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Kung Fu Heroes
Cinematic combat card game of Hong Kong / Video Game / Anime action!
Digital Edition
Copyright 1995-2000 Pete Kautz

    Kung Fu Heroes is a non collectable card game (NCCG) designed to simulate the spectacular fight scenes in Chinese films, video games, and Japanese Anime.  Keeping with the these genre's conventions and charm, it is important that while the cards will determine the result of an action, that the player actually describe what they are doing.  This adds to the flavor of the game, so that play is not simply an exercise in mathematical card arrangement.  In any game, the more you can vividly picture the action, the deeper the experience of playing.  In the Advanced rules there are provisions for both using miniature figures and terrain and character based adventure gaming.  There are also Advanced rules for randomly generating Kung Fu Film Scripts for Solo Play or as a way of allowing a group of players work together to “take on” the Script as a team!

    The Basic rules for Kung Fu Heroes are very easy to learn, and you will quickly be able to play and enjoy it.  The rules have been thoroughly tested and played over the years, by everyone from elementary school kids to college professors, and all their feedback has shaped Kung Fu Heroes into it's present form.  There are more wild powers, attacks, defenses, skills, role-playing, solo game and miniatures rules options in the Advanced version of Kung Fu Heroes...but for now, Enjoy!

Requirements for the Basic Game

1 basic deck of 50 cards each (do them on 3x5 cards or print onto the perforated business card sheets)
10 counters to represent your life points
Two regular (6 sided) dice

Types of Cards

Attack – all cards used in the attack phase to do damage to the opponent
Defense – cards used to defend from attacks
Mobility - cards used anytime in combination with an attack or defense card

Hand Size

    Draw 5 Cards at the start of the game.  When all players have finished their turns, and before rolling for the next round's initiative, you may discard whatever cards you wish, then draw until you have a hand of 5 cards again.  If you can not draw a card, shuffle your discard pile and continue play.  For shorter games, you can end when one player runs out of cards, the player with the most life remaining being the winner (the cards running out simulating "running out of time" on the count down clock in all the arcade fighting games)


    Both players roll 2D6 and add it to their Life score.  The highest roll wins initiative, and may choose to either attack or defend first in the round.

Falling Down

    If you fail to defend against a Sweep or Throw you will Fall Down.  When you are on the ground there is only a 50% chance that any attack you play will work.  To simulate this, play your Attack card and roll a die.  If you roll a 4+ then proceed as normal, but on a roll of 1-3 the Attack fails outright.

    To stand up again you must sacrifice all your attacks for 1 turn OR play a Leap or Stand card.

Turn Sequence

1) Draw until you have a total of 5 cards

2) Both players roll to see who wins Initiative for the round.  Roll 2D6 and add it to your current Life.  The highest total roll wins Initiative.  The winner of Initiative must choose whether to be the initial Attacker or Defender.

3) The Attacker may then play an attack cards from their hand, and the Defender must play an appropriate defense card or suffer the damage or effect of the attack.  Depending on the card, the attack may be partially defended, or the defender may even strike back with a counter hit.

4) The Attacker may play as many attack cards from their hand as they wish in a turn; one at a time, each time allowing the Defender a chance to play a card.

5) When the Attacker has played all the attacks they are going to do for a turn, the roles of Attacker and Defender switch, and players repeat steps 3-4.

6) After both payers have attacked, and before the start of the next turn, they may discard any or all of the cards still in their hand before drawing to 5 card at the start of the next turn.  You never have to discard any cards.

7) Normally the rule in Kung Fu Heroes is "One Card for One Card" when playing any kind of attack or defense.  Movement cards are the exception to this rule.  When playing a Movement card to modify an Attack or Defense card simply play the 2 cards together on your turn and apply their cumulative effect as your action.

8) The Attacker can play a Defense card against a Counter Hit from the Defender.  Regardless of whether a Counter Hit was successful or not, the Attacker's turn is not yet over.  You may use a Counter Hit to defend against a Counter Hit.

3 Types of Cards

Attack Cards
These cards are played in the attacking phase

High Attack - Does 1 Point of Damage High

Low Attack - Does 1 Point of Damage Low

Combo - Does 1 Point of High and 1 Point of Low Damage

Special Attack  - Does 3 Points of Total Damage

Throw - Does no Damage High, Opponent Falls

Power Throw - Does 1 Point of Damage High, Opponent Falls

Sweep - Does no Damage Low, Opponent Falls

Power Sweep - Does 1 Point of Damage Low, Opponent Falls

Defense Cards
These cards are played in the defending phase, though a defense may be played during one's attack phase as a defense to the damage taken from a Counter Hit played by the opponent.

High Defense - Escape 1 Point of Damage High

Low Defense - Escape 1 Point of Damage Low

Slip - Escape 2 Points Total Damage, Avoid all Specials

Dodge - Escape All damage from an attack, avoids all Specials

Counter Hit (X) - Avoid 1 Point Total Damage and any Specials, and do the Basic Technique listed as a counter.  The opponent gets to try and stop the counter hit with a defense card. Yes, you can even play a Counter Hit to counter a Counter Hit!

Movement Cards
    These can be used in either the Attacking or Defending phase.  Crouch, Leap, and Spin may be played as Defese cards or may be play with an Attack card to increase the damage.  The Stand card may be played at any time after a fall.

Crouch - Escapes 1 Point of Damage High OR play with an attack to add 1 point damage

Leap - Escape 1 Point of Low Damage OR play with an attack to add 1 point damage OR use to Stand after a Fall

Spin - Escape 2 points damage OR play with an attack to add 2 points damage

Stand -  Stand up after a Fall

50 Card Deck

Attack Cards
High Attack 6
Low Attack 6
Combo 4
Special Attack 2
Throw 1
Sweep 1
Power Throw 1
Power Sweep 1

Defense Cards
High Defense 5
Low Defense 5
Slip 3
Dodge 3
Counter Hit High 1
Counter Hit Low 1
Counter Hit Throw 1
Counter Hit Sweep 1

Maneuver Cards
Crouch 2
Leap 2
Spin 2
Stand 2


Game Description

Jacky and Cynthia are playing.  Their initial hands are:

High Attack
High Attack
Counter Hit Sweep
High Defense

Low Attack
High Defense
Low Defense

They roll initiative and Jacky wins, deciding to Attack first:

Jacky plays a High Attack

Cynthia plays High Defense

Jacky Plays a High Attack

Cynthia takes the shot (she could have used Spin) and loses 1 Life

That is all for Jacky, so now it is Cynthia's turn to attack:

Cynthia plays a Combo

Jacky plays a Dodge

Cynthia plays Spin + Low Attack

Jacky plays a Counter Hit Sweep
(Jacky still takes 2 Life Damage)

Cynthia plays a Low Defense

The turn ends with Jacky and Cynthia holding:

High Defense

(No Cards)

Jacky decides to keep the High Defense card and draws 4 more cards at the start of turn two.
Cynthia draws the full 5 cards.

In rolling initaiave for the next turn, Jacky will add 8 to the roll and Cynthia will add 9 (their current Life)

Advanced Kung Fu Heroes

    There is a lot more material that we have playetested for Kung Fu Heroes since 1995.  This includes a role-playing game version, a solo game version using a book with random charts and quests in it, and a miniatures battle game (yes, using cards, dice, and minis).  Some of this will end up here on the web.  Until then, enjoy the Kung Fu Heroes Digital Edition and let us know if you come up with any new cards or rules!

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