Taking the position of the legendary Shu strategist, Zhuge Liang we move back in time to the Three Kingdoms period of ancient China, in order to save the kingdom (actually Empire) of Shu.
The traitor Cao Cao of Wei and the noble but misguided Sun Quan of Wu have allied to destroy Shu for once and for all.
Zhuge Liang takes a look at the resources that the kingdom has at its disposal:
Turn 0 Setup Hand
Present are the three sworn brothers Emperor Liu Bei, Lord Guan Yu and Zhang Fei (who are always in your starting hand), besides that Zhuge Liang has some ideas for a formation and a stratagem agains the enemy.
Sadly, he realises that he does not have any cannon fodder to help fight with the emperor, so combat this turn would surely lead to the death of one of the great heroes.
Turn 1 Enemy Phase
Zhuge Liang looks to the borders of Shu, and notices 3 enemy armies approaching from the East!
Zhou Yu, Xiahou Dun and Xu Chu are approaching!
Turn 1 Placement Phase
Since combat seems unavoidable now, and since Zhuge Liang cannot spare to lose one of the main forces, he decides to tap into the resources of Shu and hopes to find a solution.
Losing 1 National power and discarding the formation, Zhuge Liang manages to come in contact with the veteran warrior Huang Zhong (sorry for the blurry picture!)
Zhuge Liang sends the 4 heroes to the besieged Mai Castle which is under siege by Xiahou Dun and tricks his rival Zhou Yu with a decatenation stratagem.
Turn 1 Movement Phase is Skipped
Turn 1 Combat Phase
After a fierce and bloody fight, both Xiahou Dun and Huang Zhong (whose time it was anyway) lie dead on the battlefield. (28 vs 20: Shu Victory)
Zhou Yu rages at the superior intellect of Zhuge Liang and sadly Xu Chu is free to raid and pillage the countryside around Wudu Castle.
Turn 1 End Phase
Just as things begin to look dark, reinforcements arrive for Shu in the form of Guan Yu and Liu Bei's sons, Xu Shu, a training soldier and the mighty Lu Bu.
Turn 2 Enemy Phase
But there is no time to breathe, the enemy does not give up easily, Xun Yu appears and he brings extra reinforcements (the reinforce keyword says that in addition to the 3 normal enemies, you draw another).
I have actually forgotten to add the 4th enemy this round!
One army was defeated, one tricked, but 4 new armies arrive on the borders of Shu: Lu Xun begins his siege of Lou Castle, while Xun Yu and Taishi Ci also begin their assaults.
The rampages of Xu Chu have reduced the national power to 17!
Turn 2 Placement Phase
Xu Shu bring Liu Bei's attention to a very special Horse with a "Hex Mark", the famous Delu horse that will curse the rider or fly across a river.
Xu Shu decides to group up with Lu Bu and the sons of Guan Yu and Liu Bei. Liu Feng knows a very special place where they trade horses for men, and Zhuge Liang decides to trade the Delu Horse for Wang Ping.
The Delu horse goes back on top of the deck.
Xu Shu heads his army towards Lu Xun at Luo Castle, while a soldier in training begins the defense of Haidi Castle which is besieges by Zhou Yu!
Turn 2 Movement Phase is Skipped
Turn 2 Combat Phase
The Battle for Luo Castle: (21 vs 19 = Shu Victory, Xu Shu finds his end). No fake letters from his mother are needed to part Xu Shu from Liu Bei's service.
Xun Yu pillages Xi Castle: The National power drops to 15.
A Training Soldier is slain quite brutally by Zhou Yu, but he manages to reduce the damage done to 1 (3 / 2 rounded down): national power drops to 14.
Taishi Ci fights the three brothers at Mai Castle (22 vs 16: Shu Victory). <-- Yea someone dies, I will remember next turn!
Xu Chu continues his rampagage sitting on farmers: national power drops to 12.
Turn 2 End Phase
Although the sitution looks very dire for Shu, at least some reinforcements appear.
Ma Liang, Wei Yan, the Delu Horse along with Xiliang horseman Ma Chao and current wife of Liu Bei: Sun Shang Xiang report for duty.
Turn 3 Enemy Phase
The dreaded schemer Sima Yi makes an appearence, not only is he super tough, he also has the reinforce ability!
Who else then Lu Su who also has the reinforce ability would a nasty fella such as Sima Yi deploy?
A total of 5 enemies would have spawned this turn, but the board is completely filled so no more enemies appear for now.
Who did appear however, was the brother in law of Liu Bei: Sun Quan, the ruler of Wu himself, as well as Dian Wei.
Turn 3 Placement Phase
Seeing the hopelessness of my situation I had to take a gamble to save the day. Zhuge Liang would probably never have decided on a coarse of action of which the result was not certain, but the fate of Shu depended in it!
I had to use Ma Liang to draw a character or formation with at least an attack power of 3, so I could take out the filthy Wu Emperor Sun Quan... but I drew a 2.
This was the point where I quickly began losing the game, and the Fall of Shu was set in motion because of a failed gamble that was so out of character for Zhuge Liang.
Since military victory again Sun Quan could no longer be considered, Zhuge Liang decided on a more diplomatic approach. One of the card in his hand (quite literaly) was the sister of the Emperor of Wu!
Zhuge Decided to send Sun Shang Xiang to delay her brother for a while.
Just as things looked just a slight less bit dark, news of a new betrayal reached Zhuge Liang. Lu Bu, the mightiest warrior in all of China had departed after the last battle! (I should have discarded him last turn).
Zhuge Liang could see now that the only way to save Shu was to delay its destruction and hope for a miracle. He decided to spread his forces thin in order to reduce the damage the otherwise unopposed enemies would have done.
Wei Yan and Ma Chao were send to Lou Castle to fight of Sima Yi, while untrained soldiers were send to slow the progress of Dian Wei, and a horse was send to fight Xun Yu in a dual to the death.
Turn 3 Movement Phase
Since Ma Liang and Sun Shang Xiang were now unopposed after sending Sun Quan to reconsider, they went to the army fighting Sima Yi as it was still not strong enough to beat him without them.
The Three brothers decided that Lu Su was not really worth their time, and they travelled to Haidi Castle to oppose the march of Zhou Yu.
Turn 3 Combat Phase
Epic battles were fought:
At Lou Castle a large group of heroes fought against the army of Sima Yi and won! (24 vs 22)
The gates of Chengu were under attack by Dian Wei, and the untrained soldiers there managed to limit the damage done (National power to 11)
Near Xi, Lu Xun took his time eating a cursed horse (National Power to 10)
At Haidi Castle Three brothers managed to kill Zhou Yu, but not before Zhou Yu struck down the Emperor of Shu, Liu Bei (who should have already died twice now)
Lu Su and Xu Shu raped and pillaged: National Power to 7.
Turn 3 End Phase
Only a great miracle could safe Shu now, and sadly no miracle arrived.
All Zhuge Liang had were ideas for formations, stratagems and a handful of volunteers.
Turn 4 Enemy Phase
More enemies appeared to fill the holes that were left there last turn with the blood of Shu soldiers:
Sun Quan decided that he wanted to destroy Shu after all, the feared warrior Zhang Liao appeared as well as Cao Ren.
Turn 4 Placement Phase
Zhuge Liang decided the people had suffered enough at Xu Chu's hands, and used the Empty Fort Strategy to scare him away.
He used another statagem to keep Zhan Liao busy, thought the formation to the army at Lou so they could beat Sun Quan and send some volunteers on suicide missions to slow the enemy.
Turn 4 Movement Phase
The two surviving brothers, looking for revenge decided the wimpy (but underrated) Cao Ren was not worth their time, and moved to oppose Xun Yu.
Turn 4 Combat Phase
The mighty army in formation at Luo Castle managed to defeat Sun Quan. Since Sun Quan has the retreat ability, all Wu officers are shuffled back into the enemy deck. Sadly this means only one army retreats after Sun Quans defeat.
Before he fell however, Sun Quan had managed to make one final victim among the Shu forces: he killed his own sister and they died in a lovely final embrace.
The opposed and unopposed forces of Dian Wei and Cao Ren managed to do more damage to the national power, dropping it to 5.
Turn 4 End Phase
Zhuge Liang had no choice, he would have to throw everything into the battle, even his own wife and pupil, along with all volunteers and soldiers in training he could muster.
Turn 5 Enemy Phase
Joining the attack on Shu were Cai Mao, Gan Ning and Cao Cao himself.
Turn 5 Placement Phase
Using the idea of his wife, Zhuge Liang decided to finally ask Zhao Yun to help out.
The only priority for Zhuge Liang now was to plug the holes in the defense and minimize the damage to the national power. he send his armies to face the enemies, knowing they stood no chance.
Turn 5 Movement Phase
Moving his armies to defeat Zhang Liao, Dian Wei and Cai Mao while minimizing the damage to the nation, Zhuge Liang was still waiting for his miracle.
Turn 5 Combat Phase
Battle for JiuJang: 20 vs 18 : Shu Victory
Battle for Chengdu: 16 vs 14 : Shu Victory
Battle for Xi Castle: 10 vs 9 : Shu Victory
Battle for Baidi Caslte: Jiang Wei makes a heroic last stand against Cao Ren
Battle for Mai Castle: Gan Ning slaughters untrained soldiers: National power to 4.
Battle for Wudu Castle: Cao Cao trampled volunteers: National power to 2.
Turn 5 End Phase
Zhuge Liang finds some reinforcements in Red Hare, Zhou Cang and Ma Dai.
Turn 6 Enemy Phase
Enemies appear, doom hangs over Shu.
Turn 6 Placement Phase
Cao Cao's 25 power needs to be completely defeated, otherwise he will do 2 damage to the national power, reducing it to 0, bringing Shu to ruin.
Zhuge Liang needs something, anyhing. Maybe a strategem to stop Cao Cao from attacking this round?
He decides to use 1 national power (dropping it to 1) to discard 3 cards and draw 3 new ones. There are only 2 cards in the deck, neither are strategems!
Reshuffling the deck an drawing the final card, Zhuge Liang sees this:
Nothing to stop Cao Cao's march.
Guan Yu jumps on his horse, rides straight to Cao Cao, who has treated him so well in the past.
Shu's final battle is here, all forces that could reach Cao Cao are fighting him.
The battle is 23 vs 25.... Shu loses. And loses 2 national Power, dropping to -1 .
Shu has been defeated.... Shu has fallen