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Xian-Xiang – Weird name. Fun game!

I’m so excited about this one! Xian-Xiang is one of my absolute favorite games at KadoKado. It’s completely untimed, so don’t rush! Savor the experience.

Alright alright! I’ll stop making a game sound like fine wine. *^_^*

Each game starts with a full board of 42 brightly colored pieces.

newboardOooohh! Candy!!

Your task is to clear the board by matching up pieces two at a time. Here’s the catch: A connecting pair can’t go through any other pieces.

invalidmove Dangit!

See that red bar? I didn’t put it there. ^_^ The game automatically highlights exactly why you can’t make a match.

So, you can only match pairs that are right next to each other OR can connect across “open” spots on the board. Oh, and the connection can only have one bend! No snaking around the outside edge either.

inprogress2I see why this is tough.

Read on to learn about the pieces and how to earn points. ^_^



First, let’s take a moment to look at the various pieces on the board. Each piece pulls from three different categories: shape, color, and a glyph to go on top.

There is a set number of options for each category!

Three Shapes
Four Colors
Five Glyphs

This means that there’s a potential of 60 different pieces! (3 x 4 x 5 = 60)

With only 42 pieces on the board, this means you probably won’t have a perfect match for each piece. So how do you clear the board?

Simple! You can match any two pieces, so long as they can connect without running over other pieces. HOWEVER, you get points based on how similar the pieces are, so you’ll need to put some thought into your matches.

The similarities are based on the categories we just discussed. If two pieces have the same shape, but different colors and glyphs, then they have one similarity. If two pieces are identical then that’s what I call a perfect match. ^_^

Here are the values of each combination. Please note that the pictures are only examples. There are oodles of possibilities here!

Match Worth
Zero Similarities
1 point
One Similarity
50 points
Two Similarities
300 points
Three Similarities
(Perfect Match)
1000 points

Got that? Then let’s move on to some tips & tricks. ^_^


Tips & Tricks

First off, if you’re having troubles seeing the pieces, zoom in! There’s a button on the right side of the screen that will do just that!


The board won’t become full-screen, but it will definitely be a lot bigger and easier to see!

Secondly… Well, “secondly” is a detailed strategy. Get comfy!

Joseph's Coat Pillow - it's done!

Colorful AND cozy!

Step 1: Look for perfect matches.

When the board is full your only option is to make a match with pieces that are directly touching. Most of the time you’ll find at least one set that’s a perfect match. Find them and click them!

perfectmatch Red box courtesy of Mira.

Tip: If you have trouble focusing, try looking at each color one at a time. Check all the reds, then all the blues, etc.

In this picture above I had only one perfect match to start off with. After I removed it I looked to see if it opened up any paths for other perfect matches. It didn’t, which brought me to..


Step 2: Find your path.

Step 1 is the easiest part of the game. Now you have to start thinking. ^_^ The next match will have to be a 2-similarity match or lower, but how do you decide what to pick?

Start by scanning the board to find a perfect match that has pieces blocking the connection. Look at each block in the path and check to see if it has a perfect match of it’s own, or if you’ll have to use a lesser match to get it out of the way.

This is kind of hard to explain, so let me draw you an example. For this one, I’ve already cleared some of the pieces on the board, but you’ll get the idea. Click on any of the pictures to see a bigger version.

pathfinding1 I spy a perfect match of two green circles with triangle glyphs on top!
pathfinding2 Unfortunately, no matter which way I go there are pieces blocking my match. Let’s take a look at what’s in the way.
pathfinding3 Ooh! A yellow perfect match is inside the green perfect match!
pathfinding4 But it’s blocked too.
pathfinding5 These two pieces are holding up the entire show. If I can remove even one of them, I can make the yellow match.
pathfinding6 At first glance I see that the green circle has two match options, and the blue triangle has four options.
pathfinding7 I want to be sure I don’t ruin a future perfect match, so I’ll cross out any pieces that have a twin on the board.
pathfinding8 My remaining options are a 1-similarity match with the green block, or a 2-similarity match with the blue/yellow triangles. Guess which one I want? ^_^
pathfindingresult This is the final result! I made a total of three matches and picked up 2300 points. Not bad!

Path finding is a skill that you’ll use over and over again in Xian-Xiang. It gets easier with practice. ^_^ And remember, there isn’t an undo button, so take your time!


Step 3: Look for 2-similarity matches.

Sometimes the paths for perfect matches are so tangled up in each other that you just can’t untangle them. In this case, you need to clear some space to create more options. This is where you want to look for 2-similarity matches.

You’ll see a lot of them, but before you start clicking away, check to see if either piece has a twin somewhere else on the board. If one (or both) pieces have a perfect match that you can’t reach yet, just save them for later.

IMPORTANT: Whenever you’re forced to make an imperfect match, take a moment to check both of your pieces! One perfect match is worth more than THREE 2-similarity matches!

Let’s head back to the game we started in step 1. 

In the next picture you’ll see the perfect match is removed. When I played this I took a few minutes to look at the board and trace a few potential paths, and then I settled on removing the two pairs highlighted below.

findnextmatch Bye-bye! *Waves*

None of those four blocks have a perfect match on the board, so a 2-similarity match is the best they can do. I have an idea of where I want to go with this, but for now I’m just taking things one step at a time.

The next picture shows the new board, and the next 2-similarity match that we’ll make.

inprogress Uh-huh.

The board is opening up a bit! Now here’s the fun part. ^_^ As a result of making all of those 2-similarity matches, now we can make four perfect matches in a row! Here’s how it’ll play out. (The numbers tell the order of the matches.)

inprogress2 Woohoo!

That’s 4000 easy points! Not too shabby. ^_^


Step 4: Know when to make sacrifices.

There’s really only one reason to sacrifice pieces by making a zero (or 1) similarity match, and that’s when it would lead to something better. Take a look at this one.

toughcall Suddenly I crave lemon drops.

There aren’t many pieces left on the board, so I’ll have to move carefully. Better still, there are two perfect matches left, and I really want those 2000 points!

In order to make the yellow circle match, I have to get rid of the yellow rectangle. I’d planned on using the blue triangle at the bottom to make a 2-similarity match with the blue rectangle, but it’s more important that I make those perfect matches.

The painful solution is to use the blue triangle to make a match with the yellow rectangle. They have nothing in common, so this is a match 0, worth 1 point.

toughcall2 Ouch!

Because of the brave sacrifice I can do the following.

  1. Perfect match of the yellow circles = 1000 points
  2. 1-similarity match of the blue pieces = 50 points
  3. Perfect match of the green triangles = 1000 points
  4. 1-similarity match of the red pieces = 50 points

That leaves a final score of 13,401! (That’s pretty good for Xian-Xiang)

Now this was an easy sacrifice, and they’re not always easy. Sometimes (and this always sucks) you have to sacrifice a perfect match in order to free up multiple perfect matches.

The game is different every time you play, so you have to adapt and be flexible!


Final Rating

Xian-Xiang is one of my favorite games. ^_^ I love the challenge, but I also love that I can step away and do something else if I need a break.

For me, this is a 5 out of 5 stars. You’ve probably figured out by now that I love untimed puzzle games, so this is your chance to chime in! What would you rate it? Do you have any tips to share?


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