Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Special Debrief from the Plymouth Show - Saturday 31 January 2009

Here are some photos that I took during the Plymouth Wargames Show on Saturday.
There were some pretty nice looking games put on. Whilst this report will concentrate on the Boxer Rebellion scenario, it would be remiss not to add that the Club had a second participation game running throughout the day in the form of Mick's 'Night of the Living Dead' (for new visitors to the Blog, take a look at posts for November when the Zombies started feasting at the Club). As always, a popular game that saw four out of five planned games completed and another Club wanting to paint up their own version - proof, if ever you needed it, that Zombies can be rather infectious. Indeed, we could probably have done with the Zombies on the Boxer table; Boxers breach compound wall - Boxers get eaten.....

The Boxer Rebellion took place in China during the summer of 1900 when long running tensions between the Chinese people and the foreign powers who had wide ranging powers and influence in the country spilled over into open war. This popular uprising was led by the secret Chinese society called the Righteous Harmonious Fists - or 'Boxers' to the Westerners. The Empress of China committed the large if antiquated Imperial Chinese Army to support the Boxers. The massacre of all foreigners and those Chinese who supported the 'foreign devils' in China had become a very real possibility.

A rapid and extraordinary alliance of necessity was formed by the competing Austro-Hungarians, French, Germans, British, Italians, Japanese, Russians and Americans who all had troops (but, alas, no Zombies) in China to defend their own interests.

The war lasted over a year and saw the Allies, initially caught on the back foot and besieged in the Peking Legations, eventually regaining the upper hand and, in the process, leaving thousands dead, the Boxers defeated, the Imperial Army humiliated and the Empress of China forced to flee Peking.

A punitive peace treaty was imposed on the Chinese who then began a series of reforms that, by the end of a turbulent and bloody 20th Century, has seen this sleeping dragon become the global industrial, political and military power she is today.

The scenario was played using the fast moving and frustratingly exciting (how many times in a row can you draw a Red from a pack of playing cards?) rules by Matakishi, 'The Natives are Restless Tonight' :

Allied troops have occupied a compound en route to Peking. The Boxers intend to destroy the Foreign Devils and launch a series of assaults on the position.

The Allies have no-where to run and so loophole the walls and prepare to defend themselves (British marines on the left and French sailors on the right).

Left: Austro-Hungarian sailors race to reach the compound as the Boxers approach.
Right: 'Betsy the International Gun' - shouldn't she be in Peking?

Left: Boxers storm the wall and are met by Russian sailors.
Right: The Allies fight back to back against a ferocious Boxer onslaught.

Overwhelming numbers, bravery, swords, spears and halbards against breech loading rifles in the hands of well led, professional troops - the outcome can still go either way....


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