ZiPANG Portable: The Feudal Japan Card Game Review

In ZiPANG Portable: The Feudal Japan Card Game; It is 16th-century Japan, and you are a rising samurai during the chaotic Sengoku Period, a time of civil war and unrest. You must take part in successive campaigns to gain land and resources while maintaining your honour until one of your adversaries has nothing. After these campaigns cease, the one with the most resources (Mangoku Coins) becomes the all-powerful shogun.

During each campaign, you will use Character Cards to attack others and defend yourself, steal cards, take Mangoku Coins, reveal information, prevent damage, and even force an early end to the campaign.

But you’ll need to strategize and decide whether to play a card with higher Battle Points to attempt an elimination attack on your opponent now or keep that card in hand to defend yourself later. Play cards with high Honor Point now to interrupt your enemies’ momentum, or reserve them to win the end of a campaign and all the Mangoku Coins in the centre. It’s all up to you—show your honour!


  1. In ZiPANG Portable: The Feudal Japan Card Game; each player starts the game with 5 Mangoku Coins (or 4 if there are only 2 players). Remove the rest of the Mangoku Coins from the game.

[Note] Players must keep their Mangoku Coins visible to other players at all times.

  1. Depending on the number of players, remove the following cards from the game:
  • 2-3 players – 2 Bandits, 2 Captains, 4 Peasants, 1 Monk, 3 Commanders
  • 4-5players – 1 Bandit, 1 Captain, 1 Peasant, 1 Monk, 1 Commander
  • 6 players – Use all cards.
  1. Randomly choose a player to start (or let the youngest player go first), and begin the first campaign.

Starting a Campaign

  • Shuffle the cards and deal 2 cards to each player, then place the remaining cards in a face-down deck, called the supply. Each player looks at his or her hand, keeping it hidden from the other players
  • Place the top card of the supply face down next to it to create the discard pile.
  • Each player puts 1 Mangoku Coin in the center coin pile. Then, remove 1 Mangoku Coin in the center coin pile.

Campaign Turn

When your turn begins, draw the top card from the supply. If there are no cards to draw, the campaign ends after your turn
Play one of your 3 cards face up into the discard pile. Then follow the card effect explained in the full descriptions for the card being played.
Play continues clockwise to the next player still remaining in the campaign. If you are the last player remaining at the end of your turn, the campaign ends



Attack other players by playing a Warlord, Commander, Captain or 2 Peasants. A played card has a Battle Point (BTL) value and specifies how many players it attacks. With the exception of the Peasant, you must attack with one card only. Multi-player attacks are separate and simultaneous.


Each defending player sums the Battle Points from all of the cards in his or her hand. If that sum is equal to or higher than the attacking card’s Battle Points; the defender shows the attacking player his or her hand, and the attack against that defender is blocked. The defender keeps the cards in his or her hand. If the defending player has fewer total Battle Points, the defender is eliminated from the current campaign
Special Blocks: If attacked before your first turn of a campaign, you can block the attack by adding 1 Mangoku Coin to the centre coin pile. You may do this once for each attack that occurs before your first turn.

Player Elimination

An attacker who is blocked remains in the campaign. A defender who is defeated is eliminated from the campaign. When eliminated, you must discard your entire hand face up, but keep their Mangoku Coins and wait for the next campaign to begin. Eliminated players can still be affected by Bandits and Merchants.

Campaign End

  1. You are the last player remaining after a battle; the campaign ends and you take all the Mangoku Coins in the center coin pile. If one of the players has no Mangoku Coins left at campaign end, the entire game ends.
  2. The Emperor Card is played, or if there are no cards for a player to draw; at the beginning of his or her turn, then the player with the highest sum of Honor Points; in his or her hand wins the campaign and takes all the Mangoku Coins in the in the center coin pile. A new campaign then begins. However, if the top players are tied, those players shuffle the deck and draw one card each. The card with the most Honor Points wins.

Repeat this as necessary to determine the campaign winner. If one of the players has no Mangoku Coins left at the end of the campaign, the game ends.

  1. If the game did not end after this campaign; then this campaign’s winner takes the first turn of the next campaign.


A game usually consists of successive campaigns; and the game ends when one of the players has no Mangoku Coins remaining at the end of a campaign.
The player with the most Mangoku Coins at the end of the game wins. The remaining players are ranked according to their Mangoku Coin totals.
If the top players are tied, those players shuffle the deck and draw one card each, comparing Honor Points. (Repeat this if necessary until one player has more Honor Points than the other.) The player who has the card with the most Honor Points wins
 ZiPANG Portable
As a person that loves Japanese culture, I was so excited to be offered ZiPANG to review. I had seen quite a lot of information on it & read several reviews for ZiPANG; in the lead up to its Kickstarter. It was a game I wanted to play and one I almost backed but didn’t due to my Kickstarter budget being too small. The funny thing is; I also received the game I backed over it on the same time; and have since given it to a friend as I don’t like it.  Guess I should have gone with my gut and backed ZiPANG, as I love this game.
ZiPANG is a stunningly traditional looking Japanese card game with a modern feel. It blends the old-world art and theme with a very modern & fresh feeling card game. I personally love Japanese culture and visiting Japan has been at the top of my bucket list; ever since I can remember.
I had ZiPANG in my bag while at the local mall after work; and actually bumped into a few of my friends there. We were chatting over sushi and asked me if I had gotten anything interesting lately; I just happened to have it in my bag. We opened it, read through the rules quickly and started playing. As in my previous review; I said I am a bit of a nerd and like to set an atmosphere for my games nights. But I couldn’t have planned this better; sitting in Sushi Hub with some mates; playing a game that looked like it was from 16th century Japan. It was amazing.
We played for a couple of hours; even a couple of the sushi chefs came out to see what we were getting excited about. We asked them if they wanted to play, but I think they were embarrassed. But they watched for about 30 mins and took heaps of photos, more than we did actually.
ZiPANG is a great game, it is quick to learn and play; but yet quite challenging and has a level of depth that will surprise you. The art and theme are what makes this game from fun to outstanding for me.
ZiPANG Portable
I love Japanese culture, their calligraphy, their art and their loyalty and honour system. This game captures it so amazingly well. The art I could look at for days. It looks like it has been removed from old books and printed on the cards. The level of detailing and historically accurate design is truly breathtaking. I connect with the art and theme of the games, as much as I do with the gameplay. There have been games I’ve played that I love the gameplay, but the art and theme have been very generic or boring; and could quite easily be swapped with something else and be no different.
ZiPANG captures everything I love about 16th century Japanese culture; adds a fresh and depth filled gameplay that I will be playing again and again. Even writing this review makes me what to go call a few friends and play it; it also makes me kick myself as to why I didn’t back it and backed that other game; which will remain nameless.

If you love challenging yet quick card games; ZiPANG is a game you need in your collection. You can pre-order this stunning ‘pick one, play one’ game from ZiPANG Kickstarter page here