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The Chinese Civil War of 1930» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Chinese civil war 1930 REVIEW rss

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Terence Co
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The Central Plains war(May to Nov. 1930)is one of the most obscure but important wars in history. Its so obscure that it is barely mentioned in the western historical books. In the aftermath of the Chinese war of Reunification(1916-1928, the KMT had united China under its shakey rule. In order to unite China, the KMT had brokered deals with various powerful northern and Southern warlords to bring them into a miliary alliance. In the aftermath of the war, Chang Kai Shek(the leader of the KMT)led a policy to nationalize the private armies of his allied warlords and divert funds from these warlords to rebuilding and developing China.

Three of the strongest warlord factions: Shanxi clique(Shanxi province)(Yan Shi Shan), New Guangxi clique(Guangxi province)(Li Tsung Jen) & the Northwest Army(Northwest China)(Feng Yuxiang) conspired with various KMT politicians who were political enemies of Chang Kai Shek(eg. Wang Jing Wei) in order to overthrow Chang Kai Shek to bring down Chang Kai Shek as leader of the KMT. This started a massive civil war which saw a total of 1.5 million men(for both sides) fighting in 7 northern and Southern provinces in Central China(the size of Western Europe). After several battles, the war was a stalemate until the armies of the Manchurian warlord Zhang Xueliang intervened for Chang Kai Shek. With strong reinforcements, the anti Chang alliance collapsed. 300,000 combatants would die in 7 months of conflict. The war severely weakened the KMT Central Army, bankrupted the Chinese government and devastated a large portion of the country. While Chang had won the war, his rival warlord armies while weakened were still intact and would cause trouble for him in the future. This severe weakness would be taken advantaged of by the Japanese who invaded and quickly overran Manchuria and fought a bruising battle with the KMT in Shanghai(both in 1932) and the Chinese communists who consolidated their forces in Central China.

The game has a nicely made cardboard mounted and colourful board depicting Nothern, Southern and Eastern China. The game has 72 nicely made plastic pieces represending military units and 110 cards representing military and political leaders of various sides.

The game is played by 2-5 players who represent the following sides. Chang Kai Shek & He Yingqin of the KMT Central Army vs. Li Tsung Jen, Feng Yuxiang and Yan Shi Shan of the Anti Chang Coaltion.

Victory is acquired by the first side to capture a capital city of a faction or a faction's troop and/or funding level reaches zero(in this case, its enemy side wins).

There is no set game turn max, players alternate playing turns in a set sequence and a game turn consists of the following phases:

1. Pay Fund for Army maintenance. Fund are subtracted from the phasing faction's funding level depending on the number of units on the faction on the map.

2. Check cards. Check the continous action and assigned mission cards in play and put the cards underneath them back to the bottom of their respective decks.

3. Conduct Actions. The heart of the game. You can classify the game as a card driven game. Each faction has a set number of actions that it can do per turn. An action can consist of moving, combat, playing assigned mission cards, continous & general action cards.

In order to move a unit, a player expends a card or plays a card with special abilities. A unit moves from point to point cities on the map that are devoid of other factions.

In order to fight, a player expends two cards or plays a card with special abilities. Units in a point can attack adjacent points containing enemy units. Attacking unit strength points are added to the current morale level of the attacking faction along with various played card abilities(if any) to a 2d6 roll. The defenders do the same adding or subtracting the terrain modifier along with rolling a 1d6. The final results for both sides are subtracted and losses are subtracted from the losing side's troop level. If the troop level passes through certain levels can mean loss of units.

Assigned Mission cards are played as an action. These cards are objectives which when fullfilled imparts certain rewards and advatages to a side like more funding, a raised morale level, more troops untis etc. Objectives usually are controlling cities and other things.

Continous cards impart certain advantages in a set number of turns.

Assiged mission and Continous cards which last multiple turns and the turns are tracked by cards placed under these cards.

General Action cards also impart certain advantages but in an immidiate manner.

4. Fill hand. Fil a card hand to maximum level.

Then the next player starts his turn.

The game is easy and fast to play. I like the historicity of the game, each card represents an important leader in the war each with different biographies and abilities. While the game is not a definitive study of the game, it is good and informative game on a obscure war mostly unknown in the west. The game is quite tense, a side may be on the verge of victory then either with the entry of neutral powers or card play then the game swings radically. I also like the differences of the factions, the differences are mainly in the cards as each faction have differing abiliites. The only downside is that the defender on the main tends to lose more men due to the die roll. I find this unrealistic.

Anyways I enjoyed the game and while the game is in Chinese, an english translation is provided for by Lawrence Ho. Contact him at

lorryjin@yahoo.com
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Drew Heath
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Traditional hanzi or simplified? And how well does it play with only 2?
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Terence Co
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Traditional characters...the game is Taiwanese after all.

And yes the game plays well with two people.

The game is a cooperative multiplayer game. If played with multiple players, two players play the Chang Kai Shek Central Army side vs. three players who are playing the Anti Chang Coalition.
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Drew Heath
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Gangrel wrote:
Traditional characters...the game is Taiwanese after all.


Understandable, but that rules me out. I have a hard enough time with simplified hanzi ;-)

Quote:
And yes the game plays well with two people.

The game is a cooperative multiplayer game. If played with multiple players, two players play the Chang Kai Shek Central Army side vs. three players who are playing the Anti Chang Coalition.


I will keep my eye on it. If a simplified version ever appears I would be interested. :-) Thanks for replying!
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Terence Co
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Well an english version is available.

If you read my review you can e-mail him and pay him 5 US$s for an PDF of the english translation of the rules and cards.

That's how I was able to play the game.

I can't read Chinese.
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Aaron Silverman
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OK, who wants to contact the publisher about organizing a Kickstarter campaign to publish an English-language edition?
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