The Game of the Five Elements is a card game for 2 - 10 people. Loosely based on the premise of the game play of Gin Rummy, however you will find it is not like any other Rummy you have ever played. There are 155 regular cards numbered 1-31 in 5 suits (representing the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal, and water) with 10 wild cards. Each card is bi-lingual in English and Chinese, and "the face" of each card is one of the affiliations of the five elements as they are discussed in the Su Wen, such as the planet of the element, the number of the element, the direction of the element, etc. However, "the faces" of the cards are simply for extra understanding, and like with regular cards, it is the number and the element of the card which are actively used in the game. This game was designed by Jonathan Schell as a game to play with his extended family which was challenging enough for older members, and easy enough to pick up in a game or two by people of any age.

Game play is simple: Each person is dealt 10 cards. Each turn, one must draw and discard. The initial goal is to create either a grouping of 5 of a kind (a trick) or a run of 5 cards in the same suit (what in poker terms would be a straight flush). Whenever one has a a trick or a run built, then during one's turn, the player can lay down their cards and receive points for their play. However, at this point the laws of the five elements are put in to play, as the next person's play could be in the generation cycle, the death cycle, the domination cycle, or the overacting cycle. Each cycle creates a different score dynamic. The gameplay is explained thoroughly with numerous examples, in the color rule book which is provided with the game. This game is stimulating, and forces players to strategize on the best play to maximize their advantage. Each play affects not only the active player but all of the players within arms reach, you will love the ability to cause ripple effects through the players at the table, as each play either causes to people to lose points or make more points. It is just the kind of game families love to play!

The added wild cards allow players who feel like they have drawn a "bum" hand to come back from nothing and rule the game, but there is a cost to playing the wild cards!

If you are looking for a dynamic card game which can be easily be stored, and that you can even play with small or large groups of family and friends, this game is for you!

We are shipping all over the world now. Cards will be shipped from Portland, OR and should be about $23.50 for international shipping. If you buy the cards and another item, and are outside of the United States, you will see two postage fees, and that represents the shipping from Portland, OR and the shipping from the warehouse closest to you. Also, the example cards are how the cards look like now.

Number of Pages: Number of Cards: 165
Dimensions: 2.5 X 3.5 (Poker sized) Linen Playing Cards
Language Chinese and English

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The Game of the Five Elements

  • $45.00

Tags: Games