How To Play: The Great Wall – Setup, rule summary and strategy

This guide covers everything you need to know to excel at The Great Wall, from understanding the components and the basics of gameplay to mastering resource management, defensive tactics, and the crucial balance between collaboration and competition. It concludes with top strategies for becoming the ultimate defender.

Hey there, fellow board gamers! Ever wanted to conquer the legendary defenses of The Great Wall, but in board game form? Well, you’re in luck because I’ve been knee-deep in this game, figuring out not just how to play but how to absolutely crush it. In this guide, I’m laying down the law on the rules and sharing my top-secret strategies for coming out on top. Ready to become a wall-building legend?


What’s in the box

  • 1 Game Board
  • 4 Player Boards
  • 66 Wall Sections
  • 4 Horde Decks (18 cards each)
  • 40 Advisor Cards
  • 35 Invasion Cards
  • 70 Resource Tokens (wood, stone, gold)
  • 40 Worker Meeples
  • 30 Soldier Meeples
  • 12 Guard Towers
  • 8 Catapults
  • 4 Command Cards (1 for each player)
  • 1 First Player Token
  • 1 Round Tracker
  • 24 Tea Tokens
  • 1 Rulebook

How To Play The Great Wall: Rules Summary


  1. Place the game board in the center of the table.

  2. Distribute the individual player boards.

  3. Shuffle the Invader deck and place it near the board.

  4. Sort out resources and place them in their respective supplies.

  5. Each player selects a color and takes the corresponding pieces.


  1. Players take turns in clockwise order.

  2. On your turn, you can perform one of three actions: Deploy a worker, Build a section of the wall, or Activate a card.

  3. Collect resources to use for building walls or activating cards.

  4. Work together to repel Invaders before they breach the wall.

  5. Remember to balance cooperation with your personal victory conditions.


  1. The game ends when the Invader deck is depleted.

  2. Count your victory points from walls built, Invaders repelled, and any bonus conditions.

  3. The player with the most victory points wins the game.

Special Rules & Conditions

  1. Some cards and actions can only be performed under specific conditions.

  2. If Invaders breach a section of the wall, all players suffer penalties.

  3. Strategic collaboration is key; however, there can only be one winner.

This quick guide should get you ready for your first game of The Great Wall. Remember, the balance between working together and pursuing your own agenda is the heart of the game. Grab your friends, set it up, and have a blast defending the great wall!

Best The Great Wall Strategies

Mastering Resource Management: A Key to Victory

Winning at The Great Wall hinges on effective resource management. This skill separates the champions from the novices. Let’s break it down.

Know Your Resources

  1. Track what you have closely. Every piece of wood and stone counts.
  2. Anticipate what you’ll need next turn. Planning ahead is crucial.

Optimize Use

  1. Trade wisely with others. Sometimes, the right deal boosts your position immensely.
  2. Don’t hoard resources. Unused assets won’t help you win.

Strategic Building

  1. Focus on constructs that give you the biggest bang for your buck. Some buildings offer more strategic value.
  2. Balance your wall defenses. A well-defended wall keeps the Mongols at bay longer.

Mastering the Art of Defense in The Great Wall

Winning at The Great Wall isn’t just about being aggressive. A solid defense plays a crucial role. Here’s how.

Understanding Enemy Movements

  1. Watch the horde. Predict where they’ll hit next.
  2. Place your guards smartly, not just where you can.

Optimizing Wall Upgrades

  1. Invest in upgrades that offer long-term benefits.
  2. Choose upgrades that suit your overall strategy.

Strategic Resource Allocation

  1. Keep enough resources on hand to react to threats.
  2. Don’t overspend on offense at your defense’s expense.

The Art of Winning Through Balance

In The Great Wall, mastering the fine line between working together and competing is key. Here’s how:

Strategic Alliances

  1. Form temporary alliances to combat threats, ensuring mutual survival.
  2. Communicate your intentions to foster trust, but keep your ultimate winning strategy secret.

Resource Sharing with Caution

  1. Share resources sparingly, focusing on trades that advance your position.
  2. Always consider the long-term impact of any trade on your competitive edge.

Knowing When to Compete

  1. Identify the perfect moments to shift gears from cooperative to competitive play.
  2. Capitalize on others’ weaknesses discreetly, ensuring you don’t become a target.

## Mastering The Defense: A Concluding Strategy

Wrapping up our journey through the twists and turns of The Great Wall, we’ve armed you with the strategies and tips needed to become a master defender. From balancing your resources like a tightrope walker to coordinating with (and sometimes against) your fellow players, you’re now equipped to face the invading hordes with confidence. Remember, each game unfolds a new story where your decisions craft the path to victory or defeat. Now go forth, apply what you’ve learned, and let your name be remembered as the greatest defender of The Great Wall!

Want to know what we think of The Great Wall? Read our detailed review of The Great Wall here

Jamie in his proper element: With all of his board games
Jamie Hopkins

With years of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and strategic planning under my belt, I've transformed my passion into expertise. I thrive on dissecting the mechanics and social dynamics of board games, sharing insights from countless game nights with friends. I dive deep into gameplay mechanics, while emphasizing the social joys of gaming. While I appreciate themes and visuals, it's the strategy and camaraderie that truly capture my heart.