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Subject: Victory Point Games rss

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Dune Tiger
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I'm curious, and I don't know if this has been covered before, but I'm curious on how people feel about VPG, not necessarily their games, but their production. I suppose I could make a poll, but I'm too lazy.

At any rate, I've noticed that VPG is kind of changing gears recently in an effort to be a bigger player, so I was wondering:

1. How do you feel about the slip-sleeve red boxes?

2. How do you feel about their sooty laser-cut super-thick counters/tokens/etc?

3. Has any of their production choices, above points or otherwise, ever influenced you to not buy one of their games that you might otherwise be interested in?

In another thread - here in fact - there was some discussion on old vs. new and whether or not certain games stand the test of time and how the younger generation of wargamers are more attracted to slick designs and components so it got me thinking of VPG.

Personally I am quite happy with the VPG titles I own, but the laser-cut boards never sit right with me. They've never stopped me from picking up a VPG game (they have an excellent price point, for one), I've never really enjoyed how difficult it is to pop the counters out and wipe 'em down for soot with their hilarious cocktail napkin.
 
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Jim F
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Their early games looked very amateurish but their price didn't necessarily reflect that, so that put me off initially. However, since I don't particularly like solo games I'm not really their target audience anyway.

I wish them well and acknowledge the improvements that they have made in production quality but the chances of me buying one of their games is slight to none.
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I preferred the olden days when I could buy Nappy 20 games for $15-$19 a piece in Ziplocks. I haven't been real enthusiastic about VPG games in their "Gold Banner" era. But they know their biz better than I do, and I suspect the new business they get from the upgraded components more than makes up for folks like me that abandoned ship years ago.
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Mike Hoyt

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I, OTOH, like the Gold Banner versions. I have Dawn of the Zeds (not yet played) and the physical quality is amazing. I'm looking forward to Nemo (which is probably of more interest to me)

With the company moving to Portland (I think it is) and contracting printing to China I would expect future games to be of the same quality as Zeds and Nemo.
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Joe Donnelly
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I've stopped buying them because they never seem to sell a finished product. There's either an expansion (or two), so that you feel you've only purchased a fraction of a game, or there's a second (or third) edition on the horizon.
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Jon Gautier

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I stopped buying their games because I did not like the QPR and because I realized that I did not like many of the games I played anyway, mostly the SoS and "20" games.
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Carl Paradis
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Ashiefan wrote:

I wish them well and acknowledge the improvements that they have made in production quality but the chances of me buying one of their games is slight to none.


OK fair. Sorry if this feels like Pontificating, but... Don't forget that VPG give their chance to newbie game designers that would otherwise NEVER have been published. And this is mighty good for the hobby.

My own case as an example: Without VPG, these games, by GMT, would not exist:

No Retreat! The Russian Front
No Retreat! The North African Front
No Retreat 4! Italian Front: 1943-45
No Retreat 3: The French and Polish Fronts
Absolute War! - The Attack on Russia 1941-45

That's only my own stuff. There are many others.

IMHO we need MORE outfits like VPG, and we need to buy some games from them.
Our Hobby will be infinitely better if we do.
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Gamien Omen
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For me, the aesthetic quality of the components is very off-putting. I could live with bad components if they charged considerably less for their games, but charging GMT prices for Milton Bradley components feels like a rip-off.

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I'm generally pleased with the physical production values of VPG product. My first VPG game was the pre-gold banner Waterloo 20 and I found the components perfectly adequate ... more than adequate actually since I had low expectations based on BGG comments. As someone who grew up with Metagaming microgames the components seemed luxurious. (In many ways I regard VPG as Metagaming's spiritual heir though I don't know if Alan Emrich would approve of that view).

Moving on to the gold banner level of physical presentation:

The red box is sturdy and reasonably space efficient. My only beef with the box is it can be tricky to close all the way as you need to keep components (especially the map) a few millimeters away from the box edge so the flaps aren't blocked during closing.

The chunky laser cut counters are quite nice especially in games with little stacking but I'm not in love with them. I like the fact they are effortless to punch out. I don't like the soot but it is by no means a deal breaker.

I'm not one of those people who demand mounted maps so I'm indifferent to the jigsaw maps. I appreciate the extra weight of the map in terms of keeping it in place during play but the drawback is the visible jigsaw lines during play.

Bottom line is I like VPG production values in part because they're quite good (keep in mind I'm coming at this as a wargamer, not a Eurogamer) and in part because they're quirky. I find the quirkiness a form of brand identity.

For relatively small games VPG games are expensive (the Metagaming analogy doesn't hold when it comes to price) but I accept that for the print-on-demand model and what I regard as solid component quality. Of course we'll have to see how things play out given that they've announced they're going to be outsourcing their printing.

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David Brown
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I love their games, especially the Gold Banner ones. The quality is excellent, games are well playtested, and their customer support is outstanding. I have a wide variety of their games, and I have yet to be disappointed.
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Michael McCalpin
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I bought some of their pre-Gold Banner games, and no, they weren't pretty, though I have enjoyed playing them a great deal. I have bought two Gold Banner titles: an early one (Leuthen: Frederick's Greatest Victory 5 December, 1757) and a more recent one (Cruel Necessity). While the Leuthen counters had a pleasant smoky smell, I didn't find any meaningful amount of soot on either game's pieces. Others must have had different experiences.
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Tim B
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I only have one (that I can think of right now), which is "Cruel Necessity". I thought the components (did have to wipe some soot off, but not a big deal) were fine and thought the game play was very interesting. I was happy with the purchase.
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DuneTiger wrote:

1. How do you feel about the slip-sleeve red boxes?


    They're fine. It's a box, I'm not sure I've ever looked at a game and thought "gee, if only the box was different I'd buy this" but they're fine even in that case.


DuneTiger wrote:

2. How do you feel about their sooty laser-cut super-thick counters/tokens/etc?


    They're fine too. They're seriously big and thick, they have brown edges. The edge color is every bit as nice as gray as far as I'm concerned.


DuneTiger wrote:

3. Has any of their production choices, above points or otherwise, ever influenced you to not buy one of their games that you might otherwise be interested in?


    Not a bit. Good gaming is good gaming, and I recommend Wings for the Baron before you can no longer get it.

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john guthrie
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Sagrilarus wrote:
DuneTiger wrote:

1. How do you feel about the slip-sleeve red boxes?


    They're fine. It's a box, I'm not sure I've ever looked at a game and thought "gee, if only the box was different I'd buy this" but they're fine even in that case.


funnily, this was what i disliked most about those games. the red box flaps tuck inside the box, so all the game bits have to be centered inside, and the slip-sleeve is snug enough that i felt a risk of tearing it each time.

it's not enough to put me off completely, i own Circus Train 2ed
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Randy Smith
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The VPG red tuck boxes and sleeves aren't that much different than Columbia Games tuck boxes and sleeves. Neither of them bother me.
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Johnny Wilson
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I purchased two copies of Wings for the Baron--one as a present after playing it a couple of times. The quality of the cards wasn't quite what I want in a game I will be playing a lot with several people, but I went to the trouble of backstopping them with old WOTC CCG cards (out of print games like C23)and placing them in color-coded card sleeves.

I liked Empires in America, Caesar XL, and Waterloo 20, as well as the one on the Franco-Prussian war. If you haven't played it yet, Caesar XL is a terrific and relatively fast-playing two-player game. If I had enough copies, I would use it in both my history class and game design class. But I'm way too cheap to come up with 15-20 copies.

As for the sleeves, I'm always afraid I'm gonna' tear those, just as I am with Columbia boxes.
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Pete Pariseau
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The new format has been a mixed bag for me - I like the full-sized cards, don't care about the box (usually get bagged if it's an option, and hate the sooty counters.

The main things that have reduced my purchasing of their games is fewer wargames and way higher prices on those that do appear. The Berg Attila game was an exception, fairly reasonably priced.
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Nick Wade
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I have quite a few VPG games. I like their range of topics and I think their components are decent quality. They seem to be a bit expensive but generally I'm happy to support the smaller publishers. I don't like that I seem to keep buying games that get trumped by gold banner editions. More so, though, I don't like that most new versions are boxed only - that adds unnecessary cost for production and shipping IMO, and I would prefer they retained a ziplock option.
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As someone who used VPG as a gateway into the wider hobby (making the transition from PC to physical games), I can only say good things overall about what they've done for the industry. You can argue over the fine details like soot but when you look at the bigger picture it would take some proper Irish begrudgery to deny that VPG have done the wider hobby a real service.

Of course there are small things I dislike. The terrible fake Cyrillic in Soviet Dawn was enough to have me purchase the C3i version instead. Likewise I still use the Ottoman Sunset first edition map with second edition counters since I find the faux Turkish text to be a little OTT. Don't even get me started on the Erin go Bragh counter in Cruel Necessity whistle At the same time, they are US-based with a mainly US fan base so it's kinda understandable and ultimately the pros of what VPG offers the market outweigh the largely cosmetic cons.

I know this may be a pastime that people take (too) seriously at times but I find it really hard to get worked up over a little excess soot or a counter that's slightly off centre, in my view there are more important issues that people deal with in the world today. I've also played games with perfect counters but the rulebook sounds like it was written obscurely in a deliberate way lest the game become too easily accessible.

With VPG I've had nothing with great customer service, top quality components in newer versions and perfectly fine components in the older ones, an accessible product, a genuine feeling that the folks there really care about what they are producing, reasonable prices, some interesting themes and all in all a very human company, in a world where there are less and less of those every day.

I wish them all the best and hope that the guys there stick to their core values in the future.

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dan pancaldi
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I love the red sleeved boxes and the soot. Love their WIPES A LOT NAPKIN and the disclaimer that it's not a floatation device, though I have tried to prove them wrong , I must confess, I convinced my ex-wife to try it first.

I will miss these very original products when they are gone. I wish them the best in the future. Nothing but good came of this company.kiss
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DuneTiger wrote:
1. How do you feel about the slip-sleeve red boxes?

All good. No complaints. The size is right and the boxes are sturdy.

Quote:
2. How do you feel about their sooty laser-cut super-thick counters/tokens/etc?

No problem. Once you wipe them off, they are some of the highest quality chits you can find. The included napkin is a cute touch.

Quote:
3. Has any of their production choices, above points or otherwise, ever influenced you to not buy one of their games that you might otherwise be interested in?

When they were packaging games in plastic bags, I still bought them. They charged less, and the portability was high. Now they have the Gold Banner editions, which are more expensive, but with a suitable increase in quality. The counters are great. The cards are adequate. The paper maps are perhaps a downgrade from the laser cut boards of the in between years, but I don't mind paper maps.

In fact, the only thing I wish they'd spend more time with are the rulebooks, and the rules statements on the cards. There always seems to be some ambiguous wordings. And while the VPG guys are active on the forums, I'd prefer the effort went into precise writing. That said, I know it's a difficult task.

I do find the transition period a bit difficult. I know some of the Nappy 20 games are due for a Gold Banner treatment, and I find myself holding off on titles I'd like to purchase. Now that I have some Gold Banner games, I want the series at the same level of quality.
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Gordon Watson
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I have The Barbarossa Campaign and it's excellent - one of the best solo games out there. I also have 'Zulus on the Ramparts' which is fun and did have 'We Must Tell the Emperor' (also fun) but sold it when someone offered me a crazy amount of money for it - I didn't really feel like I needed more of the SoS games than this as they felt pretty similar with a different lick of paint - I may be being a little unfair.

I also have 'Nemo's War' which is fun and their 'Disaster On' climbing games, a couple of space games and 'Forlorn Hope' - the majority of these are from the pre-gold-banner ziploc days and I preferred them that way. They were still a little expensive, for the component quality, but refreshingly different designs and fun to play. For me they really 'jumped the shark' price wise when they went to boxed and gold-bannered editions - at least this side of the Atlantic. Prices became in excess of well produced GMT fare. Even the Nemo KS was too expensive for my taste.
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Steve R Bullock
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VPG has good quality products.

I purchased Forlorn Hope and was quite happy with it.

It was missing one counter sheet, but VPG was quick to send it to me.

I am sure anything that comes out after they relocate will be even better!
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Michael McLean
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I have several VPG titles, and they're among my favorite games. I like the SoS series, and I'm hoping to get a copy of Nemo's War at some point when money is less tight. I really like the counters. It's not hard to wipe off a little soot, and then you have nice, thick counters that you don't have to worry about bending, etc.

Their new games aren't an instant purchase for me, but I always check the new titles out to see if they're on subjects of interest.

I would prefer 2 piece boxes, but the red pizza boxes are fine - certainly not a deal breaker.

All in all, I'd consider myself a VPG fan.
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Daniel Rodriguez
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I've been a VPG fan since I first heard of them and they've not let me down. For starters, many of their products hit my high points, low complexity, quick playtime (1-2 hours), high soloability and interesting topics. Oh and did I mention fun? VPG games are FUN to play. That is really the best thing I can say about them. Sooty counters? You only have to wipe off the soot once and once you do you have the nicest, thickest counters around. Small boxes or zip loc bags? Makes it easy to fit a nice stack of games on your shelf. In fact I have a small box that held an external hard drive in it, I can fit 4 SOS ziploc games in there and it comes traveling with me. And those who have played them know that 4 SOS games is a LOT of games. I love the indie feel of the company, love that they dig into topics that aren't well covered elsewhere, I'm glad they are around and hope they stay around for a good while.
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