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Three Kingdoms: The art of war

Page: GameIdea.GameIdea-ThreeKingdoms - Last Modified : Sun, 26 Jan 20 - 1960 Visits
How much do you like this idea?

5 stars Rating 10.0/10 from 2 votes
Vote Distribution: 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 2

Very Good (10/10) The game is very interesting, make it as soon as possible.
Good (8/10) Great idea but some modifications are required.
Fair (6/10) Interesting but a lot of things are missing.
Bad (4/10) Would need to completely redesign the idea in order to work.
Very Bad (2/10) It will never be interesting, abandon the idea.
Already Exist (0/10) Do not waste time on this game idea.

Status: CLOSED

  • Have little idea of the mechanics
  • Essentially a multiplayer game
  • Rules will not fit on a page

Progress: Lightly Designed
Priority: High
Number of players: 2 - 4 or 6 players
Expected Play time: 120 - 180 minutes


This game would be a board game version of the famous romance of the 3 kingdoms historical period. The game will also try to add many of the concepts found in the "Art of war" manual.


The objective is to make a game that recreate the feeling of the Three Kingdom conflict while implementing a lot of concepts from the "Art of War" manual since that is probably the most interesting period where it could be implemented.


Well, I don't have to say that all romance of the three kingdoms video games, including their side games like dynasty warrior, are a strong source of inspiration. I might even say that many game concepts will simply be converted as a board game.

Priority Evaluation

Theme vs Mechanics: The mechanics pool is basically the R#K video games, it's the adaptation that makes it more complex.
Video vs Board Game: Could be played as a video or board game, but complexity might require a video game. Since there is more faction than players, then maybe video game is a must.
Single vs Multi player: Single player is impossible since factions are in direct conflict with each other.
Rating = 3/12


- Cartography: What ever the game mechanics, cartography will be required.
+ No Scripting: According to R3K, no scripting is required.


Here is a draft of the mechanics of the game inspired from the video games:

Officers: The core of the game is officers. I might even say that R3K video games is more about personnel management than city development and warfare. In the video games, almost all actions have a random probability of success. This could be unthinkable for board games where most of the player needs to know if their action are going to succeed. Still, I think it would be too boring to know that your plot or recruit will fail. It will make players calculate too much and will prevent them from doing actions they know it will never work. So I intend to keep the random system.

The first idea is to convert all officer stats to a 1-5 range. This will allow players to make an attribute check by simply rolling 1D6 below or equal their stat. It will also be possible to make contested rolls between officers. It could be used for duels, warfare and many other actions.

Officers are also pooled for the whole empire. So you do not need to manage each city individually and you will not need to move them on the board. It's also possible that only important officers has a unique cards of their own while other officers, which are too weak, could simply be generic officers with a minimum set of stats. For example, all generic officers could have all their stat at 2.

It will depend on how the components will be made, the objective of generic officers would be to save on components if they are only represented by a cube or a token. It will also be possible to have a constant supply of generic officers. So if a lot of people die, the game will always have generic officers available and there will never be a shortage.

Combat: I am not sure yet if soldiers are going to be placed on the board, I might pool it for the whole empire. I would probably use cubes or disks. It's possible that a portion of the army is not displayed on the board, each city will have a minimum defense force even if there is no units on it. When you want to attack or defend, you need to assign cubes to officer cards. If you do not have enough officers, these troops cannot be used in battles.

Then at the beginning of the battle, the attacker can challenge in duel, if the defender send a officer in duel it is resolved as a contested roll. Losing officers remove their troops from the battle. The players can continue to duel with new characters until a player decide to stop. That player's troop will lose morale.

Morale will be a different way to win the combat without killing everybody. I am not sure yet what actions are going to raise or drop morale. Probably strategies or critical success could modify morale.

Each battle will have a tactical advisor. The more intelligent is your advisor, the more tactics card you will be able to draw. Tactic cards offer various options that will change the combat resolution when played. For example, setting up fires, ambush, switching officers, charges, fake orders, etc. These tactics could also optionally includes magic. Not sure yet, but there could be a yin yang rating on each character indicating which spells can be used. It's also possible that only 1 tactic card can be played per round.

Then once all the strategies are played, each officer will attack other officer and make a contested roll. A success will remove a troop disk/cube. Repeat until retreat, annihilation, or moral drop.

Emperor and Ranks: The rank the emperor gives you would work like Twilight Imperium 2. You will need a minimum number of cities and a minimum prestige level to be awarded the next rank. Ranks can only be acquired one at a time and can never be lost. It's possible that a player needs to be actively competitive in a certain field to get a raise (ex: be the first player this turn for aspect X to be allowed to gain an extra rank). It might also be possible that if more than one player can raise a rank, the player who controls the emperor determines which player gain a rank this turn.

Now the impact of ranks is that it allows you to have higher ranking officers. It's primary goal is to assign more units to each officer in combat. You will gain a series of rank card that you can place under you officers to increase the maximum number of troops they can command. These cards are not fixed permanently to the officer. You will also gain additional commander cards. Commanders give extra troops but primarily allow a player to attack. So the number of commanders you have is the number of attacks you can do each turn.

It's possible that the emperor will give objective cards to the player who controls the emperor and that player will be allowed to place them on the board public or give them to certain player. Once these objectives are complete, the player that succeeded the task will gain prestige. This will be a way to raise in the ranks.

Cities and Development: Taking care of the development of each city is out of the question. I was thinking instead that each city could have a terrain type, that would influence combat, and a specialty : Food, gold, Troops, prestige, etc. The specialty could for example double the income of the city. For example, you could have a rule where each city gives 1 food, but food specialized cities gives 2. There might be some gold and food to manage. They should be the resources of the game.

Still, that does not tell how you develop your empire. Since individual city management is impossible, I was thinking to use various levels that would mark various aspect of your empire: Economy, Agriculture, Loyalty, technology, Health, etc. You would have various actions that will be able to influence the level of any empire. Now the unique thing about it is that the value changes after bad events occurs.

I'll illustrate it with loyalties. Let say your loyalty level is low at level 3. When an enemy player recruit one of your officer, the loyalty level will raise to 4. The second stolen officer will make it raise to 5. So the more effect that takes advantage of a low level stat, the thinner are the odds to succeed. This is to represent the fact that for example, only some of your officers were not loyal, not all of them.

Searching: There will be a deck of cards which contains various things including officers and items. If you succeed a search action you take a card from the deck. If it's an officers, you can add it to your army, if it's an item, you keep it hidden. You could also have generic officer cards that would give you new generic officer tokens and the card will get reshuffled.

For now, items would be boost cards that can temporarily boost the stats of your officers. Items are not permanently attached to an officer. There will also be dummy items to fool enemy players on how many items you can actually use.

You might wonder why that would be necessary? The problem is that one of the item card is the "imperial seal", it is a required item for one of the victory condition. You really do not want enemy players to know that you have the imperial seal.

Victory conditions: How do you win the game? I found 2 way so far.

  • Military victory: Eliminate all the players or have an empire larger than 2/3 or 3/4 of the map.
  • Political victory: This one is not clearly defined yet, it will be a combination of these elements: Get the rank of king and/or control the emperor and/or have the imperial seal.

I would like to have a 3rd victory, not sure yet how. Or maybe a no body wins victory condition (barbarians rampage the land). OR maybe the Han Dynasty return to power. You give the emperor enough power to win.

AI Controlled Factions: The players will only play the most important factions, all other factions will be controlled by an AI. The idea behind this is to have a more developed diplomacy system by making the game enforce how each faction likes the player. So players cannot easily be enemies and becomes allies the next day. It's possible that this enforcement will not be valid between players, but only between players and non-played factions.

It's not that easy to control factions by AI especially when you want to determine where they will attack. I might use a semi-random mechanism like in "Wizard's quest" board game. OF course, the AI factions will not perform the same exact actions than the players, it will be summarized

Event deck: There might be an even deck where a card get flipped every turn to trigger various disaster like: Flood, Plague, barbarian invasions, etc. The card will indicate which city gets hit. Good event can also happen.

Anticipated Problems

The problem with converting the video game as a board game is first the large amount of information or simply variable information that cannot always be tracked with board game components. For example, it's impossible to keep track of a variable loyalty level of a few hundred officers, or to keep track of the development level of each city. So many concepts will need to be centralized and simplified.

The other problem is that I need to gather many information like for example: Officer data and city data In order to build the game. Else I would need to use generic characters with random stats for early playtesting.

The last problem will be the design of an artificial intelligence for the factions which are not played by a player. I'll need to have a system that will be simple to resolve, efficient and challenging for the players.

Development log

4-Aug-2012IdeaThere is a possibility to make a pocket war game out of it like I did for Pacific storm. Each token would be a different character assigned to war or other functions. It could make the game easier to implement, and I like pocket war games.

Back to my list of Board Games and Ideas

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