Game Play

Wu Wei: Journey of the Changing Path comes with three levels of play: Student, Master, and Grandmaster. There is also a challenging one-player variant to help you sharpen your skills and unlock new strategies.





Lead your student on a journey to receive training from kung fu masters across the land, gaining animal cards that represent your student’s skills. Once your student has all five animal cards, bring your student and master back to the center tile to pass on your martial arts lineage to the next generation.

Beware the emperor, who will try to clear paths for his generals to conquer the four corners of the earth. If the emperor secures towers in the four corners of the board before you secure your lineage, only his lineage will prevail.

The Turn

  1. Move
  2. Collect Chi
  3. Activate Destinations
  4. Character Abilities
  5. Gatherings


1) Move

You may move up to three spaces, and must move at least one space. The following rules apply to movement:

Sharing Spaces: Students, masters, and generals may never move to a space with another character of the same rank. No character may ever be on the same space as the Emperor.
Retracing Steps: No character may move onto an octagon or tile where it started the turn or moved across during the turn.
Directional Tiles: No character may ever be on any of the directional tiles.
Center Octagon: Only players whose student has become a master may move characters into the center octagon. If a player wants to move a character out of the center octagon and all four exits are blocked, they may destroy a wall for free to exit (if at least one exit is blocked by a wall).
Octagons: No character may move onto an octagon of the current season. (For instance, you may not move into a Spring Forest during spring).
Walls & Towers: Students and masters may not move onto spaces with a wall or tower on them.

Master Game

Emperor: Flip every octagon the emperor moves on to the fields side.
Generals: Generals may only move on tiles and field octagons. If a general is in the center tile and none of the adjacent octagons are fields, you may flip an unoccupied one (if there are any) to the field side. Otherwise, the general may not move at all.
Moving Together: If the emperor has two black generals, both must be moved at least one space when moving black characters. The same rule applies to white characters if the emperor has a white general.

Yin-Yang: The two yin-yang tiles begin the game on white and black. Each time the a yin-yang tile becomes unoccupied, flip that tile to the other side. The flow of yin-yang determines which character(s) you may move during your turn, as follows:

Black & White: Choose which player character to move. (The emperor and players with two masters may split their movement between their characters.)

White & White: Only characters with white on them may move.

Black & Black: Only characters with black on them may move.

The Way Is Blocked

If you must move a character that is not in the center octagon, but you have no legal space to move to, then that character is considered blocked, and you are penalized as follows:

Student: The student immediately moves to the center octagon and your turn ends. In addition, your student loses their highest level animal card and places it face up on the top of the appropriate deck. If the student was a master, they lose that title and must regain it.

Student Game

Master: If either master is blocked, your original master immediately moves to their corresponding temple and your turn ends.

Master Game

Master: The master immediately moves to the center octagon and your turn ends. Return your master’s lineage marker to the corresponding temple.
General or Emperor: The general or emperor immediately moves to the the center octagon and your turn ends. Destroy a tower of the current starting player’s choice. If the emperor has multiple generals, only the blocked pieces move to the center tile. You may not move any other character this turn.

2) Collect Chi

As you explore this world you will find centers for trade, politics, and spiritual growth. Make note of your surroundings and mark the towns with circles, the palaces with squares, and the temples with triangles.

Each character that ends its movement on a Town, Palace, or Temple tile generates chi. First, if the tile is face down, flip it face up. Then gather one chi of that tile’s color.

Students and Masters that end their movement on an octagon matching their color gather one chi of that octagon’s color.

Student, 1 Player, or 2 Player Game

Snake Students and Masters gather one earth chi whenever they end their turn on an octagon adjacent to a wall.

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3) Activate Destinations

When you end your movement on a Town, Palace, or Temple, you activate the ability of that location.

Town: Change the active type of chi by revealing the next card on the Town deck.

Student, 1 Player, or 2 Player Game

Palace: If the Palace your character occupies matches the current color of the Palace deck, reveal the next two cards of the Palace deck. Otherwise, reveal the next card of the Palace deck. Place a wall in the direction indicated on one of the revealed cards.

Master Game

Palace: If the Palace your character occupies matches the current color of the Palace deck, reveal the next two cards of the Palace deck. Otherwise, reveal the next card of the Palace deck. You may fl ip one octagon in the direction indicated on one of the revealed cards.

Temple: Change the season by revealing the next card on the Temple deck. If the season changes to winter, the first player marker flips to the moon side. Before the fi rst player takes another turn, conduct a gathering to select a new starting player.


4) Character Abilities

Each type of player character has different abilities, each of which may be used if applicable.

Train (Student): Students must earn animal cards in order from 1 to 5 to become masters. After ending their turn on a space with a master whose animal matches the next numbered card they need, a student may train by taking the card and putting it in front of their player screen. These cards are public knowledge. If that master can train multiple sequential numbers, the student may train all of them at once. (For instance, if my student currently has a 1 card, and the tiger 2 and 3 are showing, my student can train both the 2 and the 3 by visiting a tiger master.)

Once a student has all 5 of their animal cards, flip them over to their master side. Other students may now train with them, and you may split your movement between your masters.

Master Game

Chi gong and martial arts masters use special internal healing exercises and meditations for building Chi, cultivating the life force and channeling it throughout the body.


Chi Cultivation (Master): After moving, a master may roll their lineage marker and gain that amount of chi. Masters receive chi of their color.
Conquer Town (General): After ending a move on a town, a general may place a tower on that town. If this is the second tower placed in a corner of the board, gain a second black general. If its the third, gain a white general. New generals start on the center octagon.
Build Wall (Emperor): After ending a move on a field, the emperor may place a wall on that field.


5) Gatherings

When a player holds the starting player position the first player marker starts on the sun side. If the season changes to winter, the first player marker flips to the moon side. Before the first player takes another turn, conduct a gathering to select a new starting player.

Players bid on the starting player position by secretly choosing and spending any number of chi of any type. The player with the highest bid chooses the starting player. In the case of a tie, the current starting player chooses.


Number of Players: 1-6 players
Age Range: 8 and up
Setup Time: Less than 10 minutes
Game Length: 45 minutes
Random Chance: Some
Skills Required: Strategic thought, tactics, cooperation