China’s War: interview with The Players Aid

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Sorry, I seem to have missed posting this in the relative tumult of end-of-year 2019 (though relative to the tumult of now, it was not that tumultuous).

Lengthy interview with Grant Kleinheinz at the Players Aid, all about China’s War 1937-41! Originally posted on his website 30 December 2019.

https://theplayersaid.com/2019/12/30/interview-with-brian-train-designer-of-coin-series-volume-xii-chinas-war-1937-1941-from-gmt-games/

China’s War: P-update

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China’s War has 999 pre-orders as of tonight!

WHO will be the lucky number 1,000?

Will it be YOU…

or YOU….

or YOU?

ETA, February 6: Pre-orders are now exactly 1,000!

I wonder who it was helped us across the Rubicon?

BottosCon pictures

Back from a very good BottosCon, here are some pictures taken by the very able David Rice.

cw3741 playing bcon

Beginning of a game of China’s War. You can see the Japanese Army ready to “do the Locomotion” into northern China, to link up with the forces heading north from Shanghai. (Photo: David Rice)

 

cw3741 closeup bcon

Closeup of the “home plate” Initiative Track, which works just fine for a 4-player game. (Photo: David Rice)

 

kashmir playing bcon

I even got in a few quick games of Kashmir Crisis with Christopher Spence! (photo: David Rice)

What’s in a name?

 

scheldtmapsnip

Vlissingen? Flushing? Vlissienge? Flessingue?

When GMT put up notice of China’s War going to P500 on their Facebook page, there was quite a bit of comment. One user, Hank Wong, made this point about nomenclature, when the topic of “Kuomintang/Guomindang” came up:

Hank Wong While Hanyu pinyin is linguistically more accurate, as Ron mentions, using it does have political implications, especially among people of mainland China/Taiwan/HK background. It was the system adopted and promoted by the Chinese Communists, and so using it can give the appearance that the game is from, or favors, the Communist point of view. Wade-Giles is not as accurate, and it was the method preferred by the KMT/Nationalists, but it was also how the Western world knew those names and locations during the actual World War II period itself. In between, I’ve seen newer history books compromise by one of two methods: (1) keeping the “famous names” in WG and then translate more obscure names as PY, or (2) Communist names in PY and Nationalist names in WG.

Interesting compromise, and one that demands more background knowledge from the reader than normal.

I have had similar discussions in the past with other people, when designing WW II games on the Balkans occupation and the Scheldt campaign… do I use the name of the city as it is now, or the one it had at the beginning of the War, or while it was under German/Italian/Hungarian occupation, or the name Flemish people use for it…? Any choices I do make will be slammed by some and ignored by others.

In general, I try to use the name that was in the most common usage at the time the game takes place, in a form as close as possible to the original language, not some Anglicized version… which is why I put pronunciation guides in the playbooks for A Distant Plain and Colonial Twilight. But I do slip up (for example, “Algiers” on the Colonial Twilight map should have been rendered “Alger”, as Joseph Vanden Borre reminds me every time I see him at CSW Expo) and even the method of pronunciation I choose has political implications, you see.

I think perhaps in this case I will do my best to avoid this linguistic and political stickiness and refer to the government player as “Nationalists” or “Nationalist Party”, since that is the English equivalent of the Chinese word no matter how you pronounce it. And Beiping/Peiping was renamed Beijing from 1937-45 while it was under Japanese occupation (and renamed so again in 1949 by the CCP, after 4 years of being Beiping again), so for the sake of historical accuracy/contemporaneous currency I will use Beijing.

 

China’s War is up for P500!

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Preliminary artwork, of course. (Rachel Billingsley)

Yes, now it can be told.

Today GMT put China’s War up for P500, and the clock starts ticking… to what end I don’t know, because it will come when it comes, and that’s when it’s ready.

$55.00 now, $80.00 later. I see it’s up to 230 pre-orders already, but I think that is about the number of people who have a “give me anything COIN” standing order with GMT.

https://www.gmtgames.com/p-830-chinas-war-1937-1941.aspx

I will be working with a developer on this, and we’ll be ready to start playtesting with groups soon, after a Vassal module has been got ready (dammit, I really need to learn how to make these things…).

Other information, also available from the page where you went to place your order RIGHT AWAY, and then came back here:

China’s War: 1937-1941 examines the first five years of the conflict, when China stood alone against the Japanese Empire. Each player takes the role of a Faction seeking to attack or defend the Republic of China: the aggressive Japanese, the harried Government (represented by the Nationalist party), the rebellious Chinese Communist Party, or the unruly, fractious Warlords who are obedient when convenient but have their eye on gaining state power. Using military, political, and economic actions and exploiting various events, players build and maneuver forces to influence or control the population, extract resources, or otherwise achieve their Faction’s aims. A deck of cards regulates turn order, events, victory checks, and other processes. The rules can run non-player Factions, enabling solitaire, 2-player, or multi-player games.

COMPONENTS
One 22”x 34” mounted game board
One deck of 52 playing cards
167 wooden playing pieces, some embossed
12 small pawns (6 red, 6 white)
One full-color countersheet
Rules Booklet
Playbook
4 Faction Player Aid foldouts
Cards, Player Aid, and Rules for the card-based solitaire opponent*
1 Sequence of Play sheet
2 six-sided dice

Players: 1-4 (full solitaire system)
Map: Area movement
Time scale: about 1 year per 12-card campaign

*I’m not exactly sure about how to approach the solitaire system for this one; you-all know that I am not all that interested in them. But I was intrigued by the card-based one used in the recent release of Gandhi, and the 12-card AI that David Turczi came up with for Nights of Fire was amazing, so I think I would like to see something like that rather than more flowcharts. Again, if I could get away with not having one, I would, but it is something people have come to expect… after 11 previous volumes in the series!

Laissez les bon temps rouler…

[ETA: 10:00 am the next day and we are up to 406 pre-orders! Might be able to make it by the end of the day, or by the weekend. Whoops, 412 now… 428…]

[FETA: I woke up Saturday morning and it was 501. So, that’s that.]

Here is a look at a prototype map, as exhibited at CSWExpo 2019. Not much to see. The yellow and pink pieces are now green, how prototypical is that for you…

Chinas_War

And speaking of CSW, I have set up a discussion area for the game here:

http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX/.1de0d6b6/0

BGG entry for the game is here:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/287515/chinas-war-1937-41