QIN: Colonize, Conquer and Build an Empire

qin 1ToysBulletin.com looks at a strategic game from author Reiner Knizia for R&R Games, Inc.

“QIN” is a board game set in China over 2000 years ago. The Quin dynasty was a time of war and conquests, and this game asks players to compete against other to see who can bring the most provinces into prominence by building pagodas to symbolize authority and power. “QIN” can be played by 2-4 players (recommended for ages 8 years old and up) with a typical game lasting only 30 minutes or so. The game contents include 72 tiles in 3 different colors, each featuring 2 province spaces, 96 pagodas in 4 colors, a large two-sided game board measuring  22″ x 22″ and a concise set of colorful rules.

The object of the game is to place more pagodas than any other player by the end of the game. Prior to the start of a two-player game, each player is given 24 pagodas of one color (less when playing with 3 or 4 players), and 3 tiles are randomly dealt to each player. The remaining tiles are turned face down near by. Next, one side of the two-sided game board must be selected for play. One side is named the “Bird” board, and the other is the “Lion” board. It is suggested that beginning players start with the less complex “Bird” board.

qin 2Players then alternate turns by selecting one tile from their hand, and placing it on one of the grassland spaces on the game board. Tile cannot be placed on village or water spaces, and at least one edge of the tile must be adjacent to an existing province space of any color. There are 3 starter province spaces on the game board that must be used to get things started. The tile can also be rotated either horizontally to vertically before final placement. Generally, once a tile is on the board, it triggers one of the following events:

1. A new province is created…this is done by having two or more contiguous province spaces of the same color. If this occurs, 1 pagoda from that player is placed on the province.

2. No new province or minimal expansion…this occurs when a tile is placed such that no new province is created, or an existing province of the same color grows to less than 5 contiguous spaces. No pagoda is placed in this case.

3. Create a major province…if a province is expanded to 5 or more contiguous spaces of the same color, it is considered a major province and an additional pagoda can be added to the province (2 maximum per province no matter how large).

4. Connect a village…if a player is able to place a tile such that its edge is adjacent to an unoccupied village, that player can place 1 pagoda in that village.

5. Conquer a village…careful placement of tile may cause two provinces to both adjoin one village. In that case, the player with the largest size province can claim the village with his pagoda.

6. Absorb a province…a player may be able to join separate provinces together of the same color, with the player having the most province spaces in their original province gaining control and placing a pagoda in the new province. This does not apply to major provinces, which cannot be absorbed.

At the end of each player’s turn, a replacement tile is drawn from the remaining stack of tiles. Play continues until either all 72 tile have been used, or there are no additional grassland spaces available for play. At that time, the player who has placed the most pagodas on the game board is declared the winner.

qin 3“QIN” is a fast moving, easy to play game, requiring clever tile placement and a watchful eye on your opponent’s movements. It may take a while to get a feel for the game, and there is a bit of luck involved when drawing replacement tiles, but the rewards of “QIN” are great, and there is no better feeling than when you conquer a village or absorb a province just as a close game is coming to a close.

“QIN” retails for $39.95 and can be purchased at the R&R Games website.

–RJ Cullen



Posted in Board Games

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