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36 Strategies > Introduction

36 Strategies > Introduction
Tactic, Strategy, Series

Article Rating:::: 4 Ratings :::: Saturday, June 16, 2007

Thirty-Six Strategies is basically a collection of strategies on battle scenarios in Chinese history and folklore, predominantly of the Warring States Period and the Three Kingdoms Period. The story goes back to Wáng.

Wáng was a Chinese general who lived around 500 A.D. in the time of Emperor Gao. At some point Emperor Ming came to power and decided to execute many members of the royal family. He was afraid that they would threaten his reign and target him directly. Wáng was worried that he will be on the black list and will be the next target and so he rebelled. The son of Emperor Ming became scared of the rebels and decided to escape. Wáng, upon receiving this news, famously said,

“of the thirty-six strategies of Lord Tán, retreat was his best, you father and son should run for sure".

Historically there has been speculation as to what he has been referring to. It is believed that Wáng used the number thirty-six only as a figure of speech. He basically meant numerous strategies rather than any specific number.

Wáng's chose thirty-six in reference to I Ching , where six is the number of Yin which stood for conflict and was related to military strategy. Thirty-six, as square of six, is simply a stronger metaphor of numerous strategies.

It is believed that the thirty-six proverbs on military strategies were created after Wáng and only the title has been inspired by his phrase.

The original text of Thirty-Six Strategies contains a series of proverbs, each with a few lines of comments that expand the proverb with examples or more detail. 

In this series, you will find the thirty-six strategies along with examples and explanations in regard with playing Risk.  

Each article corresponds to a chapter in thirst-six strategies. Consume these one by one and try use each of them before you move to the next. Memorize them and make sure you know them by heart. Take it as if you are going to a gym and this is an exercise. You need to use the techniques over an over again until you master them.

Some of these strategies may sound politically incorrect with today’s standards. However, you need to know them all. You may not be inclined to use them, but your opponent, competitor or your enemy may be willing to use anyway they can to heart you. So, you need to know all the tricks of the trade.


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I am a board game and Risk game enthusiast. I like thinking and talking about strategy in games which has led me to the creation of this website. Although Risk is a classic, I feel one can never get tired of playing this game. Read about what I think of the game and I am always eager to know what you think.

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