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Japan in the early Middle Ages - the emperor rules over the land and local rulers are dependent on being in his favor.

Enemy rulers are in a bitter struggle for power, taking many of their rivals as prisoners. It's the only way to gain the emperor's favor, rise in the ranks and gain influence in the emperor's court.


  • 77 Character cards (7 sets of 11 cards each)
  • 2 Legend cards
  • Instructions

Object of the Game

To gain the emperor's favor you have to capture as many rivals as possible. It's the only way to increase your standing in the emperor's court, expand your influence and win the game.


Everyone chooses a color and takes the corresponding set of cards, and then lays the three pawns of his set (with the values 1,2 and 3) in any order face down in front of him on the table.

Keep the other cards in your hand. You are allowed to look at your own cards that are lying before you on the table at any time throughout the game, but you may not change their order!

Game Play


The eldest player begins. On your turn, choose a player that you want to attack. Turn over one of your three cards that are lying before you, call out an opponent and choose one of his cards that you want to attack with your own card.

Your opponent turns over the card and you both compare the two cards'values.

Normally, the higher card beats the lower card (exceptions: note the cards' special functions! The special functions are explained at the end of these game instructions).

The Attacker Wins

If the attacking player wins, he gets his opponent's lower-ranked card and lays it face down next to him in a captured pile. His own card he lays face down, back on its original place. (Important: No one is allowed to ever look at the cards that have been captured!)

The Defender Wins

If the defending player wins, the attacking card is taken out of the game and placed on the discard pile. His own card he lays face down, back on its original place.

Neither Player Wins

If the value of both the attacking and the defending cards is the same (and no special function of either of the cards breaks the tie), both cards are placed on the discard pile.

After the Attack

When the attack is over, the players who have lost cards first fill the void in their layout with any card from their hand, laying it face down (if someone has lost two cards, he replaces both of them with cards from his hand).

When replacing lost cards in your layout, do not change their order.

The Attacking Player Has Not Lost any Cards

If the attacking player has not lost any of his cards, he is allowed to trade one of his cards from his layout with one from his hand.

He picks up any one of the cards from his layout, putting it into his hand, and replaces it with one from his hand on the same spot. He can also put back the same card that he just picked up. But he is not allowed to change the order of the cards in his layout.

Alternatively, if he doesn't have any more cards in his hand that he can exchange with, he is allowed to switch two of his cards in his layout with one another. If he wants, he can first pick them both up and switch them under the table (or only bluff a switch).

The Defending Player Wins

If the defending player won the battle, he gets to look at one of the attacking player's three cards from his layout (without the other players seeing the card) before laying it back down on its place face down.

The next player in a clockwise direction then takes his turn and begins his attack.

Special Powers

  • The Ninja has a strength of 4 when defending. However, when attacking he is invisible, skillful and quick, and therefore has a strength of 8.

  • The monk can always be turned over when another of the player's cards is being attacked. The attacked card then receives +2 strength for defending.

    The monk is then put back in its place face down. If the monk is in the layout, its special powers can be used any number of times in one game.

  • The Ronin fights with a strength of 6. After an attack, the player gets to decide if he wants to make another attack using one of the two other cards from his layout against any other card of any opponent's layout.

    It doesn't matter if the Ronin won or lost his first fight. Only once the second fight is over is the player allowed to replace the cards missing from his layout.

  • The Shogun is never allowed to attack. If he wins as the defender, he gets to take the attacker as prisoner. As he possesses the greatest strength, he can only be defeated by the Geisha

  • The strength of Geisha (when attacking and defending) is always 1 higher than her opponent's. However, she must always be removed from the game after use. If 2 Geishas meet in opposition, both of them have to be removed from the game.

The Winning Card Is..

End of the Game

The game is immediately over as soon as a player needs to fill a void in his layout, but has no more cards in his hand to do so. Everyone adds up the value of all the cards in their pile of captured cards.

If it's a tie, the players who are tied with the most points add the points of their hands and their respective layout to their point totals for the captured cards.

The player with the most points for the captured cards wins and gains the favor of the emperor.

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