Recommend
10 
 Thumb up
 Hide
12 Posts

Victory in the Pacific» Forums » General

Subject: Strategy and balance issues? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Bernard Hopkins
England
Durham/Darlington
Unspecified
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm very interested in buying this game. A few things bother me though. I was wondering if the experts here could clear things up for me.

Game balance: I see this game has balance issues very heavily favouring the Japanese. I've seen lots of posts suggesting changes but nothing ever seems to get confirmed. Since this game was first published in the 70's it looks like the balance issues will never be sorted out?

Game strategy: With this game being around so many years and so many strategy articles written on it, has it finally been settled what the best strategy is? I fear it has been studied so much that there is only really one strategy option viable for maximum chances of success?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Willows
United States
Woburn
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
As I mentioned in the other place where you asked this qeustion, what you are asking is very much a matter of opinion.

So, I will give you the same opinion I already gave.

If you've read the article on US strategy that I posted for you earlier, you'll find that one of the reasons it is difficult to play the US well is that it's not glorious or even intuitive the path you must take. And that will be one of POC denial. And it will involve some messy battles where risks are taken. It will involve judicious use of American raiders which always move last.

In my opinion, the Japanese TKO strategy is popular because it's a lot easier to craft. Does that mean that the game is unbalanced? Not necessarily.

Also, ahistorical possibilites do not nessessarily mean unbalanced ones. Go ahead and play out the first couple of turns using Moon's TKO method. Notice any particular perimeter weakeness?

Again, playing the US well takes experience. It is frankly easier to play Japan. I've known some very good players who prefer playing the US in a "welcome to my parlor said the spider to the fly" sort of way.

Of course, a great player playing Japan is also hard to beat.

You can try the game on Vassal if you like. The rules are available online. Wish I could offer to give you a game, but my laptop died and worse, I'm thinking of replacing it with a tablet.
8 
 Thumb up
0.06
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
M@tthijs
Netherlands
Venlo
flag msg tools
This user is outstanding in mediocre videogaming
badge
Did you visit my www.kobudovenlo.nl? It has game info
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm a noob, but from what I know of this game:

Game balance: the IJN wins 55%. Therefore the players should bid POCs to play the IJN. This will make the win chance 50/50.

Game strategy: if an optimum had been found, I can't imagine this game still having so much fans, not to mention yearly championships.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Monty Jasper
United States
Sandusky
Ohio
flag msg tools
Dash Ptolemy Dog
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Victory in the Pacific is one of the all time great games and it is in my top five games. I simply love the simple rules and the strategy involved.

I am in the Allied camp on play balance. I believe that the fact that the IJN moves first is a huge disadvantage. The Allies must pick their battles and wittle away at the Japanese forces. They will steal POC from the Japanese along the way. Eventually, the large Japanese lead will evaporate.

I think there are lots of strategies to play in the game. It is true that the first turn is somewhat set, but the things that happen (or don't) will have a big effect on the later game.

In short, I would get it. I would wager that you will not regret it.

7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Blumentritt
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
The Allies must pick their battles and wittle away at the Japanese forces.


The pickin's aren't always very good though, especially when an aggressive Japanese attack forces your hand. You can't fight at a time and place of your choosing when the altnernative is lose all your reinforcements.

The TKO itself, as exactly outlined by Alan Moon, is a bit outdated simply because plays and counterplays and countercounterplays have had a couple of decades to evolve. But the principles Moon used to craft his strategy are still the basis of good Japanese play, and as such, is still a valuable read. Learn those principles - understand WHY he came up with the TKO Plan - and you'll be a good VITP player.

In fact, for someone just starting out in VITP (for whom the Allies might seem nigh-unbeatable), the TKO-in-3 plan would be a very good place to start - and then when your Allied opponent gets good against it, start making improvements.

Quote:
It is frankly easier to play Japan.


This is often even more true in the endgame, as Japan frequently can just pile 90% of it's forces in one area, or put it's whole fleet in one place and all 6 LBA somewhere else, whereas the USA has to be very particular about exactly how it counterattacks and usually must rely on vulnerable cruisers or hope that lone Marines survive against a +2 for Day.

The main thing early as the Allies, in my opinion, is to figure out what your goal is. You have a smaller fleet, weaker units in many cases, and the IJN will be controlling most of the ocean right off the bat. You can't try and do everything. You can try and save bases. Or you can try and keep the POC low. Or you can try and attrit the Japanese fleet. But try and do all of these at once, and you'll usually lose.

The good news is you don't need to do them all. For example, If you go into T6 and still hold key bases (say, Singapore never fell, or maybe Midway and Dutch Harbor and Kwajalein are all yours), then you can probably survive a bad POC count - maybe even being down the full 29.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Glenn McMaster
Canada
flag msg tools
Quote:
Game balance: I see this game has balance issues very heavily favouring the Japanese. I've seen lots of posts suggesting changes but nothing ever seems to get confirmed. Since this game was first published in the 70's it looks like the balance issues will never be sorted out?


The WBC just completed. I stopped by briefly and saw that bidding was reaching as high as 7 POC to play the Japanese. Whether this represents the final resting spot or whether the bidding will continue to spiral upwards to play the Japanese, who knows. Everyone first thought it was pretty crazy back at 4.5. Ah, those were the days.

Last year, John Pack commissioned a large survey of players to try and determine what the best ‘patch’ would be to return bidding to a level playing field. There doesn’t seem to be much concensus among players on what ‘fix’ is appropriate and there is no willingness to experiment because players don’t want to risk their AREA ratings or tournament chances. Recently Andy Gardner (2nd ranked VITP player on AREA) and myself (7th ranked) played a match with a host of pro-Allied alterations including the addition of the carrier Ranger to the US starting line up. The Japanese still won.

The problem seems to be that in the early turns it can be too easy for the Japanese to rack up the maximum POC and ravage the US fleet while doing so. The US fleet is just too brittle, and in particular, a run of lucky shots against the carriers can be very damaging. To avoid this situation means losing bases and position, which means getting too far behind by the mid-game to catch up.

Lately I’ve been toying with playing VITP with no bonus shots at all. It radically alters play balance back towards the US and feels, frankly, more like the real war.

Quote:
Game strategy: With this game being around so many years and so many strategy articles written on it, has it finally been settled what the best strategy is? I fear it has been studied so much that there is only really one strategy option viable for maximum chances of success?


The best-case Japanese strategy is to convert Pearl and capture all the green US bases in the backfield, such that on turn 6 the US player is looking at Japanese flags in Indo, SPO, Marshall, Hawaii, and he has no green bases left in the north. How to get to that state (or avoid it) is the stuff of endless variety, though. As Daniel mentions, each turn the US player must evaluate what to fight for and what let go, and how much risk he can accept to take.

There is a rarely seen western strategy option as well, that if it works blows the whole board wide open for the Japanese by turn 3. I have used it once in tournament play. Basically, the idea for it is that as Japanese on T2 you flag Bay of Bengal and either one of Hawaiian Islands/US Mandate. Whichever of the flagged areas on turn 3 the US player defends with his six LBA, you ignore it and convert the other red base. When we looked at it, it didn’t seem as advisable or as reliable as the eastern strategy.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim Eliason
United States
Iowa
flag msg tools
mb
I have my own personal favorite way to balance the game. It has three parts: 1) the NT1 variant, which alters several turn 1 rules and often results in somewhat fewer British losses, at least two American CVs in Australia, a Japanese POC gain of only 3 (instead of the usual 7), and a US flag in HI. 2) Pearl Harbor escape. If the Japanese have a flag in HI, the US turn 3 reinforcements can move through that flag to the US Mandate at their option. 3) San Diego Repair. US units can repair off board where they can't be air raided. All favor the Allies and all make the game somewhat more historical.

These changes make the USN less brittle early in the game and it's harder for the Japanese to force the USN to give up either its red ports or its fleet. I've played it several times against top players and the bids have been near zero, and both sides have won roughly as often.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
E Butler
United States
Hughesville
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Arctic Jack wrote:
I'm very interested in buying this game. A few things bother me though. I was wondering if the experts here could clear things up for me.

Game balance: I see this game has balance issues very heavily favouring the Japanese. I've seen lots of posts suggesting changes but nothing ever seems to get confirmed. Since this game was first published in the 70's it looks like the balance issues will never be sorted out?

Game strategy: With this game being around so many years and so many strategy articles written on it, has it finally been settled what the best strategy is? I fear it has been studied so much that there is only really one strategy option viable for maximum chances of success?



For the casual player, the play balance issue is nominal. The game is long enough and there is such a variety of tactical and strategic options for both sides that either player can win.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Blazing Apostle
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Just to add something here...go and BUY it...it is brilliant.
4 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Leo Zappa
United States
Aliquippa
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I bought this game when it was first released, and I still have that original copy. I've played it perhaps more than any other wargame I own. There are no, I repeat, NO significant issues with this game - it is a classic for good reason - it is a GREAT game. Do NOT hesitate to buy it at once and play it immediately! You will NOT be disappointed.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Blumentritt
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ye long-time lovers and players of VITP should consider trying to make it out to the Midwest Open next month. Most fun 2 days of gaming I have every year and I'm sure I'm not alone in that.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Adams
United Kingdom
Coventry
flag msg tools
In our group the USN strategy has been honed to such a high level that people now make large bids to play the USN.

For the first few turns the USN make very few patrols with ships - apart from the British in Indonesia and Indian Ocea they might only put a couple of patrollers in transit areas like the Marshall Islands. Keep the USN back as raiders and keep the AF out of harms way until Turn 3 by having it patrol out of the way areas like North Pacific. Base at least a copuple of carriers in Australia so that the IJN can't skimp of AFs in Indonesia.

With this US fleet in being the Japanese face a dilemma - after doing all the patrolling that they need to do to for POC, if they split the remaining fleet into 2-3 equal sized forces for a TKO then any one can be seriously overlapped by the USN. A night action could be goodnight the IJN carrier force. Or the USN can pick on several smaller patroller forces elsewhere. The USN threatening to patrol the Marshalls also gives the IJN another headache as US control would hamstring patrollers for HI on Turn 3.

Turn 3 usually sees the Japanese down several ships from Turn 2. Capturing HI and the US Mandate will be very difficult. One will be protected by 5-6 AF. If they lost the Marshall Islands they may not be able to patrol the HI, or can do so with only a few units who ended up on Midway - these ships will be the number 1 target for the US in any action.

The USN aim is to keep open sea lanes by using its last move ability to deny control (and POC) while his fleet gets bigger.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
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.