a bonus of 2 Cash. This is a reward for players who manage to serve a Casual customer despite commitments to Regular customers.
The order in which players serve Regular and Casual customers can influence these Modifiers.
Notes and special cases:
Note! All three vegetables must all be supplied in one Action phase. They cannot be stored on the Casual customer between turns.
Casual customers are served one after another in any order. A player may not serve two Casual customers at the same time.
Unlike with Regular customers, there is no penalty for not serving a Casual customer.
Once a Casual customer card has been played, it cannot be discarded without first being served.
H. Buy a Two-pack
Once during each Action phase, each player may buy a "Two-pack" of Action cards.
A Two-pack consists of two Action cards which are drawn from the Draw pile. Its cost is the greater of the number of either Helpers or Market stalls that the player has in his "played" area.
Cards which are covered by another Action card do not add to the cost.
After making payment, the player draws 2 Action cards from the pile and places them face up in front of him, so that all other players can see them. He can choose to keep 0, 1 or 2 of these cards; any that he does not keep are discarded.
Note: If the player wants to keep both of the cards, he must place them one on top of the other. The top card is placed so that the top line of the card below is visible. The player chooses which card will go on top and which will go underneath.
Fields on Action cards always cost 2 Cash. This must be paid immediately, even if the field is placed beneath the other card of the Two-pack. (This is additional to the cost of the Two-pack).
Notes and Special Cases:
A player with neither Market stalls nor Helpers can take a Two-pack for free.
Even if the player chooses to keep neither card from a Two-pack, he cannot buy another Two-pack in the same Round.
To finance a field that is part of a Two-pack, a player can sell goods to his Shop, use a Helper or take out a Loan.
The Two-pack As The Game Continues
Whenever a player places the upper card of a Two-pack onto the Discard pile, he must immediately (effectively, at the same time) move the lower card to the appropriate place. (Immediately fill revealed Market stalls with vegetables and place a Satisfaction marker on revealed Regular customers).
Detailed Example: Claudia buys a Two-pack. The Two-pack contains 1 Regular customer and 1 Market stall. Claudia chooses to keep both cards. She places the Regular customer beneath the Market stall.
Some rounds later, she uses her Market stall for the third time and discards it. The Regular customer is immediately placed with her other Regular customers, and is given a blue Satisfaction marker.
It must be served during that same Round. If Claudia cannot do this, she must turn the Satisfaction marker to its red side.
End Of The Action Phase
At the end of each turn, players move leftover vegetables from their Cart to their Storehouse.
A player can only hold as many vegetables as are shown on his Storehouse: any additional vegetables must be sold to his Shop or discarded (returned to the Supply).
A Storehouse with a capacity of only 1 vegetable can be upgraded for a cost of 2 Cash. (Turn the card over to show the "upgraded" side). From now until the end of the game, it can hold up to 4 vegetables.
Move scoring marker
Players pay cash to progress along the path of prosperity.
In each round, the first step along the Path of Prosperity costs 1 Cash. For each additional space that a player wishes to move along the Path, he must pay the value shown on the space he moves to.
Example: Nell is on Space 15. For 1 Cash, she can move to 16, for 35 more (17+18=35), she can move 2 additional spaces to 18.
Players may take Loans at any time during the game. A Loan provides 5 Cash and 1 Loan card.
At the end of the game, players' Scoring markers are moved backwards 1 space along the Path of Prosperity for each Loan that they have taken out. Loans can never be repaid.
Notes and Special cases:
The number of Loans a player may take is not limited. If there are not enough "Loan" cards, players must improvise. We recommend that first-time players be cautious about taking out Loans: it is rare for a player to take more than one Loan.
End of the Game
The Game ends after 9 Rounds - that is, at the end of the Round in which players finish harvesting their Home field.
Players who have taken Loans must now move their Scoring marker back 1 space along the Path of Prosperity for each Loan card that they have.
The winner is the player whose Scoring marker has progressed furthest along the Path of Prosperity.
Tiebreaker: If more than one player is in the same position, the winner is the one who has the most Cash remaining.
Second Tiebreaker: If the tied players also have the same amount of Cash, the number of vegetables remaining in the players' fields and Storehouses is the decider: the player with the most vegetables is the winner.
If there is still a tie after the second tiebreaker, the tied players are equal and share the win.
Notes and Special cases:
Even if a player has enough Cash remaining to reach the next step on the Path of Prosperity, this is not allowed. (This can happen, for example, if another player has used a Trader and has given the player Cash).
There is no penalty for having Regular and Casual customers at the end of the game.
The number of vegetables in the Shop is also irrelevant.
Sometimes, it can be hard to see which Regular customers have received deliveries during the current Action phase. At the start of an Action phase, move the Satisfaction markers to the row on the card where the delivery is to be made.
As soon as the Regular customer receives a delivery (or the penalty is paid), move the Satisfaction marker back to the top right hand side of the card.
The Satisfaction marker shows that the Regular customer has not yet received a delivery.
To speed up play, we recommend that the Active player says how much money he should receive and that another player pays it to him.
To ensure that you do not forget the +2/-2 modifier for Casual customers, use the reverse side of an unused Loan card.
Turn the card so that it shows the correct modifier to the right, and place it sideways underneath a Casual customer. If the count of Regular and Casual customers changes, return or rotate the card.