The Romance of the Three Kingdoms franchise is a historical war simulation series from Koei that is based upon the historical novel written by Lo Kuan-chung. As in the novel, the games are set in the Three Kingdoms era of ancient China that spanned most of the 200s AD. Though the specifics of gameplay vary from game to game, the basic premise casts the player as a warlord of the era with the primary goal of uniting fragmented China under one banner. The games feature large rosters of officers taken from the literary source as well as history, and their skills and positions are largely based on how they are portrayed in the novel. As the novel also contains fantastic elements such as spirits and mysticism, such elements also factor into the gameplay, with some officers capable of performing magical deeds during battle.
The games also typically provide a variety of gameplay scenarios, each largely based on how the land was controlled during specific points of the era. Common scenarios seen include the Yellow Turban Rebellion, Dong Zhuo's insurrection, and the Battle of Chibi.