Before the match, each player positions its units freely within its own territory. The starting positions of the opponent are not known until the game begins. A roll of the dice determines who moves first.
The game proceeds in turns. A player may move up to five units each turn, followed by a single attack against an enemy unit. Moving fewer than five units is allowed, and the attack is not obligatory. Movement range varies per unit type. No single unit can move more than once per turn.
An attack is determined by summing all the offensive power in range of an enemy target square, then subtracting this number from a summation of all the defensive power supporting the same target square. Offensive and defensive power emanates from a unit in a straight line, either vertically, horizontally, or at 45º diagonals.
The above inspection of a southern cavalry unit explains how combat works in the game. The cavalry is defended by summing all friendly pieces in range. It defends itself for 5 points, and receives help from two other pieces for a total of 19. Note that the southern infantry at position "A" does not contribute any defense because it is not in a direct line (horizontal, vertical, or 45º diagonal) with the southern cavalry.
The northern cavalry charge aims 14 attack points against the southern cavalry. The northern cannon and infantry also contribute attack power, totaling 23 cumulative points for the north.
Since 23 is greater than 19, the south's cavalry is vulnerable to capture by the north.
If the offensive power is less than or equal to the defensive power, the unit is secure. If the offensive power is two or more, the unit is capturable. If the offensive power is 1 point greater, the vulnerable unit resists but can be put into a forced retreat. With a forced retreat, the defender is obligated to move the unit at the commencement of its next turn. The retreating piece is also excluded from offensive combat in that turn. If there is no open square available for retreat, the unit is automatically captured.