Recommend
71 
 Thumb up
 Hide
28 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

Tokyo Express» Forums » General

Subject: Greetings from the designer rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Jon Southard
United States
California
flag msg tools
designer
It is with both humility and awe that I read on this site of the continuing interest in Tokyo Express, so many years after its publication. I have been long absent from both this forum and from game design. The amount of interest in the game is very gratifying and also amazing. From the variants and additional scenarios (thanks Jude!) to the campaign rules to the Vassal module (many thanks owed there too),it's remarkable. Best fun of all is to read the after-action reports and realize that yes, we did hit the mark.

The goal of TE was to make the player deal with the confusion, surprise, and uncertainty which were central to these night battles. Like all Victory Games products it was meant to be a first-class gaming experience and simulation. And it was meant to get the Japanese right, meaning, to make them fight like the Japanese. These goals seem to have been accomplished.

What TE made no effort to do was break down the details of weapon systems: gun calibers, armor penetration, etc. Other games had already done that, and those issues seemed very secondary to me. I could not find a single instance in these battles of one side winning because it had slightly better hardware; it was all about who detected first, who fired first, who guessed right, or who got plain lucky. So gunnery was all rolled into a single card draw (behind which there were a lot of calculations, done on an early IBM PC), and the torpedoes greatly simplified versus some other treatments.

My greatest regret is that we could not figure out how to make the whole game substantially simpler. I have seen the comments from some individuals who just found the complexity too great. I sympathize and I deeply regret it. We just couldn't find a simpler way. The game's complexity was in line with VG's other offerings at the time (Gulf Strike, etc.) but I wish it could have been simpler.

I must give credit to Mark Herman for the original game concept, which he expressed to me over lunch at the pizza-by-the-slice place across the street from Victory. A year later I returned with the draft of the game, and over more pizza, proposed the project which became Carrier, a first cousin to Tokyo Express.

I wish you all good gaming, and thank you so much for your interest in Tokyo Express.

Best wishes,

Jon Southard
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eoin Corrigan
Ireland
Wexford
Wexford
flag msg tools
designer
ASL Fanatic
badge
Royal Dublin Fusiliers "Spectamur Agendo"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the game, Jon!
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paulo Costa
Portugal
Carcavelos
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
I recently purchased a second hand copy and hope to give it a try soon.
A good game is always a good game, it doesn't matter how old it is.
Thanks for the game.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Todd Quinn
Australia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thank you kindly Jon for two wonderful games in Tokyo Express and Carrier.

It is awfully nice to get an opportunity to thank the designer of a game that you really like. Thank you so much for dropping by!

Todd
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rui Serrabulho
Portugal
Lisboa
Lisboa
flag msg tools
badge
You have to, at least from a distance, look as if you know what you're doing, and I can manage that.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It´s a pleasure to have in my collection Carrier and Tokyo Express.

You made a mark in the war games.
Thanks Jon for creating such beauties...
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Humphries
Philippines
Unspecified
Metro Manila
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Fantastic to see you here Jon! Do you still wargame? cool
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andres Rodriguez
Spain
Córdoba
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for this great game!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nicola S
Italy
Roma
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Jon,

I have to admit I have not yet been able to get a copy of TE.

But last year or so, having come back to wargames after some 15+ years, I managed to score a pristine copy of Carrier. And have been blown away by such an exceptional gaming experience.
Even more so considering the stepped rules learning approach provided by the manual and by the fact that, when playing, you almost 'sense' there is an opponent on the other side.

Your 'retreat in the shadow' as opposed to other, still active designers, has made me curious about your work and in the process I also bought 'Drive on Frankfurt' (complemented by some notes you wrote about it in Moves, IIRC) and I am out for another of your games.

It is good to see you 'surface' again and hopefully to hear more on your thoughts and impressions on the hobby today.

But behold, we need your designer input also! There is a very talented guy that is developing and iPad version of Carrier. Please head over to:
Carrier iPad
And let us know your thoughts!

Thanks for the many hours of gaming plaeasure you already gave me!

with due respect,
Nicola
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thomas Robb
United States
Calais
Maine
flag msg tools
badge
mbmbmbmbmb

Thanks Jon

I own TE and Carrier

Thank you again

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jay Richardson
United States
Lindsborg
Kansas
flag msg tools
mb
Jon Southard wrote:
And it was meant to get the Japanese right, meaning, to make them fight like the Japanese.

You nailed this, and it's the reason that I like this game so much: the Japanese perform almost exactly the way they do in the historical accounts of the battle. It's an incredible simulation... and a fun game! That's a rarely seen combination.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Craig Truesdell
United States
Uniontown
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
thomasrobb wrote:

Thanks Jon

I own TE and Carrier

Thank you again



+1
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jon Southard
United States
California
flag msg tools
designer
It is very kind of you to ask, Mark. Yes, I do: against my two young sons, and sometimes their friends. My 8-year-old likes House Divided, Victory in the Pacific, Blue Max, and Legend of Robin Hood (and beats the pants off me at all of them); I have introduced the older one and his friends to Axis & Allies and Diplomacy, among others. And oh, yes, we did take Tokyo Express out one day. Had to do a lot of simplification on the fly but a good time was had by all.
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brett Schaller
United States
Unspecified
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
I've owned this for a few years, but just punched it and set it up last week. Great to see the designer check in here!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Was George Orwell an Optimist?
United States
Corvallis
Oregon
flag msg tools
Abdullah Ibrahim - African River
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It is great to hear from you Jon. You designed some brilliant games that have given so many of us great pleasure over the years.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
M St
Australia
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
In my view TE and Carrier are still the best cardboard solitaire designs of all time. My main lament, after having played 50+ battles of TE in the 1990s, was that I've never gone on to the Advanced game with a human opponent.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Herman
United States
New York
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jsouthard wrote:
It is with both humility and awe that I read on this site of the continuing interest in Tokyo Express, so many years after its publication. I have been long absent from both this forum and from game design. The amount of interest in the game is very gratifying and also amazing. From the variants and additional scenarios (thanks Jude!) to the campaign rules to the Vassal module (many thanks owed there too),it's remarkable. Best fun of all is to read the after-action reports and realize that yes, we did hit the mark.

The goal of TE was to make the player deal with the confusion, surprise, and uncertainty which were central to these night battles. Like all Victory Games products it was meant to be a first-class gaming experience and simulation. And it was meant to get the Japanese right, meaning, to make them fight like the Japanese. These goals seem to have been accomplished.

What TE made no effort to do was break down the details of weapon systems: gun calibers, armor penetration, etc. Other games had already done that, and those issues seemed very secondary to me. I could not find a single instance in these battles of one side winning because it had slightly better hardware; it was all about who detected first, who fired first, who guessed right, or who got plain lucky. So gunnery was all rolled into a single card draw (behind which there were a lot of calculations, done on an early IBM PC), and the torpedoes greatly simplified versus some other treatments.

My greatest regret is that we could not figure out how to make the whole game substantially simpler. I have seen the comments from some individuals who just found the complexity too great. I sympathize and I deeply regret it. We just couldn't find a simpler way. The game's complexity was in line with VG's other offerings at the time (Gulf Strike, etc.) but I wish it could have been simpler.

I must give credit to Mark Herman for the original game concept, which he expressed to me over lunch at the pizza-by-the-slice place across the street from Victory. A year later I returned with the draft of the game, and over more pizza, proposed the project which became Carrier, a first cousin to Tokyo Express.

I wish you all good gaming, and thank you so much for your interest in Tokyo Express.

Best wishes,

Jon Southard


Jon,

How are you? It has been decades. Drop me a line if you get a chance.

Mark
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
G.W.
United States
Sebastopol
California
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thank you so much for TE and for posting, Jon!

Not only is the game a true classic and still the best on its subject; its solo mechanics continue to inspire designers now, as well as tinkerers like me.

The AI movement mechanics, the action chits, etc., are readily adaptable for age of sail games too. Some players even use TE as a maneuvering level to set up tactical scenarios for SPI's Frigate or even naval miniatures.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Riccardo Perni
Italy
Roma
RM
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb


Thank you for your great games!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Craig Truesdell
United States
Uniontown
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
M St wrote:
In my view TE and Carrier are still the best cardboard solitaire designs of all time. My main lament, after having played 50+ battles of TE in the 1990s, was that I've never gone on to the Advanced game with a human opponent.


+1 I only played it once against a live person.

and, if they publish an ipad version of Carrier, oh boy... that will be a bad day.....
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Judy Krauss
United States
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
but I'm not the only one
badge
My hands are small, I know, but they're not yours, they are my own
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the great game, Jon!

As for the complexity of the game, it was offset by the excellently written and organized basic and advanced rulebooks, which once read, only need to be referred to occasionally in order to play the game.

I enjoyed creating the extra scenarios and variant for it.

Tokyo Express has long been my all-time favorite solo game.


BTW, be sure to keep us informed if you have plans to create any new games, either using this system, or otherwise.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Shull
United States
San Francisco
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Jon,

As many others have said thank you for 2 incredible solitaire games. TE is one of my favorite games both because of the reasons stated by others here but also because of the complexity.

To be able to invest time and attention to incredible games like these demand and yet have a narrative that is virtually unmatched in any other game that I own that lets me feel what it was like to be at Iron Bottom Sound is the reason I still reach for these over and over.

Hope that makes sense, passion can be hard to put coherently into words.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Craig Truesdell
United States
Uniontown
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
yetirydr wrote:
because of the complexity.


I agree, being a solitaire game, the complexity is a virtue not a detriment imho, especially so for this game because the additional rules make sense. Besides, playing the game not quite right is just as fun as playing it perfectly. I was working shiftwork at the time so this was a great way to spend an afternoon.

Now I anxiously await the long awaited "Sink the Bismarck" version and then onto the "Malta Convoys" game. Kickstarter??
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kirk Allton
United States
Lewis Center
Ohio
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Good to hear from you Jon, Carrier and Tokyo Express are two games I will not get rid of. I literally pulled TE out last night and came to this site today to see if there was anything new before I started up a new game. Just tells you how fresh the game has remained.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jon Southard
United States
California
flag msg tools
designer
I thank everyone, so very much, for the kind comments. I am very glad you have enjoyed the game! Jude's comment below, and those of others, reminds me there is one other person to whom we all owe great thanks: Victory's extremely talented rules editor, Gerry Klug, who did an outstanding job on this game. It is thanks to Gerry that all that text turned into something you could actually learn and play and enjoy. It was a privilege working with him, as with all the great staff at Victory.

Jude wrote:

As for the complexity of the game, it was offset by the excellently written and organized basic and advanced rulebooks, which once read, only need to be referred to occasionally in order to play the game.
16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Per Fischer
Netherlands
Den Haag
---
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I just managed to get my hands on a copy each of TE and Carrier form someone selling their old wargame collection. 25 years too late, but hey, I couldn't be happier
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.