The Ancient China consists of 12 states, each of them surrounded by six grid points where armies may be placed. Some grid points border several states, hence making their armies more powerful. You claim a state if you have the most armies at the end of a round. You win if you claim 3/4/5 states (5/4/3 players).
Each round you compete for a state You do so by playing cards representing either two tactics (light) or one tactics (dark). Each card also represents one strategy. One light card may be played each turn together with none or one dark card. Each card played must match either a tactics or a strategy of your previously played light card.
When you pass you take the battle field of all tactics and strategies where you have a majority. Tactical battle field cards let you place new armies while strategic cards let you manipulate already placed armies. Also, an early pass gives you an early pick of new cards from a drawing row. However, it makes the remaining battle field cards easier to get for the other players.
When the round ends, you claim the state if you have the most armies around it. Also, all previous states are reassessed to see if the majority has changed. (Remember that an army may reach more states.) One of the battle field cards allows you to decide the next state to battle for to take advantage of well positioned armies.
1.0: First edition
The complete rules are available in the PDF file to the right. In the following sections, I will describe how they came
Most of the Cosmoclasm rules were kept in Warring States so I'll focus on the new rules.
How much can you "strategize" the placement of armies? The answer in Warring States is manipulation of the placement so two of the strategies were obvious: move own armies and move other armies.
For the moving of the own armies (Wind), a one step movement is often too short to be of interest while a movement anywhere is too chaotic. The rule to allow any number of steps provided that the path isn't blocked is not only a good middle way but also make the otherwise weak edge armies more powerful, since those paths are usually less blocked.
For the moving of other armies (Fire), it's important that it doesn't become a take that mechanic. Hence, it's directed towards a selected stronghold rather than a selected player's army. However, a player should still be able to defend a valuable position and this necessity inspired the third strategy: placing a second army.
By placing a second army (Mountain), a player not only protects a stronghold from Fire but also adds a new army to the board that may potentially (with Wind) be used elsewhere.
The logical fourth strategy was to let a player place an army in a state, not to immediately control it but to control it in case of a tie. This can be an interesting strategy both in the short run (immediately take control) or in the long run (prepare to take control in a later round).
The more dynamic gameplay also necessitated more dynamic rules for state control. Instead of resolving one state at the time, it should be possible to target other than the current and previous states. This was accomplished by resolving all states that have at least 4 armies around them.
This also necessitated an end game trigger when all states have at least 8 armies around them to prevent endless additions of armies beyond the normal 12 rounds of a game.
... and Rejected Rules
There are of course also ideas that will be rejected and here I will explain why.
State tie breaker
The static gameplay of Cosmoclasm made state tie-breakers necessary to mitigate the risk of draws. However, the more dynamic gameplay of Warring States requires drawn planets to make the strategic manipulations more interesting.