Dragon Face plays similar to Chess and Checkers, but adds an exciting twist – captured pieces join the opposing team instead of being removed from the game!
Since Thierry Denoual created Dragon Face in 2011, we have had an overwhelmingly positive response from our community of players, but some have asked for clarifications regarding the rules. So, here is an updated version of the Dragon Face rules that will hopefully clarify any questions you have about the game. And if there is something we didn’t cover, please leave a reply at the bottom of the page and we will address it!
Ages 8 to Adult
- Game Mat
- 2 Emperors
- 12 Ambassadors
- 14 Governors
The Game Mat:
The game mat is divided into 99 squares, consisting of the Territories and the Sacrifice Zone.
The Territories are the 63 inner squares, where most of the game’s action takes place.
The Sacrifice Zone is composed of the 36 border squares, where pieces are trapped when their move takes them outside the bounds of the Territories. (See: Playing the Game)
The Emperor moves like the king piece in Chess, in any direction, one square at a time.
If your Emperor is captured, you lose the game.
The Ambassador moves like the queen piece in Chess, as far as you want it to, along a straight line.
The Governor moves similar to the pawn in Chess. It can only move forward, one square at a time (straight or diagonally), and may only capture diagonally. The first time a Governor moves, you may move it two squares (in the same direction) rather than one.
Pieces cannot move over other pieces except when capturing.
Pieces cannot change direction mid move.
Each player chooses an empire (light or dark) and flips all their pieces (1 Emperor, 6 Ambassadors, 7 Governors) to the corresponding side, and places them as pictured:
Object of the Game:
Capture your opponent’s Emperor.
Playing the Game:
The player using the light colored pieces moves first. After this, take turns moving one piece at a time.
On your turn, you may move any of your pieces in the Territories, according to its description. (See: The Pieces)
You may capture any of your opponent’s pieces that you can reach with one of your own pieces. To capture it, move your piece as normal (except for the Governor who can only capture diagonally), and place it in the square immediately on the other side of the piece you wish to capture. If the square behind that piece already has another piece in it, then it is protected and you may not capture it.
When you capture a piece, it is flipped over and immediately becomes part of your empire, and you can choose to move it on your next turn.
- Move your pieces as normal to capture.
- The Governor can only capture diagonally.
- There must be an available square on the other side of the piece you wish to capture.
- Captured pieces are flipped and become part of your empire.
You may not capture a piece which was captured on your opponent’s previous turn. You must wait at least one turn to recapture any of your pieces.
The Sacrifice Zone:
Pieces can only enter the Sacrifice Zone when capturing another piece.
Once a piece enters the Sacrifice Zone, it is stuck there for the rest of the game.
The only exception to this rule is the Ambassador piece, which can return to the Territories if you reach (or cross over) your opponent’s back line with one of your Governors. At this point, you may choose to reactivate one of your Ambassadors in the Sacrifice Zone by placing the Governor that just reached your opponent’s back line underneath it. The Ambassador is now free to move back into the Territories on any of your future turns, but the Governor you used to activate it must remain in the Sacrifice Zone for the rest of the game.
Note: Pieces stuck in the Sacrifice Zone still prevent other pieces from moving into their square, which means that you cannot perform a capture move that would take your piece into an occupied square in the Sacrifice Zone.
Sacrifice Zone Summary:
- If a Governor enters the Sacrifice Zone, it is trapped there for the rest of the game.
- If an Ambassador enters the Sacrifice Zone, it is trapped there until you can free it by moving one of your Governors into your opponent’s back line.
- An Emperor MAY NOT enter the Sacrifice Zone
If you are able to capture your opponent’s Emperor on your next turn, you do NOT need to let them know. (No need to say, “Check!”)