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Wargames» Forums » General

Subject: Unit colours rss

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Hobie Orris
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I understand why most of the counter colours in my WWII games are what they are: grey Germans, khaki British, olive Americans, blue French, orange Dutch. These are based on current or historical uniform colours. Perhaps minor nations are just assigned something convenient. However, Japanese units are very frequently yellow. Does yellow have any significance in Japanese regalia or history?
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Leo Zappa
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Curtis Kitchens
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What games use yellow Japanese counters?
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Hobie Orris
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I have Pacific Theatre of Operations and Empire of the Sun with yellow coundters. Victory at Midway uses red, which follows from the rising sun flag. Maybe because yellow is the actual colour of the sun, so by association with the flag, it makes sense?
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Leo Zappa
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For a more 'serious' answer, here is a link to a thread started by our own Pete Belli some seven years ago in this very same forum. This thread discusses the subject in some detail, with loads of personal anecdotes scattered throughout. You will note that in the thread, the color issue was brought up in the context of Chinese and Japanese units. An interesting read.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/388250/yellow-playing-piece...
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Carl Paradis
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I am "old school" wargames (started gaming in the 70's) and somehow Yellow for the always made sense to me. Albeit some people will tell this is not nice!

Red and or white Japanese somehow don,t feel correct.

Light Khaki will probably do, or something close to the colour of their uniforms?

The oldest game I own that sport Japanese counters, Guadalcanal, have them Red-Orange. Same with Axis Empires: Dai Senso!: Probably a good hue too.

Empire of the Sun has the best-looking color IMHO. A kind of yellowish gold khaki.

This makes me realize also that there are not a lot of games out there based o that theatre of operations!
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Tony Doran
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Texas Time Traveler wrote:
What games use yellow Japanese counters?


For a start:

Pacific Theater of Operations-TSR
Advanced Pacific Theater of Operations-Decision
Empire of the Sun-GMT
USN-SPI
Deluxe USN-Decision
Great Pacific War-Avalanche
Pacific War-Victory Games
Pacific Fleet-Hobby Japan
War in the Pacific-SPI
War in the Pacific-Decision

I'm sure there are more that I have missed. Both Dai Senso (Decision) and World in Flames (ADG) have them in red.
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Paul
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"Capitaine Conan," by Roger Vercel (1934).
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Quote:
I understand why most of the counter colours in my WWII games are what they are: grey Germans....these are based on current or historical uniform colours.



Feldgrau actually isn't gray--I think gray is one of the "accepted" colors for German units in wargaming.

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Hannes Sörensson
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hedererp wrote:
Feldgrau actually isn't gray--I think gray is one of the "accepted" colors for German units in wargaming.

But the word does mean "field gray".
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Carl Paradis
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Hattes wrote:
hedererp wrote:
Feldgrau actually isn't gray--I think gray is one of the "accepted" colors for German units in wargaming.

But the word does mean "field gray".


Dunkelgrau...

 
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Paul Spak
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hedererp wrote:
Quote:
I understand why most of the counter colours in my WWII games are what they are: grey Germans....these are based on current or historical uniform colours.



Feldgrau actually isn't gray--I think gray is one of the "accepted" colors for German units in wargaming.

... but,


the german army is pink.
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Carl Paradis
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oldbrownsfan wrote:

the german army is pink.


Limitations of the prehistoric RGB printing colors of the time...

You had these basic choices:

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Carl Fung
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Hattes wrote:
hedererp wrote:
Feldgrau actually isn't gray--I think gray is one of the "accepted" colors for German units in wargaming.

But the word does mean "field gray".


Field Gray matched Hitler's eyes better than Diplomat Gray.


As for the yellow... I'm sure some could PC explain that the Japanese uniforms were supposedly tan... if you buy that.
 
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Hunga Dunga
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CMYK denote the four colors excluding black that are needed to produce a whole array of colors. The question was how many colors could you print in one pass through the machine? Four color presses werehugely expensive. On the other hand, if you had the time, you chould run your countersheets through a two color press a second time to get the full counter range. But constantly switching out your ink reservoirs was messy and time-consuming - hence blue and pink counters!

RGB has nothing to do with printing - they are the three colors needed to create light images on your TV before digital screen technology.

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Thom0909
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From the mouths of babes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=li3WZXMJaH0
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Ben Delp
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I always thought it was because:
a. the uniforms were khaki, but a lighter, sandier, yellower khaki than the CW, and
b. they can't be a lighter khaki counter, or you're going to run into trouble in games with Japanese and CW units; and
c. no other side uses yellow (avoids confusion), and
d. yellow seems like it would be an easy color to print in. I'm not a printer, but hey, it's a primary color. Gotta be easy, right?

Hence, yellow. Not sure if I read/heard that somewhere, or whether I constructed that in my mind a long time ago, but that's what I've always thought. Maybe I'm naive, but I never thought any more of it.
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Joe R

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I always thought the "traditional" colors were an attempt to mimic uniform colors. Kind of like miniatures, in fact. That and the fact that Japanese came "late" to the wargames party -- because most early AH games covered US vs Germans or Germans vs Russians or Germans vs British. Those nations take up most "easy" colors such as green, tan, gray, black (for SS), blue (Luftwaffe and French) and brown (USSR).

What is left after all those are taken? Red and yellow are the obvious choices and imho red is a VERY hard color to print. Makes yellow the next easiest option. For example, the old AH Anzio game had US, UK, German, German LW, German SS, Greek (lt blue) and Italian units. The Italian units were, for the most part, only on the board for a turn or two. Thus they got "last pick" of colors and were a sickly yellow.

That combined with the fact that the IJA had uniforms that were a yellow-ish khaki and yellow becomes an obvious choice. In other words, I do not think this was some racist or pre-PC 60s thing, but just a function of what colors were available and what made the most sense at the time.
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Ronald Hill
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I had always thought that due to the early movies that involved the German army from both the First and Second World Wars were filmed in black and white, the uniform appeared to be grey. That perception was transferred into the board games as grey was also easier to work with than black and most people had already accepted the colour. I might be wrong but it makes sense to me.
 
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M St
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You're very close to the truth as detailed here.



Now, the real question though is why do the German uniforms still look gray when looked at today, or in color photographs? That's because their actual color was purple and would have stood out too much. So the Germans prevented access to the actual color by copyright on derivative works or by unauthorised viewers. Copyright extensions driven by US companies have extended its duration, to now last 90 years beyond the death of the copyright holder. Expect the real colour to become visible around 2035.
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M St
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Concerning the Japanese Navy, the best explanation is that the IJN's ships all bore a gold Chrysanthemum crest, the symbol of the imperial throne, at their bow. Thus, the IJN counters in Pacific Fleet (a Japanese game designed to be bought by Japanese) are pale "yellow" while the ground units are in a darker, near khaki tone.
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Jens Kaufmann
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Quote:
So the Germans prevented access to the actual color by copyright on derivative works or by unauthorised viewers.


Every now and then a photograph escaped from the grubby hands of the German censors... I am sure that I once saw a color photo of Reichsjägermeister Göring wearing a PURPLE uniform!
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Bill Eldard
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narodynot wrote:
Texas Time Traveler wrote:
What games use yellow Japanese counters?


For a start:

Pacific Theater of Operations-TSR
Advanced Pacific Theater of Operations-Decision
Empire of the Sun-GMT
USN-SPI
Deluxe USN-Decision
Great Pacific War-Avalanche
Pacific War-Victory Games
Pacific Fleet-Hobby Japan
War in the Pacific-SPI
War in the Pacific-Decision

I'm sure there are more that I have missed. Both Dai Senso (Decision) and World in Flames (ADG) have them in red.


Good list. Also Island War: Four Pacific Battles

Also, while not counters, the 1981 Milton Bradley Gamemasters edition of Axis & Allies.



In fact, Japan and Japanese-occupied territories on the mapboard were colored yellow.
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Blake Neff
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For what it's worth in the wider world of wargaming, yellow is also Japan's color in the computer game Hearts of Iron. I've never thought that much about it but I suppose it is a little odd. It makes a little more sense for pre-Communist China because yellow was the color of the Chinese emperors.
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R K
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Since no one has touched on the obvious yet, surely it has nothing to do with the fact that wargames had their inception during an era of open racism when it was still 'okay' to use terms like oriental, jap, nip, etc. and that yellow is the traditional stereotypical and insensitive description of Asian people's skin colour.
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Tony Doran
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rykirk wrote:
Since no one has touched on the obvious yet, surely it has nothing to do with the fact that wargames had their inception during an era of open racism when it was still 'okay' to use terms like oriental, jap, nip, etc. and that yellow is the traditional stereotypical and insensitive description of Asian people's skin colour.


I suppose it is possible but I actually doubt this. I was there then, and my experience of the gaming community was not of racism, but generally the opposite.
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