1. Place the game board in the middle of the table.
2. Place the 29 Vote tokens (non-grey border side face-up) on the designated area of the board.
Small map variant use grey side instead.
3. The common area below the game board is called the Society, where zone cards, strategy cards and resource discs will be laid out and taken from.
4. The private area in front of each player is called her own Office, where her private resource discs, confirmed Zone cards and Vote Tokens will be placed.
5. Pick out and put aside 12 zone cards with control point icon . According to zone card back, sort the remaining zone cards into 5 decks, called the region decks. Place them in a row at the center of the Society.
From each of the region decks, draw 2 top zone cards and display them face-up in 2 new rows just below the corresponding region decks. These new 5 face-up columns are called the display columns.
Anytime in the game, if there are less than 2 cards in any display column, immediately replenish by drawing the top zone card from corresponding region deck, and place it face-up in the display pile.
6. Spare some space to the left of the display piles for putting resource discs and player marker. This area is called the Treasury. At the beginning of the game, there should be NO resource discs in the Treasury.
7. Place all resource discs in a bag next to the Society as Reserve.
8. The 12 zone cards with control point icon and 25 Strategy cards are shuffled separately. Each player must choose the followings:
- 1 starting zone card – which she is dealt randomly 2 zone cards. She must choose one and places it face-up in her Office once every player finishes choosing.
- 1 private Strategy card – which she is dealt randomly 3 Strategy cards and she must choose at least one to her hand.
Return all unchosen zone cards to the corresponding region decks.
Sort Shenzhen Bay into any region deck, randomly. Shuffle the 5 decks. (Leave the display columns as they are.)
( Sort Shenzhen Bay into New Territories West region deck.)
Return all unchosen strategy cards to the remaining strategy cards. Shuffle and place them face-down on the right of the display piles as Strategy deck.
( Ignore Strategy cards.)
9. Each player receives the following items:
- 1 pawn of her colour – which she places it onto the same zone on board as her starting zone card.
- 2 markers of her colour – which she places in her Office and on the Vote track.
- X resource discs from the Reserve. (X is equal to 10 minus the cost of the starting zone card)
( Ignore markers)
10. Finally, the player whose has the most resources discs starts first. If there is a tie, younger player starts first. When a player ends her turn, the next player in clockwise direction begins her turn.