The Second Sino-Japanese War Video Game

Watch a demo.


A strategic level video game about the China Burma India theater of the Second World War.

This game simulates the Second World War in China, India, Burma and the Western Pacific. The game starts in Early 1942, after Japan has captured most of South East Asia. At this point in the war, Japan has captured Burma and cut off China’s access to the Burma Road. America has entered the war, but is still recovering from the attack on Pearl Harbor and the loss of forward bases in the Philippines and Guam. The game attempts to simulate Allied efforts to keep China fighting and in the war. China tied down huge numbers of Japanese troops at a very dangerous time for the Allies. Had China dropped out of the war before 1943, large numbers of Japanese troops would have been available to invade India, Australia or Russia. With 14 million dead, the Chinese paid an enormous price, and they do not get enough credit for the contributions they made to the Allied war effort. You play as the Allies (mainly China + the US + the British Commonwealth), and you must keep the Japanese from capturing China’s capital.

Unique game features:

No supply heads in China: friendly hexes in China start out out of supply. This simulates the fact that the Japanese had cut off all of China’s land and sea routes to the West. With the fall of Burma, the Allies could only send aid to China via cargo aircraft. Most US cargo flown into China went to support air operations. Consequently, Chinese forces received few of the US trucks that provided mobility for British and Soviet forces. At the time, China did not have a domestic auto industry or many all weather roads, so Chinese forces basically had to walk everywhere. Japan also controlled China’s coastal waters and major rivers, which were China’s major transport conduits. This lack of strategic mobility made staging large attacks difficult, and kept the numerically superior Chinese army on the defensive for most of the war. For this reason, Chinese territory starts out out of supply at the beginning of the game, and China is unable to launch ground attacks.

In the game, you will find that this is less of a drawback than it might seem. As the war dragged on, Chinese troops became pretty good on defense. Even without mechanization, the Chinese managed to fight the Japanese to a standstill during the early 1940s. Blocking an enemy ground assault card only requires ARMY resources, which are fairly common. If the Japanese get too close to the enemy objective hex/China’s capital, just play the MOVE CAPITAL card and move the objective hex. During the war, the Nationalists moved their capital several times.

Indian independence: despite growing calls for independence, Indian troops fought bravely and well for the Allies through the end of the Second World War. Most Indians understood that independence would be meaningless in a world dominated by the Axis powers. However, America’s entry into the war virtually eliminated the prospect of an Axis victory. As the threat of a Japanese invasion receded, some Indians started to push for independence. By August of 1942, Gandhi had organized the non-violent QUIT INDIA movement. This civil disobedience campaign did not get very far, and India remained part of the British Empire until the end of the war. Early Indian independence would have had major implications for the Allied war effort in China. Indian air bases provided the last supply link to forces fighting in China. If India became independent AND neutral, the US would have no way to keep Chinese forces supplied. This game allows you to simulate the possibility of early Indian independence with the INDIAN INDEPENDENCE card.

We will leave the highly unlikely scenario in which India gains Independence before the end of the Second World War to the reader’s imagination. It is also hard to believe that an independent India would abandon the Allied war effort. It is still interesting to include the INDIAN INDEPENDENCE card because the absence of India highlights the important role India played in the Pacific war. Simply put, India enabled the Allies to keep China in the war, and China tied down a lot of Japanese troops and aircraft that would have otherwise been deployed to fight the Allies in the Pacific and Burma. Imagining the War in the Pacific without India is a lot like imagining the war in Europe without an Eastern Front. The presence of the INDIAN INDEPENDENCE card in the computer player’s deck also helps simulate the limitations that India’s desire for independence placed on the British war effort. Blocking this card requires a lot of scarce PUBLIC SUPPORT resources, and PUBLIC SUPPORT resources are necessary for playing GROUND ASSAULT cards. PUBLIC SUPPORT points are really a proxy for the willingness of the Western Allies to endure casualties. For instance, the participation of Indian troops in a long and bloody invasion of the Japanese home islands would have been a powerful argument for independence.

Communists: the Chinese Communist Party’s role during the Second World War is often misunderstood in the West and viewed through the prism of the Cold War. Many argue that the CPC hunkered down during the war with Japan to preserve its strength for a resumption of its war with the Nationalist government of China (though many accuse Chiang Kai-shek of doing the same thing). On balance, it seems like the CPC was more willing to fight the Japanese than the Nationalists, but also less able to mount an effective war effort. The Communists were on the verge of collapse on the eve of the Second Sino-Japanese War. In fact, Chiang Kai-shek would have been perfectly happy to keep fighting the Communists with weapons from Nazi Germany while Japan annexed parts of China (A Chinese warlord literally had to kidnap Chiang to force him to start fighting the Japanese). The CPC did put Communist troops under the control of the Nationalist government for a while, but this arrangement broke down when Communist and Nationalist forces started shooting at each other. Communist forces did try and launch a few conventional offensives on their own, but these did not go well. The US considered providing aid to CPC forces, but decided against it. The Soviet Union had little aid to spare, didn’t think much of the CPC, and actually took advantage of Chinese weakness by invading Western China. Eventually, the CPC settled on a guerrilla warfare strategy. This was probably the only real option for poorly equipped and poorly trained Communist forces. Fortunately, Communist leaders like Mao turned out to be gifted partisans, and Communist forces were able to make a substantial contribution to the Allied war effort. The UPRISING card is a pretty good proxy for the role that Communist forces played during the war.

There are lots of other cool cards in the game.

Thanks for playing!