Episode 262: Zhanguo: The First Empire

Click here for the direct download link for this week’s episode

1) The Pegs discuss their recent game plays including Wine Cellar, River Valley Glassworks, Regicide and many more;

2) All the Pegs review Zhanguo: The First Empire; and

3) Brandon walks us through his highlights from GAMA!

Show Notes

1:04 – Contest reminder! Win a copy of FIT TO PRINT!

3:56 – Brandon at GAMA

14:27 – Robb at Gloomcabin

21:13– Blood on the Clocktower plays

26:53– Kevin and stink bugs


31:36 – Wine Cellar [Buy] – Publisher: 25th Century Games; Designer: Andrew Stiles; Art: Vincent Dutrait;

37:54 – Sandbag * [Buy] – Publisher: Bézier Games; Designer: Ted Alspach; Art: Greg Bartlett;

43:32 – Digsaw [Buy] – Publisher: Stronghold Games; Designer: Ellie Dix; Artists: William BrickerJustine Nortjé;

49:15 – River Valley Glassworks *[Buy] – Publisher: Allplay; Designers: Adam HillBen PinchbackMatt Riddle; Art: Andrew Bosley;

56:29- Regicide [Buy]-Publisher: Badgers from Mars; Designers: Paul AbrahamsLuke BadgerAndy Richdale; Artist: Sketchgoblin


1:02:52Mega Civilization provided by Dicebreaker

1:10:59CGE Buys a Factory provided by Board Game Wire

1:14:05Mage Knight Expansion provided by Dicebreaker

1:18:32Converse D&D

1:21:40NASA RPG??? provided by Dicebreaker

Zhanguo: The First Empire

1:25:36 – Rules Gist

A game of Zhanguo lasts 5 rounds, in each of which you play 6 cards from your hand, for a total of 6 actions. You receive 2 cards for each Unification of China project, i.e. 2 Currency cards, 2 Laws cards and 2 Writing cards. You will play these cards in two different ways in order to Unify Regions or perform an action at the emperor’s court.

When a player selects to “Unify Region”  they place one of their cards in one of their regions, by tucking the card under their player board. Doing so brings change to the country, raising the population’s discontent (which could potentially block  future actions in that region). However, it’s through this Unification that you can build up a game engine and collect precious Unification tokens!

Each region can only contain 3 cards, so you’ll need to optimize your personal board as much as possible.

Alternatively, a player can select to “act in the Emperor’s Court” – Doing so means playing a card on the “Emperor’s Court board” in order to perform one of the Emperor’s 6 actions;

– Recruit an official: the General is essential for recruiting workers, the Architect helps you build Palaces and Walls, and the Alchemist helps you progress in your search for the Elixir of Immortality.

– Searching for the Elixir: you move your ship across the seas to collect various bonuses, whether it’s placing an Alchemy card in a region, improving your end-game score or unlocking terracotta soldiers for the Mausoleum

– Install a Governor: this action requires you to discard one official of each kind in the targeted region. In return, the Governor reduces discontent in the region, gives you access to an immediate bonus and allows you to progress in your objectives!

– Hire two workers: workers are essential for building palaces and walls. But beware: they bring discontent and are always discarded when building.

– Building a palace in a region: requires an Architect and workers. Palaces are a significant source of points, as well as providing you with a high-quality Unification token and helping you to complete Mausoleum objectives.

– Building a wall: only requires workers in different regions. Walls offer specific point multipliers, the strength of which depends on the number of workers used in construction.

Now that you understand the actions available at the Emperor’s Court, I will provide you with the wrinkle related to Emperor’s Court – Depending on the value of the card played in the court AND the value of the previous card in the Emperor’s court, you can activate (or not) the bonus abilities of the cards placed in your regions!

At the end of each round, players have the opportunity to attract the Emperor’s Favor, winning some very tempting bonuses… The player with the most Unification tokens of each kind (Money, Laws, Writing) decides if they want to claim the associated bonus.

Zhanguo: The First Empire is a BIG game with many interconnecting points – As such, throughout the game there are MANY different ways to amass victory points, including the all important Terracotta Army,

– Where players work to complete Mausoleum objectives faster than other players, also considering bonus points for completing rows and columns. Remaining terracotta soldiers at the entrance to the Mausoleum give you additional VPs.

Players are also judged by how many Governors they deployed: the majority player in each Region scores points, the others none. This is a very important source of points that is easy to forget.

Players and Walls also award points – Palaces give you immediate VPs, while Walls score points at the end of the game.

The ALL NEW Elixir of Immortality track is also an important piece to consider: Players score points depending on their progress on the track and the number of Alchemy cards placed in your regions.

1:30:49– Deep Dive

1:54:04 – Ratings

Gameplay Photos

* Disclosure: These titles were received free of charge by the publishers or distributors. If you are interested in submitting a title for review, please read our Review Policy.

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