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Subject: Historical evaluation and cultural analysis rss

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Pete Belli
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We Must Tell the Emperor is a solitaire game about the Pacific Theater during World War II published in 2010 by Victory Point Games. It is a highly abstract grand strategic depiction of the entire conflict from 1941 to 1945 and is designed to be completed in about an hour. WMTtE is part of the excellent State of Siege collection and after I thoroughly enjoyed a previous title called Soviet Dawn the decision to secure a copy was practically automatic. I purchased my game on the internet.





This design really scratches my itch. Elements of the Big Picture are fascinating… the ambitious plans of the Japanese high command, the immense conflict in China, the complex personality of MacArthur, and the epic sweep of operations across thousands of miles of ocean. Details like whether the battleship Shitake had 16-inch guns or if the Umpteenth Division was poorly handled during the amphibious assault at Lakanookie atoll can be left to other games.

WMTtE has been reviewed by several knowledgeable contributors here on BGG. Those articles provide an excellent description of the components and the play experience. As the title of this review indicates, my focus will be historical evaluation and cultural analysis. Since busy Geeks will often scan the first paragraphs of a review seeking a quick summary, please allow me to say that WMTtE is a challenging solitaire game. It is also dripping with theme like a bowl of steamed rice covered with fish sauce.





The mention of Asian cuisine leads me to a quick comment about the game’s visual presentation. The quality of the components is what I expect from VPG, utilitarian but entirely serviceable. The artwork on the map, counters, and cards is professional. The problem is the ridiculous typeface used throughout the game. The font looks like something from the menu of a bad Chinese buffet or the lettering used in a low-budget 1970s martial arts movie. It is also difficult to read. thumbsdown

WMTtE was designed by the talented Steve Carey. He is active on BGG and this gentleman is certainly one of the most congenial wargame designers I’ve encountered during my 30+ years in the hobby.

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I can assure every Geek reading this article that neither his support of my favorite website nor Steve’s exemplary personal conduct will influence my review. It will be fair, honest, and thorough.

WMTtE was played straight out of the package without using any additional material located on the internet. This is the way a “normal” customer without any Grognard tendencies might play it, so that is how WMTtE will be reviewed. I did not purchase the expansion. More on that later.





A quick glance at the map tells the player what the game is all about… multiple threats to Japan will be advancing toward the vulnerable Home Islands like hungry spiders moving across a web. This lopsided scenario screams for a creative solitaire treatment. I’m happy that the VPG team put this project together.

The leaders of Japan sowed the seeds of their own destruction. Militarism and expansionism became dominant themes in Japanese political life after a military coup in the 1930s. Japan’s colonial empire spread from Korea and Formosa to Manchuria, where the Japanese created the puppet state of Manchukuo. Civilian needs were secondary to the desires of the generals or admirals and by 1940 more than half of Japan’s budget was earmarked for the military.

The average American probably thinks WWII began on December 7, 1941 with the attack on Pearl Harbor. Japan had been involved in a major war with China since 1937. In broad strategic terms the surprise attack on the United States was part of a Japanese plan to secure resources in order to continue that conflict on the mainland of Asia. Steve’s design starts the clock ticking at that moment and creates a narrative that will, unless the fortunes of war intervene, end in 1945.





This detail from a propaganda poster illustrates a fatal flaw in the Japanese mindset in 1941. This island nation, short on resources and industrial capacity but determined to dominate the region, decided to confront the United States, China, and Britain. Add to that powerful coalition the Commonwealth countries, the remnants of the colonial empires of France and the Netherlands plus a “cold war” with the Soviet Union on the Manchurian border.

Only a nation bristling with the confidence created by the culture of Bushido would attempt such folly. The game allows the player to mimic the historical Japanese strategy of establishing a perimeter to defend these new conquests and await the inevitable Allied counteroffensives. Of course, the player can always explore other options. Since the design is highly abstract and WMTtE plays quickly new strategic plans can be plugged into the game system and the results examined without a huge investment of time.

The frantic “fire brigade” nature of the play experience is a superb fit with the historical context of the Japanese effort in WWII. After the first series of meticulously planned attacks were executed in late 1941 and early 1942 the Japanese military lost control of the flow of the action. Following the setback at Midway the fractured high command began reacting to events rather than maintaining the initiative. After the emperor’s Supreme War Council discussed a plan the operation would be confirmed by Imperial Headquarters. Unless the emperor was “displeased” the campaign would be launched; it was considered to be bad form if the emperor issued a direct order but officers who opposed the proposed operation could gain support if the emperor was lukewarm.

The tension created by turning over that next event card is delightful, and the brief moment of drama recreates the cultural straightjacket from which the Japanese high command could not escape.





Steve has developed four tracks leading to Japan, and each track is used by an enemy unit as the Allies struggle to advance. Expressed in simple historical terms, the Nimitz unit represents the U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps in the Central Pacific while the MacArthur unit represents the amphibious operations conducted by the U.S. Army in the Southwestern Pacific. The unit provided for Britain represents British, Commonwealth, Indian, and East African forces operating in Burma, India, and Southeast Asia. Chiang Kai-Shek and the Nationalist regime operate in China.

The ability of the British unit to participate in an assault on the Japanese homeland deserves a closer look. The option is absolutely necessary in game terms because the Allies need multiple fronts. The historical justification for its inclusion in the climactic attack on Japan might be slender but the unit is an essential element of the play experience. There may also be a cultural factor at work here.

It can be assumed that a large percentage of the potential customer base for any game on the PTO lives outside the United States. There are thousands of war gamers in Britain, Canada, Australia, and other nations with cultural ties to the United Kingdom. Including a British unit in WMTtE might not only be solid game design technique, it could also be a marketing tool.

I got a chuckle from the way Steve plotted the British track from Burma through Ceylon to India. Clever boy. Of course, it doesn’t really matter since the boxes could be generically marked Alpha, Bravo, and Delta. The game would play the same way, but Steve’s choice of geographic locations adds to the theme.

The epic rivalry between Nimitz and MacArthur is a natural fit for the design. By the time the Navy and Marine Corps really started to pound the Japanese bases in the Central Pacific in 1943 the U.S. Army and the Australians had been slugging it out with the sons of Nippon in New Guinea for months. The war in Europe always had first priority, and until early 1943 resources had been needlessly diverted to the Aleutian Islands for political reasons. Good choice from a historical perspective and as a function of game design.

The unique ABDA track leading the oil production facilities of Indonesia is another excellent mechanic that adds quite a bit to the game with a minimum of fiddly rules. The player is given a huge incentive to seize that oil, even if other operations must be delayed. The only issue I have with the ABDA rules is the time element. Japanese paratroops were dropped in the Dutch East Indies to secure those locations before they could be destroyed. This was a bold gambit with a stark win-lose component because if the airborne drop failed the plan might be wrecked. However, I’m not sure that scenario can be expressed in crisp, clear rules for a low complexity wargame. The existing system works.





The decision to begin the Chinese track at Chunking was a sound design choice. I like the way Yunan is depicted as a “fortification” space to represent the mountainous terrain. The rugged landscape in this province sheltered Mao and the Communists during one phase of the Long March; the Nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-Shek receive the same benefit.

I do have problems with the rules for China. After the supply line in Burma was severed by the Japanese most of the supplies and equipment had to be flown over the Himalayas by American transport aircraft. This image shows a detail from a leaflet identifying a U.S. pilot distributed to Chinese peasants in the region. If the Burma space is under Japanese control the flow of supplies to Chiang’s new capital would be greatly reduced. This den of iniquity reached a level of official corruption equal to anything in Imperial Rome, the former Soviet Union, or Chicago but the supply line was crucial. If the Allies lose control of Burma, perhaps the Chinese army should be flipped over to the weaker “3” strength.

This area was called the CBI theater (China-Burma-India) for a good reason… the conflicts were linked. The interesting Road To Mandalay event card which appears in WMTtE is one example of this narrative.

The other problem is more difficult to rectify. Chiang Kai-Shek and his army can be allowed to participate in the final assault on Japan. Even in a highly abstract, low complexity game like WMTtE such an improbable scenario needs to be written out of the rules.

Chiang was saving his strength for a struggle with the Communists after the Japanese surrendered. Even the most optimistic U.S. planners expected to use the eastern regions of China for nothing more than a massive airbase complex for a future attack on Japan and as a possible staging area for American forces.

Japan had more at stake in China than the Allies anyway. A huge portion of the Japanese military budget and substantial elements of the Japanese army had been poured into China since 1937. After years of conflict Japan had, as one historian put it, conquered all of China worth occupying. Japanese colonists were scattered throughout the region. I would like to see the Chinese track end at Shanghai. If the Chiang Kai-Shek marker enters that square the player takes an immediate hit on the Army-Navy Track and an immediate hit on the Prestige Track. These hits should continue every turn until the Chinese are pushed back. If the Chiang Kai-Shek marker is in the Shanghai square other Allied units should receive a combat bonus in Japan, Okinawa, and Formosa to reflect the additional U.S. airpower.





This might be the proper point to discuss the Soviet Union, Manchuria, and the We Must Tell the Emperor Expansion Kit. I discovered this event card from the expansion while digging around on BGG. A similar card should have appeared in the basic game, and the Soviets should have had a separate track in Manchuria.

I like board game expansions. I have purchased a number of these products and they frequently add depth to the play experience. I also understand the financial considerations involved for the game publishers. Expansions generate extra sales that a company needs to stay afloat in this horrible economy.

A game should stand or fall on its own merits. No game should offer a play experience which requires an expansion to fully appreciate. Based on my sessions with WMTtE the game is entirely capable of standing tall without the expansion. Why, dear publisher, wasn’t this one extra counter and one extra card included? The powerful Red Army unit should start in a heavily fortified Soviet Far East square then advance into the Manchuria space. The unit would now be ready to conduct the amphibious invasion of Hokkaido planned by Stalin. This was a prospect that MacArthur (along with the Japanese) regarded with horror.

Russia was Japan’s traditional enemy. For decades Japanese planning had focused on a war with the Soviet Union. Japanese army aircraft were designed for short range missions in cold weather. Japanese convoy routes to Korea and Manchuria were expected to be covered by army aircraft, leaving the IJN unprepared for transport duties on the high seas. Japan and the USSR had clashed along the border in 1939. Stalin intended to attack Manchuria at the first opportunity, and the August 1945 offensive by the Red Army was a carefully choreographed strategic tour-de-force that left the weakened Japanese in a daze.

VPG! Give us our sneaky Rooskies, so we can deal with another front in the summer of 1945!





Three quick comments on the battle rules and I’ll move on to the excellent system for measuring “prestige” and other cultural intangibles in the WMTtE system.

A number of special Battle event cards provide the player with an important choice, and tough decisions are the hallmark of a successful solitaire wargame design. The player may expend one action to fight the historical battle… in other words, the player chooses to roll on an individual Battle Table structured for each engagement and take his or her chances with the fortunes of war.

This is an interesting rule. The results on the battle table vary with each historical engagement, but generally speaking the player will either win big or see an adjustment up or down on the resource tracks. In my sessions I carefully weighed my options to determine if the sector affected by the battle was truly the decisive point during this turn.

These flexible rules might bring a new perspective to the historical narrative:

Emperor Hirohito: Tell me Admiral Yamamoto, are you ready to challenge the Americans with your Battle of Midway event card in the true spirit of Bushido?

Admiral Yamamoto: Your majesty, I have decided to avoid battle and use my action point to build fortifications on Iwo Jima instead.

Emperor Hirohito: Grand Chamberlain! Bring the imperial seppuku knives. Admiral Yamamoto needs to borrow them for 15 minutes!


My knowledge of Japanese culture may be entirely superficial but I have a solid understanding of the mindset of the typical wargame Geek. Certain elements are expected to appear in certain games. For example, a strategic level game depicting the American Civil War damn well better include some Confederate cavalry raids!

Steve Carey has expertly grasped this principle by including Kamikaze units in a game about WWII in the Pacific. Actually, the rules are essentially flawless. The expected Kamikaze formations appear at the proper point in the narrative, use simple rules that don’t clutter up the game, have little or no effect on the outcome with average luck, and are then destroyed in battle. Practically perfect in every way!





Another indication that Steve has his finger on the pulse of the wargame Geek and/or history Geek culture are the rules for a Knock-Out Blow Attack. This special offensive procedure requires additional action points and extra supply of oil. If the blow is successful, the affected Allied unit will experience a delay in returning to active operations. One of the spaces where a “knock-out” can occur is the West Coast square of the United States.

The specter of a “Jap” invasion of California during WWII is deeply ingrained into American culture. Wartime hysteria left deep roots. Never mind that the Hawaiian Islands were at the extreme end of Japan’s logistical tether. Even if the Japanese had landed on December 8th to capture every drop of oil, every box of C-rations, and every ukulele in the archipelago the IJN still couldn’t conduct sustained operations near the western United States. Doesn’t matter. Such rules are expected, and they were provided. What the heck! I approve.

A brief comment about that rule booklet… I like the use of color but a little more white space between the sections would make the contents easier to digest. Thank you.

After a glance at the online rules the game might seem a bit fiddly with all of those DRM markers (Die Roll Modifier) called for by certain event cards. Do not be troubled. Experienced players will quickly determine that one or more markers will not be relevant this turn because of the chosen Japanese strategy. This eliminates much of the chit placement and housekeeping removal chore load.





When the player is not trying to halt the Allied advance the focus will shift to the resource tracks. There are three categories: Army-Navy, Prestige, and Oil. Since the mysterious Prestige track has the most complex cultural explanation, we’ll discuss that one first.

I think we’ll have to agree that in the context of WMTtE the crucial Prestige track primarily represents the perception of the military in the mind of the emperor, with civilian viewpoints as a secondary consideration. Event cards lead to fluctuations in the prestige level.

The people of Japan were inundated with propaganda during the war and reports of major victories dominated the headlines until the massive B-29 raids clarified the situation. Even when the Japanese were starving and living in cities bombed into rubble their devotion to the emperor never wavered. The image above shows a Japanese father proudly carrying a picture of his son, a soldier who died honorably for Hirohito. In the purest incarnation of Bushido culture the death of 10000 Japanese soldiers on a remote Pacific atoll might be viewed as an appropriate sacrifice to protect the emperor.

Defeat could lead to disgrace. Tojo and his cabinet were forced to resign in 1944 after a series of disasters. While the emperor had no direct command authority his wishes were interpreted by loyal officers to be the will of the divine.

A decline to the bottom of the track can lead to surrender. A rise to the top level provides the player with a Bushido Spirit bonus. This rule gives the player an opportunity to “re-roll” a failed action attempt at the risk of a decline in prestige. I’ve never been a big fan of re-roll options. There are better systems. However, the issue is largely irrelevant because the Prestige level drops like a pebble tossed into a koi pond as the tide of events turns against Japan. The player will eventually be forced to expend a considerable number of action points on Prestige die rolls to bump up the marker, presumably representing propaganda efforts or political maneuvers inside the imperial palace.

The similar Army-Navy track is also affected by event cards, and plummeting numbers can lead to surrender. The track appears to represent the fighting ability and morale of the military, and an Elite Bonus is awarded to all battle die rolls if the level reaches its zenith. This bonus is only available during the Early War period and the rule is entirely appropriate.

At the end of 1941 the Japanese had a big advantage in pilot training and combat experience in all branches of the military. This superiority could not be maintained as Allied tactics improved, new Allied aircraft appeared, and Allied industrial production soared. Japan failed to implement new training programs and the Japanese industrial base could not produce modern equipment to replace the older models that had been developed in the 1930s. As the war drags on, the elite bonus automatically disappears even if the overall status remains high on Army-Navy track.

The linkage between the Army-Navy track and the Prestige track is an important cultural factor and the concept deserves praise. In a militaristic society like Japan which had been lead by several Prime Ministers who were generals or admirals since the 1930s the collapse rules make sense. I lost one game because the Allied submarine warfare campaign devastated both of my levels and I couldn’t raise them and drive the USMC away from Japan in one turn. These rules also get the job done with a minimum of clutter. Excellent.

The third resource track is Oil. For imperial Japan, WWII was an oil war. Japan needed petroleum. FDR announced an embargo. For the Japanese leadership cadre, it was the moment for a visceral fight-or-flight response. They fought.

The first Japanese oil objective (mentioned previously) is the capture of the Dutch East Indies. Once the ABDA marker has been driven back oil production can begin. The level on the Oil track is also affected by event cards, and the level can be increased by a roll of the dice after Java is captured. Later in the war the U.S. submarine campaign severely hinders the effort, just as it did historically.

Extra oil is required to conduct a “knock-out” attack against a distant Allied location. There is also a combat bonus available when the Oil track reaches its highest point, and this is one of the best rules in WMTtE. The player can pick one Allied front that will be pounded… on the next turn! This planning element adds real depth to the play experience. A similar system of “theater priority” could have used for the Bushido Spirit bonus, a method old-school wargamers might remember from the Eric Lee Smith classic The Civil War.

The intertwined rules for the desperate Japanese need for oil, the capture of the oil facilities, oil production, additional oil requirements for extended operations, the combat bonus for an adequate oil supply, and the loss of oil due to the U.S. submarine campaign are an example of board game legerdemain. The whole system sounds like a summary of a carefully researched WWII documentary. thumbsup





A successful wargame must offer more than a history lesson. It has to be fun, particularly a “lite” wargame designed to be learned rapidly and played quickly. WMTtE offers an enjoyable play experience with a lot of tension and a moderate amount of strategic planning.

I played my first game with a “cold” deck. In other words, I did not scan the cards to evaluate all of the events or how often each Allied unit advanced. I had a blast. I also suffered a defeat. The next two sessions were more cerebral and I methodically allocated my action points. I won the second game but the third session ended in a humiliating fiasco.

What was the turning point in the game that allowed me to save the emperor? Luck. Nimitz got bogged down against my Solomon Islands fortification and then ran into another brick wall in the Marianas when I entrenched those islands.

As with most solitaire challenges, there are a lot of dice to roll in WMTtE. Steve Carey has removed some of the drudgery by making a natural “1” and a natural “6” automatic results. Good rule. In practical terms, a player really only needs to calculate the results on a roll of 2, 3, 4, or 5 and this reduces the fiddly factor.

Still, the dice can make or break the Japanese player. I tried to remain philosophical about it. Luck played a tremendous role in naval engagements throughout the Pacific campaign. Yamamoto was a gambler who dreamed of breaking the bank at Monte Carlo.

Anyway, I had fun.

I didn’t have a major problem with the predestination jammed into the system by the mandatory placement of certain event cards. One example is he Battle of Midway card inserted at the bottom of the Early War deck. Both sides had expected a climactic fleet engagement since War Plan Orange had been developed in the 1930s. The admirals didn’t know it would occur at Midway and be fought with aircraft carriers but the concept was burned into the military culture of Japan and the United States.

I enjoyed the “historical notes” that Steve included with his descriptions of the levels of victory or defeat. When we consider that Japan went to war based on a sequence of tragic misunderstandings concerning the United States it is interesting to observe how the conflict ended. In spite of FDR’s misguided policy of unconditional surrender the Japanese were able to preserve the emperor as a revered figurehead. Japan lost its empire, suffered millions of casualties, and saw its cities bombed into dust but still achieved one important victory condition.

Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy article.
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John Welch
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A simply outstanding review and a pleasure to read someone that so clearly gets the amazing job Steve Carey did in designing this layered wargame on the war in the Pacific. Steve's grasp of history is awesome and his ability to weave that history into his game designs without overly complicating the gameplay is a real tribute to his skill.

Thanks for posting!
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Pete Belli
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Thank you for the positive comments.

It is a fascinating wargame system.

In previous BGG forum contributions I have mentioned the following concepts:

We Must Tell the Kaiser a game about events in 1918

...and...

We Must Tell the Fuhrer a game about events in 1944 and 1945

I hope Alan Emrich has somebody working on those.

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Steve Carey
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Pete, I didn't reply post immediately because you have managed to accomplish something that very few people on this planet have ever been able to do - render me speechless!

For the Geek record, Pete and I have never spoken about the subject, so I am truly impressed with his analysis, not to mention the time and effort involved to log the review.

A few thoughts:

--Font: it's Bushido (not Chop Suey as some have alleged), I find it very evocative, and would use it again if given the chance. One of the very rare times that I ever will risk form over function, but felt compelled to do so here.

--Russia and more China: VPG wanted to "Deluxe" the game just as you suggest and include all of those elements, but I nixed the idea because I was determined to keep EMPEROR within the standard States of Siege parameters (price, play time, and complexity). Plus, VPG has very strict component limitations on their games. Hence the expansion kit.

--China Invades?: This is highly abstracted for simplicity sake. The Japanese were worried about Allied (not Chiang and Chinese) forces invading the back door across the Sea of Japan, and planned for it accordingly. Also, if China takes and then holds the important resource area of Manchuria (space 1 on its track), this represents a kind of knock-out blow to Japan, rather than the Chinese actually invading the Home Islands (which I agree was not feasible).

So having the Chinese 'invade' Japan is merely a dual design-for-effect. If it seems too gamey, then I stumbled by not explaining things better because it works (in game terms) precisely the way we wanted it to.

--British: The British Front also reflects its projection of naval power; this could have been made more clear in my notes. Glad you 'got' the Ceylon space (very good).

Finally, not only culture but conveying the psychological impact of the war upon Japan was a primary design goal. We want the game to resonate with the players, to form a compelling narrative, and to be a serious challenge. Those are things that I look for in a solitaire game, and I am very pleased that you have found them here.

Still, I am somewhat taken aback that you have been able to read my mind in such a way as to articulate the process behind many of the design decisions better than I have been able to do.

You have my gratitude.

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Rob Arcangeli
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A great review again Pete.

As my Great Uncle fought and suffered in the jungles of Burma I am pleased the "Brits" are in the game.

The forgotten army indeed!
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Steve Bishop
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Fantastic article Pete, very well done.
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Bolo75
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Outstanding analysis Pete!
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Nick West
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Me too - I think this review has just generated a sale. Will be my first for this rule series.

My father too fought with 14th Army. He was actually RAF but arrived just after the retreat from Burma and there was going to be no equipment left to fly for some time. Hence the scene on the docks at Calcutta upon disembarkation when a tall RSM appears and announces, "All to the left of that tall f*&ker you're in the Ox & Bucks, all to the right the Devonshires." [my father], "But Sir, we're RAF!" [RSM], "Well, you're f*&king infantry for now, 'aint you?!".
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Christopher
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Another great article, well done, Pete!
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Steven
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"The mystery of life isn't a problem to solve, but a reality to experience"
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Thank you for the extensive and in-depth review of We Must Tell the Emperor! cool
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notquitekarpov wrote:
I think this review has just generated a sale. Will be my first for this rule series.

Seconded.

Thanks for the immensely readable analysis, Pete.

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John Welch
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Pete - there are currently more than 50 titles in various states of development for the SoS system and both the games you mentioned are on that list. Again, excellent work on this review!
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Doctor X

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Pete: Great post.
Quote:

We Must Tell the Kaiser a game about events in 1918

...and...

We Must Tell the Fuhrer a game about events in 1944 and 1945


I think too the fall of Poland in 1939 would make a good topic. I always thought such a game should be called The Doomed Stand, or The Last Stand or something like that.
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Steve Herron
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I have Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945 and didn't think I wanted another game which covered WII Pacific theater. Now it is one I would like to have. What an excellent review.
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John McKendrick
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And yet another sale! Well done sir!!

-John
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HERMANN LUTTMANN
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All I can say, Pete, is WOW! That is one of the most comprehensive and well written reviews I've ever read. And if anyone is deserving of such wonderfully detailed analysis and kudos, it's certainly Steve and this fine game. Hermann
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rod humble

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I am surprised you are surprised at just how important the British and Commonwealth forces were, certainly no cultural bias from the author, he just seems well read.

The British certainly would have participated in any Invasion of Japan, in fact the Navy did for example in Okinawa in a significant manner. Whether a British Land army would have ended up there is an interesting "what if" certainly there seems no reason against it beyond the sheer scale of the territory they would have had to garrison behind them but the 14th Army alone had a million men in it, now whether the large Indian component would have been up for fighting in Japan is open to question, certainly they showed no reluctance in Europe.

Anyway great game for sure!
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Steve Carey
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rodvik wrote:
The British certainly would have participated in any Invasion of Japan, in fact the Navy did for example in Okinawa in a significant manner.


Good point re: Okinawa, Rod - I certainly took that into consideration with the design.

Since we're talking culture here, another goal for the game was for it to not just be viewed as "America vs. Japan". While that is understandably the prevailing perspective here in the States (Pearl Harbor, the carrier battles, Guadalcanal, B-29's, the U.S. submarine campaign, etc.), there was so much more as we well know.

As Pete notes in his review, the inclusion of the British and China Fronts was not only necessary for good gameplay, they were also necessary to balance the historical scales - defeating Imperial Japan was an Allied team effort.

Heck, in the expansion kit even ABDA gets its very brief moment of glory (albeit against overwhelming odds)...
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rod humble

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Thanks Steve. Excellent game again.

I think in terms of culture its a relatively small leap for Brits & Americans to pay attention to the relative efforts of each other with a little reading however the biggest gap in my knowledge (and I suggest many of us) is that of the war in China. if anyone here knows of a good reference work on that front I would love to hear about it.
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Bas Kreuger
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I'll second that on the inclusion of the other Allies. Specifically the oil and ABDA track is interesting as oil in the NE-Indies was one of the main targets of the Japanese in the 1941-1942 offensive.

For those interested, with the museum I work for, we did a project on the history of the island of Tarakan (near Borneo) in WWII and its fortifications. You can find it on www.tarakan.nl (English, Dutch and Indonesian).

Tarakan is almost symbolic for the whole Pacific War: it was an oil producing island, fortified by the Dutch in the 1930's, invaded in january 1942, captured within two days and the first tankers started to arrive only a month later to ship oil to Japan.
The destroyed oil installations was rebuild using POW's and Romusha slave labour. From 1944 the Allies started bombing the island and in may 1945 the Australians invaded Tarakan to capture it for use as an advanced airbase and for its oil. They could only secured it in a two month intense struggle with the Japanese defenders. A few days after the last defender was killed or captured, Hiroshima happened and the war was over.
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Asa Swain
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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Thanks for a wonderful detailed review of an interesting game. I love all the pictures.

I noticed that this game seems to be out of stock at most online stores. Is there a reprint coming soon? Or do I just need to buy directly from the publisher?
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Ian Wakeham
United Kingdom
Chester
Cheshire
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quartex wrote:
Thanks for a wonderful detailed review of an interesting game. I love all the pictures.

I noticed that this game seems to be out of stock at most online stores. Is there a reprint coming soon? Or do I just need to buy directly from the publisher?


Direct from the publisher: http://victorypointgames.com/details.php?prodId=132
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