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Subject: Manchu: A short review rss

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June Hwang Wah
Singapore
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(Cross-posted from my website)

Overview

Manchu is a strategic level game of the Taiping Rebellion in China, which occurred from 1850 to 1868.

The game is played in yearly turns. Each yearly turn comprises of a random event roll (called Interesting Times Roll) to determine what random events, if any, occurred during the year. Random events include the appearance of bandits, river pirates and cannons, desertion of troops, plagues, famines, and even the diversion of the course of the Yellow River!

The player turn proper consists of a variable number of segments where players conduct operations ranging from recruitment to movement and combat. During each segment, players may move once stack of units, and then roll the die to determine if the segment ends, or he can continue to move another stack of units. Units may move more than once per turn, but are subject to attriction if they do so.

Units are generic "manpower steps", with different unit types having different strength points, ranging from 1sp per step for chinese banner troops to 5 for mongolian cavalry. Most other units lie somewhere in between, with the Taiping rebels having the better units.

The game revolves around the control of various provinces of China in 1850's. The aim of the Taiping player is to overthrow the Manchu dynasty while the Manchu player tries to survive without ceding too much control to the provincial warlords.

Comments

A simplistic game that somehow captures the feel of warfare in China at that period. Troops were mere numbers that did not have any semblance to the organisation of modern military units. Battles hinge on commanders and other external factors as much as the numbers and (to a lesser extent) quality of the troops involved. The manpower step system and the combat system captures this rather well.

Other rules like the interesting times table, western troops add chrome to the game.

Overall an interesting little game that I would find the time to play again.
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Richard H. Berg
United States
South Carolina
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Thank you for the nice comments on MANCHU, one of thsoe games one assumes has been forgotten in the mists of time. I see that the fact that the graphics team somehow left out the hexsides in the rivers - done for "artistic" purposes, but making it a bit difficult to trace river movement - wasn't that much of a barrier.

Although the situation is much better these days, there is not that much hard information abouyt Chinese military events of this era (or any other, for that matter) in English. And The Taiping Rebellion is one of the major historical events almost totally unknown in, and ignored by, the West.


MANCHU is one of the games that I would like to re-do - probably will some day . . . and there is some important errata for the version reviewed here, somethign to do with the recruitment Tables . . . I['ve got a copy of it somewhere (somewhere being rather mysterious, as i just moved, and that means "it's in some box" . . . )

I also like the "cover" assigned to the game . . . as it is from the Flashman novel on the rebellion.

RHB
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Kenneth Baggaley
United States
Hamilton
New Jersey
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I would LOVE to see a redo of this game! laugh
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Takashi Ishida
Japan
Abiko
Chiba Prefecture
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I like this game.
But, in my honest opinion, Druid which have similar system is better and probably so far the best among sequals (another game which have similar system is 13 the colonies in revolt).
I'd like to see the redo of this game. If this game catches up the current game design's advancement, it might be better than old one and even than Druid.

 
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Stephen Rynerson
United States
Denver
Colorado
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kbtyger wrote:

I would LOVE to see a redo of this game! laugh


+1 Ever since reading the book God's Chinese Son by Jonathan Spence, I've thought that the Taiping Rebellion would be a great subject for a strategy game. However, this one seems to be the only one that was ever produced and only in the limited context of S&T. soblue
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