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Serica: Plains of Dust
Serica: Plains of Dust
by (Self-Published), (Web published) (2011)
Player Count

Player Ages

Playing Time
30 minutes
  • Card Game
  • Civilization
  • Exploration
  • Economic
  • Arabian
  • Print & Play
  • Designers
  • Todd Sanders
  • Mechanisms
  • Pick-up and Deliver
  • Trading
  • Variable Player Powers
  • Hand Management
  • Deck / Pool Building
  • Artists
  • Todd Sanders
  • Family
  • Forgenext
  • Player Count: Two Player Only Games
  • Rating: 6.6/10 from 35 users


    Serica is a game for two players and is about the trade between the ancient empires of Rome and the Han Dynasty of China (around 200 AD). Each player will draft cards into a deck, use those cards to send Trade Caravans across Asia, and build opportunities in trade, military and the court. Players must work together to trade goods while competing to build cards and gain victory points.

    Win: Players gain Victory Points (VP) by sending trade caravans across the Silk Road Trade Map and buying/building cards on their side of the Map. The game ends when one player builds 10 cards. At that point the player with the most victory points is the winner.

    Needed to Play:
    • The deck of 54 cards (53 game cards and 1 Player Aid card).
    • The game board showing the Silk Road map.
    • 18 eurocubes in each of 6 colors (blue, red, yellow, green, white, purple) to represent the Trade Goods, plus 1 additional red and yellow eurocube for the Victory Point track.
    • 15 gray/black eurocubes to represent Artisans.
    • 3 pawns in red and yellow to represent the Trade Caravans.

    Setup: Decide who will be the Han Dynasty and the Roman Empire and place the Silk Road Trade Map between both players. This map allows players to track their Trade Caravans across the Silk Road through Asia. It also designates areas for players to build fields of cards in the game to gain Victory Points.

    Each round of the game consists of 4 phases. Each player will complete all phases in turn. Player 1 going first, followed by Player 2.
    (Note: Card abilities in a Player’s Empire may be used at any time during
    phases 1-3, and all card abilities are cumulative.)

    • Phase 1: Production
    During Phase 1, the active player has 8 Production Points (PP) to spend. Production points are used to produce trade goods and hire artisans, which are in turn, used to buy cards, build cards and send Trade Caravans across the Silk Road for VP.

    • Phase 2: Buy/Build/Defend
    The active player may now do any of the following 3 actions. Actions must, however, be in the following order:

    A. Buy: Buy one or more cards from the Crossroads by discarding the correct number and type of trade goods listed on the card, from a player’s supply. After buying a card, the player places this card on their discard pile next to their Player Empire (unless a card ability in a Player’s Empire states otherwise), and replaces the card just purchased with a new card from the Crossroads draw pile. If there are no more cards in the Crossroads draw pile, cards cannot be replaced.

    B. Build: Build one or more cards from your player empire by discarding the correct number of artisans equal to the build cost as listed on the card. Place this card in one of the 4 fields located to the left or right of the Silk Road Trade Map as designated by the player’s color (Note: a player may only build cards to their side of the Trade Map). Built cards gain victory points for the player. Add these victory points to the player’s total on the Victory Point Track. Built cards no longer have their card abilities available to the player; they are now worth only victory points and, in some cases, defensive strength.

    Players may not switch cards in any field once built.

    Players may not build a card more than 3 cards in distance out from the Silk Road Trade Map

    Cards in fields do not have to match in name, type or color.

    Cards must be adjacent for additional stacked victory points.

    C. Defend: Defeat one Enemy card from the Crossroads if the total defensive strength in your player field is equal to or greater than the Enemy card’s strength. Remove the Enemy card from the game and replace the empty space with a new card from the Crossroads draw pile. Gain any victory points and awards as listed on the Enemy card.

    • Phase 3: Trade
    The active player may now do only one of the following:

    a. Begin a new Trade Caravan:
    A player may ship up to 4 trade goods at any one time in a single Trade Caravan. They may ship fewer if they choose to. The Warehouse and Trading Post cards can add extra trade goods to a Trade Caravan.

    A player may move all of their Trade Caravan pawns one space towards the opposing player. (Note: Each Trader card in your Player Empire allows Trade Caravans to move one additional space during this phase).
    Any Enemy abilities are now applied for any Enemy cards in the Crossroads. These may result in the loss of Trade Goods or entire Trade Caravans. Trade Goods have the following values when determining which to lose: Gold and Silk (3), Wine and
    Porcelain (2), Glassware and Spices (1).
    If a player must lose an entire Trade Caravan, they may choose which to remove.

    • Phase 4: Discard
    The active player must now discard all cards from their Player Empire to their discard pile and deal out 4 new cards from their draw pile to their Player Empire. If there are not enough cards left to draw from, shuffle the discard pile and create a new draw pile. If there are still not enough cards to deal out 4 new cards the player will not have 4 cards in their Player Empire in the next round.

    Any Crossroads cards that have been discarded (not those that have been defeated during Phase 2) should be shuffled back into the Crossroads draw deck.

    End Game: Once a player has built 10 cards to their respective field the game ends immediately. The player with the most victory points is the winner.

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