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Saipan & Tinian: Island War Series, Volume I» Forums » General

Subject: Solo suitability rss

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Sebastien Thuillier
France
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Hello,

Is there a way to play this game solo?
If yes, does it remain interesting?

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Sébastien P.
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Hmm, I don't see how...
The spice of the game comes from the hidden Japanese units. Playing with these units face up would make the game absolutely unbalanced and uninteresting.
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Sebastien Thuillier
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Thank you for the prompt answer. This confirms my first impressions...
I'm really interested by this game, unfortunately, without solo option, I can't go fot it. Too bad for me.
 
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Mike Taylor
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Sebastien,
Sorry for the delay in answering your question. If you feel I am taking too long to answer please by all means go ahead and email me. I am usually on Consimworld.com and you can easily reach me there.

Yes, the hidden rules add a lot to the game, and it is best played as a two-player game. But you can enjoy the game solitaire. From my point of view solitaire players enjoy the games more for the history by being able to recreate it and trying different tactics. Many use the games to study the battle. By playing it solitaire you really aren't playing for the competition, and the hidden rules are key in making the game competitive.

As for solitaire options you can randomly place Japanese units face down within their historical set-up locations, adding in several dummy counters. Dummy counters do have many different functions and capabilities that will affect the US player. I would leave artillery, HQ, and anti-aircraft units face up because you will need to be know their locations in order to use them. By the rules all coastal defense units are known as well.

Unless you have a fantastic, photographic memory, placing the units face down (hidden) does work much of the time. I tend to forget exactly which units are where or how strong they are. So for me it still works. When playing solitaire I always play the historical scenarios. And I still set my fortifications based and terrain analysis, from the Japanese defender's point of view. You must set these up, and base your defenses, on multiple US landing areas, not only against the historical landing beaches.

I wouldn't give up on the game. If you really like the subject you will not be disappointed. I honestly believe it is the best game on the subject (actually two games) and the best system for amphibious warfare in the Pacific.

I don't want to make this too long, so if you would like to discuss this in more detail go here:
http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?13@678.I1mLczdWHOd.10@.1dd4...

Or go there and click on my name (Michael Taylor) and email me.

Mike
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Sebastien Thuillier
France
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Hello Mike,

Thanks a lot for your comprehensive answer. No problem with the delay.

Your arguments are welcome to change my mind. I was already convinced that this game offers the best gaming experience on this subject, especially after Battles magazine review... but my concern was only a total impossibility to play solo or a complete absence of interest, as we can experience sometimes with some systems (typically heavy fog of war).

I'm 100% in line with you, playing solo with 2-player wargame is not a matter of competition. The three main purposes for me are:
- learn the system, before playing FtF (frequently)
- training (rarely)
- catch the flavor of the battle and the nature of the engagement (most of the times in fact...)

So, if you are able to play it solo and find it satisfactory, I'm quite sure that I can do the same. So I think I'm going for it.
Moreover, I usually find some tricks to deal with hidden informations, probably can do the same with the Island War Series system.

If I enjoy the experience with Saipan/Tinian, I will probably jump into Attu & Kiska volume... what a topic !
 
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Sébastien P.
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My previous comment may seem a little harsh. But don't get me wrong. I think Saipan/Tinian is a very good game and I had a great time playing it - but I am afraid one may be left wanting more if he intends to only play it solo.

I tried the game solo in order to learn the rules, try a few engagements and play the Tinian battle with randomly arranged Japanese units, but found it to be an appetizer. Having played against a skilled Japanese player making good use of the Japanese concealment capabilities, I can tell you it's a totally different gaming experience - and that's where the game shines.

Now, if only there was a Vassal module to arrange pbem...
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Randy Lein
United States
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I am glad that you mentioned the article in Battles Magazine as it gives a very good overview of the games components and mechanics as it compares this game with two others on the same subject matter also currently in print. Of course it didn't hurt that the author of the article gave Saipan & Tinian the nod as the game to get, in terms of both game play and graphics. If anyone is on the fence about this game find a way to read this article and you won't be for long.

Randy Lein - LWG
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Mike Taylor
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I will be sending in a Vassal module to Limey Yank Games, so you will be able to download it from there in the not too distant future. Gonzalo made the module and he did an excellent job.

Tinian is a small game and a nice one to start out with and learn the system. Since it is a small island the Japanese options are more limited, but the US players starts the game with reduced forces and has a shorter time limit to win the game. Once you play Saipan you will immediately see the difference. More rough terrain, larger island, and a larger Japanese force. More options for the Japanese player.

For those who have never played a Pacific Island ground game you will have to learn new tactics; a different style of planning and playing. Much different than, say, the Western or Eastern Front. For one, you have an enemy that you must kill down to the last unit. There is no surrender. It is not a pushing match between lines of units trying to capture terrain features. I am not sure which side is tougher to learn. Both have different tactics to learn. From a player's point of view I would have to say it is the Japanese side.

From the player's point of view I think the biggest hurdle to get over is the tactical situation, especially the Japanese player's side. Many won't even try the game based on this alone, and that is a shame, because the game can be very competitive. It is just not what you are used to. It is different. When compared to the war in Europe the tactics are different, the situations are different, and the victory conditions are different. For some they love the challenge, for others it is too far outside their comfort level. For those who are not afraid of a challenge and are willing to learn new tactics I thank you and absolutely appreciate you giving the game a try.
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