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Subject: Rule re-write/re-organization interest? rss

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The Texsun
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So, please let me know if I'm missing something regarding this game.

I recently dug my copy out; I've owned it since the early 80s, bought new from the store, and fortunately it's still complete and in great condition! So I decided to give it a play this past weekend, for the first time in probably 30 years (ugh!).

As I read through the rules I remembered how I struggled with some of the rules. I believe this is the 2nd Edition, as the rule book is dated 1981, just as the 2nd Edition is in the Files section of this game.

Perusing through the various threads it's obvious this rule book needs a re-write. Maybe even a graphic overhaul. I'm an instructional designer by trade but started out as a technical writer, and I used to do a lot of board game and computer game manuals, so I (at least I think, lol) know what works and what doesn't. It's going to sound weird but I actually enjoy doing re-writes of rules, so I've been thinking about doing just that.

I'm not looking to infringe any copyright because if I did something like this, I'd just release it here for free (of course, if there's enough interest in such a thing). And before I did I'd definitely want to post in this forum to see if anyone would be interested in proofing it and offering feedback, because I know I might miss some things. Besides, I'm pretty sure there's a lot of you out there that have played this game a lot over the last many years. While I played it a lot myself back in the day, as I said, it's been a while!

Let me know if there's interest in this. The re-write as I envision it would not change anything or change the spirit of the game, but might reorganize it into something that makes a little more sense, or is easier to follow (such as a true Sequence Of Play, step-by-step, and not any of this "Step 1: This, this, this, this, and this too" kind of thing the rules seem to like to do. Also, since I do graphic design, it would be a simple matter to put some more illustrations and examples in, based on any of the issues some of you have had and posted about here.

Whew, sorry for the lengthy post. I look forward to any feedback. If this is a bad idea, I'll not bother because I realize some might think what I propose to be board game heresy!
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Steve Duke
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I think your work would largely fall on deaf ears.

I mean, who plays this game any more? Grognards mostly.
Folks who have figured it out.

It is not getting reprinted so copies are left to be found from Ebay and other second and third hand markets.

We remember fondly the good old days but the reality is, there are many better games out there today, much more readily available.

I still have my copy of VITP and I've actually played it with an opponent this year. We had no issues with the rules as those questions have long since been asked and answered.

I appreciate your energy and your desire to update this classic but my recommendation is to focus that energy on something more lucrative than this project.
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The Texsun
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Good points, Steve. I don't mean to mess up something that's got nostalgia to it (believe me, I understand), so I didn't mean to do anything like that. Still, there's no point to trying. I mean, the game is played at various cons in tournaments to this day. I guess that my need to change things comes from my innate (anal) need to organize everything.
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Grant Linneberg
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Steve's right. However, that's not to say there would be zero interest. To whit, I've owned this game since the 80s and haven't really played it since then. But a PBEM opponent who has never played asked for it to be our next game. So there is the occasional newbie (not to mention grog who's not played in years) that might benefit from your re-org. But in the main, I'm guessing Steve's right. The people who play this probably have been playing it for years. We're an anomaly.

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Lance McMillan
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I'd have to agree with Steve & Grant. Those who still enjoy the game already know how to play it, while conversely those unfamiliar with it are unlikely to be attracted to the game because it's both so hard to find (being out of print) and its mechanisms are dated. I can't see a compelling reason to do a rules re-write.

Honestly, what I'd suggest is to try to design your own "updated" version, incorporating new mechanisms, better graphics, and more accurate history. That's something I'd certainly be interested in seeing.
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M@tthijs
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I've purchased the game somewhere around 2000. Late to the party. And played it far too little. Almost all my wargaming is Face to Face.

I would welcome any improvement to the rules that would make it easier to lure new players in with. Not that it's a hard game to begin with. But hey, if you have the time and love, I am most certainly interested.
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Carl Paradis
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Well, maybe a reprint will happen someday? Then the work will be useful. meeple
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craig grinnell
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Ya know what? If you want to re-organize the rules for simplification, by all means do it. It might prove helpful to someone who is new to this game and eager to learn it.
I'm not really sure how you can simplify 5 pages of rules though.
I always found them pretty straight forward and simple enough for my unfocused brain.

SQUIRREL!!!

yeah, go for it.
just remember what the others have said so you wont be disappointed if it is not well received.



Oh yeah, just don't start adding new rules or rule changes
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Brian Herr
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Lancer4321 wrote:
Those who still enjoy the game already know how to play it, while conversely those unfamiliar with it are unlikely to be attracted to the game...

Honestly, what I'd suggest is to try to design your own "updated" version, incorporating new mechanisms, better graphics, and more accurate history. That's something I'd certainly be interested in seeing.
While I agree that's largely true, there are also those of us who love the game dearly, and want to see a new generation - however small it might be - continue to play it. It is a classic and should be preserved by playing it. I bought and taught my nephew an eBay copy, and he now loves the game. If a rule book modernization is what it takes to pass VITP along, I stand behind such a project. If I can help, please do not hesitate to ask.

And if you're looking to incorporate some new mechanics, graphics, and history, may I humbly suggest Victory At Sea Redux? I was deeply flattered to get a PM from another BBG member that he was using my VASR to introduce his grandson to wargaming.
 
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The Texsun
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I appreciate ALL of the feedback, on both sides of the fence!

Truthfully sometimes I start messing around with such things when I have some down time...and now is the first time I've had some down time since this past summer.

I went ahead and started re-doing the manual. I realize there are those out there that won't care and are perfectly happy with the rules as is...and that's absolutely fine.

I've already copied all of the 2nd Ed. manual to Word (I hate using Word for a large-ish manual - InDesign would be a lot better - but this is a quick and dirty initial work to get everything into an editable state, and then I'll start maybe moving things around.

This will also involve going through the files section and the posts here where clarifications were asked for, and formatting things to better explain such rules. If I think one of the files could be used in the manual I'll definitely reach out to the uploader to see if they're okay with that before doing so. I don't want to misrepresent my work as anyone else's, that's for sure, and definitely am going to put in those that posted requesting clarifications and those that answered, not to mention (of course!) the original designers, if that info is in there.

Thank you much for the positiveness. I don't know how long this will take as it will be something I work on here and there, but if anyone has ANY suggestions don't hesitate to PM me. I do a lot of game reviews so I'm often on the site for research/clarifications, though I don't often post.

Thanks again.
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Warren Davis
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My $0.02: you do you. My copy has been out-of-sight in storage since 1993, but I'm sure somebody somewhere other than you will appreciate your efforts. As long as it makes you happy...
 
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Daniel Blumentritt
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There are more realistic Pacific War games out there (Fire in the Sky, Across the Pacific), but not ones you can play in 4 hours. And VITP is almost a decade older than I am, so it's not old guy nostalgia.

Quote:
and its mechanisms are dated.


I find them to be a very unique set of mechanics that have mostly not been repeated (except the "buckets'o'dice" bit which is still in use today). Now the graphics, yes, definitely dated, although sadly unlike War at Sea or The Russian Campaign it's unlikely to get a true reprint thanks to Hasbro, even though outside of ASL it is probably the best-supported of all the wargames from the classic wargames era.

Quote:
While I agree that's largely true, there are also those of us who love the game dearly, and want to see a new generation - however small it might be - continue to play it.


I agree, and I've experienced multiple people younger than myself discover the game and enjoy it. Actually the most recent such person mentioned that the rules definitely looked to him like they were written in the 70s and needed some better organization.

IMO, they aren't bad, but they could use:
* More examples and flowcharts
* Some things that are implied should be stated more directly
* A few 1-in-1000 edge cases have loopholes that can be closed
* Certain points need to be moved around to more logical places (e.g. 29 POC being a max is mentioned under the "mapboard" section).

Texsun if you want some help with this project send me a GeekMail, I have some materials that may provide inspiration as well as a few thoughts of my own from my experience as the self-titled Unofficial VITP Evangelist.
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Mircea Pauca
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Besides adding in official clarifications/errata and minor streamlining (it's quite good as it is), two things I'd like to simplify (based on experience, teaching newbies once):
LBA are destroyed if damage EQUAL to defense rating. Marines need MORE (if equal, they keep full land combat ability). Ships need MORE (but if equal, firepower is crippled to 1/no air).
To unify all to MORE needs changing LBA counters to *-3-x. (Also help look in the proper column of odds table). So not only a rules issue, but a system consistency issue.

Also a chart of possible ranges and speed roll need by nation. Not the most intuitive as it is, dispersed in text.
US patrol 1/2 with SR, raid 2/3 with SR
but Marines 2/2 no SR
Australians, Dutch 1/2 and 1/2 (pratically no SR as they are cruisers)
UK patrol and raid 1/2 (Important, as sometimes they need to be sent as patrol to be sure they reach at all)
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The Texsun
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To be clear, I think this first step should keep an eye towards just re-organizing/clarifying the 2nd Edition rules as they currently stand, and not in incorporating any changes that would require a physical change to the game's rules or the components. That, I think, would be a next (and not minor) step, perhaps in the development of a full 3rd edition reprint of the game.

I think Hasbro has the ultimate rights to VitP, correct? I believe they bought out the old Avalon Hill group in the late 90s sometime, but kept the AH trademark and logos (though technically I think AH is under Wizards Of The Coast, which is itself a subsidiary of Hasbro).

Any actual changes to the rules themselves beyond reorganization and clarification is definitely next-level kind of stuff, something that would need to be a part of a re-imagining or re-publishing of a new version of the game. That's a decision that is of course well beyond anything I could do.
 
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Pokey 64
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Wasn't this basically what Holdfast: Pacific 1941-45 has done?

I don't own it so maybe I'm wrong but from what I've seen and read about it it's a streamlined modern version of VITP.
 
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The Texsun
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panzer6 wrote:
Wasn't this basically what Holdfast: Pacific 1941-45 has done?

I don't own it so maybe I'm wrong but from what I've seen and read about it it's a streamlined modern version of VITP.


Yes I believe it is.

Like I said, the re-write is (as I envision it anyway) just for the 2nd edition rules. I wasn't thinking about the Holdfast game when I made that last post, so thank you for pointing that out.
 
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Lehr
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I haven't played in several years, but I think "living" rules would increase the popularity of this game especially if you add illustrated examples of play. You would just have to decide if it would be worth your effort and is it something you enjoy working on.

Perhaps you are already aware of this site: http://www.gameaholics.com/vitp_tournament.htm

and specifically: http://www.gameaholics.com/vitp_format/vitp_clarifications.h...
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The Texsun
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Lehr wrote:
I haven't played in several years, but I think "living" rules would increase the popularity of this game especially if you add illustrated examples of play. You would just have to decide if it would be worth your effort and is it something you enjoy working on.

Perhaps you are already aware of this site: http://www.gameaholics.com/vitp_tournament.htm

and specifically: http://www.gameaholics.com/vitp_format/vitp_clarifications.h...


Thanks for the links, Lehr. Yep, I was aware of both sites, but I still appreciate the links regardless.
 
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Daniel Blumentritt
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Quote:
LBA are destroyed if damage EQUAL to defense rating. Marines need MORE (if equal, they keep full land combat ability). Ships need MORE (but if equal, firepower is crippled to 1/no air)
.
To unify all to MORE needs changing LBA counters to *-3-x. (Also help look in the proper column of odds table). So not only a rules issue, but a system consistency issue.


I think the reason that was done was so that people wouldn't think that an LBA with 3 damage points is "crippled" and only gets one shot. Unfortunately, if your goal is only to rewrite existing rules and not change anything (which I think is a good goal), this one isn't really fixable.

Quote:
I think Hasbro has the ultimate rights to VitP, correct? I believe they bought out the old Avalon Hill group in the late 90s sometime, but kept the AH trademark and logos (though technically I think AH is under Wizards Of The Coast, which is itself a subsidiary of Hasbro).


I think that's all correct. As far as I know, all the AH reprints have come from games where the rights reverted to the designer. The ones where AH kept the rights, Hasbro either won't even bother negotiating, or else just demands a ludicrous price far beyond what a reprint would make even with the best efforts and best marketing, despite having 0 intention of ever doing anything with the games for the rest of time.

Quote:
Wasn't this basically what Holdfast: Pacific 1941-45 has done?

I don't own it so maybe I'm wrong but from what I've seen and read about it it's a streamlined modern version of VITP.


Sort of. The map is identical, and it borrows some of the same rules for movement, area control, base conversion, and scoring. It is a very different game though, it's definitely not a "3rd edition" of the existing VITP the way that L2's The Russian Campaign was the 4th edition of the existing TRC. I wouldn't even say it's like Russia Beseiged was to the Russian Campaign. It's hard to come up with a good analogy because so many things were exactly copied, yet the game ends up being very different strategically and tactically.
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Stephen A
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sduke wrote:
We remember fondly the good old days but the reality is, there are many better games out there today, much more readily available.


I am curious, what are the better games than VitP, I wonder if I own any of those titles already?
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Steve Duke
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Based on your avatar, no answer i could give would convince you...
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Jim Eliason
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ahdvitp wrote:
sduke wrote:
We remember fondly the good old days but the reality is, there are many better games out there today, much more readily available.


I am curious, what are the better games than VitP, I wonder if I own any of those titles already?


VITP is a great game; I don't know of a better one on the Pacific in WWII. As a simulation it's not that great. I'm also a fan of Fire in the Sky, which is a far better simulation and also a very fun game. FitS takes longer to play than VITP, is a bit more complex, and the innovative mechanics are kind of hard to figure out at first. But once you get used to it, the game flows easily. I've not played Victory at Sea redux, Empire of the Sun, etc. so I can't comment on them other than EotS seemed a little too complex for my taste.
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Stephen A
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Jim,

Thanks for the feedback, and not reading too much into my icon (I picked my icon, because the Intrepid is a museum I visit in my hometown, and I like my town). Fire in the Sky looks like a good game, but I see it is priced for $120.00 to $200.00 right now, not sure I could justify that price, so I think I will stick with VitP, because while it is not a perfect simulation, it does capture some of the flavor of the war, and more importantly, you can actually find people to play it regularly. It was a fun game when I was a kid. Any other better games than VitP, I'd like to know?

Thanks,

Stephen

jeliason wrote:
ahdvitp wrote:
sduke wrote:
We remember fondly the good old days but the reality is, there are many better games out there today, much more readily available.


I am curious, what are the better games than VitP, I wonder if I own any of those titles already?


VITP is a great game; I don't know of a better one on the Pacific in WWII. As a simulation it's not that great. I'm also a fan of Fire in the Sky, which is a far better simulation and also a very fun game. FitS takes longer to play than VITP, is a bit more complex, and the innovative mechanics are kind of hard to figure out at first. But once you get used to it, the game flows easily. I've not played Victory at Sea redux, Empire of the Sun, etc. so I can't comment on them other than EotS seemed a little too complex for my taste.
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Michael Sanches
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Texscripter wrote:


I'm not looking to infringe any copyright because if I did something like this, I'd just release it here for free (of course, if there's enough interest in such a thing).


I don't know if a rules rewrite is needed. I'll let others discuss that. However:

1. You won't be violating any copyright as long as you use your own text. In Xeno vs. Milton Bradley the copyright office ruled that games are not copyrighted. What is copyrighted is the text and the artwork. You can rewrite the rules all you want.

2. Since this would probably be a computer file, I would heartedly suggest you include the postal version found in 19:6 of The General:

https://www.vftt.co.uk/Games/Avalon%20Hill/00%20The%20Genera...

It changes the game considerably by making it simultaneous move and adding the 9th turn. I really enjoy this version of the game. It could be called the Simultaneous move variant version of the game. Since the owner of the copyrights to The General long ago stopped caring about the magazine, you could do this part verbatim.
 
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Jim Allen
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Please please please re-write the rules. I am playing it now (after about 30 years) with my son and a grognard friend. The rules are diabolical. It's made worse from my familiarity with The War at Sea. It really is a terrific game with a great flavour of the war in the Pacific and the strategic problems it presented to both sides.
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