What is the name of the card game where you have two players and a "board" of cards 4 cards by 13 cards. The cards are face down. Each player takes a turn by either flipping a card (first card flip determines your colour, either black or red) or moving a card horizontally or vertically (up, down, left or right). The object of the game is to conquer the board. Ace can eat the face card (K, Q or J). K can Q, Q can eat J, J can eat 10 and so on. Card of the same rank can be eaten (eg 8 Hearts can eat 8 Spades if 8S is flipped next to 8H and it's red's turn. So it's like chess but with playing cards. I assume this game originated from China, but cannot confirm. Anyone who's played this and knows the name, please let me know so I can search for the app for my phone! Thank you

  • 1
    Not the same game, but sounds similar to Onitama.
    – GendoIkari
    May 30, 2019 at 20:02

2 Answers 2


This sounds like the game Banqi (also called Half Chess or Dark Chess) but where you replaced the playing tokens with playing cards, the board size is increased, and the number of each available "piece" is always four. This game is instead played on half of a Xianqi board with the pieces used for the Xianqi game (In order of strength: 5 pawns, 2 cannons, 2 knights, 2 rooks, 2 guards, 2 elephants, and a king for each player)

There are examples of it on the google play store under the name "Chinese Dark Chess" such as this one by Xidea.

The brief overview of the rules are that on your turn you may either move a revealed piece of your color, or flip over an unrevealed piece. The first piece that is flipped by the first player determines the players' colors.

When moving a piece it may only move to an orthogonally adjacent square that is unoccupied, or it may move into an orthogonally adjacent square occupied by an opponent's piece that is of the same "strength" or lower, thereby removing the opponent's piece in the process. In the case of ties the attacker wins and is not destroyed in the process.

Depending on which regional variant you are playing, cannons may have an alternate attack style, instead attacking as they do in a normal game of Xianqi by jumping over another piece to attack the second piece in its path, regardless of strength. Further, a pawn may be able to capture a king (similar to how spies can capture field marshals in stratego).

The winner of the game is determined when the opponent has no legal moves available remaining.


There is a game called Tomb Chess that is similar. There are pieces with values from 1 to 6. Pieces of the same value can kill each other. Pieces of higher value can kill lower value, except that 1 can kill 6 (and 6 can't kill 1). There's a large number of 1, fewer 2, fewer than that of 3, then two 4, and one each of 5, 6. I don't know of a mobile version of the game, however.

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