Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de

Princess Jing


Roberto Fraga



No. of Players:



G@mebox publisher Frank Schulte-Kulkmann writes about the game:

Looking at the gameboard of Princess Jing, I felt reminded of the old PARKER classic Stratego. All spaces on the gameboard are completely filled with playing pieces resembling Asian paper screens, and behind those screens the players will hide their playing pieces from the view of their opponents.

Princess Jing is a 2-player game in which the players take the role of Imperial Princesses. Being promised to two malicious allies of the Emperor for marriage, each of the Princesses try to flee from the royal palace with their true love, a captain for the Imperial guard. For this reason the princesses must cross the fabled Chamber of Screens, with each princess starting at one side of the board and trying to reach the opposing side where the captains are waiting to take them away. However, probably only the first couple can sneak out of the palace, and so it's each player's aim to get out his princess first.

In contrast to Stratego, the Screen playing pieces are double sided and all identical. Instead of each player having his own Screens, the players instead place their playing figures behind the screens so that they are hidden from the view of the opposing player. In the basic game each player hides three different figures behind the screens on his base line - the princess, her maiden and a magic mirror holder. In the advanced game one more magic mirror holder and two legendary animals will be added, but let's first examine the basic game.

Taking turns, a player may move one screen on the gameboard horizontally, vertically or diagonally. A move can only be made into a space with an other screen, and the move results in both screens switching their positions. As indicated above, a player will try to move the screen hiding his princess towards the guard captain waiting at the opponent's baseline, and and it will be the opposing player's task to discover the princess and set her back to her base line, giving him time to win with his own princess.


But how can a princess be discovered? Well that's the reason why the players have the magic mirror holders. Instead of naming certain screens to be revealed, the players have to keep an eye on their mirror holder figure(s), because the mirrors actually will show them the backside of the screen in front of them. So they players do not only have to focus on moving their own princess forward, but they also have to get the mirrors in place to keep an eye out for the opposing princess. And to complicate things even further, the princess' loyal maidens have also joined this game of hide and seek, dressing up like the princesses in order to allow some bluffing.

Actually the magic mirrors are quite tricky, showing the players only a tiny portion of the space behind the opposing screens. The players have to position themselves quite prominently in order to get a clear view of a figure's head (to distinguish the princess and the maid), and this action of checking actually may be a hint to the other player where a magic mirror holder may be hidden. So it's not enough to watch just the gameboard, but keeping an eye on the opposing player also may be helpful.

If a player is sure that he has located the opposing princess, he can point to her screen to unmask her. If he is correct, the player gets an additional turn and the princess is returned to her base line, whereas an incorrect unmasking will give the opposing player two turns in a row.

This game of bluffing and guessing can be complicated even more through the use of the additional figures. Now three different guard captains will be waiting for the princesses at the opposing base lines, and a player first has to discover the two legendary animals which were hidden by his opponent to correctly identify which captain is the correct one. The legendary animals stand for the captain's qualities - crane for honesty, fox for wisdom and owl for clairvoyance - and a Mission card lists which captain is associated with which qualities. However, in order to avoid an endless game, each player gets a second magic mirror holder in the advanced game, making it easier to spot the required figures.


Princess Jing is a charming little deduction game which cleverly adapts the old playing mechanism of hidden playing pieces to a new challenge. The fact that the screen playing pieces are identical from both sides is causing an additional challenge for the players' memory, because they only know where their own figures are hidden, whereas all other playing pieces may possibly hide an opponent's figure. Whereas the basic game will be quickly mastered by the players, especially the advanced game causes a considerable challenge because each player will have a grand total of 6 playing pieces hiding behind the screens: princess, maiden, 2 magic mirror holders, 2 legendary animals. Coming with artwork from none less than Naiade, Princess Jing is one of those rare games which forms a perfect combination between an abstract playing mechanism and a nice implementation of the overall background story. Well done Roberto Fraga!!!

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Copyright © 2019 Ralf Togler & Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany