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The Battle of Changde 1943 is one of the most bloodiest battles in the Second Sino Japanese war 1937-1945. It was one of the 1939-1945 major battles in Hunan as the Japanese tried to keep up the pressure on the Kuomintang(KMT) to keep them from recovering and on the defensive while the Japanese were busy trying to fend of the US forces in the Pacific.

This 15 day battle for the city cost the the Chinese 7,700 dead(out of the 8000 original defenders) and the Japanese 4000 dead(out of 20,000 men). The Chinese held but at a terrible cost. The Japanese were forced to retreat since the Chinese attacked with massive reinforcements(4 KMT XXs with around 27,000 men) to avoid being encircled and destroyed. This battle also saw large scale use of chemical weapons by the Japanese who were desperate to end the siege.

The GAME:

The game has excellent production values, 90 glossy well made die cut counters with excellent full color art, glossy map. The magazine itself is excellent with excellent art, production values etc.

The english rules is excellent with a good summary of the battle along with an excellent order of battle.

The game has 8 turns(each turn two days). Stacking is done via steps with a maximum of 4 steps per hex. This means that most of the time, only one inf. unit can stack on a hex except for the few artillery units which have low step levels. Stacking also applies at all times including movement and retreats. ZOCs are preety average with the exception that a unit can move from ZOC to ZOC but have to stop and have to pay an extra MP to go into a ZOC.

At the start of each game turn, an initiative dice is thrown to see who gets to play the first command chit to activate units(Japanese have init on the first turn).

The player who in phase plays a command chit to activate units of a certain XX(division). First stage: Barrage, the phasing player gets to use activated ranged artillery to pound enemy units. Next activated units get to move. Then activated units do regular combat. and lastly activated units who did not attack or do barrage in the same turn get to move again at half their MP.

Both players then alterate playing command chits until both sides pass. Then its off to the supply phase where both players heal their units, remove disorganized counters, do supply checks & check for victory conditions. Then after this is done. The turn marker is advanced to the next turn.

Supply is more important in the game as supply points can heal combat losses, keep your heavy artillery firing and can remove those pesky disorganized counters(in the case of being surrounded). Supply points are garnered mainly by air drops from the KMT side and a conditional 1 supply point increase per turn for the Japanese side(if all the XXs are in supply). Regular supply is traced from roads to supply centers at the edges of the map for both sides. If one unit in a XX is supplied, then all units in that XX is considered supplied. A XX that is unsupplied by the supply phase must incur a step loss to one of its units.

Also intermixed is the use of tactical chits which enahance combat or have special abilities.

CONCLUSION: I find this game excellent not only for the production values but ease and flow of play. Both sides are under pressure in this game. More so the Chinese as they have to survive the Japanese onslaught while waiting for reinforcements to save the day. The Japanese are under pressure to capture Changde and win before major Chinese reinforcements come in. The Japanese win by capturing all of Changde within 8 turns. The Chinese wins by preventing this. If the Japananese control Changde within turns 1-8 then they win automatically, if the Chinese gets even one reinforcement unit into Changde then the Chinese auto win.

So while the Japanese are militariily strong, they have more tactical chits, have some good command capabilities and coordination they are outnumbered by the total Chinese forces and have to watch their backs for Chinese reinforcements while at the same time trying to win at their front. Very tense for both sides but the most substantial pressure is on the Chinese as they get desperate in trying to surivive. I found that with the original rules, it can be difficult for the Chinese to win but optional rules make the game more even for the Chinese.

While the onus of attack is on the Japanese, they have to plan out their attacks carefully in conjunction with their artillery and use of tactical chits. A Japanese player always ont he offensive and taking risks and in a hurry will net a lot of Japanese losses that he is ill afforded since the massive Chinese reinforcments will surely finish him off while the Chinese defenders of Changde are still mainly intact and resolute.

The Chinese onus is at defense but they may have to know when to counterattack to take advantage of destroying Japanese units at the first opportunity and when to conduct a retreat to better defensible areas. A Chinese player attacking the Japanese head on even with reinforcements is tantamount to suicide.

It is advised for both players to try to cut off the other sides supply lines first as it gives the Japanese a lot of headaches as they start losing units.

In short, I love this game, easy to play, within a few hours but still very tense with some innovative mechanics. VERY HIGHLY RECOMENDED.
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Aaron Silverman
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Gangrel wrote:
This 15 day battle for the city cost the the Chinese 7,700 dead(out of the 8000 original defenders) and the Japanese 4000 dead(out of 20,000 men). The Chinese held but at a terrible cost. The Japanese were forced to retreat since the Chinese attacked with massive reinforcements(4 KMT XXs with around 27,000 men) to avoid being encircled and destroyed.


Sounds like they were a little late for that!
 
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Terence Co
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Yes they almost were. The Chinese reinforcements came preety much too late but enough to force the Japanese to retreat or get destroyed.
 
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