Episodic Thoughts: “Three Kingdoms RPG” Episode 20

Three Kingdoms RPG <回到三國>
TVB Series 2012

Cast: Kenneth Ma, Raymond Lam, Tavia Yeung, Sharon Chan, Ruco Chan, Kaki Leung, Joseph Lee, Savio Tsang, Jimmy Au, Law Lok Lam, and Ha Yu.


This is a watch as I write episodic thoughts and some information may not be accurate since this is memory based. Certain dialogue is reproduced with some creative license adopted. I apologise if there is any mistake. All opinion remains my own.


“We thank Prime Minister Cao for the arrows! ”

 I am a bit confused. Who started the battle at Chibi aka Red Cliff? This episode suggests, ok outright said Sun Quan wanted to defeat Cao Cao at Red Cliff but why would Sun Quan go running after the purportedly 1 million men army? And Cao Cao doesn’t seem to be in war any way. The problem with this series is we see Cao Cao mostly at military tents but we don’t ever see or know for sure he is attacking somewhere or in war. Doesn’t make sense for Sun Quan go attacking a more powerful force with Lau Bei saying ya ya ya. Not in this context. And again we have this series true love pair thinking alike, that is ZGL and Shun. Of course ZGL finally had his eureka moment with a semi original idea but it floored Shun to know it was his 18 stratagems of HK men that inspired one of the most fascinating military strategy by ZGL and all I can say is total B.S. Can’t ZGL be inspired by himself?

So recap.

But before we get to the good stuff, we have to deal with the most unimportant character in this series that is Song Yau and her lovesick for Shun. He avoids her, she avoids him, he gets scolded, she cries, etc etc etc and when we will end this charade of a love story which is just a total waste of time? Because the true pair is ZGL and his assistant. Song Yau is so waste of time. At least give her the purpose or the reason why Shun changed into a better man. But no, it was ZGL and Kan, never Song Yau. So why is Song Yau in here anyway?

Anyway all you need to know is Song Yau avoids him, he avoids her, he meets her at the market listening to someone playing You’re Always On My Mind (that pianist learned the song from Shun when he was trying to date the restaurant’s singer), he sees her cry, she leaves only to notice she lost her handkerchief and backtracks to where he is hiding, he hides deeper, she goes nearer and he runs.


Now, more important stuff that is the continued jealousy of Zhou Yu which is getting sort of old. Will Zhou Yu redeem himself? Not sure, not with Shun still bragging about ZGL and seriously ZGL should tell Shun to shut up but maybe innately ZGL likes the fact he trumps Zhou Yu. I don’t know.

Zhou Yu deliberately refuses to attend any military discussion with ZGL and Shun basically gets rather worked up as Zhou Yu’s assistant left ZGL with some of his notes and leaves.

Anyway Shun to avoid Song Yau and hurting her decides to go to Yizhou to handle the wood supplies and there he parties with the locals,  he works hard and etc. Even ZGL before Shun left says to Shun “You have changed. In the past you will never deliberately avoid Song Yau, you will be inconsiderate and stayed back and hurt her more” and Shun smiles and agrees he has changed. And we know he has changed because Kan already said so twice so can we move on?? Anyway ZGL says “With you away at Yizhou, I should be worried how you will fare but seeing you have changed, I am not worried. Moreover, you have 18 stratagems of HK Men to assist you” and Shun smiles. Well ZGL has  a sense of humour.

Crisis in Dong Wu. Zhou Yu tries some arrows and they do not hit the middle red target so I thought maybe he is out of practice but no; reason is due to the recent flood, all arrows were wet and so affected their err.. aero dynamism I think. Anyway Zhou Yu feels why should he worry about the arrow supply when supplies is supposed to be handled by ZGL and so he shifts the responsibility to ZGL to find the arrows as he thinks to himself and his assistant “If he succeeds, we will have our arrows but if he fails, master will blame him and Lau Bei and so affect this alliance” and I swear he looks rather happy at that thought.

Zhou Yu meets a wary ZGL and Zhou Yu is always polite before ZGL and ZGL asks why he is asked to see Zhou Yu and Zhou Yu says outright about the problems with arrows supply and says “And so I thought since you’re in charge of supplies, I would hope you may supply us with 100,000 arrows in 1 month” and ZGL goes “1 month? That is a bit rushed” as Zhou Yu says “Rushed? I am sure you can manage it. After all we at Dong Wu is ready to supply 300,000 arrows, all we are asking if 100,000 arrows. I wouldn’t think that will pose any difficulty to you” and so ZGL agrees.

I mean what can he say anyway?


Oh everyone is pissed off, except Shun since he is not there. Guan Yu says “100,000 arrows? Even if we were to add more workers and work day and night, we will never have 100,000 arrows in 1 month” and Lau Bei being the panicky one says “Why not I talk to King of Wu and asks him for more time?” and ZGL immediately says “No my lord. This is Zhou Yu’s way of making life difficult for us and I do not wish to jeopardise the alliance by not delivering the goods. We must think of a way” and Cheung Fei says “Wait!! I have a friend, General Gongsun Wu at Yizhou. He has a lot of arrows since Yizhou is so far, even Cao Cao has no desire to attack it so the supply is there. I can perhaps go there and buy from my friend” and so it is agreed.

We see Shun hard at work, refusing to eat until he finishes arranging the wood supply and Cheung Fei and Guan Yu walks in and laughs as Cheung Fei says “Now this is rare! Wan Shun refusing to eat, wanting to finish work first? You have changed Wan Shun!! And look at you now! All dark and body very strong looking!” and Shun smiles and then asks “What brings you two to Yizhou?” and so they explained to Shun. Gongsun Wu meets with all 3 and says “I have the arrows, top quality ones. More than 100,000, more than enough. Have a look!” and they check the supply and all are happy with the arrows. Target practice, hits bulls eye and Shun tries and flew past the bulls eye and Cheung Fei and Guan Yu looks at one another and tries another arrow and both flew past the board thing and Shun laughs “Even you 2 miss the target?!” and they both rushed to the arrows and ask Gongsun Wu about the wood and steel and after what they have heard, Cheun Fei says “These arrows can’t be used. They can only hit the target within 100 steps. We are going to be engaged in battles on the sea, which requires a heavier centre for the arrows so that they may reach beyond 100 steps” and Gongsun Wu says “I am sorry we don’t have that. Yizhou has only land, no water, we have no need to make such arrows”

and so..  back to square one.


I stupidly thought why not just park the ship nearer to Cao Cao’s ship within 100 steps and shoot and my sister quite eloquently says “Yeah right, and shout to Cao Cao, OI! PARK NEARER OK?”. She has got a point.


Lau Bei receives the bad news and goes panicky again and ZGL also panicking; “What should I do?” as he thinks to himself and I thought eh, isn’t this the famous episode of ZGL borrowing arrows from Cao Cao?!

So that you need not feel unnecessary suspense, yes it is but not like you and I saw or read about.

Shun and gang fretting over the arrows and a local guy drops by and offers some spears for use which is useless in their purpose and the local guy asks them to just enjoy the sugar cane (in Chinese calls “che” which sounds like “borrow”) when Shun complaining, “What have we to do with “che”? What use is “Che”?” and suddenly he remembers the little history he knows and he hits eureka as he excitedly says “Wait!! ZGL did not “buy” arrows, he “borrows/che” arrows!!”. And of course both generals look at him curiously as he says “I have a plan. I must inform Adviser Zhuge. We don’t buy arrows, we will borrow arrows from Cao Cao!!” and they both go “Borrow arrows FROM CAO CAO?!”

Shun writes to ZGL about his idea, that is use ships filled with grass dummies and sail to Cao Cao’s camp (which is nearby) during the most foggiest night and let Cao Cao’s men release arrows and voila, 100,000 top quality arrows courtesy of Cao Cao!!

And so I go, oh not again! Can’t ZGL have an original idea? But no worries, he does hit upon the same idea in a different way.

Lau Bei receives the note from Shun  via Pigeon Express, unfortunately it was raining heavily and so all they can see is the first intro but the rest, that is ideas and all can’t be read. Lau Bei going towards meltdown as he says “What does Wan Shun say?!” and ZGL also worried.

ZGL alone and wondering what Shun suggests when Yuet Ying walks in and says “Husband, Wan Shun is such a playful man, maybe his ideas may not be of much use” as ZGL in his reprimand tone if there is one and it still sounds breathy and gentle as he says “Wife, Wan Shun has changed. He is a responsible man now. And he is my friend and I trust my friend’s ideas” and Yuet Ying smiles as she says “Perhaps you are right. I may be prejudiced against him. Here, do drink this hot tea” and she leaves.

ZGL alone again at his desk late at night and suddenly he says to himself “I shouldn’t think of Wan Shun’s ideas as ZGL, I should think like Wan Shun” and he writes down the 18 stratagems and ponders over it for the night.

Next day he has an original idea, which we modern people call reverse technology. I mean Shun already has that idea but ZGL doesn’t know and thinks of it on his own. Or rather Shun knows because he reads about ZGL doing it and then he.. ah … ahhh… you know what, let’s move on.

Anyway his idea is same as Shun. Except ZGL does know how to “calculate/predict/foresee” weather since he is also like a astronomer? Anyway where was I? Yeah he prepared the ships with dummy grass people, foggiest night he in one ship, poor drummer boy outside who will surely get hit by an arrow and sailed towards Cao Cao, they heard the drumming, see the sails with the name Lau on it and so general goes “RELEASE THE KRAKEN!!!!”

WAIT! Sorry, different story. I rewind a bit.

Yeah he prepared the ships with dummy grass people, foggiest night he in one ship, poor drummer boy outside who will surely get hit by an arrow and sailed towards Cao Cao, they heard the drumming, see the sails with the name Lau on it and so general goes “RELEASE THE ARROWS!!!!”

And shoot, shoot, shoot and amazingly drummer boy never gets hit and ZGL ensures front, back, sides and all got hit by arrows and after a while he orders the ships to pull back as he smiles and the general at Cao Cao is happy and says “Stop! Tell the PM we have driven away the enemies!” as ZGL tells the drummer boy “Remember your manners; thank them” and in a little scene of a bit of arrogance of ZGL which I had hoped for more, all the soldiers on those ships (oh there were more people? Oh yes, someone needs to drive the ships!)  they all shouted in unison “We thank Prime Minister Cao for the arrows! We thank Prime Minister Cao for the arrows! We thank Prime Minister Cao for the arrows!” and the general knows he has been screwed with.

Cao Cao hears of this and thundered “We thank Prime Minister Cao for the arrows? They dare to come to my place and take my arrows?! That ZGL and Zhou Yu, devious, brilliant! Why don’t I have advisers like them?!” and gives his evil eye to Man Yeuk and Hon and Man Yeuk says “I will ensure that my lord shall have your revenge soon” and Hon says “I will crush these insolent bastards for my lord!!”

All talk only.


My most favourite story in ROTK, and it is about the arrows. I am however rather pissed with the effects. Too damn foggy! And if you were the general, shouldn’t you fire arrows with fire to see what you’re shooting at?! I just feel the scene is lacking in grandeur, urgency, everything. But you gotta admit, that is one  brilliant strategy, if it happened.


Shun returns back to Dong Wu I think and he and 2 generals are greeted by Lau Bei and Cheung Fei says “We heard what happened! So you did use Shun’s idea?!” and Lau Bei says “Errr actually no, we couldn’t read the contents so Adviser Zhuge thought of this idea on his own” and Shun was like “My idol is a first class number 1 numero uno nombor satu champion genius!” look.

Shun rushes to find his one true love, ZGL who is packing stuff and Shun takes the books and says “Master already said you can have the day off! Take a rest!” as ZGL says “You just returned, you should rest too” as  Shun says “You didn’t see my letter?” as ZGL explains what happened and Shun says “My idea was to use grass dummies in ships, sail down to Cao Cao at foggiest night and let them shoot at the ships to collect the arrows” and ZGL laughs as he says “We even think alike!!” as Shun asks “But how you thought of the same idea?” and ZGL explains “I thought like you. I used your 18 stratagems.. take a guess which 2 I used?” and he gave his note to Shun who looks on in wonder and says “I know! Ban Sei Gau .. use the dummies to pretend to me real men… Bok Dai Mou .. use the foggiest night to grab the opportunity” and ZGL smiles “Yes indeed. Your 18 stratagems were very helpful” as Shun says “So my 18 stratagems were your inspiration. Wow…” and then looks on guiltily and says “Adviser, if next time you’re in some crisis, don’t use my 18 stratagems of HK men again. I mean I just playfully created them, they’re not really of any great use” as ZGL says “Nonsense. I trust your judgment and they were very helpful” and Shun says “They were?” as ZGL says “I trust you Wan Shun. You’re my brother, we should trust our brothers” as he taps Shun on his shoulder as Shun does the same and says “Yeah, best friends!!”

Oh come on, KISS! KISS! What a true love story this pair is!!

Zhou Yu, assistant and Lu Su and Lu Su declares his admiration for ZGL and Zhou Yu for once admitted the obvious; “Yes it was brilliant. I have lost to ZGL! I have truly lost in this one!” and he doesn’t look pleased and Lu Su at his back shaking his head because he still feels Zhou Yu is still stubborn on his hatred and jealousy of ZGL.


Lu Su is a very reasonable far sighted man. I like him. I also like the fact that this series has so many male characters we see many 2nd liners coming up to take on rather important roles and Lu Su is rather important.


Card game time as Sun Quan feels since everyone is there, might as well revisit old times and so we have Shun, Sun Quan, ZGL and Zhou Yu and Zhou Yu says to ZGL “When we first played, I was a novice. Now I am rather good at this so beware Adviser Zhuger, I will not let you win light” and Shun eyes Zhou Yu as ZGL smiles benignly and Sun Quan laughs. Game begins and the entire strategy of Zhou Yu is to prevent ZGL from winning. That’s all and so Sun Quan wins and wins until Shun says cheekily to Zhou Yu “Wow, you have those cards which you can use to win and yet you didn’t use them, just using others to make sure Adviser Zhuge doesn’t win. How’s it feel like to lose by so many cards as compared to Adviser Zhuge?” as Zhou Yu smiles “I may lose now, but that is my strategy because I shall win later on” and play play play and indeed Zhou Yu wins. Shun angrily says “What?! Adviser Zhuge, how come you never use that card? Look at my cards! I still have so many left” and obviously ZGL played to lose to Zhou Yu deliberately as Sun Quan smiles “Adviser Zhuge is indeed a very generous player. You deliberately let others win, and yet display none of those bad traits of a losing player or the fact that others deliberately plays to block you from winning” and ZGL smiles but Zhou Yu again looks pissed but maybe less pissed? Because this shows ZGL ready to let Zhou Yu win to appease him or something like that.

Frankly I am rather tired of Zhou Yu’s jealousy now.

Back to Sun Quan.

Late at night, Mrs Wu is there to visit her son and servants ready to announce her arrival loudly as she says “Shut it. You don’t need to announce my arrival so loudly” which is rather funny. She walks in and see Sun Quan busy charting the war zone and whatever on the 3D map on his table and she says “I heard the 2 men were here, I thought you will be busy playing” and Sun Quan says “We did play card games” and she angrily says “Card games? I thought you have changed but you’re still playing card games?!” and Sun Quan says “Mother, please don’t be angry. Card games can stimulate the mind and I have decided, I can become brother’s equal and I feel I can even be better than brother!” and Mrs Wu is very happy to see Sun Quan finally growing up which is true. I mean he looks determined to fight Cao Cao and conquer other states as he says “I will show to the world (aka China) that Dong Wu is a prosperous nation and a powerful one!”.


My only problem with this scene is Mrs Wu looks more like the nanny. Since Dong Wu is so prosperous, shouldn’t she look more prosperous? I mean a bit of gold on her head or some nice dress won’t hurt.


Meeting. Sun Quan declares to everyone;

“I have decided we have enough of men and resources to retaliate against Cao Cao” and Lau Bei goes YEAH YEAH and Sun Quan continues “And so we shall meet Cao Cao at…. ” drum roll….


aka Chek Bik aka Red Cliff

and Shun thinks as he looks to the sky by the side in the favourite ancient people pose “And so.. the battle of red cliff has begun…”

Not sure why I laughed though.

Anyway interesting proposition to have Sun Quan with nothing better to do to one day just go fighting Cao Cao at Red Cliff. Strange. Shouldn’t Cao Cao be attacking first or camped there first or something? However great Dong Wu is, I mean do they have 1 million men?

And it is confusing.

One minute Dong Wu is prosperous and has loads of army and next minute we learn the army has not been engaged in any real war for a long time and then we learn Zhou Yu is great commander and then we learn no he is not that great since he has not seen any real war action and his training methods is borrowed from Choi Mao and then we learn the only way to defeat Sun Quan is by water aka navy which one would assume Sun Quan has in abundance and then we learn Zhou Yu isn’t that great at training the navy and they don’t have much navy. So which is which?

Ok I give up. With the Z Man there and his loved up assistant called Wan Shun and the real ZGL also there that is Yuet Ying, even Zhou Yu sabotaging Lau Bei’s men will not hurt Sun Quan.

Which makes me feel very excited about Pierre Ngo in the upcoming King Maker. Trailer looks fantastic but why oh why did they cast Lai Lok Yi the monotone man?

My point is Pierre Ngo is brilliant as Sun Quan. He looks unexpectedly kingly, he looks like he can command loads of people. So how will he be a convincing emperor? Not sure.

As for this series, I like the changed Wan Shun but I am sick of him trying to avoid Song Yau whilst feeling guilty. Just admit it; you’re in love Shun, but you just don’t know it yet. How disruptive it is for Shun eh to his job if he has to avoid Song Yau?

And I don’t get it. If Lau Bei is ready to throw his baby son to the ground because he caused the death of his 2nd wife and nearly the death of the disappeared from face of the earth Zhao Zhilung because General Zhao is his best talented general sort of thing, and since he so highly regard Shun as an adviser of sort as he nearly go nuclear when he can’t read what Shun wrote (who by now should have contributed enough to be raised in rank as a 2nd adviser if you ask me since he says whatever he wants whether ZGL asks him or not), shouldn’t he transfer Song Yau away so that Shun can do his job without hiding every time Song Yau is within sight?

This series, which is about the era full of heroic loyal men suddenly feels more hypocritical than it intentionally is.

Performance wise, no comment. I mean what more can I say? Everyone is as they are.

This Episodic Thoughts was written by Funn Lim, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com, and was originally posted at http://3kingdomsrpg.blogspot.com

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  1. I like CKL’s smirk while he was inside the ship! 😀

  2. I don’t know why I always thought this is 30 episodes. Now it is 25, double episode this Friday. Poor Song Yau. Love story ended even before it began properly.

  3. wat exactly is song yau role.. she doent seem doing much.. would hve thought it wll be a great love story

  4. “We thank Prime Minister Cao for the arrows! “

    I love this scene. For the first time, I feel like ZGL is the man that deserves his reputation in history. He thought this up all by himself. Not Wan Sun… Not his wife… this was his idea and it was brilliant.

    1. Actually he thinks like Wan Shun to come up with this solution.

      1. That’s okay! This is the closest ever to him actually coming up with an original idea.

  5. Borrow arrows is originally Zhuge Liang idea. Its written in the history books

  6. i wonder how will ZGL cope if the enemy were to fire flame arrows to burn the boats instead of normal arrows

    1. Good question and I originally thought they did use fire with the arrows. I can’t remember.

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