Qin Dynasty: 221 BC – 207 BC
The Qin lived in a small state in the west on the Wei River. During the Warring States Period they aggressively expanded their boundaries. They had adopted a new style of government based on the principles of the Legalists and no other school of philosophy was allowed. Legalism stated that people had to be strictly controlled through laws which were only effective if punishments were severe so they were repressive and often cruel. However the good side was that the legalism made strong government and military and a controlled economy and so the kingdom grew powerful and wealthy. Thus the Qin were able to conquer all the warring states and their king pronounced himself the first Emperor of a unified China.
He standardised writing, weights and measures throughout his huge empire which assisted trade between the newly united states. However, the best known of the Qin’s accomplishments is the Great Wall of China. Although it is considered a great achievement now, it was not so popular then as it was a massive financial burden as well as entailing much loss of life and finally led to the downfall of the Dynasty as it was the final straw for the people. The intellectuals were not happy either as all philosophical books except for those of the Legalists were burnt.
The other thing that the Qin Dynasty is remembered for is the Terracotta Army. Almost as soon as he came to the throne, the Emperor started to prepare for his death. He hoped he was immortal, but thought that he’d better be ready, just in case. He wanted an army to protect him in the next life and so he ordered a huge terracotta army to be built who would stand guarding him for eternity. So far 7,000 to 8,000 members of this army have been found – soldiers, horses and chariots. 700,000 people worked for thirty years to make them and every face is different.
The Emperor grew old and still hoped to be immortal. He told his court doctors to make some medicine that would turn him into a god. The doctors made some pills containing mercury so, instead of making him immortal, the medicine killed him. After his death, the people rebelled. Despite the Dynasty lasting only fifteen years, it left a major legacy. As well as the Great Wall, they were so influential that the name of China is derived from Qin.
The Mighty Qin is the game campaign that covers this Dynasty. The quarrelling cities of Zhou lost Heaven’s favour while the people of Qin grew stronger. In Yong, the capital, you are urged by an emissary from Han to build a canal to move goods north of the Wei River. It later turns out that the intention was to bankrupt Qin with a pointless project. However the plan backfired and the canal assisted farming and trade. Many of the formerly powerful kingdoms were overcome by the Qin until the empire stretched from north of the Yellow River to south of the Yangzi. The king of Qin, Zheng, named himself the first Emperor of China and a new capital and Grand Palace were to be built at Xianyang. Once done, you are to spread Chinese culture and influence by building a strong and vibrant city at Xiang Jun in the southern land of Annam (Vietnam). However, barbarian horsemen are threatening the northern borders again, so you travel to Badaling, there to build a portion of the Great Wall ordered by the Emperor which is to stretch along the northern border from the east coast to the western desert. Finally you return to Xianyang where the Emperor is preparing for the next world, having failed to find the secret of immortality. He wants a vast pit dug and filled with full sized terracotta soldiers. He also wants a tomb filled with provisions and topped with a Grand Tumulus. The Emperor died, the people rebelled with riots in the streets and rebel armies are approaching.
A co-operative multiplay scenario, The Wall of 10,000 Li, is also set at this time where the players each build a portion of the wall. While the kingdoms of China were fighting amongst themselves, the Xiongnu took advantage and seized large areas in the north. After unifying the empire a few years before, Emperor Shi Huangdi organized a powerful strike force, 300,000 strong, and sent it northward after the barbarians. As a result, vast regions have been recaptured and, before they get a chance to return, the Emperor wants the empire’s northern border sealed tight. A Great Wall, 10,000 li long, is to be constructed, from Liaoyang in the east, westward to Togtoh on the northern bend of the great Yellow River, and thence southwestward near Lintao, near the source of the Wei. The sooner the wall is built the sooner the empire will be safe.