Red Sun Rising



Red Sun Rising was the name of a conflict simulation game (wargame) published by Simulations Publications, Inc. (SPI) in 1977. I was a college sophomore when the game came out, and I bought a copy at once.

A portion of the Red Sun Rising map, showing the Liaodong Peninsula, and a number of locations that should be familiar to anyone listening to the podcast.


Some of the counters from Red Sun Rising. Below are Japanese and Russian battleships. Above are some leader counters. Note the leader ratings. Togo is a better admiral than Kamimura, who’s about a match for Rozhdestvensky. Oyama is a better general than Kuropatkin, who is better than Nogi (III Army). At Port Arthur, Smirnov is a better general than the dismal Stoessel. In the game, you roll a die every turn. On a roll of “6,” Smirnov is in command at Port Arthur for that turn. On any other result, Stoessel is in charge. Do you agree with these assessments of the commanders?


Red Sun Rising is a great game and an excellent explainer for the Russo-Japanese War. (Not to mention a source for the podcast series on the war.) It covers both land and naval warfare. The Japanese must move their armies into Manchuria and supply them via transport fleets that are vulnerable to Russian attack.

But the game was amazing to me for a whole other reason: I had, at that time, never even heard of the Russo-Japanese War. The game made clear not only the course of the war, but the fact that the war was an important development in the history of the century. And here I had never even heard of it!

And so, this week’s episode of the podcast is titled in honor of this amazing wargame conflict simulation.

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