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Gaming in China’s History

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This topic contains 55 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  warhammergrimace 3 months ago.

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    China vs Japanese Samurai – Invasion of Korea


    I plan to play some skirmish battles set during this conflict using Osprey’s Ronin rules set. This will also allow me to use Koreans from this period as well. Perry Miniatures produce a nice range of Koreans that are suitable.



    Cult of Games Member

    Previously posted on Discord, but just to chime in here as well …

    @warhammergrimace has me going on Chinese ancients now.  I’m working up “virtual miniatures” in Photoshop, modular so they can be re-posed and re-colored at will … with four basic poses so far.  These will be scaled for virtual miniature tabletop play at 25mm square bases (per rules of TSR Battlesystem 2nd Edition) so I can do battles in the late Warring States period (late 3rd Century BCE, when iron and steel largely replaced bronze weapons so far as I can tell).

    So far I have …

    1) Basic sword and shield pose (jian double-edged straight swords)
    2) Polearm pose (peasant spears and dagger-axe heavy infantry)
    3) Archer pose
    4) Crossbow pose

    beginning miniature - counter design

    Next I’ll need a commander pose and at least some kind of horseman with spear.  I’ll be leaving off the chariots as I think these had largely fallen out of battlefield use by the late Warring States period.

    I may need a horse archer pose as well … or was this more of a Mongol / Xiongnu kind of thing?
    I defer to the experts on that one.


    There were quite a few chariots found in the Terracotta burials….So they may have still been in use but I suspect only when battlefield conditions were right for them.

    @oriskany By the way the photoshop work is looking good.


    Some new reading material on the Tang DynastyIMG_20210302_180528


    Cult of Games Member

    Let it never be said that the Chinese cannot build up an army quickly.

    In response to this thread, I’ve started building virtual miniatures for long-distance, on-line games of TSR’s Battlesystem 2nd Edition, set in the late Warring States period. They start to look pretty good, I think, once they start ranking up.

    Chinese Ancients 01

    So far I have two basic infantry types built, heavy infantry with jian swords and shields, and heavy infantry with spears.

    Lots more to do on this, including medium infantry with two-handed polearms (peasants with shields, medium infantry with “dagger-axe” polearms), archers, crossbows, commanders, and some kind of basic cavalry.

    Once this stage is complete, I should be able to support most games set in the period, except for sieges (not really interested in that).

    Note these are completely modular, and even pose-able to a degree (arms and legs are separate layers). Helmets can be changed or removed. Weapons changed out. Armor is built in pieces so they can switched out to different types or even removed. All colors of course can be changed.

    Still, there’s at least three or four nights or work ahead on this …

    Chinese Ancients 02


    Those look seriously good….


    Cult of Games Member

    I have very little to add to this thread but I wanted to jump in and thank you @warhammergrimace for it. It has been eye opening and definitely started a few youtube/wikipedia loops the last few days.


    It’s a part of the world that often gets over looked in favour of the more glamourous Samurai. Every other part of Asia is ignored, and even then in regard to the Samurai it’s pretty much only the Edo Period of Japan.

    China has a rich history of military conflict that could be gamed along with the Korean Peninsula.

    I’d gotten a little bored with the European centric historical gaming scene, there’s plenty of rich history to pour over in the Far East, that isn’t just Samurai based.


    Cult of Games Member

    My Chinese army continues to grow. I now have six infantry types. From left to right …
    Heavy Infantry with sword (improved shield hand)
    Heavy Infantry with spear (improved shield hand)
    Medium Infantry with dagger axe
    Medium Infantry with “halberd” spear
    Light Infantry with spear (pike)
    Peasant levy with “farm spear”

    Chinese Ancients 03

    But the army’s true appearance starts to take shape when it ranks up .. 🙂
    Chinese Ancients 04


    looking good


    The Warlord period in 20th Century China, was a volatile era. Generals and Bandit Leaders set themselves up as local kings controlling the area through a force of arms. It was also a period of vast spending on military arms and vehicles. There’s a lot of potential for wargaming during this era. I really like this period as it also marks the start of Japanese interference in the country through the use of espionage and criminal elements such a form of Yakuza, former samurai working for the benefit of the Japanese government.


    This is a film set in the Warlord Period;  The Great Revival. It has English subtitles, there are a couple of good battle scenes in the film. The film explains a lot of the political shenanigan’s of this period, also explains the birth of the communist party. It was because of all these political games, that gave birth to the communist party.  I watched this and started considering building a WW1 era Chinese force for some skirmish level games.

    This film is also set around the period, and also contains some fight scenes.


    Cult of Games Member

    At last … it is done.

    I now have ten unit types for my ancient Chinese armies …

    Heavy Infantry with shields and jian swords
    Heavy Infantry with shields and spears
    Medium Infantry with dagger-axes
    Medium Infantry with halberd blade spears
    Light Infantry with pike
    Peasant Levy with spear
    Cavalry with light lance

    Now I’m sure I’m far from the first wargaming hobbyist to sing this song of woe … But cavalry are a pain in the f###ing ass! But like I said, done, and good enough for now.

    The commander is obviously on the black stallion on the end.
    In the words of Ash in Army of Darkness
    “Well, hello-o-o-o-o Mister Fancy Pants!”

    Chinese Ancients 05


    Cult of Games Member

    @oriskany Those counters look fantastic, great work.

    @warhammergrimace This is a great thread, so much to unpack and full of interesting ideas.


    Some information regarding the Tang Dynasty period

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