Pacific: Victory Points (posted by Sinister)

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Post by Krieghund » Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:43 pm

Posted by Krieghund:
Originally posted by JimM
Experienced players sometimes find that it's too easy for Japan to win. (Beginning players often decide that it's too hard for Japan to win -- it's all a matter of learning the strategy.) If Japan is winning too often, make the following changes to the setup listed on the Japanese Reference Chart:
That's corporatespeak for "we screwed up and sent the wrong version of the set-up sheets to the printers". The revised set-up in the FAQ is what the designers intended. But even with the revised set-up, Japan still has a large advantage.
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Post by Krieghund » Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:44 pm

Posted by JimM:

I like the way you put that!.... :) That's corporatespeak for "we screwed up and sent the wrong version of the set-up sheets to the printers".... Thanks, I will set the game up like that.

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Post by Krieghund » Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:47 pm

Posted by Krieghund:

BTW, Jim, here are my house rules, if you're interested:
  • 1. Count the Japanese victory points at the end of the US' turn (that way Japan has to take and hold a territory to get credit).
    2. Japan can win only on victory points - not on capital capture.
    3. No substalling allowed (attacking subs must fight one round before submerging).
    4. Kamikaze may not be used until "activated" - they are activated on the first turn Japan collects less than 30 IPCs of income (this makes them more of a game-saving "desperation weapon" than an advantage for Japan).
    5. Optional - Repair damaged battleships at the beginning and at the end of Japan's turn, not the end of each turn (gives the UK a little more punch).
These rules make for a more active game - more small battles.
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Post by Krieghund » Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:50 pm

Posted by Drax Kramer:
Originally posted by Sinister
Historically the premise for the clock aspect starts out fine. I can't argue that japan actually thought they were going to win a protracted war. On the other hand, this game is historical innacurate when the US all the sudden "gives up" because japan has taken to much land. This game doesn't reflect the true historic nature of American resolve OR Japanese Reslove for that matter. It gets the first couple of years right and then ends in some sort of weird truce. Well that might have happend if the Japanese hadn't bombed Peral...but they did.
Virtually all strategic WW2 games have some sort of clock. Each turn represents a month, two or three and Allies are usually required to win before they run out of time.

Capital victory in A&A: P is as historically "weak" as VP victory. Do you think Nimitz from your example would have called of the war, because Japanese captured Calcutta or Canberra?

In A&A, there was virtually no action in Pacific theatre because Allied players knew very well they could win the game without bothering with Japanese. Historically, Americans could sit out the war on Australia-Hawaii line until German surrender and then turn against Japanese. But, political reasons as well as uncertainity about Japanese capabilities, required an active stance in Pacific too.

VP mechanism is nice way to allow Japanese to win without ahistorically beefing up their capabilities and to force Americans to act rather than wait for "Death Star" fleet to sail slowly to Japan and end the war. The precise number of VPs required can be tinkered with, but the mechanism itself is the best thing that happened to A&A.


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Post by Krieghund » Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:51 pm

Posted by Sinister:

Wow,

With respect I couldn't disagree more. First off you could put a "time frame" on turns in A&A, if you want, but that doesn't change the fact that I've had a 1 hour games of A&A and I've had a 18 hour games before. That's really not a "clock" system like pacific in A&A. When looking a pacific the game is over with 2-4 hours and has never varied beyond that time frame, at least for me.

You seem to think that the Japanese were a paper tiger to be ignored. Sure the americans won in the pacific easily by most standards, but it still took 4 years of hard fighting and many many factors were behind american victories. For starters 2/3 of the japanese army was fighting the chinese, secondly at almost every single engagment the japanese suffered horrible luck, and thirdly, japanese commanders made horrible choices. My point is that had all the carriers been at pearl, had the japanese carriers not been spotted at midway, had Nishmura and Shima not been taking a fleet between a strait when found by the americans BBs at Leyte, had Kurita pressed his attack at leyte the war, and had the japanese attack on the aluetians been succesful, the war would have been a very very different and longer war. Sure these are alot of "what ifs" but A&A is a game of "what ifs" so why not let them try? I mean honestly the germans weren't in a position to rule the world, so shouldn't, by the same logic of A&AP, we give them the same chance of taking some IPCs and cashing out of the game? Historically they weren't going to win. But the game is not about what really did happen but rather the possibilities to change what happened.

The game, if it is going to be a recreation of the pacific, should, at least IMO, offer up a chance at some great battles and actual large scale conflicts. The solomons and coral sea, midway, marianas and siapan, leyte, Okinawa. Gee Wiz none of this happens in the game because its all about the US building a massive fleet and sailing it to japan, while the Japanese grab elusive, and the most abstract idea ever placed in A&A, victory points. The mechanic is flawed, NOT because it offeres the Japanese a way out but because it offers them a way out before the "great battles" and "what ifs" of the pacific can commence and it offers them a way out without holding any strategic points of value, like are held in other games of A&A.

As to my example, No, nimtiz wouldn't have called off the attack if calucutta had fallen, but neither would the allies give up if the russian capital was taken (when playing europe) or if 10 victory cities have been taken in revised. Those are victory conditions that standardize all A&A games, all except this game, whose deliberate design attempt is not a full realistic creation of the pacific but rather a game thats primary focus is for the Japanese player not to show any real strategic prowess but rather to find all the high end territories and hold them long enough to cash out.

The game harkens back to the idea of economic victory in the old MB game. I don't think anyone playing revised would want to see that game mechanic return. Blitzing tanks going through backwater nations collecting IPCs just to cash out was never popular in my gaming groups.

Also the "death star" fleet which is possible in this game is very unrealistic. First off the economy of the US is screwy in this game because it takes in no consideration of money for europe. Why in a game of pacific (about one theater) is the money 75 IPCs and in a game about both theaters is 40? Secondly had the US, just kept building and not activley engaging the Japanese would have struck peral again or indeed, san diego, and destroyed the new ships being built. They can't in this game BECAUSE that strategy offers no VPs.

A better VP mechanic IMO, if you must play with one, is to have VPs based on american lands taken and allied units destroyed.

To each their own, if the VP system is the way you like in then you should play it that way, the above was just my 2 cents.
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Post by Krieghund » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:02 pm

Posted by Krieghund:

I don't mean to speak for Drax, but I agree with him on every point he made. So, here's my 2 IPCs...
Originally Posted by Sinister
Wow,

With respect I couldn't disagree more. First off you could put a "time frame" on turns in A&A, if you want, but that doesn't change the fact that I've had a 1 hour games of A&A and I've had a 18 hour games before. That's really not a "clock" system like pacific in A&A. When looking a pacific the game is over with 2-4 hours and has never varied beyond that time frame, at least for me.
Drax is referring to game time frame, ie if the Japanese can make the war last for X number of months/years, the Allies will get tired of it and sue for peace, letting them keep their gains. Of course, this does tend to translate into a real world time frame, but I have no problem with that. The only real drawback to this type of system is that "skin of the teeth" victories can be won, but I guess that mimics real life as well.
Originally Posted by Sinister
You seem to think that the Japanese were a paper tiger to be ignored. Sure the americans won in the pacific easily by most standards, but it still took 4 years of hard fighting and many many factors were behind american victories. For starters 2/3 of the japanese army was fighting the chinese, secondly at almost every single engagment the japanese suffered horrible luck, and thirdly, japanese commanders made horrible choices. My point is that had all the carriers been at pearl, had the japanese carriers not been spotted at midway, had Nishmura and Shima not been taking a fleet between a strait when found by the americans BBs at Leyte, had Kurita pressed his attack at leyte the war, and had the japanese attack on the aluetians been succesful, the war would have been a very very different and longer war. Sure these are alot of "what ifs" but A&A is a game of "what ifs" so why not let them try? I mean honestly the germans weren't in a position to rule the world, so shouldn't, by the same logic of A&AP, we give them the same chance of taking some IPCs and cashing out of the game? Historically they weren't going to win. But the game is not about what really did happen but rather the possibilities to change what happened.
The Japanese were not paper tigers, but they weren't a real threat to the US either. Any invasion of US territories (Hawaii included) by the Japanese were not logistically sustainable. As you pointed out, the Japanese were so busy fighting other enemies the US had all the time in the world to deal with Germany first. The only question was how long a "war mentality" could be sustained in the general population, which goes back to the previous point.
Originally Posted by Sinister
The game, if it is going to be a recreation of the pacific, should, at least IMO, offer up a chance at some great battles and actual large scale conflicts. The solomons and coral sea, midway, marianas and siapan, leyte, Okinawa. Gee Wiz none of this happens in the game because its all about the US building a massive fleet and sailing it to japan, while the Japanese grab elusive, and the most abstract idea ever placed in A&A, victory points. The mechanic is flawed, NOT because it offeres the Japanese a way out but because it offers them a way out before the "great battles" and "what ifs" of the pacific can commence and it offers them a way out without holding any strategic points of value, like are held in other games of A&A.
I agree with you here, Sinister, hence my house rules. By making Japan keep what it takes to earn victory points, my rules force fleets to spread out and smaller clashes to occur over more minor territories. I also agree with Drax that a Japanese victory by capital capture is unrealistic and leads to "gamey" strategies, such as Japan leaving the home islands completely undefended while throwing everything at India.
Originally Posted by Sinister
As to my example, No, nimtiz wouldn't have called off the attack if calucutta had fallen, but neither would the allies give up if the russian capital was taken (when playing europe) or if 10 victory cities have been taken in revised. Those are victory conditions that standardize all A&A games, all except this game, whose deliberate design attempt is not a full realistic creation of the pacific but rather a game thats primary focus is for the Japanese player not to show any real strategic prowess but rather to find all the high end territories and hold them long enough to cash out.

The game harkens back to the idea of economic victory in the old MB game. I don't think anyone playing revised would want to see that game mechanic return. Blitzing tanks going through backwater nations collecting IPCs just to cash out was never popular in my gaming groups.
The ideas of Victory Cities, or any victory conditions short of total annhilation of the enemy is nothing more than a game design attempt to keep a game from going on for hours after the point where the outcome is all but certain. Pacific is different in this regard, because WWII in the Pacific was also different - Japan's only chance at victory was to make the US get tired of the fight and give up. The victory conditions in the game reflect this historical reality, though the mechanics are not perfect. Why should 2 games that depict 2 different situations have the same victory conditions?
Originally Posted by Sinister
Also the "death star" fleet which is possible in this game is very unrealistic. First off the economy of the US is screwy in this game because it takes in no consideration of money for europe. Why in a game of pacific (about one theater) is the money 75 IPCs and in a game about both theaters is 40? Secondly had the US, just kept building and not activley engaging the Japanese would have struck peral again or indeed, san diego, and destroyed the new ships being built. They can't in this game BECAUSE that strategy offers no VPs.
I am not sure you can compare A&A Pacific and A&A Revised. Firstly, they are on 2 different scales. Secondly, any accurate depiction of the global picture of WWII must include the political realties of the time. A&A makes an attempt to do this by abstracting and artificially adjusting economics, victory conditions and geography. If realistic income levels were assigned and nothing else changed, the US would dominate the game.

I must disagree with your assessment of what the Japanese would do if the US had not actively engaged them. Japan did not have the oil and logistic support for a continued campaign against the US - it simply was never part of the plan. The goal of the Pearl Harbor attack was to cripple the US Navy so that the US could not interfere with Japan's plans, and Japan had neither the desire nor, more importantly, the capability to prosecute a war with the US beyond that. The goal of Japan was not to "beat" the US, but to consolidate their gains before the US could beat them. This leads to Japan's expansion to a certain point, then fighting a defensive war to maintain that expansion against a more powerful enemy. Once again, the game's victory conditions reflect that reality.
Originally Posted by Sinister
A better VP mechanic IMO, if you must play with one, is to have VPs based on american lands taken and allied units destroyed.
Interesting idea, and I played with a similar system for a while, but it ended being more complicated than the average gamer would want to put up with - too much record-keeping.
Originally Posted by Sinister
To each their own, if the VP system is the way you like in then you should play it that way, the above was just my 2 cents.
True enough. The victory point system represents a more "realistic" picture of the military and political situation in the Pacific Theatre, and I believe my house rules smooth out some of the problems with that approach. But those who want a less one-sided fight will enjoy your variant. Conquest Gaming's Conquest of the Pacific offers a similar approach.
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Post by Krieghund » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:03 pm

Posted by Sinister:

I just think that strategically the continued attack of military Units by the Japanese is a more realistic approach than taking the philliepeans, hong kong, and a couple of unstrategic islands and proclaiming an abstract truce (what did they US lose about 50 IPCs or less?

The argument I hear is "This system allows for Japan to win the way they would have in real life. A truce favorable to Japan"

but look what the game DOESN'T accomplish

1. No battles with the US besides Peral and the Phillipeans if the Japanese can cash out early.

2. Unrealstic and unimportant strategic places taken for victory.

3. A timetable that is incredibly "speed up" for what the real war was.

4. Unbalancing IPCs rules that make the Americans unstoppable. Despite a resource advantage the americans couldn't produce ships fast enough unless of course each turn represents close to a year of real time but how is that fair to japan?

I just think that maybe IPCs weren't the way to go for figuring victory conditions for Japan. Maybe the allies should have a counter and when 350 IPCs of equipment is destroyed they sue for peace, but for god's sake let's make Japan make some ballsey moves and strikes, lower the stupid death star fleet by reducing Americas IPCs. Yes A&A is abstract but why does it have to be so abstract I can throw down 3-4 BBs a turn as America. Yes they had a hell of alot more resources but this should be reflected in a longer game. The clock? Well both fronts lasted about the same amount of time but yet every turn in AAP is like 8 months to maybe 2 months in revised. Has anyone had a game last longer than 8 turns? I never have.

In conclusion,

I don't have a problem with the "truce" idea and that idea being explored in some mechanic. I just think that to cover a historical "possibility" the game gave up alot of real history. I like my varient but perhaps the real decision here is to tie japanese victory with the destruction of Allied equipment considered "unreplaceable" because of European concerns. Thus set a IPCs damage counter out and when japan has caused enough harm, the allies give up. The game should also be slowed down to allow more historic and more strategic attacks. Make turns much reflective of a month than a year. That give the japanese some chances against the resources of the US
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Post by Krieghund » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:11 pm

Posted by Drax Kramer:
Originally Posted by Sinister

You seem to think that the Japanese were a paper tiger to be ignored.
They weren't paper tiger, but they didn't have any realistic chance of actually winning the war and vast majority of WW2 strategic games recognise this fact.
For starters 2/3 of the japanese army was fighting the chinese, secondly at almost every single engagment the japanese suffered horrible luck, and thirdly, japanese commanders made horrible choices.

Japanese never had logistical capabilities to employ these divisions in Pacific/SE Asia theatre anyway. As far as luck is concerned, how do you define luck? Were Americans lucky at Pearl Harbor? Were they lucky at Philippines when their bombers have been caught at ground? Were British lucky at Malaya?

What did luck have to do with Guadalcanal, New Guinea, Philippine Sea, Leyte?

And horrible choices weren't exactly limited to Japanese commanders, unless you consider Kimmel, Short, Percival, Phillips as Japanese commanders.
My point is that had all the carriers been at pearl, had the japanese carriers not been spotted at midway, had Nishmura and Shima not been taking a fleet between a strait when found by the americans BBs at Leyte, had Kurita pressed his attack at leyte the war, and had the japanese attack on the aluetians been succesful, the war would have been a very very different and longer war.

Only two carriers could be at Pearl, Lexington (sunk at Coral Sea in May 1942) and Enterprise. It still leavs USN with Saratoga, Hornet, Yorktown and Wasp as fleet carriers. In emergency, Ranger could have been utilised as well.

Midway could have been fought with balanced losses, it still doesn't mean Japanese capture heavily fortified island (see how difficult was the conquest of Wake) and even if they capture the island, what are they suppose to do with a rock without natural source of drinking water?

Japanese did capture two Aleutian islands and it had no effect on the course of the war.

By October 1944, the war in Pacific was decided. The only thing left to determine was how many more men will be killed. Even if Kurita sunk some of the transports, it would not change the course of the campaign and would probaly mean his fleet trapped on the wrong side of San Bernardino strait once Halsey returns.

What you failed to grasp is that the time table of commission of Essex class carriers as well as South Dakota and Iowa classes of battleships (not to mention light carriers, cruisers, escort carriers, submarines etc) as well as huge number of planes built and pilots trained was independent of battles at Pacific. By late 1943, USN Pacific Fleet was going to be stronger than IJN, no matter what and after that the clock is start ticking for Japanese Empire, no matter what.
Sure these are alot of "what ifs" but A&A is a game of "what ifs" so why not let them try? I mean honestly the germans weren't in a position to rule the world, so shouldn't, by the same logic of A&AP, we give them the same chance of taking some IPCs and cashing out of the game? Historically they weren't going to win. But the game is not about what really did happen but rather the possibilities to change what happened.

You see, game designers are mostly aware of that, hence games tend to make difference between "winning the war", aka planting the swastika flag on Big Ben and "winning the game", aka beating the "clock". One reason why A&A:E is flawed game is that it doesn't allow German player to win by some other method than marching to Moscow.
The game, if it is going to be a recreation of the pacific, should, at least IMO, offer up a chance at some great battles and actual large scale conflicts. The solomons and coral sea, midway, marianas and siapan, leyte, Okinawa. Gee Wiz none of this happens in the game because its all about the US building a massive fleet and sailing it to japan, while the Japanese grab elusive, and the most abstract idea ever placed in A&A, victory points.
You don't see Coral Sea and Midway because initial setup and ridiculous air base rules give Japan huge advantage in any such battle. No US players is mad enough to risk his weaker fleet against Japanese in lost cause. For this I blame the battle mechanics where two battleships can annihilate my carrier despite the fact that in real life they would never get close enough to fire their guns.

As far as late war battles are concerned there was exactly ONE carrier battle between two fleets and Japanese were clobbered (Philippine Sea, June 1944). Leyte was desperate suicide attack that A&A players would launch when their chance for victory are similar as historically.
As to my example, No, nimtiz wouldn't have called off the attack if calucutta had fallen, but neither would the allies give up if the russian capital was taken (when playing europe) or if 10 victory cities have been taken in revised. Those are victory conditions that standardize all A&A games, all except this game, whose deliberate design attempt is not a full realistic creation of the pacific but rather a game thats primary focus is for the Japanese player not to show any real strategic prowess but rather to find all the high end territories and hold them long enough to cash out.
"Full realistic creation" is not possible without realistic set-up and some sort of representation of logistical limits that prevented US Navy from simply sailing directly from Hawaiians to Japan.

However, any game that requires from Japanese player to "win" the war against USA (How are you going to get such result anyway?) is as far from "realism" as possible. Instead of abolishing the VP mechanism, the actual number or the way they are collected can be tinkered about.
The game harkens back to the idea of economic victory in the old MB game. I don't think anyone playing revised would want to see that game mechanic return. Blitzing tanks going through backwater nations collecting IPCs just to cash out was never popular in my gaming groups.

Well, I am happy to be in the minority who miss economic victory. It was far more realistic way to win than invasion of Great Britain. And let me ask you, do you play with 8 or 10 victory cities in your revised games? If your answer is 9, then you play with house rules and should not complain about economic victory from MB game.
Also the "death star" fleet which is possible in this game is very unrealistic.

Why? Take a good look at USN order of battle for Leyte, what in the world could defeat this fleet?
First off the economy of the US is screwy in this game because it takes in no consideration of money for europe. Why in a game of pacific (about one theater) is the money 75 IPCs and in a game about both theaters is 40?

Because, ships (predominatly needed in Pacific) cost more than infantry (predominantly needed in Europe).
Secondly had the US, just kept building and not activley engaging the Japanese would have struck peral again or indeed, san diego, and destroyed the new ships being built.

No, they wouldn't. Pearl worked once, because US was at peace. Japanese had no range to sail to San Diego and even if they tried to stage Peral Harbor: Part Two, they would have been clobbered by USN.



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