Kuomintang Riflemen

Unit Card:


Set - Rarity - Number

Set II - Common - 3/45

Historical Background:

When an army fights 40,000 battles and suffers over three million deaths, it is hard to imagine many veterans are around to train the conscripts. A multitude of first-hand accounts detail how farmboys were swept up by a passing Chinese army, given only perfunctory training on the march and told to arm themselves by looting the dead. Yet, through coercion or choice, the Chinese masses kept going into battle against the invaders. Since the army didn't collapse and the Japanese didn't triumph, something must have gone right sometime. Unfortunately, the Kuomintang Riflemen unit will have little opportunity to win outright or even by simply enduring. Thus, while the piece might represent part of the Chinese Nationalist Army, it doesn't do justice to the Chinese war effort.



The unit bears the burden of many failings and possesses only one virtue. The Attack Values are low (7/5/-), but that's just the beginning. No CLOSE ASSAULT ability means that it has only a small chance against armor. The LACK OF DETERMINATION Special Ability means that any Disruption destroys the unit. Thus, the Kuomintang Riflemen unit cannot chance taking Defensive Fire and derives no benefit from cover. The unit's low point cost of two hardly balances all these negatives. One of the great failings of the game is not providing the Chinese player any method of negating just one of the deficiencies.

Before the card revisions and single nationality armies coming into vogue, the Chinese riflemen were good fodder for the Commissar's BRAVERY ENFORCEMENT Special Ability. Nowadays, there isn't much to recommend them. One useful tactic is to keep them out of sight as long as possible, then move them up in waves to fire pointblank at the Japanese. If the Chinese machine guns can cause a few casualties, the mass of riflemen might provide just enough firepower to carry the day. A potential Chinese player should be aware that any tactics with his army will always depend on a great number of"ifs."

A game that relies so much on the players' manipulation of combinations of units should never have neglected to create one for the Chinese. The Second Sino-Japanese War was a tremendously interesting and important conflict that deserves better representation.

Plastic Figure Notes:


Another fine sculpt. It shows the Kuomintang Riflemen in a far more resolute pose than one might expect. I really like the detail and painting, though I admit that it just makes my heart drop even more when they start disappearing from the board. The card art is nicely ironic, with a rifleman standing at attention. If you look carefully, he already has one foot moving toward the rear.

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