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Sun Tzu Matagot

This is a game of strategic warfare based not on the roles of the dice, but by tactical deployment of your armies across the key points of the board.

The inspiration is the 6th century Chinese general Sun Tzu, who penned the classic business and warfare handbook The Art of War.

It was tactical ingenuity that led Sun Tzu to victory, and similarly that is what will win the day in this great little game.

Game cards feature quotes from the master himself, and Sun Tzu’s opponent in the game is the real-life King Shao. King Shao had the numerical advantage over Sun Tzu, but was tactically naive and consequently defeated. Can you re-write history? The answer is yes you can – over and over again as it happens, as this game has great replay value.

Game Designer: Al Newman

Game Publisher: Matagot

Date Published: 2005

Playing Time: 30 mins

Category: War Games/Under 30 mins

Sun Tzu and his epic story come to a table near you with this great little ancient-style wargame. It’s all about tactics, tactics, and more tactics. The legendary Sun Tzu not also wrote some pretty influential philosophy on tactics for warfare, which has apparently been particularly applicable to the world of business in recent years, he was primarily an accomplished general with an extremely impressive military record.

Click here to check out Sun Tzu on Amazon!


Famously, against the vastly superior numbers of King Shou, Sun Tzu delivered a series of stunning practical lessons in the art of warfare to the good King and kicked him out of his casun-tzu-cardpital. This game, as you might imagine, is therefore all about the strategy. Positions are not won or lost by weight of numbers alone, but by the tactical deployment of your forces.sun-tzu-board

One player, naturally, gets to be the eponymous hero, whilst the other plays the historically useless King Shou. There is no particular advantage to either player, of course, and there are quotes from Sun Tzu on the cards used to play the game. It’s all about area control as the pair of you battle to unify China. Different areas are worth different amounts at different points of the game. There are three points at which you take scores for the areas you control. The first player to score a certain amount, or who has the most points after nine rounds is declared the winner.

You’ll want to come back to this game, again and again, to really get the measure of it. Since it’s all about guessing your opponent’s strategy and doing you best to overcome it, whilst similarly concealing your own, this is pretty intense psychological warfare – just like the battles that inspired it. As Sun Tzu makes clear in his book, and as is clear in this game, at the levels of the generals it is not about brute force, but knowing your enemy and battling on a psychological level.

Click here to check out Sun Tzu on Amazon!


[easyazon_bestseller items=”6″ locale=”US” node=”684270011″ tag=”boardgames05f-20″ title=”Interested in Sun Tzu and War History? “]

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