The Empire Club

The Legation at Daktong

Daktong, a trading post in the Chinese-settled section of Micomica, was home to several European nations' outposts in the South Indies. Resentment built up against European encroachment on what had been unchallenged Chinese satraps for centuries, which boiled over when the Society of Leaping Fists (or "Bounders") went on a rampage to eject the white man by force.

In this, the Bounder Rebellion, Europeans of many nationalities found themselves fighting on the same side against the Chinese foe. The legation at Daktong was beseiged by fanatic Bounders; a multinational force was hurriedly dispatched to relieve the garrison before it was overwhelmed.

In this game, approximately 100 Chinese beseiged the Legation compound while contingents of British, American, French, Austrian and Italian troops (depending on which players were present) tried to force their way through about 100 more Chinese deployed on reasonably flat ground. The Chinese blocking force set up in secret, and was not visible to the Europeans until their forces came within a very few inches.

The battlefield was further divided by a deep stream, which could only be crossed at a distant bridge or two nearer fords. The Chinese could choose to block both sides of the river or ignore one side in favor of massive force on the other.

During the first few turns, the French and Austrians fired on those Chinese they could see, cutting them to shreds, but did not advance. The British, by contrast, marched smartly up to the Chinese on their side of the river and shot, and then fought, it out at close range. However, the charge of the Tigermen (a Chinese unit dressed as tigers -- no, really) and the fanatical University Student Regiment inflicted severe casualties on the British.

Meanwhile, the Self-Strengthening Army fired a massive musket volley that cleared the walls of Legation defenders. Most of the German contingent was killed outright, with only Colonel Vorbeck surviving; the United States Marines and British soldiers survived, but were immediately assaulted at the Legation's main gate (Marines) and side entrance (British). One soldier stood in the side door and shot down, and then bayoneted, every Chinese who attacked through it, while the Marines leveled their rifles through the gate bars and blew away a Chinese attempt to bash down the gates.

However, the Chinese had a cannon on the hill, which they used to knock holes in the walls of the Legation. As each breach appeared, more of the handful of defenders rushed to block it, and of course eventually the defenders ran out of men. The Chinese broke in, with several soldiers running wild, hacking down wounded defenders and some of the ambassadors sheltering in the courtyard ...

Meanwhile, however, the British party, believing they faced tougher going if they pressed on, crossed to the other side of the river and hit the EVA on the flank. The remnants of the EVA, decimated by withering rifle fire, withdrew behind the ridge, but European cavalry pursued them right over it. The cavalry were slaughtered, but held the Chinese attention long enough for the infantry to reach the ridge, engage the EVA, and storm the gates, taking the Chinese attackers from behind before the Legation was entirely overrun.

A near-run thing, and productive of many spirited debates about what might have been. We have not seen the last of the Bounder Rebellion, nor this tense scenario ...