WIP - Qing Collapse, China 1835 - 1911, Historical Game

I’ve drafted a historical simulation based on the Qing dynasty China: Qing Collapse.

Currently, as of 2020-01-24: It’s complete so-far as there is a series of events that lead to a climax. But there is a lot of work that could be done to make it smoother, more compelling.

  • Style: It’s historical and abstract. Not exactly a compelling character study (this is a half-apology).

Help and feedback is appreciated:

  • Any reading and comments are appreciated.
  • The smaller the suggestion the better.
  • If anyone has a particular interest in a) Chinese history or b) scripting, and wants to get involved in a larger way, I’d love to work with you.

Goal

  • I’d love to submit this for publication in the next few months as a Hosted Game
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This was damn good loved being a warlord and taking parts of china damn fun but wondering is it possible to beat Japan in the war.

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Yes; It’s possible. Particularly if your focus on navy early on.
keys to defeating Japan

  • Taking the first military decision to start a Qing navy does not pay off early but helps later on.
  • Taking a Korean mission in the 1880s and making a strong stance against the Japanese.
  • Some industrialization helps.
  • Otherwise a truce is still possible.

I’d like to give an option to trigger the Sino-Japanese war earlier.

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This is rather good

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Qing collapse of China?

Me whispering: I’m gonna be Mulan.

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I should should definitely make a Mulan achievement; There were female contents in the Taiping army during the rebellion so maybe I can work that in. Or maybe I can grant that if your end foot-binding as I suspect Mulan was not a fan of the practice.

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I’m going to be a lesbian Mulan possibly part of a battle couple we’ll adopt war orphans maybe have a little farm if we survive and i dont somehow become empress or imperial high commander. " Occasionally a group of hooligans tried to intimidate the couple whether out of hatred for their sexuality or thinking them weak because they were women. The hooligans disappeared and their fields always seemed well fertilized. "

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To be honest I kinda at first thought it was going to be in the same time of dynasty warriors

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Ok now i see it’s not a character based game so gender and such doesnt matter ( we don’t even marry flr business/political/procreation) so no need for Mulan
. Also i ended up pulling a choice of Alexandria and advancing free China woo!

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Wow the game was great, and I encourage you to continue work on your other wips. As your historical simulations are what I look for in a game.

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Nice seeing this bit of history get some limelight; I enjoyed your prior game, and it’s nice to see another one. In particular, the attention drawn to the extraordinarily bloody Taiping Rebellion.

One bug I noted: if you deal with the French in Indochina and turn Vietnam into a buffer state, when you return to the chapter option screen you get this:

You return from Taiwan to find challenges remaining on China’s periphery.

Some thoughts and suggestions:

  • Generally I felt quite railroaded in that I was certain that I’d lose if I meddled in affairs which my character wasn’t good at. Playing as someone who focused mainly on law & order, I avoided military affairs like the plague.
    • It wasn’t that clear how stats changed, and where I wanted a stats increase I picked an option and hoped it increased what I wanted.
  • A bit more detail before the choices and what they would entail would be appreciated. Also potentially the number of selectable options per scene.
  • I’d haved like a bit more attention covering the recovery from the Taiping Rebellion, due to its staggering death toll and the destruction. Millions died from famine and plague, not just the warfare, and though there’s a chapter dedicated to the conduct of the war, experiencing the recovery is optional and somewhat glossed-over.
  • Is it possible to avoid the Second Opium War, especially if you avert the First Opium War and choose to continue as Governor of Guangdong?
    • Perhaps a lenient/open-doors PC governor to simply avoid the Arrow Incident so that when the Taiping Rebellion rolls around the Brits are too busy with the Indian Rebellion to get involved in the second war? Or at all, if the First war never kicked off.
    • In general, is it possible to avoid European military intervention, and if not, might it be possible as a “golden route”?
  • Is it possible for China to end up in warlordism?
  • Some more opportunities for international diplomacy might be interesting. So far I’ve only run into the Opium War defusing and the British/Russian involvement in the Great Game. It would be quite a bit to do, but I did enjoy the mention of being pro-British and using that against the French in Vietnam.
    • Some ideas might be being able to choose which countries you allow to invest in China, which you might intend to undermine, with the potential of undermining the Eight-Nation Alliance in the long run. Or perhaps trying to play them against each other so that they’re less preoccupied with attempting to carve up China.
    • Increased British investment is already factored in-game, but they could play it up to prevent French influence in China. Germany historically was a major player in reforming the RoC’s military in the 1920s and 1930s, so that could be a route. The Americans with their knowledge might help expand railroads; the Russians might attempt the Trans-Siberian earlier.
    • This is probably way out of the game’s scope, but a mention of any potential Chinese involvement in this universe’s equivalent of the Great War in the epilogue would be rather cool.
  • I don’t suppose a light character creation might be possible? Different starting bonuses for Manchu or Han, perhaps? So far the game seems to imply (by my reading) that you’re Han.
  • EDIT: Perhaps a variation on the “Constitutional Monarchy” ending, where the Emperor isn’t entirely a figurehead and an upper house of nobles/landowners has greater power? A la Imperial Germany/Japan.

In general I really like butterflies piling up and things unfolding out markedly more different, which I admit requires a greater divergence from history, which is somewhat the antithesis of the game’s intent. But I hope some of the above might contain some useful suggestions nonetheless.

Looking forwards to see how this goes.

EDIT: So I went and took a look at the code, and some of the stuff I’ve mentioned is there, which I am happy to see. However, I never got to see most of that stuff in-game. This, I guess, was due to stat limitations or “stat-railroading”. While there is a very nice breath of options, which increase replayability, there is a low proportion that you get to see per run.

As a matter of personal opinion, I feel the game could have been improved by shifting the options around. Chapter 2 (pre-Taiping Rebellion with all the Chinese food options) could be lengthened by letting the player go to two regions instead of one. Chapter 4 is better, but there seem to be some sixteen options in total and you only get to pick some four; a few more choices might be nice.

This would lengthen playthroughs and make it seem like more time has passed overall. In general, while the game mentions the passage of time, it doesn’t entirely feel like that time has passed. Twenty years can potentially go by in the same number of choices you get to make to deal with the Taiping Rebellion.

There are also some branches which seem to be superior, at least in terms of content: You get three pages if you choose to go to Shanghai then negotiate with the French, or to the south and negotiate with the British.

I understand that shuffling all this around is going to be a major job and will probably knock balance askew, though.

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As someone who is a complete History nerd, this and your other projects are completely amazing. I recently took an interest in Chinese history, so it is even better, would truly love to see more of your games.

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@FaustoMerlin - Thanks; for the encouragement. It’s not the most popular period of historical dramatization so I’m glad you enjoyed it.
@Thfphen110 - Thank you very much for your time and thoughts.

  • Climax and WarlodismI definitely want to script a few diversions on the climax more that may address railroading. I had Warlordism in a draft and had forgotten that idea, essentially as a default failure; I’ll definite bring it back. I’m glad you reminded me of that very realistic possibility. *I also have contemplated, but never drafted, a “Collaborator” climax too.
  • Taiping Recovery Emphasis: This might be easier; I do have some reference to the recovery when you concentrate in East China in the 1870s. I think some light textual references might go a long way.
  • Light Character Creation - I’m leaning against this although I think it would be great to have 10 important historical characters to meet - I’ve privately played around a little with characters. the problem is it would be a lot of work and research to make it meaningful. But I think it might provide a heck of a lot of value for a finished product. I’m not completely closing the door but I don’t want to keep the project in development forever.
  • hmm; Railroading and the climax - I have some variables early on that track the first choices; I might be able to due some fairly light scripting to allow the player to open those up for unique endings. Hopefully a broader more flexible climax, taking more feedback from earlier decisions, can make the game feel more satisfactory. Example - A user that repeatedly avoids military should not be stuck in the Sino-Japanese war for two rounds in the climax but maybe should unlock an extra law-politics based choice.
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I glad to see this again, love it, when it was shown in historical game ideas thread as well as the inklewriter version, played the crap out of that one. excited to see where you go with this

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No decision for the player to creatr a new han dynasty or securing an indepent chinese nation seperate from Qing ?

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@Jake8517
That’s a back-burner idea that I’ll try to get in.

Right now, there is a Taiping option…
I can pretty much replicate that for a Ming restoration (Han nationalist) with about 15 minutes of writing…
But to do it well, with a distinct feel and flavour other “${regime} = Ming” would be a bit harder.

The research side is that Han/Manchu/Tibetan/Muslim/Mongol identity is an interesting rabbit hole. I’ll grossly oversimplify it of course for this game.

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How about pulling a Yuan Shi Kai but succesfully .

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I love games like this

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Okay so lemme start by putting this up as a disclaimer: I am not in any capacity a figure who has authority over publishing in any way. So, this is me as a community member, not a moderator giving my insight on the game I just ran through.

Concept: this is such an interesting time in history, one full of crucial moments that changed the future of one of the oldest civilizations in human history. This whole period is a great one where a compelling story can be told.

With this in mind, part of the problem is that the questions and challenges facing the Great Qing were simply too large for any one individual, no matter how gifted, to solve. Which is why, I feel that this story can easily become a very compelling story if its given the chance to.

You can stay accurate to the history while also writing it out as an individual. What do I mean by this?

The concept is that you were appointed as a Provincial Governor in the region that started it all right? You already alluded to the fact that, no matter what you tried to do in Canton, the British were still going to smash us to pieces. Which is accurate, you then go about showcasing that, due to the first humiliation, a desire for limited reforms begin and you can pick a side. Do you want to support Westernizing Reform Methods? Or do you want to support limited reform efforts? Or just fight against it.

Everything in the above paragraph can be told in a compelling narrative way in an effective story. Add IRL characters, mix in mid-level officials that you can create, develop a faction/society/club system. Maybe even a modernization bar.

I feel that right now, this is a wonderful outline that you can build on. You can take the key elements that you already have written and expand on it to tell a real compelling story. One that you as an individual can take pride in if you can steer the Middle Kingdom through its Century of Humiliation in a real matter.

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I loved this – from the tone of the narration, to the time period you chose, to the different ways the alternate history paths take shape.

When I chose Law and Civil Reform, I thought it was odd that when Britain attacks it shifted to the point of view of someone commanding the army. It might be nice if there are alternate scenes describing other reasons why the army had logistical/communication/etc. problems from the perspective of the non-military leaders.

I know this isn’t character-driven, but sometimes the lack of historical figures stood out. I saw in your “Next Steps” about adding character and conversations – I think mentioning other historical figures in passing, and perhaps giving their perspective if possible, would make the story more personable and connect the player to the (alternate) historical events more as well.

I liked how the ending is set up, but I was disappointed it didn’t go into the groups we supported and their states at the beginning of the 20th century (like the townsfolk and merchants or the missionaries), or what impact reforms may have had (such as freedom of press or protecting traditional industries).

I went for the reform endings, so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when I’m loyal to the emperor next! :relaxed:

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