What is Shadowfist?

The cards represent people, places, and things involved in the Secret War to control the world's Feng Shui sites, mystical places of power that guarantee victory and prosperity for those who control them. Each game represents a small battle in the larger war raging all around us.

During a game, you'll play various cards to advance your side of the story and move closer to your goal of controlling Feng Shui sites. Each player needs his or her own deck of Shadowfist cards to play, but the exact mix of cards in your deck is up to you.

So what is a Dynamic Card Game?

Each expansion pack (Shadowpack) contains 50-55 individual cards. You receive one of each card in the set with every Shadowpack. In addition, Core sets and Starter decks contain constructed decks which are immediately playable. In these decks, you may receive up to four of the more necessary cards.

Finally, with each expansion block comes a companion Action Pack. This special Shadowpack contains 50-55 of the cards you'd like to have more of in your decks.

The Secret War

However, there's a twist: the Secret War isn't just being waged throughout the world, but throughout history as well. Those who control the past can also shape the future. Time isn't set in stone, but malleable, and while the winners of this hidden struggle get to rewrite history, the losers are written out of it entirely. The conduit by which this time war is fought is the Netherworld, a dimension of ever-changing, trackless gray tunnels and caverns inhabited by the cast-offs and exiles of the secret war.

The passages of the Netherworld lead to portals which currently open up to four junctures: the Ancient past (currently 89AD), Imperial China) times (currently 1870AD), Modern Day (the present), and the Future (currently 2076). From these four points in time (as well as the Netherworld itself), various factions send their operatives out into the Netherworld and throughout time to do battle.

The Factions

Twisted scientists and power-hungry bureaucrats from the future who ran a worldwide totalitarian government known as the Buro. They combined advanced science with a form of magic called "arcanowaves" to reach new heights of biotechnology and genetic manipulation. They raided the Ancient juncture for supernatural creatures to use as raw materials for their Abominations, deadly bioengineered soldiers.

Centuries ago, fierce and clever animals used magic to transform themselves into humans. In their new forms, they created a vast, worldwide conspiracy, through which they control the police, militaries, media, big business, and organized crime. As the secret rulers of the modern juncture, they look to ensure that magic never comes back — if it does, they'll turn into bears and snakes and tigers again.

This loose band of heroes recruits from across the timelines and aims to make things right for you and me. Although they stumbled onto the Secret War by accident, they managed a short-term victory in the modern juncture through luck, determination, and the sheer rightness of their cause.

Lacking strong central leadership, their tenuous hold slipped, allowing their animalistic enemies within the Ascended to regain control.

Hailing from ancient China, these powerful sorcerers and eunuchs secretly control the Chinese empire using dark magic and sinister intrigue. Powerful sorcerers, the Eaters of the Lotus have learned to summon and control the supernatural creatures native to the ancient period: long-nailed hopping vampires, alluring but deadly ghosts, putrid walking corpses, and bizarre demons.

A group of Shaolin monks from the 19th century form the core of this secret society dedicated to halting the tyranny of factions like the Architects of the Flesh, the Ascended, and Eaters of the Lotus. They seek to reshape the world according to Confucian ideals, doing away with the decadence and personal freedoms of modernity in favor of a disciplined global community of harmony and virtue.

This motley group of cyborg monkeys and cast-off rebels were based in the Netherworld and opposed the authoritarian rule of the Architects of the Flesh. They believe that Feng Shui sites are the cause of all the world's problems, so they intend to do everyone a favor by blowing up all the feng shui sites they can find!

Their plans all too successful, the newly reopened Future juncture is a wasteland ruled by sentient descendants of these enhanced monkeys and apes.

These powerful sorcerers ruled the world well into the 1980s until the Ascended took control of enough Feng Shui sites to cause a critical shift, erasing the Monarchs from our history books.

Now exiled to the Netherworld and one of their own having defected to the Eaters of the Lotus, the three remaining elemental siblings plot to regain what once was theirs — when they aren't busy plotting against each other.

Formerly a secret society of sorcerers within the Architects of the Flesh, recruited and taught by Lotus agents, the Purists are opposed to Arcanowave technology and all its applications. They dedicated themselves to the perfection of "pure" magic, often resulting in the loss of fingers to sentient paradox cubes, or their minds to the madness of their craft.

Their short-term hold on the Pacific Rim was cut short following the Dragons’ critical shift several years ago.

Reclusive masters of the martial and arcane arts, these warriors of both magic and Kung Fu from ancient China gather only when the balance of the world is severely threatened.

The victory for the Dragons in the pulp era created a critical shift in the timeline, temporarily altering the future and removing authority from the Architects of the Flesh. The cybernetic monks known as the Shadow Syndicate then controlled the future for a time with cyberpunk street gangs and corporations.

The Junctures

Imperial China of 89 A.D. is a land rich in magic, treachery, and political deceit. Ruled by the evil Ming I, formerly the Queen of the Darkness Pagoda, this juncture is the springboard of the Secret War and the starting point of global geomancy. The demons, eunuchs, and sorcerers that inhabit it ensure it remains a realm of darkness.

The Future juncture has undergone a lot of changes since the game began. Time flows as a river from the past to the future so any victories in the past affect the future. The Architects of the Flesh came into being when the Ascended seized the Modern juncture from the Monarchs. When the Dragons gained power in the Pulp Era, the Syndicate came into being. Finally, when the Jammers released the chi bombs, the Future juncture closed. A new Future portal has opened up into 2916. A post-apocalyptic world controlled by the Jammers awaits our Secret Warriors.

The land of the Boxer Rebellion, the Opium War, and British Imperialism is fraught with the blood and sweat of Chinese freedom fighters. The Confucian monks and martial artists of 1865 continue to beat back their oppressors in an effort to return their homeland to its former glory. Along the way, the juncture engages the burgeoning industrial revolution, continued foreign invaders, and an unstable empire.

Present day Hong Kong is a bustling metropolis of crime, corruption, and subversion. Here, honest cops and righteous warriors fight the good fight against an unjust world. As technology advances, heroes and villains alike must keep pace with the changing times, or perish under the weight of their own hubris.

The conduit by which the Secret War is fought is called the Netherworld, a dimension of ever-changing, trackless gray tunnels and caverns inhabited by the cast-offs and exiles of the Secret War. The passages of the Netherworld lead to portals which currently open up to four junctures: A.D. 89, 1865, the present day, and 2916. From these four points in time, various factions send their operatives out into the Netherworld and throughout time to do battle.

The Pulp Era of pre-World War II introduced a rich landscape of technology, intrigue, and mythology. Although this juncture is closed now, it holds a special significance in the ongoing tapestry of the Secret War as the time when the great Zheng Yi Quan attuned to every Feng Shui Site in the world, becoming its master and triggering the most impactful critical shift since the Ascended defeated the Monarchs.

The 1970s were another one-off battle within the Secret War, during which the Jammers temporarily opened a special juncture with the notorious device, the Discombobulator. Here, big hair, funky moves, and flashy cars were all the rage as outta sight heroes took on the evil crime network of the Nefarious Master Chin.

The History of Shadowfist

Originally, Shadowfist was a companion game to Daedalus Games' role playing game, Feng Shui (now owned and licensed through Atlas Games). Shadowfist continues to share its Hong Kong action movie world with its role-playing counterpart, by way of separate timelines.

Throughout its 20 years, 27 sets and expansions have been printed for Shadowfist from four different companies, including Daedalus Games, Z-Man Games, Shadowfist Games, and Inner Kingdom Games. Shadowfist is now being published by Inner Kingdom Games, with 2015's Year of the Goat being its most recent release.