Spotlight on Games > War Games > Ludographies
War Games Set in China
January 24, 2014 added:
2014: First Emperor · Three Kingdoms Redux
2013: Xi Cards
2012: Dragons and Tigers of Three Kingdoms · New Imperialism in China · San Guo Sha: Kingdom Wars
2011: East Asia: Tang Dynasty and Korea · The 1911 Revolution of China
2010: The Chinese Civil War of 1930 · Growling Tigers under Siege · Yalu · Zhi Ji Zhi Bi
2009: Battle for China · Dynasties & Kingdoms · Greater East Asia War · The Long March · The Scramble for China
2008: Protector of the Empire
2007: Storm Over Taierzhuang
2006: Storm over the Taiwan Strait
2005: War Jhong
2003: Three Kingdoms Combined Arms
2002: Land War in Asia · Three Kingdoms in Ancient China
1977: Yalu
1943: Lai Shai
unknown: Colonial Campaigns: Boxer Rebellion · Heaven's Mandate

First Emperor Patrick Stevens; Numbskull Games; 2-6; 120
Set in the ancient period, an area control and combat game that includes troop types, facing, and cavalry charges. Activation is via cards while combat results are determined by dice. Features variable quality/purpose troop types. [Shop]
Three Kingdoms Redux Christina Ng Zhen Wei & Yeo Keng Leong; Starting Player; 3; 165
The Three Kingdoms period that followed the decline of the Han Dynasty and described in the epic Romance of the Three Kingdoms. An auction mechanism decides which players can take which actions. Example of actions include construct state enhancements, control the Han emperor, demand tributes from your vassals, develop trade or agriculture, import technology, improve your relationship with your border tribe or produce weapons, recruit or train army units, trade resources, wage battle against other states to expand your borders, win support from your people. [Shop]
Xi Cards (unknown); Xi Cards; 2; 15; 5+
Collectible card game set in medieval China. Four factions and two ancient powers are on offer. [Shop]
Dragons and Tigers of Three Kingdoms Tenshinroushi; Game Journal; 2; 120
The Three Kingdoms period that followed the decline of the Han Dynasty and described in the epic Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Each player controls a country and two allies. Employs the "Warring states" system from Game Journal #28. [Shop]
New Imperialism in China Wei-Cheng Cheng; Formosa Force Games; 2-7; 180
This is Diplomacy in the foreign enclaves in China in the period 1900-1911. Players are Qing Dynasty, Japan, United States, British Empire, France, Netherlands or Russia. [Shop]
San Guo Sha: Kingdom Wars KayaK; YOKA Games 2-12; 30; 8+
In this variant of San Guo Sha (Killers of the Three Kingdoms) players each choose two heroes and have double the abilities. They now team up and ally against one another based on the factions of their heroes. The Three Kingdoms period that followed the decline of the Han Dynasty and described in the epic Romance of the Three Kingdoms. [Shop]
East Asia: Tang Dynasty and Korea Liuzhenhui; (web-published); 2-5; 20
In the medieval period players take on one of the following roles: Tang Dynasty, Japan, Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla (the latter three comprising areas of modern Korea). There are just 21 counters. Players must unite against the Tang Dynasty
The 1911 Revolution of China Jog Kong; TwoPlus Games; 2; 40; 6+
The Battle of Yangxia after the Wuchang Uprising during the Xinhai Revolution of 1911. Covers the 40 days from late October to December 1. Map shows Wuchang, Hankou and Hanyang (in Wuhan). [Shop]
The Chinese Civil War of 1930 Jog Kong; TwoPlus Games; 2-5; 6+
Simulating the seven-month civil war, there are three anti-Chiang forces and two that are friendly to the government. Players must protect their base camps, army and funds, for if they are lost they are out of the game. A project of the Taiwan e-Learning and Digital Archives National research Program, presided by Academy Sinica in Taiwan. [Shop]
Growling Tigers Under Siege: Defense of Changde 1943 Wei-Cheng Cheng; Formosa Force Games; 2
The World War II battle of Changde, November 18 to December 3, 1943, between Japan and China. Each hex represents one kilometer and each turn two days. [Shop]
Yalu: The Chinese Counteroffensive in Korea: November 1950 - May 1951 John Hill; Compass Games; 2; 300
The 1950 Chinese counteroffensive in the Korean War. Division-sized, 10 miles per hex, weekly turns. Weather plays an important role, as do each side's differing rules of engagement. This is a remake of the GDW's Yalu (1977). [Shop]
Zhi Ji Zhi Bi Jean-Michel Urien; Editions BoUriCot Games; 4; 10
Card game identifying and eliminating enemies. Players are each secretly on either the Red or Blue team. On a turn they play a card to either hit someone for various numbers of points, heal someone, protect someone or identify someone. [Shop]
Battle for China Ty Bomba, Terence Co, Earl Dixon & Brian Train; Decision Games; 2-3; 240
The invasion of China by Japan, 1937-41. With a third player the Chinese forced are divided between two players. The map depicts areas; units are brigades, divisions, corps, armies, air, armor and artillery. Special rules include KMT factionalism, anti-guerrilla operations, Japanese puppet forces, truces, foreign support and intervention, peasant revolts, atrocities, desertions and defections, famine, disease, off-map border clashes with the Soviets, united fronts, the Burma Road, the Indo-China railway, US lend-lease, the broader war in the Pacific, floods, amphibious assaults, fortification, cadres, shifting initiative. [Shop]
Dynasties & Kingdoms Lloyd Krassner; Warp Spawn Games; 2-6
In the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period c. 907-960 players score points by controlling provinces and via events. Play includes a map showing twenty-three provinces, a standard set of cards, dice and some tokens. Events occur via lookup table; battles are resolved by forming Poker hands.
Greater East Asia War Ty Bomba & Joseph Miranda; Decision Games; 2; 360
This World War II simulation has a map that extends from Korea and Manchuria to Indonesia, the Ganges and Mongolia. Each turn represents three months. Players being with a number of victory points which they spend to gain reinforcements and execute actions. Taking objectives gains VPs while losing units loses them. The three scenarios can be completed in six hours. [Shop]
The Long March Jay Long; Heat of Battle; 2; 120
Seventeen scenarios on the struggle between the Communist and Nationalist forces in the period 1931 and 1937 plus a campaign game linking fourteen of the scenarios to represent the entire struggle. [Shop]
The Scramble for China Nicholas Coelho; RNR Studios; 2; 45; 8+
The Taiping Rebellion of the the mid-19th century. The primary mechanism is card play; cards come in both the action and event variety. Activities include recruiting armies (represented by color blocks), form units and attacking. The West is a non-player represented by special rules, which may nevertheless win the game. There are 58 cards and 112 blocks. [Shop]
China: The Middle Kingdom Tani Chen; Decision Games; 4
This Britannia-style game covers Chinese history from the earliest Warring States to the modern cold war. Each player controls various nations from different eras, each country having its own objectives. Planned are 400 army pieces which are used in 24 game turns, each a century long, starting from 403 BC. Important aspects impinging on play are mountains, emperors, heroes, new inventions, rebellions, barbarian invasions, diplomacy and the Great Wall. Growth of each nation depends on the amount and nature of the territory it owns. [Shop] B
Protector of the Empire Pete Belli; (unpublished) 3-5; 120
Conquest, diplomacy, civilization building, and treachery in Japan, Korea, and China from the collapse of the Han Dynasty to c. 1500. The map depicts areas used for movement. Features include armies, fleets, temples, monuments, cities, independent kingdoms, and tribute collections.
San Guo Sha (aka Killers of the Three Kingdoms, Legends of the Three Kingdoms) KayaK; YOKA Games 2-10; 30; 8+
This takeoff from Bang! uses legendary characters described in the epic Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which is set in the Three Kingdoms period that followed the decline of the Han Dynasty. [Shop]
Storm Over Taierzhuang Terence Co; Against the Odds/Firefight Games/LPS; 2; 120
The Nationalist Chinese and Japanese fight the Battle of Taierzhuang from March 25 to April 6, 1938. This battle is said to resemble the more famous one in Stalingrad and that battle's General Chuikov studied it; he was an advisor to Chiang Kai-Shek in 1940. Uses a modified Storm Over Arnhem/Stalingrad system plus the concepts of initiative, random events and tactical chit play. [Shop]
Warring States Lloyd Krassner; Warp Spawn Games; 2-7
Card game of domination using event, resource and battle generals. Other players have the ability to play cards to affect conflicts in which they are not involved.
Storm over the Taiwan Strait Yang Nanzheng; Oriental Flagship (BEIJING) International Technology; 2; 180
The topic of this Chinese game is a future PRC invasion of the RoC on Taiwan. Includes 125 counters, a foamboard-mounted map with a hexagonal grid superimposed on a satellite photo of Taiwan and a sliding CRT. Said to be based on Ty Bomba's When Dragons Fight. Dice are not used. Instead, there is a "slide rule" chart and each player picks a number from 1-10 and which are input to the chart to generate a random number. [Shop]
Days of Decision III Harry Rowlands; Australian Design Group
Pre-World War II
The Romance of the Three Kingdoms Jaehyun Cho; History & Fun; 2-3
Players use dice and tactics cards to try to conquer one another. B
War Jhong Lloyd Krassner; Warp Spawn Games; 2-4
Web-published game of getting rid of your cards features three suits: Infantry, Archers, and Cavalry. Each contains twenty-seven cards numbered one to nine. There are also two unnumbered Honor Suits, Junks, Forts, and two Special Suits, Generals and Tactics. General Cards may be discarded for victory points and Tactics cards are wild cards. [Shop]
Three Kingdoms Combined Arms Lloyd Krassner; Warp Spawn Games; 2-4
The Three Kingdoms period that followed the decline of the Han Dynasty and described in the epic Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Played on a 12x12 grid with cities, forests and mountains indicated, there are no cards or dice. Each player controls a 5x5 corner of the board. Unit types include General, Armored Cavalry, Infantry, Archers, Rockets, Shock Troops, and Horse Archers. Each unit is rated for movement, attack range, and defense. Win by destroying all enemy Generals or occupying all cities.
Chinese Warlords Lloyd Krassner; Warp Spawn Games; 2
During the chaotic warlords period of the 1920s, players represent a warlord controlling strongholds, peasants, thugs and bodyguards. Activities include collecting income and recruiting additional forces such as lieutenants, machine guns, artillery, armor, and boats. Played with counters on a hex map. B
Land War in Asia Lloyd Krassner; Warp Spawn Games; 2-6
In Ancient China players take control of kingdoms: Chou, Ch'in, Han, Hsiung-Nu, Korean or Central Asian. The object is to capture all territories and eliminate all opposing units. Includes an area movement map of China, Action Cards, and unit counters. A module in the Warp Empires system.
Red Guard Brian Train; Schutze Games
In the Cultural Revolution up to 6 players struggle to control key sites. Will your faction be ready to assume power when the great leader departs for the workers paradise? Or will you be able to exert your dominance even before the tragic event? Includes 36 tiles create the map, 216 die-cut counters, rulebook and player aid sheet. B
Three Kingdoms in Ancient China Tenshinroushi; Game Journal; 2, 5-7; 250
Set in the Three Kingdoms period that followed the decline of the Han Dynasty and described in the epic Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Two Japanese games are included. "Five Tigers in Three Kingdoms Age 2", a new edition of "Five Tigers in Three Kingdoms Age" which was published as one of the SS series by Sho-Kikaku in 1990, consists of 164 pieces, a 59x42 cm map showing China and six pages of rules. "Challenges of Kung-Ming Against the North" has 88 pieces, a 59x42 cm map and 8 pages of rules and covers battles between Shu and Wei in in the period 223-234. This one is two-player only. [Shop]
Jade and Steel Avalanche Press
Supplement for the d20 system covering Han China. Prestige classes include Dim Mak Practitioner, Sword Saint, Alchemist, Diviner, Geometer and Iron Hand Disciple. Nine new feats, plus many other uniquely Chinese elements are also presented, as is an adventure for heroes of level 11 to 14 involving an evil plot to kidnap the Princess Kim Nan and destroy her family. B
More Battle for China Brian Train; (self-published)
Expansion kit for Battle for China covers the period from 1942 to 1945, and on into the 1945-49 Civil War period.
Weisse Lotus, Der Martin Wallace; TM-Spiele
[The White Lotus] refers to a notorious medieval secret organization feared by Chinese rulers throughout the centuries. Players build alliances and break them at the right moment in order to build new alliances with someone else, moving in the "mine field" between Emperor and Rebel leader. Tiles represent Rice Paddies, Villages, Temples, Forts and a Palace. Possession of the most Palaces determines the Emperor.
Battle for China Brian Train; Microgame Design Group
On various wars in China that were fought from 1937 to 1949.
[Review] (Web-Grognards) B
Dragon Dynasty Collectible Card Game Romancing Cathay; 2-6
Romance of the Three Kingdoms Card Game Christ Woo, Solomon Au Yeung and Fritz Pang; Romancing Cathay; 2-6
Card game in which players use cards to conduct wars against one another. B
War of Resistance designed Mark Royer & John Astell for Games Research/Design (GR/D), 1998
Operational game simulating battles between Japanese and Chinese forces in China 1937-1941. There are two campaign and four smaller scenarios. B
Siege of Hong Kong Michael Gilbert; Microgame Co-op
Japanese invasion.
Sun Never Sets, The Decision Games
The "March to Peking" module simulates the 1860 Anglo-French force dispatched to force the Manchu emperor to open up trade. B
Shadowfist Daedalus Entertainment/Z-man
Collectible card game of martial arts. B
Colonial Diplomacy Avalon Hill
Military game. B
Days of Decision II Harry Rowlands; Australian Design Group
Pre-World War II
A major remake addressing many problems. Instead of a track the minor powers are on a large hex grid, as are the major powers which may also decide to move between the regions of capitalism, marxism, dictatorship or neutrality (the last of which seems a rather dubious possibility). There are now an almost amazing number of actions to consider and the previous three-hour game has become much longer, leading some to name it "Months of Decisions". Abstract combat has been improved. The issue of the card production is completely changed now that many options are made generic and thus re-usable. Now also designed to be continuously playable even after the war breaks out. Unfortunately, no longer has any victory conditions as now it is required to resolve the game using World in Flames. Must be considered an improvement to the first edition, but now the very much wider set of options almost makes it better as a play-by-email game so that there is more time to consider what one wants to do. Also more difficult to reconstruct as history since many of the activities are of the more minor sort (trade agreements, etc.) that do not really register in the major writing about the period. Amidst all this complication and genericization, some of the sense of fun may be ineffably lost. It is more difficult with this edition to tell a story afterward in real life terms of what happened. Also, rules are problematic in many ways and endlessly revised by errata. Box is identical to the first edition, so let buyer be sure what they are buying. B
When Tigers Fight Dean Webb; XTR Corp
Strategic level game of battles fought on the Chinese front during the latter stages of World War 2. Map covers most of mainland China and some of Burma. Included in issue 26 of Command magazine. B
Columbus Mark D. McLaughlin; Task Force Games
Wargame about the European exploration and colonization of the world in the 15th and 16th centuries. This game is more drenched in flavor than map and a wonderful set of event cards that seem to cover just about every dimension of the period. Happily, the underlying game system is also quite impressive with plenty of opportunity for strategy and negotiation as well as an appropriate level of chaos. Even unexpected areas of the world are included such as Asia and the Antipodes. Players may even take on the roles of Russia and Turkey and colonize overland. The very successful Viceroys Expansion: Columbus, published in 1992 (naturally) even adds China as a power. In this game points are given not just for ending colonies, but also for discoveries made. B
China Steve Jackson Games
Supplement for the role-playing game GURPS. B
History of the World Avalon Hill
Most of the largest empires in the Seven Ages of Man sweep across the earth to score points. Although it has its unrealities and omissions, who can ignore such a grand sweep of all our yesterdays? Later Hasbro edition adds plastic pieces to the excitement of many which is fine, but if one has a good imagination and understanding of history, do they really do anything but detract? Rules modifications in that edition include awarding new empires in strict reverse VP order, probably having the overall effect of leveling playing skill differences and lessening long-term strategy. A time-saving rule making both sides lose in case of ties gives an advantage to the active player. Introduced to counter this are other new rules such as increased dice for the defender when using forts and over seas and straits. Curiously forests and mountains are not correspondingly strengthened . players of the original game should adjust accordingly. The attempt to balance the event cards by classifying them as greater or lesser fails miserably as it has not been correctly realized that no card works in isolation, but always change in value depending on the context of the major empires and board situation with which they are used. [Ragnar Brothers] Another website has created an interesting-looking variant which includes more nations. [Millennial scenario] [background] [playback] A B
Honour Alone: Hong Kong 1941 Brian Knipple; Pacific Rim
Can the Hong Kong garrison delay the Japanese long enough to help efforts at Rangoon and Singapore? B
Days of Decision Harry Rowlands; Australian Design Group
Pre-World War II
Multi-player wargame on the era prior to World War II, beginning at the German re-occupation of the Rheinland and continuing to the outbreak of war. Playable as a setup system for the complementary World in Flames or standalone. Players each hold a number of cards which represent historical or might-have-been-taken actions. These actions affect industrial production; ability to play future action; and minors, whose current attitude toward the major powers is reflected by their position on a track. Players use production to build resolvable via an abstract combat system. A fascinating idea, especially because many interested in re-fighting World War II often fault Germany for starting the war when it did, preferring for example a greater prior naval or air build-up. The game mechanics are very well-conceived as well and even show influence of the elegance of the German-style games. Unfortunately the ideas did not go far enough to achieve good realism. There should be more options available. Minors should not shift between just Axis and Allies in a binary way, but in fact between all major powers, especially since the Soviet Union was not close at all with the Western Allies in this period. And the abstract combat system needed much more development. This was particularly evident in Japan-China conflicts where, because all of a nation's military got lumped together, Japan could in effect use its large navy to win a major land war in China. Some skimping was done on physical components as well as cards were printed on large sheets using both sides. The game would have worked much better if each card had been printed separately. This would permit players to immediately see which was available for current play, which already played and which not yet available. (It's worth it to make your own photocopies to achieve this yourself.) Rules have a fair amount of errata/need quite a bit of clarification. B
Manchu Richard Berg; 3W
Taiping rebellion of 1850-68 B
Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms Wargames Club
Published in Chinese in Hong Kong, this game comes in a box, with 520 full color counters, a paper area map of China, 13 pages of rules and 69 cards, mostly event cards, some probably province ownership cards. B
Warlords - China in Disarray, 1927-1945 Panther
Diplomatic wargame for up to seven. The influence of Diplomacy and its area movement and combat is plain. This basic system is supplemented Each faction has some special ability as well and combat includes dice. Players keep track of their statuses in secret on paper and the game depends on no errors being made, whether intentional or unintentional. Four different historical scenarios are included, some of which seem unbalanced as well as limited in strategy, but in any case, negotiation rules. B
China Incident, The 3W
Military game. B
China-Vietnam War Wargames Research Centre Limited; 2
Concerns the war of 1979. There is no CRT – combat is card driven. B
Passage to Cathay David F. Nalle; Ragnarok Enterprises
Trade, piracy and warfare for up to six players on a 17x33" map. B
Pax Britannica Greg Costikyan; Victory Games
Wargame about late nineteenth century imperialism for up to eight players. Players expand into the less-industrialized areas of the world seeking to enhance their status and profitability, meanwhile attempting to avoid starting World War I. A very different and It is difficult to get this many players together for such a long period, but if it is managed, the experience is quite satisfying. Despite this, there are a few quibbles. The original rules need a lot of help and the rewritten rules that are out on the web are indispensable. Also, the simultaneous placement phase with players racing in real time to accomplish things is really a bad idea in retrospect. It would be much better to have players go around the table placing markers one a time with each player able to see what the others have done. In a website, the author admits that he got the plural of the Latin term casus belli wrong; he apparently has not yet noticed that he also got the word "codominion" wrong – it should be "condominium". On the other hand, not many rule sets try to do anything interesting with language in the first place. B
Siege At Peking Dan Campagna; 3W
Boxer rebellion.
Published in Strategy and Tactics, issue 21, Jul/Aug 1982. 5 pages of rules and a large map. B
China War, The SPI
Simulates a hypothetical Soviet invasion of the PRC in the 60s or 70s.
[Review] B
Warring States: the Unification of China 231-221 B.C. Stephen Newberg; Simulations Canada
Played on a hex map portraying the kingdoms of the Chin, Chu, Yen, Chi, Chao, Wei, and Han. It incorporates productivity based on agriculture, assassination of leaders, and the political differences between core and frontier kingdoms. The two player version is the Chin versus the other 6 kingdoms. There are also multiplayer rules. This was a period of semi-legendary wandering advisors, who sold their services to local princes. The advisors are present on the map as counters, move in diagonal lines and ricochet off province boundaries. The counters are rather hard to distinguish. The printer's palate consisted of gray, yellow-gray, yellow and white. Includes map, 12-page rules booklet and 200 counters. (Thanks to Larry Marak for the description.) B
Chinese Civil War 3W
Simulation of the period 1946-1950. B
Golden Horde Excalibre
Two-player wargame about the Mongol expansion of the thirteenth century. Very simplistic and drab presentation. Units are labeled only for speed and combat effectiveness. Mongol forces wander the map destroying enemy nations, who cannot leave their home countries. Unusual topic is the only thing recommending this one, but even then anyone who has read a good book on the topic can probably invent something more interesting. B
Yalu: The Chinese Counteroffensive in Korea: November 1950 - May 1951 John Hill; GDW; 2; 180
The 1950 Chinese counteroffensive in the Korean War. Division-sized, 10 miles per hex, weekly turns. Weather plays an important role, as do each side's differing rules of engagement. [Shop]
Mukden David C. Isby; SPI
Hypothetical Cold War conflict between Russia and China near the city of Mukden. B
East is Red, The SPI
Simulates a hypothetical war between Soviet Russia and the People's Republic of China in the 1970's.
[Review] B
Emperor of China Dynamic Design
Multi-player wargame depicts the uniting of China in the ancient Warring States era prior to the Qin dynasty. Combat is achieved via simple dice rolling rules. As the game only ends when one player controls fifteen out of the twenty-one provinces of China, players will be eliminated along the way. An interesting though vague rule provides that the losers join the victor. Although there are some other vague rules as well, does provide some interest and possibilities for strategy and negotiation. Unfortunately the event cards wield an undue influence on matters, not so much the negative Yin cards, but the positive Yang cards, which are not well balanced. Would probably make for a fairer game if all of the fields, mines and cities were set up before the game starts and the crossing cards were all dealt out to the players ahead of time. Not particularly historical apart from the geography. Players should decide in advance whether there are mountains along the border between Honan and Shensi. There is some ambiguity in the rules as well.
[Summary] [Review/Disquisition] (Web-Grognard) B
Dynasty Onoma Publications
Politics, diplomacy and military power. B
Flying Tigers Lou Zocchi; Gamescience
World War II air combat in China vs. the Japanese air force. B
Lai Shai Karco; 2; 30
Chess-like game played on a 10x10 grid divided by a "Chinese wall", each player controls 1 Emperor, 1 Empress, 3 Princes, 5 Guards, and 5 Archers. Each turn each player rolls the dice. In mechanism later adopted by Victory Games' The Civil War, the difference between results determines the number of moves each may make. Archers can be promoted to Princes upon reaching the enemy home row. Guards can reverse direction only after they have crossed the wall; it too may be promoted. To win, capture both the Emperor and Empress, or score the most points in the event of stalemate. [Shop]
Campaigns of the Mongolians Simulations Canada
Military game. B
Colonial Campaigns: Boxer Rebellion Larry V. Brom; Sergeants 3; 2-4; 120
Miniatures rules for the Boxer Rebellion, including Germans, British, French, Porugese, and Russians. [Shop]
Feng Shui Daedalus Entertainment

A collectible card game.
Heaven's Mandate: the Reunification of China Cole Wehrle; (self-published); 1-7; 60
Set in the Three Kingdoms period that followed the decline of the Han Dynasty and described in the epic Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Each player is trying to re-unify the Middle Kingdom or build up a great economic and cultural state. Currently exists only as a few prototypes.
Jungle A traditional Chinese board game which is probably the precursor to Stratego. Also known as Animal Chess.
[Rules] (Game Cabinet) B
Shuó Míng Although the ostensible theme is launching and landing aircraft, this is essentially yet another version of Pachisi. A little extra strategy is added by the addition of special movement between spaces of the same color. [Rules] (this site)

Do you know of any more that I should add?

Further Reading
Society Games Set in China (updated 2013)

Spotlight on Games > War Games > Ludographies