Liubo (Wu Cao)


Method of play: Two people sit facing each other over a board, and the board is divided into twelve paths, with two ends, and an area called the “water” in the middle. Twelve game pieces are used, which according to the ancient rules are six white and six black. There are also two “fish” pieces, which are placed in the water. The throwing of the dice is done with a jade. The two players take turns to throw the dice and move their pieces. When a piece has been moved to a certain place it is stood up on end, and called an “owl (梟or驍) “. Thereupon it can enter the water and eat a fish, which is also called “pulling a fish”. Every time a player pulls a fish he gets two tokens, and if he pulls two fish in a row he gets three tokens [for the second fish]. If a player has already pulled two fish but does not win it is called double-pulling a pair of fish. When one player wins six tokens the game is won.[Description]

[Painstakingly Reconstruct Rules]


  1. That middle piece looks exactly what Carl Jung would say is an image of a temenos – a sacred, psychic space.

  2. From the Wikipedia article: “It had very little skill, and was not worth playing.”

    My wife’s comment – “That guy is ancient Gamasutra comments!”