The Chess Variant Pages

Chinese Chess Cards

This was posted on on September 29, 1995 by Stephen Leary (maintainer of the Xiangqi FAQ), and is part of the XiangQi FAQ now.

Here is some information on Chinese Chess cards. If anyone has additional or conflicting information about them, please let us know.

Yes, there really are Chinese chess cards, though I don't know where they might be bought, outside of the Far East.

The cards themselves are very slim, probably less than half as wide as regular playing cards.

Packs are made based on both 2-sided & 4-sided Chinese chess. The idea of the game is to collect as many related cards as possible.

Cards based on 4-sided chess are called "Soo Sik Pai" and contain 28 basic cards repeated a number of times. Each suit has a different colored background which represents the chess pieces. The green & white suits correspond to the red pieces and the red & yellow suits correspond to the black pieces.

The 28 red-suit cards usually contain drawings of full-length figures, such as the "five blessings" men, as well as the symbols for its piece. The white cards have flowers. The yellow cards are marked with animals. There are 33 green cards, 28 with birds and butterflies, and also 5 figure cards with jokers or honours, with no other markings.

The 2-player chess cards are called "Hung Pai." They have two suits, one white and one red or black, which contain the same cards as the respective suits in the 4-player chess game. The basic cards can be repeated several times to a maximum of 112 cards. Sometimes jokers are added to the pack.

[I've forgotten for the moment in which book I read about this.]

Stephen Leary

Last modified: February 16, 1996.