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Board Game: Mukden
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Subject: Mukden * rss

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Kim Meints
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Re: This classic design by David Isby was a rare depiction of the Chinese army during the Cold War
Thanks Again Pete.Excellent as always

I loved Mukden so much I made back in the day a homemade full size 32"x24" map of a What If battle that had a city about twice the size of Mukden and general surrounding terrain with 2 sets of counters plus 3 more Soviet Para units for a full Para div(including a art unit).
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Andy Andersen
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Re: This classic design by David Isby was a rare depiction of the Chinese army during the Cold War
Not a game for me, but what an outstanding review. I read every word.

Thanks, Pete.
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Martin McCleary
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Re: This classic design by David Isby was a rare depiction of the Chinese army during the Cold War
A much neglected topic:Sino-Soviet war. I collected and still have Mukden, East is Red and China War. East is Red is still one of my favorites.

Been a while since I played Mukden; if memory serves I found the arty rules a bit vague in terms of how often an arty unit could fire in offense or defense. In other words could a single arty unit contribute its defensive fire to more than one defending unit?

Thanks for posting this, a good snapshot of a game on an interesting and much ignored topic.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Re: This classic design by David Isby was a rare depiction of the Chinese army during the Cold War
I was a big fan of David Isby's games, but I think another SPI quad provided a far better platform to showcase his talents. In Modern Battles, the system was established and he was constrained to its limitations while designing Mukden. Basically that system hadn't wandered far from its roots (Napoleon at Waterloo, Blue & Gray), and the huge changes in warfare that had transpired in the intervening 260 years were given only cursory attention. The units had increased movement and more firepower, but the system still played very much like NaW. That made it really easy to learn and play, but hobbled its potential to teach real lessons about modern conflicts.

Three years later, Isby was given a far better platform to show what he could do in a quadrigame format, when he was given the opportunity to create the system from the ground up. Tannenberg, an S&T issue game, was the result, and a companion quadrigame, The Great War in the East, was produced. In this one, the individual designers worked within Isby's system, rather than having him work within someone else's.

The difference in level of sophistication between Modern Battles and Great War in the East is remarkable. Up to that point, the quads had always been four games using a modified NaW system, but GWitE showed that the quad really only needed to be limited by its physical parameters; the design end could open up and, in the hands of a very talented designer, provide a deeper study of the era depicted.
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Re: This classic design by David Isby was a rare depiction of the Chinese army during the Cold War
pete belli wrote:
If you’re interested in the Cold War period and know somebody who owns this game, ask them to play it. The first scenario is highly recommended for people looking for a slight change of pace and a relatively simple game.
Speaking of the subject matter, The East is Red: The Sino Soviet War in S&T #42 was an elegant strategic level treatment of a contemporary Sino-Soviet conflict. It is seldom mentioned amongst the best S&T issue games, but it was one of my favorites. I was a fool and traded mine away a couple of decades back, and truly regret it.
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Re: This classic design by David Isby was a rare depiction of the Chinese army during the Cold War

Delighted to hear that people still remember Mukden. As with all the four topics in the original Modern Battle quad, it was JFD's idea. He had noted during the research of The East is Red that Shenyang still was likely to be important in any future conflict in Manchuria.

I set out to do a broad-brush treatment to show the differences between the Soviet and Chinese ways on war in the 1970s.

Tannenburg was very different in that I indeed got to do the quad rules. It was not just NAW. It was limited to size required in terms of counters, quad rules and game-specific rules. I did not feel limited by the quad format in Tannenburg, just made sure that it was adaptable to a range of situations.
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Re: This classic design by David Isby was a rare depiction of the Chinese army during the Cold War
Great review Pete. Every halfway decent wargame deserves a detailed review like this.
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Dave Rubin
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Re: This classic design by David Isby was a rare depiction of the Chinese army during the Cold War
Whoa, take me back to my halycon High School days -- this was the first war game I ever played.

One comment, to defend the Soviet victory via exiting: Soviet doctrine strongly emphasized the direction of reinforcements towards areas of greatest penetration. By extending his communications to the southern map edge and beyond, the Soviet player could very well trigger massive reinforcements from the following attack echelon. This, and the presence of airborne battalions, suggest to me that what is being depicted is a FIRST echelon Soviet assault that has brushed aside nominal Chinese resistance at the frontier.
 
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Kim Meints
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Re: This classic design by David Isby was a rare depiction of the Chinese army during the Cold War
Dave

FYI-Mukden(Shenyang) is deep in Manchuria and the stepping stone to Tientsin/Peking(look at the old SPI East is Red map).

Most likely either the last gasp echelon of the orginal opening offensive or the 1st echelon of a renewed offensive after reinforcements have caught up and units regrouped to try and break through the defenders and hold the main part of Manchuria. Also the Chinese have vast amounts of Militia which would not have been up near the border but the last great amount of troops they would have trying to stop the breakthru.

Just my 2 cent thoughts

Besides the homemade larger city map I did I also made a frontier 32x22 size map of the opening drive into Manchuria with 3 sets of counters used for various units.

 
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Dave Rubin
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Re: This classic design by David Isby was a rare depiction of the Chinese army during the Cold War
Kim,

I will respectfully disagree. A Soviet strike in this area could have been launched from Mongolia and would not have reached populated Chinese centers (and Chinese Militia) until a relatively short distance northwest of Shenyang. Should the Soviets have chosen to weight their attack from Mongolia, and should the Chinese have opted for a defense in depth, it is plausible that the first major battle for Manchuria could have developed along the lines portrayed.

Edit: tense!
 
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Kim Meints
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Re: This classic design by David Isby was a rare depiction of the Chinese army during the Cold War
Dave

This could be true too. On the EiR map Mukdem/Shenyang is 11 hexes from the tip of Otter Mongolis across the Manchurian Plain. only 1 rail line heading down to Mukden so wide open.

I guess it comes down to would the Chinese commit their mobile units eary on the plain to stop an attack or do the old Chinese plow of a fallback into the heart of the country and a grinding fight in the populated area

Davis Isby came here once already.Be nice if he gave us his design take on the action.

Well at least we both love the gamecool
 
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Re: This classic design by David Isby was a rare depiction of the Chinese army during the Cold War
Sphere wrote:
pete belli wrote:
If you’re interested in the Cold War period and know somebody who owns this game, ask them to play it. The first scenario is highly recommended for people looking for a slight change of pace and a relatively simple game.
Speaking of the subject matter, The East is Red: The Sino Soviet War in S&T #42 was an elegant strategic level treatment of a contemporary Sino-Soviet conflict. It is seldom mentioned amongst the best S&T issue games, but it was one of my favorites. I was a fool and traded mine away a couple of decades back, and truly regret it.
Today sir you have redeemed yourself. This is what I have told players all along and also made the mistake of getting rid of mine and am now rebuilding it one piece at a time. Map, counters and rules complete (after two auctions of incomplete sets) along with some of the extras. The magazine version but it will be boxed when finished.

Thank you for this and whatever disagreements we might have in the future let them be tempered by these statements.

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Re: This classic design by David Isby was a rare depiction of the Chinese army during the Cold War
Thanks for the write-up. Excellent work.

/kgm
 
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