Siberia: China vs. Russia Video Game

A simulation of a modern war between Russia and China in Eastern Siberia

Watch a demo.

Russia China War Scenario

This game simulates a war between China and Russia in Eastern Siberia. A Chinese invasion of Siberia is a fairly common scenario for post Cold War war games for obvious reasons. Siberia is endowed with the natural resources China needs. Russia is much weaker than it was before the collapse of the Soviet Union. China’s military and economic might continues to grow. Russia’s population is shrinking, and ethnic Russians are moving away from Siberia. A rich, empty Siberia would be an awfully tempting target for an expansionist China.

Of course, there are some pretty good reasons for China not to invade Siberia:

1) The Russians are happy (some would argue desperate) to sell Siberian natural resources to China

2) The Chinese are actually not that interested in moving to Siberia

3) Russia has 10x more nuclear ICBMs than China.

4) Invading an area as big as Siberia would be a major logistical challenge for the Chinese military. The US Army can barely handle a country the size of Afghanistan with over 2,000 transport helicopters. The Chinese would have to make due with about 400

5) It is not clear that China could even win a conventional war with Russia. Russia has a well-equipped army run by veterans of recent wars. China has not engaged in major combat operations since 1979. Russian paratroopers and Spetsnaz forces would probably inflict some embarrassing defeats on green Chinese troops early in the war. It would also take a while for the PLA Air Force to overcome Russia’s formidable air defenses, so air superiority would not be guaranteed. Since most of Russia’s population lives West of the Ural Mountains, and the Russian economy relies on energy exports to Europe, the Russians could continue fighting the Chinese indefinitely. Finally, the Russians have enough modern submarines, hackers and precision munitions to inflict some real damage on the Chinese economy. China would need to reserve a significant amount of air and naval resources to protect civilian infrastructure and shipping. To win, China would need to commit itself to a long, bloody and expensive war.

6) Global warming helps Russia. Capturing Siberia looks simple on its surface. A quick thrust north would cut Russia’s rail and road access to the Far East. The Chinese could then simply wait for isolated Russian garrisons to surrender. Unfortunately for China, melting polar ice caps give Russia a back door to the Far East. Russia’s Northern Sea Route is becoming a viable alternative to the Suez Canal for commercial shipping. In a few years, Russia could rely on commercial arctic shipping to resupply troops that are cut off by Chinese ground forces. This could help Russian forces maintain garrisons in Vladivostok and other coastal cities indefinitely. Ice free Arctic shipping lanes could also help open a Northern front. Russia recently completed a highway linking the Northern Siberian city of Yakuts to the Amur River basin. The Russians could move troops and supplies through the Arctic Ocean and down the Lena River to Yakuts, and threaten Chinese occupation forces from the North.

7) China’s enemies are Russia’s friends. The US, India and Japan would definitely not want China to annex Siberia. Between these three countries, Russia would have more than enough military aid, intelligence and financial support.

Nevertheless, China may feel that it has to invade Siberia at some point in the near future. Right now, Russia and China get along because neither country is a democracy or an ally of the United States. If Russia transitioned to a democracy, China would suddenly have real problems with its northern neighbor. A Russia with an elected government, free press and impartial judiciary is a Russia that can join the European Union and NATO. China would start to view Russia the same way that present day Russia views post Maidan Ukraine: as a potential tool of the West. Sharing a border with a US ally is just as unpalatable to the Chinese today as it was to Mao during the Korean War (this is why China continues to prop up North Korea). Invading Siberia to create a buffer state would start to look like an appealing option. Creating a frozen conflict that could keep Russia out of the EU and NATO would be an added bonus.

Unique Game Features

Each game now starts with a completely random hand of cards. This should provide more variability and variety to the game. There are also big changes to the scenario editor. You can now upload your own maps and add or delete land hexes. You can also set your own victory point levels. You can basically use the game editor to create a completely new game. Good news for modders.