Game Rules
Game Rules
Twenty-three hundred years ago, the Chinese tactician Sun Tzu published his classic treatise on military strategy, The Art of War. The principles
of this text apply as much to the game of Bin’Fa as they do to actual warfare.
In Bin’Fa, you control one or more armies in a struggle to dominate the battlefield and overwhelm your opposition. Your goal is to eliminate any
enemy armies by surrounding them with your own. The winner is the last player with Army Units on the battlefield.
But like the real warfare described by Sun Tzu, it is not enough to maneuver your armies to victory. Supplies also play a critical role in the battle:
when your army moves, it consumes supplies, and an army with no supplies is helpless to resist its enemies…
The game of Bin’Fa has much in common with actual warfare. However, it differs in one important respect: the Vortex. Army Units entering one
of the six Vortex entry points can transit the battlefield in a single bound and emerge where least expected.
Game Components
Your copy of Bin’Fa includes:
• 6 Triangular game board sections
• 60 Gold Supply Tokens
• 6 Armies, each consisting of: • 6 White Vortex Markers
12 Army Units (stackable checker pieces) • 6 Black Terrain Markers
1 General (small pawn) • 2 6-sided dice
1 Supply Marker (large pawn) • Game rules
Game Concepts
Bin’Fa is a game of strategy for two to six players. Each player controls one or more armies. Each army is made up of 12 Army Units and one
General. A General is equal to 12 Army Units, which means that it can push Army Units but cannot itself be pushed. But you must be careful: in
some situations, your General can accidentally help your enemy surround your Army Units in a case of “friendly fire!”
The rules for movement allow you to simulate many strategies from the ancient battlefield. Even “cavalry charges” are possible—where Army
Units dash across the board to attack an enemy position.
Although they have no official standing in the rules, alliances and negotiation can play an important part in multi-player games. Deals can be
made in the open or in secret. But only one commander can emerge victorious: knowing when and with whom to form alliances and when to
break them can sometimes determine who wins and who loses!
Bin’Fa is inspired by the writings of Sun Tzu. Each section of these rules begins with a quotation from The Art of War, to help the reader focus
the mind on the concepts within.
Setting Up the Game
The Battlefield
The Battlefield is composed of the six board sections. Each board section is divided into two Sectors:
The Battle Sector is made up of 16 small triangular spaces. The Armies move and fight over the Battle Sectors.
The Supply Sector is made up of a path of seven colored circles. Armies use the Supply Sector when they try to gather Supplies.
Home Bases
Each Army has a Home Base. An Army’s Home Base is the board section that has three circles in the middle of the Supply Sector and Battle
Sector that match that Army’s color.
The board section at the bottom of this picture is the Home Base for the Orange Army: The
three circles in the middle of the Supply Sector are all orange.
Set up the Battlefield by placing the six game board sections on the table. You can arrange the board
sections in any configuration you like, as long as all players agree. The Battle Sector on each board
section must connect with the other five Battle Sectors. Do not cut off one part of the battlefield from
the rest.
Before play begins, make sure that all players understand and agree on the route to be followed by
the Supply Markers. They move in a clockwise direction, jumping from one Supply Sector to the next
along a route agreed to by the players.
In laying out the six board sections, the Supply Sectors should always be placed so as to form an outer perimeter of the battlefield. This will
avoid disputes as to the route to be followed by the Supply Track.
Terrain Markers
After laying out the game board sections, place up to six Terrain Markers by agreement of the players anywhere on the Battle Sector. They cannot
be landed on and thus can contribute to Army Units being surrounded. Do not place them so as to cut off part of the Battle Sector from the rest.
Army Units and Generals cannot move onto a triangle that is occupied by a Terrain Marker.
The black Terrain Markers can represent any kind of terrain that is impassable to an Army on the march, such as mountains, swamps, or valley
Vortex Markers
Next, place between two and six Vortex Markers anywhere on the board by agreement of the players.
The Vortex allows an Army to move instantly across the Battlefield. When a stack of Army Units enter a triangle with a Vortex Marker, it instantly
moves to any other Vortex Marker on the game board. However, there is a chance that Army Units attempting to transit the Vortex might be lost.
Vortex markers do not contribute to the surrounding of Army Units. However, Army Units pushed into the Vortex are lost and removed from play.
On the left: Each Battle Sector
has a white Vortex Marker in the
corner. Armies can use these to
quickly move to another Battle
On the right: Note the inlet
separating the yellow and red
Battle Sectors. Armies must
either march all the way around
it or use the Vortex short cut.
Also, note the placement of the black Terrain Markers. They form a mountain range
extending across half of the battlefield. The Vortex provides a pass through it. A clever commander will use the Terrain and
Vortexes to his advantage.
In Bin’Fa, the armies move over a landscape that is different from game to game. You can use the board sections to create inlets, peninsulas,
isthmuses, lakes, and more. Adding vortex and terrain markers allows you even more control over the layout of the game board. You will find a
number of example layouts throughout these rules. Feel free to try any of them or create your own! Your ability to take advantage of the layout
of the battlefield is crucial to victory and defeat.
Setting up your Army Units
Sun Tzu says: “On taking up your command, seal off all the passes; if an enemy leaves you an opening, take advantage of his foolishness.”
Determine how many Armies each player will control, by agreement among all players:
In a two-player game, each player may control one, two, or three Armies.
In a three-player game, each player may control one or two Armies.
In games with more than three players, each player controls one Army.
Place all of the Supply Tokens and the two dice nearby, where all players can reach them. This is called the “central store”.
Place the six Supply Markers in a container. Each player draws unseen one, two, or three Supply Markers, depending on the number of
armies the player will control. The Supply Marker for each Army in play is placed on any of the seven spaces in the Supply Sector of that
Army’s Home Base.
The 12 Army Units and the General are placed on any of the sixteen triangles of its home Battle Sector. From two to twelve Army Units may
be stacked on a triangle. The armies are placed on the board in the following order: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple. Once a player’s
army is set-up, its Army Units cannot be moved until play begins.
There are many ways to set up your Army. Experience is the best teacher!
Here are two examples of the game board
completely set up.
On the left: a two-player game with each player
controlling two Armies (blue and green versus
yellow and orange).
On the right: another two-player game with each
player controlling three Armies (yellow, orange, and
red versus purple, blue, and green).
Finally, each player rolls both dice for each Army he
controls. Take the number of Supply Tokens from the
central store equal to the higher of the two numbers you rolled and place them near that Army’s Home Base.
The player that controls the Army with the fewest Supply Tokens takes the first turn. If two or more players tie for the fewest, they each roll a
single die and continue if necessary until a lowest roll determines who takes the first turn.
You are now ready to begin.
Bin’Fa is played over a series of player turns. Your turn begins when the dice are handed to you, and ends when you pass the dice to the
player on your left. Play always goes clockwise from player to player, not from Army to Army.
Playing Your Turn
At the beginning of your turn, you must choose one of the Armies you control to act that turn. Each turn, you must choose to move Army Units
OR attempt to supply that army. You cannot switch from one to the other and you cannot switch armies on the same turn.
You must choose your Army and action before you roll the dice for your turn.
Once you have chosen which Army will act, you must choose one of these two actions:
• Move Army Units • Gather supplies
Once you have completed your action, your turn is over. Pass the dice to the player on your left.
Players continue taking turns, in order, until only one player has any Units left on the Battlefield—that player wins the game!
A tip! On taking possession of the dice: first, see if any of your Army Units are in danger and, if so, respond defensively; second, see if any of
your opponent’s Army Units are vulnerable and, if possible, attack; third, if neither of these choices applies, go for supplies.
Sun Tzu says: “An army without supplies is useless; a well-supplied army will rout it effortlessly.”
On your turn, you may either move your Army, which uses up Supplies, or attempt to gather more Supplies by moving your Supply Marker
along the Supply Track. Players may not switch from one to the other while it is their turn.
Gathering Supplies
If you choose to gather Supplies on your turn, roll both dice: move your Supply Marker along the Supply Track the value rolled on either die or
the combined total of both dice, giving you 3 movement options.
Example: 3 and 4 are rolled; the Supply Marker can move 3, 4, or 7 spaces.
Your Supply Marker always moves clockwise along the Supply Track. When your marker reaches the left end of the track in its current Supply
Sector, it continues by moving to the far right space of the next Supply Sector track. (See demonstration picture of Supply Track on next page)
If your Supply Marker lands on a space that is the same color (e.g., if the red Supply Marker lands on a red space), you have successfully
gathered Supplies. Take the number of Supply Tokens from the central store equal to the number of spaces your Supply Marker moved.
If you roll doubles, you may make another move: roll the dice again and move your Supply Marker. Continue making moves (and possibly
collecting Supplies) until you do not roll doubles.
A Supply Marker cannot land on a space that is already occupied by another Supply Marker. If all of your possible moves are blocked, your
Supply Marker stays in place and your move is lost, unless you roll doubles, in which case you roll again.
If you did not roll doubles, your turn ends after moving your Supply Marker and taking any Supplies allowed.
Stealing Supplies
If your Supply Marker lands on the middle space of another Army’s Home Base (the center of the three spaces matching that Army’s color), you
can earn supplies equal to the number of spaces moved. You may choose to take your Supply
Tokens from either the central store or that Army’s Supplies.
Example: Purple Army Player is going for Supplies. This time he rolls a “6” and a “2”. If he
moves his Supply Pawn 2 spaces, he gets nothing. If he moves 6 spaces, he will land on a
purple space and take 6 Supply Tokens from the central store. But, if he moves 8 spaces,
he will land on the central space of the Red Army’s Home Base. He could then take 8
Supply Tokens from either the central store or the Red Army.
Controlling Supply Routes
If a player’s Army Units occupy any triangle(s) on the Battle Sector of another color, and that player’s Supply Marker lands on a space of that
color, the player’s army receives from the central store Supply Tokens equal to the number of spaces moved. A player collects supplies when
its Supply Marker lands on its own color even if its Battle Sector is unoccupied by Army Units of its home army.
Note that you can increase your odds of gaining Supplies by occupying other Battle Sectors but at the risk of spreading your forces
too thin.
Supply Limit
The number of Supply Tokens in the game is limited to 60. If you should gain Supplies from the central store or from another Army, but there
are not enough Supply Tokens, you only gain the tokens that are there. Any other Supplies you are due are lost—Neither the central store nor
the players can ever “owe” Supplies.
If there are no Supply Tokens left in the central store at the beginning of your turn, you cannot choose to Gather Supplies. You must instead
move your Army (and pay Supplies, as normal). If you have no Supplies and the central store is empty, you must “pass” and lose your turn.
Supply Storage
Each Army has its own store of Supplies. If you control more than one Army, you must keep the Supplies for each Army separate (place them
near that Army’s Home Base).
Every Army must always keep its Supplies in plain sight of all players.
Sun Tzu says: “Do not move without considering all the possibilities. Move always with a clear purpose.”
Each Army is made up of 12 Army Units and a single General.
Moving Army Pieces
When you choose to move your Army on your turn, you must pay one Supply Token from that Army’s Supply store to the central store. If you
forget to pay the Supply Token before you roll the dice, you must instead attempt to gather supplies.
Then, roll both dice: The difference between the numbers rolled on the dice is the number of “moves” you must make with your Army.
Example: Orange Army announces a move of Army Units, pays 1 Supply Token to the central store, then rolls both dice, getting a
“6” and a “2”. Orange must now make 4 moves.
A “move” for an Army consists of shifting all or part of a single stack of Army Units or the General from a single space to a single adjacent
space by crossing the line that separates them. You may not move Army Units to another space by crossing the point were the lines meet.
The size of the stack is not a consideration, only the number of lines crossed across the Battle Sector.
If you roll doubles, your Army does not get to make any moves and your turn ends.
The higher you stack an army on the move, the greater the risk. Twelve Army Units can be surrounded as easily as two. But a higher
stack makes for a more efficient use of supplies.
Army Units cannot enter a space occupied by a Terrain Marker, any General, or any Army Units that belong to a different Army (even if they are
an ally). Your General also cannot move onto a space that is occupied by your Army Units (Generals must always be alone in a space).
Each move can be used to move the same Army Unit Stack or different Army Unit Stacks of the Army in play.
You must make the exact number of moves indicated but may “kill” unwanted moves by shifting Army Units back and forth across adjoining
You may continue to pay in a Supply Token, roll the dice, and move Army Units until supplies run out or a double is rolled. Your turn then ends
and no further moves are made. A player who is moving Army Units may relinquish the dice at any time, ending the turn.
Surrounding Enemy Army Units
Sun Tzu says: “If you are near the enemy, make him think you are far away”
Army Units are captured and removed from play when they are surrounded and unable to move off the space they occupy.
Army Units can be surrounded by any combination of the following:
• The edge of the game board;
• Terrain Markers;
• Army Units that belong to a different Army (i.e., are a
different color - even if allied);
• Generals (even if it is the same color as the surrounded Army Units - this is called “friendly fire”); and
• Army Units of the same color (but only if it is a General
being surrounded).
2) Yellow moves all 5 Units
one space left
1) Yellow rolls the dice
and gets to make 5
4) The Red General,
surrounded by two stacks of
yellow Units and the edge of
the board, is lost
3) Yellow leaves 2 Units
behind and moves the
other 3 to the far side of
the red General
Sun Tzu says: “The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is
provided by the enemy himself.”
In order to remain in the battle, an Army must have a minimum of four Army Units or two Army Units and its General.
If your Army is reduced to less than this minimum strength, it immediately surrenders. Any Army Units from that Army that are still on the board
are removed. If your last Army surrenders, you are out of the game.
If an enemy Army’s attack forces your Army to surrender, any Supplies your Army had are captured by that enemy (add them to his Supply store).
Important: Supplies are only captured if an Army is forced to surrender when its pieces are attacked by an enemy Army. If an Army is forced to
surrender for any other reason (such as losing Army Units during a Vortex move), its Supplies instead return to the central store.
Dislodging Enemy Units
Sun Tzu says: “‘Advance!’ or ‘Retreat!’ orders the General, but if those he commands cannot obey, then misfortune awaits them.”
When you move your Army, your Army Units can attempt to force enemy Army Units to fall back from a Battle Sector triangle they occupy. This
is called “dislodging” the enemy.
You can use a dislodge move to break through a defensive perimeter or to push enemy Army Units into a position where they may be
surrounded more easily.
In order to dislodge an enemy, your pieces must occupy a space adjacent to the enemy Army Units. You must either have a stack of Army
Units that outnumbers the stack you are attempting to dislodge, or you must use your General.
Note: Remember a General is equal in pushing power to twelve Army Units. A General cannot be dislodged.
You must announce your dislodge attempt after paying a Supply Token but before you roll the dice. You must identify both the attacking and
defending pieces.
To make the dislodge attempt, roll both dice: if either of the dice roll is a “6”, the attempt is successful! The player whose units are under attack
must move them to an available adjoining triangle or triangles (they may choose to divide as they fall back), following the regular rules for
Then, the attacking pieces must move into the vacated space, and then make regular moves as indicated by the difference between the two
numbers rolled.
Example: Red is trying to push through the enemy line and needs to dislodge a stack of 3 Blue Army Units. Red moves a stack of 5
Army Units to a triangle next to the stack of 3 Blue Army Units and announces an attempt to dislodge it. Red rolls a “3” and a “6” the dislodge attempt succeeds! Blue is forced to move the three Army Units onto an adjoining triangle. Red Army’s stack of 5 Army
Units immediately moves into the vacant space. Red Army must now make 3 normal moves (since the difference on the dice is 3).
If you do not roll a “6” on either die, the dislodge attempt fails. You do not make any moves for that die roll. If you did not roll doubles, you may
pay an additional Supply Token to make another move. You may attempt another dislodging move or make a regular move.
If you roll double-6’s, on a dislodge attempt, the dislodged enemy Army Units must fall back two spaces. The attacking Army Units move into
the second of the two spaces vacated by the enemy Army Units. No additional moves are possible (since you rolled doubles) and your turn
Example: Green announces a dislodging move against a smaller Blue stack and rolls double-6’s. Blue must move back two spaces,
and the Green stack must move into the second space they vacated. No regular moves take place (6-6=0) and Green’s turn is now over.
If double-6’s are rolled and the dislodged Army Units move onto a space occupied by their own Army Units with their first move, all of the Army
Units in that space must fall back a second space, even if they now outnumber the attacking force.
Example: Red’s stack of 3 Army Units dislodges a stack of two Green Army Units by rolling double 6’s. The Green stack must fall
back two spaces. The first space they fall back to has a stack of 4 Green Army Units, which is now increased to 6. The stack of 6
must still yield to the stack of 3 and all 6 Green Army Units must move back another space. Red’s 3 Army Units move into the space
that the 6 Green Army Units once occupied and Red’s turn is over.
If a dislodged Army Unit cannot move (because all adjacent spaces are blocked, for example), or if they are forced to fall back into a Vortex,
those Army Units are lost and removed from the Battlefield. If your Army is forced to surrender because your Army Units were dislodged into a
Vortex, the attacker takes your Supplies.
If Army Units are pushed into the Vortex as a result of a double 6 being rolled, the attacking Army Units must follow them into the Vortex and
are also lost.
Moving Through The Vortex
Sun Tzu says: “Appear where you are least expected.”
When you move your Army, you can move Army Units into a space with a Vortex Marker as part of a regular move. Those Army Units
immediately move to any other Vortex Marker on the board for free. This counts as a continuation of your earlier movement, and does not cost
any additional moves or Supplies. Those Army Units must remain on the Vortex space until the next roll of the dice.
Important: Moves cannot be “killed” in the Vortex. If you move the last of your Army’s Units into a Vortex space do so using the last move
allowed by your throw of the dice.
Leaving the Vortex
The next time you roll the dice, if you do not roll doubles, your Army Units must exit the Vortex. If the dice only allow you a single move (for
example, if you rolled a “5” and a “4”), the Army Units in the Vortex must exit into a single adjacent space together. If your roll allows multiple
moves, you may split your Army Units into either of the available adjacent spaces.
But, if you do roll doubles, all of your Army Units in the Vortex are lost! Those Army Units are immediately removed from the Battlefield. Since
you rolled doubles, your turn ends.
Dislodging Units From the Vortex
When your Units are leaving the Vortex, you may attempt to dislodge a stack of enemy Army Units in an adjacent space surrounding the Vortex.
But be warned! This is the most dangerous maneuver in the game! Toujours L’Audace!
As usual when dislodging an enemy, your stack must have more Army Units than the stack you are trying to dislodge. Pay your Supply Token
and roll the dice like a normal dislodging move, stating your intention to dislodge:
If you do not roll a “6” and you did not roll doubles, your Army Units remain in the Vortex and your turn continues as normal (i.e., you may pay a
Supply Token to roll the dice again).
•If you roll a “6” on one of the dice, the enemy Units are dislodged, your Units exit the Vortex into their vacated space, and you make your regular moves as normal.
•If you roll double-6’s, the enemy Army Units fall back two spaces and your Army Units occupy the second vacated space, as normal.
•If you roll any doubles other than double-6’s, your Army Units in the Vortex are lost and removed from play! Your turn ends.
Note: If you try to move out of a Vortex with a normal move (i.e., you are not attempting to dislodge an enemy) and you roll double6’s, your Units are lost. Only when you attempt to leave a Vortex by dislodging an enemy is the roll of double-6’s safe
Example: Blue is attempting to push the Green Army Units into the Vortex and rolls a double-6. The green Units move into the
Vortex with their first move, and the Blue Units must follow them. Both stacks of Army Units are lost to the Vortex.
Winning the Game
Sun Tzu says: “If there is a reasonable chance of victory, then you must seize the nettle. If such a prospect is lacking, do not allow yourself
to be drawn into battle.”
The game ends when only one player has Army Units remaining on the game board after all opposing Army Units have been removed from
play. That player wins the game!
For questions about the rules or suggestions for play, please submit your query through
Visit to meet up with other players in your area and for information on the Bin’Fa Association
and Tournaments. Bin’Fa has its own Facebook page where announcements will also be made, look for us
at Bin-Fa-The-Tao-of-War.
For more examples, illustrations of game set-up and in play visit our website at
Copyright 2014 Allsaid & Dunn, LLC
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