*HR G40 expanded VCs and VC bonuses

  • 2019 '15 '14

    Many people I game with do not enjoy how VCs only work as a “sudden death” Victory resolution mechanism in Global. For example, when the opposing side is poised to win, but loses on a VC technical knock out, the resolution may be unsatisfying. Often the preference is for unconditional surrender, victory by concession.

    To this end, I believe that VCs are more fun when they are brought into the direct underlying gameplay mechanics. For me the simplest thing to do is provide an economic incentive for control of a VC. VC gives +X in ipcs to the nation that control it, at collect income. In various games I have tried this bonus at different values +1 for example or +3 ipcs. But in a game like g40 with the potential for large epic armies and economies of scale, I suggest +5 for control of the VC. This VC bonus can be used to either replace National Objectives (my preference) or even be added to them if one desires a very high economy game.

    By activating all VCs and awarding IPCs for their control, Victory Cities become the center of focus (beyond just sudden death, into major areas of contention on the board.) Standard G40 features 19 VCs, which means 95 total IPCs introduced into the game with this basic VC bonus mechanism.

    *Option: More VCs. Now also on the subject of VCs… Some players I’ve talked with have expressed an interest in a game with more VCs to provide a deeper spread, and to give the sides even more VC goals. If desired it is possible to Add new VCs to the gameboard. This can be done using a simple marker for all VCs such as a gold star, or yellow chip, or with any marker you prefer. For G40, you could add a 20th VC…

    Szcechwan (Chungking)
    Malaya (Singapore)
    Romania (Bucharest)
    South Africa (Cape Town)
    Amur (Vladivostok)
    Libya (Tripoli)

    These all seem like strong potential candidates if you wanted to experiment with more VCs. Or maybe even all of these from 20 up to say 25 total if desired. Or if others have suggestions, I’m sure many territories could potentially be worked in. The exact total and which candidates offer the most gameplay entertainment is still something to be explored.

    Even if you just wish to keep the standard 19 though, a VC bonus can do a lot to shift focus on VCs and make them more valuable to all nations strategic goals. The bonus money here is broadly distributed throughout the course of play, and the bonus itself is easy to remember. It can service all nations with a universal rule, and gets every territory with a VC on it into the action. For use in games with or without NOs depending on how much cash you wish to incorporate.

    *Option restricted. This bonus is not awarded until the first collect income phase occurs. So restricted would leave all starting incomes unaffected.

    One could conceivably add this value at the outset, but with the standard 19 VCs, that would yield the following, pretty uneven spread…
    G + 10
    R + 15
    J + 10
    USA + 20
    UK + 25
    Italy +5
    Anzac +5
    France +5

    This is a bit high for Allies for the first round, esp. USA/UK (since the game set up assumes Axis will capture many Allied VCs early on.) Restricted would take that problem away, since the bonus isn’t awarded to starting income. It wouldn’t come into play until the first collect income phase.

    After the first round the Axis bonus would be basically in line with the Allied bonus. This is on account of the Fall of France (Germany +5 for taking Paris, and the stolen French purse), coupled with the Fall of Hong Kong or Manila bringing Germany and Japan roughly on par with their Enemies. Anzac would be made more effective as well. The US VC territories in the Pacific are likewise much more valuable under these rules, especially Hawaii.

    Putting 95 more IPCs in play each round, this bonus changes the purchasing potential of both sides. Axis retain the stronger starting unit position and tactical advantage, but this drops off as the game progresses as more emphasis shifts to production and purchasing and control of territory. On balance, after time, the additional bonus money makes up for the replacement cost of all the starting units on the gameboard, taking up a larger percentage of the total unit value with each round that passes. So effectively what you are doing is taking any imbalance that the starting unit set up produces and mitigating its overall impact (since, as time goes on, the money and purchases supplant the starting units in terms of overall balance by side.) The goal here is to get both sides on a roughly even footing using the VCs against each other in the contest by the time the endgame occurs, rather than just the ticking time bomb inevitable Victory.

    Right now Allies begin play with units valued at over 500 ipcs more than the Axis totals (this includes things likes facilities.) At roughly 2000 ipcs worth of units for Allies, vs roughly 1500 ipcs worth of units for Axis. The difference in spread is that much of that Axis Total Unit Value is on units that also have starting strategic value (things like tanks, mech, air and ground, already in position on Europe or Asia. or ships already in position in the case of Japan) Whereas most of the Allied TUV is all spread out and harder to concentrate. Now this spread for all its apparent difference is actually not too extreme. Consider that if you introduce the extra 95 from the VCs, added together with normal income, you can basically overcome the initial starting gap by the 5th or 6th round. Basically unit replacement over starting units, as a game balancing mechanism. Which at the same time gives players more to look forward to in terms of unit purchasing, and makes VCs a major part of the games foundation (e.g. the strategic backbone of the whole, the economy of IPCs). This is in my view the best way to get VCs into the game, absent the sudden death, by actually assigning them a bonus value.

  • Black_Elk , between Alpha+2 and Alpha+3 I introduced a VC rule at Larry’s site. Here is the first post, you might be interested in it. This wasn’t meant to replace all the  NO’s, only the NO’s that became redundant. I did play around with reducing the NO’s a bit more though, maybe giving 1 or 2 to each power in some test games (Italy, and Anzac would be to weak w/o any NO’s IMO). I like many of the NO’s (even from past Alpha versions) that reward you for certain goals like No German subs in the Atlantic for UK, No Allied ships in the Med for Italy, the old island NO in the Pacific that US and Japan could fight for. So needless to say I wouldn’t be in favor of getting rid of all NO’s, but I like what you have done as a possible option as well.

    The tail end is from Larry (in red), he seamed to like it at the time, but obviously didn’t use it in Alpha+3. I have heard you mention a VC rule in other threads a couple times now (don’t know how much you were involved at Larry’s site at that time).

    Here is the link if you want to see the whole thread, gained quite a bit of support from the community. There was also a spin off by questioneer.


    From Larry’s site:

    _I re-posted this here in the G40 thread to reach more ppl (was in tt Larry)

    Could a general rule for Victory Cities stream line the NO’s for G40

    Larry, I have asked before why VCs aren’t a more intricate part of the game. Many of the NOs are linked to VCs, why not include them all. VCs can measure how well you’re doing in a game, and are part of the victory conditions. I could see why you wouldn’t want to make all VCs worth 5 IPCs or something, that would give the allies much more income in the beginning, or possibly near the end when they start getting them back.

    Lately there has been NO proposals from the community to include a bonus for liberating some VCs like Paris, to entice the US onto the Euro side. NOs at last count were at 33 I believe in Alpha.+2, with more likely come w/Alpha+3. Many are starting to think that that’s a lot to remember, as its about double from OOB. Are the NOs becoming the tail that wags the dog?

    How about a general “kiss” rule for VC’s that would reduce the amount of NO’s that are currently in the game, and make all VCs part of the game and more relevant.

    VC Capture Bonus of 5 IPCs to the power that captures a tt containing a VC. This would be any VC that starts the game on an original tt of your enemy (not VCs that you start with in your orig tt’s). This would be a multi-round bonus that you collect as long as you hold on to the VC tt (including a re-capture). Keep in mind that Shanghai is an orig Chinese tt, so Japan would start with this capture bonus J1 collect income phase.

    VC Liberation Bonus, any time that you liberate a VC from the enemy you get a 5 IPC bonus that round. This would be for your VC tt, or one of your allies. You could get this lib bonus multiple times for the same VC if it is traded.

    Lets look at what this does to some the existing NOs from Alpha.2

    2. Collect 5 IPCs per turn for EACH of the following territories, Novgorod (Leningrad), Volgograd (Stalingrad), and/or Russia (Moscow) controlled by the Axis. Theme: High strategic and propaganda value.

    6. Collect 5 IPCs per turn that Germany controls the United Kingdom. Theme: High national prestige.

    You would be able to delete these, because now they are included in the rules of the game (it’s the same 4 tt’s). The only difference would be that any axis power would be eligible to receive it, so the loot stays w/axis. Germany normally gets Paris so it would get the extra boost from the get go that many ppl are asking for.

    3. Collect 10 IPCs, once, for Soviet capture of Berlin (Germany). Theme: National prestige.

    This one is reduced to 5 IPC’s, but Russia is eligible to receive it for as long as they hold it. It would also become an allied theme, allowing the western allies the opportunity to make extra $ each round if they take it as well. The same would be for Rome. Liberating Paris would also take income away from Germany, and give the liberator a 5 IPC bonus that turn. Now the western allies (US) have a reason to go to Europe, and maybe Paris gets liberated to boot (right now it’s not worth it to get Paris back).

    4. Collect 5 IPCs per turn for each of the following major power centers controlled by an Axis power  Honolulu, Sydney, Calcutta, and/or the Western United States. Theme: Strategic national objectives.

    These same tt are still represented in my above proposal. Added to the list is Shanghai (orig Chinese tt Japan starts with), Manila (Involved in a US NO, see below), and Hong Kong (which I think was part of a UK NO OOB Pac40). Maybe now we don’t need to add a conquer China NO, because Japan will make some extra income from the get go w/Shanghai. I think this allows Japan to be more patient if it wants to, but Manila & Hong Kong are easy targets if they want to go to war early. In case of an all out kill Japan strat w/US dedicating most of its income on the Pac side, at least Japan would keep earning income from main land China w/just a couple tts.

    3. Collect 5 IPCs per turn for controlling the Philippines. Theme: Center of American influence in Asia.

    This would work for me if the US got a one time lib bonus, but also took away 5 IPCs from Japan for taking it back.

    I didn’t list Italy, but w/Egypt being worth 5 IPCs to the axis power that takes it for as long as they hold it, surly it doesn’t hurt them. I would most likely remove Egypt from the four corners NO and replace it with Malta. It would be control 3/4 from S France, Gib, Greece, and Malta then. You could consider deleting the German NO for having a ground unit in Egypt, because the axis power that controls it (Italy) would get 5 IPCs, so the income stays w/axis. Plus the fact that in most of the games we have played lately a German inf left over from taking Greece jumps on an Italian tpt and NCM to Egypt. This move, although very effective just seems cheap to me, and in no way represents the Afrika Korps. Germany should have to control a tt in N Africa or an island in the Med to get this NO IMO.

    Anyway, I though this was worth some consideration while you are reviewing info for Alpha+3. I know it is a sweeping change, but it would reduce the amount of NO’s in the game, which would be a plus IMO (others may be able to be cut, or merged that I haven’t looked at here). The axis income would rise as they capture VCs (and hold them), but the allies would make some one turn lib bonuses along the way. If testing proves the axis to strong then you could look at reducing the captured/liberation VC’s bonuses to 3 IPC. I addressed this proposal to Larry, but feel free to give comments.

    Edit: Because all Capitals are VCs, but have more importance,

    Maybe it could be 5 ipc for the capture of a capital VC for as long as you hold it, and the Liberation of a capital gives a one round 5 IPC bonus to the liberator.

    All other VC"s could be a 3 IPC capture rule, and a 3 ipc one round lib bonus.

    I just think that if Germany was making an extra 5 IPCs for Paris, that the allies (US), would have more interest in liberating it. Plus they would get a one round bonus for doing so. It would be a kiss rule, that would eliminate some of the currant NO’s.

    Makes sense… There are two conditions and each would be listed as general national objectives. The rules might read something like this:
    Victory City Capture Bonus: A power controlling an original enemy territory which contains a Victory City is awarded a 5 IPC bonus during the Collect Income phase of that turn.
    Victory City Liberation Bonus: A power that liberates an allied Victory City is awarded a one time 5 IPC bonus during the Collect Income phase of that turn.

    I understand that this umbrella Capture/Liberate Victory City rule could replace some of the existing NOs. Good idea. Let me think about it._

  • 2019 '15 '14

    Yup! That is more or less exactly what I think we need.

    I also recall this discussion on the Larry boards, though at the time I was less active with A&A. Back in the dark ages when I lived in San Diego and trying to finish school with a gf on my case haha. My interest and time for A&A always comes in waves. First it was Classic when I was young, followed by Revised, then AA50 and tripleA development for a very long time,  now G40. Usually with a gap of a year or two between each, by the time I have a chance to really mull things over. I basic concept of a VC bonus is something that has interested me since they were first introduced in Revised.

    To me, the generic objective you suggested to Larry is exactly what we need, since it provides a way for the game to function on a stripped down level.

    Just quote the man directly and use that exact formulation in red. Works for me  😄



    Makes sense… There are two conditions and each would be listed as general national objectives. The rules might read something like this:
    Victory City Capture Bonus: A power controlling an original enemy territory which contains a Victory City is awarded a 5 IPC bonus during the Collect Income phase of that turn.
    Victory City Liberation Bonus: A power that liberates an allied Victory City is awarded a one time 5 IPC bonus during the Collect Income phase of that turn.

    I understand that this umbrella Capture/Liberate Victory City rule could replace some of the existing NOs. Good idea. Let me think about it._

    The VC idea proposed doesn’t require that the bonus be restricted to “capture” for the enemy, but if that is the preference I don’t have an issue with it.

    The whole point in my view is just to get VCs and money into the game with general objectives rather than specific national ones. I think it could go either way, though for simplicity I think I prefer a bonus that is ongoing, rather than just restricted to capture/liberation, but either one is better than nothing. I can see the logic of the umbrella, whatever the case, keep it consistent for all players.

    Depends I suppose on whether you want to replace NOs or just augment them. If replacing,  I’d think you would want the bonus to be ongoing (otherwise you’d have less cash total introduced, and most of it going to Axis at the outset.) But honestly, I’m fine with any approach that gets this up off the ground.  So long as it remains generic and universal.

    I’m fine with the rule going exactly as quoted above while Larry was musing on the subject, if everyone else is. At least it has the force of something he intended to “think about” hehe

    Thanks for the suggestions Wild Bill. Dead on! 🙂

  • I did a clarification post later in that same thread (5th post) and Larry acknowledge that the Capture Bonus would be ongoing.

  • Sounds a lot like my “activation” of VCs rule in my Delta rule set, but the conversation with Larry obviously happened a lot sooner than my idea was ever conceived. I have made a variation to these mechanics over in Halifax rules, I’ve already credited Black_Elk as a contributor… but who was it that who brought it up to Larry? was it Questionnaire?

  • 2019 '15 '14

    Back in 2008 http://www.harrisgamedesign.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1655

    My earliest VC post over there on the Larry boards discussing a potential bonus for it.  😄

    Though I’m sure the concept was around the second the idea of a VC was introduced in revised.

  • @Black_Elk:

    Back in 2008 http://www.harrisgamedesign.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1655

    My earliest VC post over there on the Larry boards discussing a potential bonus for it.  😄

    Though I’m sure the concept was around the second the idea of a VC was introduced in revised.

    Very impressive, nice job!

  • 2019 '15 '14

    I remember way back in like 05/06 when SGB and Nekro had just finished building Revised into TripleA. The first mod we made afterwards was the Pact of Steel game.
    Crude but functional at the time haha, I get nostalgic for the Duce.

    It featured, among other things, Italy as a full player Nation and the addition of VCs to Honolulu and Sydney. This was in the year or so before AA50, when Italian ambitions were just a pipe dream, and excuse to experiment.

    Incidentally, in that first draft game, we also had Greater Germany at a total value of 14, the same we now see in 1940. Score one for the G team 🙂

    I remember testing a lot with madmat and zero at the time, also underdog and wandering and some of the other regulars, where the idea of bonuses for VCs were frequently discussed. Unfortunately, at the time TripleA had no in-game edit feature, and no way to provide bonuses or anything like a national objective. Everything was hardcoded, even down to graphics and units. We had to redesign the thing, which was originally hard coded for 5 nations only, just to include Italy heheh. So the idea was put on the back burner. But I have always felt, ever since I first read about VCs, that they would be better with values attached to them.

    If Global and Halifax finally gave this idea a chance to shine I’d be pretty damn stoked!  😄
    The game just seems to want it so bad, I’ve been hoping for a VC mechanic like this to take off somehow. Maybe this is the chance at last.

  • VC bonuses seem to work well in theory with the mid level factory idea in Halifax rules. It should be lots of fun spending more money as long as it’s balanced (and if it proves to be to much in favour of the Allies, we’ll just give Japan their planes back).

  • Hey Black Elk,

    I ripped this out of Halifax rules for now, got the thinking that it might not be as widely accepted as we might think. Gonna give Halifax a good go this weekend with regular NOs.

    Please keep this VC option in this thread for safe keeping…

    New Victory City Objectives:

    Nations will no longer collect bonus income for national objectives, now during the collect income phase, eligible nations will collect bonus income for each victory city they control. A nation is eligible to collect bonus income for each VC they control if they are at war with at least 1 other nation.

    10 IPCs for each capital city

    • Washington
    • London
    • Paris
    • Berlin
    • Rome
    • Moscow
    • Tokyo

    5 IPCs for each non-capital city

    • Ottawa
    • Warsaw
    • Cairo
    • Leningrad
    • Stalingrad
    • Calcutta
    • Shanghai
    • Hong Kong
    • Manila
    • Sydney
    • Honolulu
    • San Francisco

    Setup Adjustments:

    • All minor industrial complexes now become major factories
    • The major industrial complex in India now becomes a major factory
    • Remove 1 Japanese fighter, and 1 Japanese tactical bomber from Manchuria
    • Add 1 Commonwealth fighter to Ontario

    The Mongolian Rule:

    If the Soviet Union declares war on Japan by making an unprovoked attack, declares war without attacking, or declares war by moving units into Chinese territories, all Mongolian territories and standing armies will immediately become Japanese controlled. Also, Mongolian territories will be treated as strict neutrals if an attack is made on them the same turn a declaration of war is made (as stated in the rule book).

    American War Economy:
    During each collect income phase in which the United States are at war, they may roll 2 dice and collect the amount shown in IPCs.

  • 2019 '15 '14

    It’s cool, I have come up against resistance to the city bonuses idea virtually every time I try to persuade people of its merits, despite its evident superiority to me hehe.  😄

    I made my case against National Objectives pretty clear when Larry and others originally proposed them for AA50. I still believe now, as I did then, that NOs are way more complicated and numerous than they need to be, and that there are better, easier, and more consistent ways to introduce money into the game. Moreover, I feel quite strongly that National Objectives (if they are included in a game) should be strictly optional, they shouldn’t be a requirement for game balance.

    I also still believe, as I did when Revised came out, that absent some real in-game economic draw, VCs are pretty ineffective at influencing the way players approach the endgame.

    Many players (the ones I play with anyway) simply do not find VC victory conditions satisfying, perhaps in much the same way that they did not find the Economic victory conditions in Classic satisfying. Outside of tournaments, I expect that many players will continue to ignore VCs, in favor of capital capture, because capital capture has an in game economic influence which is decisive during the endgame. You can state the official VC Victory Conditions as flatly as you like, by the book 100% (with “Axis need X” and “Allies need Y” and all the rest), and you will still see players ignoring VCs, or subordinating them to Capitals, because a VC win is like winning on a technicality. Often both the Victor and the Vanquished both go home feeling like the VC game lacks the sort of climax they desire. If the VC conditions are such that a capital must be taken regardless (to satisfy the total requirements) then VCs just seem redundant, or secondary at best.

    What most people want out of the VC system is instead, a way for Axis to “Win” that does not require Moscow. A narrow win game, absent the capital capture dynamic, but this almost never pans out, because there are not enough VCs on the map…

    And also (perhaps more importantly) because there is no strong mechanism in place to encourage vigilant tracking of “VCs controlled” in a given round by the players who are actually playing.

    That is essentially what it comes down to right there, its a player tracking problem, not a systemic problem or a problem with the concept of the VC itself. The lack of diligent tracking comes from the fact that (in real game_play_ terms) VCs don’t do anything inside the game, but are used only to determine when its supposed to end.

    I believe that by attaching bonuses directly to VCs controlled, you can start to get a game where VC tracking is imperative, and all players will pay closer attention to them.  This mitigates the feeling of “losing or winning” on a technicality, because one or the other player got so caught up in everything else that needs to be tracked that they neglected to track the VCs! In TripleA for example almost everyone I know “unchecks” the victory by VCs in the game options, because of how annoying it is to see a multi-round game just get torpedoed right before achieving climax, after several hours invested, on a VC technical win.

    My hope would be that, once you get players used to the notion that VCs have value (real value in terms of the games underlying framework of IPCs) then you could potentially use them to replace the capital capture dynamic.
    But again, I don’t expect everyone to just hop on board with this idea because I say it’s great. Some players seem to rather enjoy having 28 complex rules for income bonuses, which are unavoidable, and which complicate the game’s economy in various ways. I’m just not really one of them haha.  😉

    I will play Halifax using the City Objective bonuses and report back with my findings on overall balance by side.

    I think G40, like most A&A games lately doesn’t give players enough cash in hand to overcome game breaking exploits or a single bad roll of the dice. For a game that takes nearly an hour to set up, there is very little margin for error when you’re actually playing, almost no room for recovery, because the unit replacement cost is so high relative to the economy. I believe this a problem which can be solved by adding more cash into equation. And that this actually accelerates game resolution rather than drawing it out, under the general principle that players are willing to risk more, when they have more.

    NOs try to achieve the same, but they do so in way which is very rules intensive. In Global there are so many NOs, and they have such a huge influence on the gameplay… Such an overwhelmingly dramatic influence on the basic strategies at work, that the map itself, (and all the ipc values and information written on it) ceases to communicate the situation in a particularly meaningful way to players. You cannot survey it at a glance, but instead you have to be aware of all the NOs and all the stuff behind the scenes. OOB these are not presented as optional, and in gameplay terms they are basically mandatory. The game doesn’t balance well at all without them.

    So that is the way I see it. To me a VC bonus scheme handles two separate issues with one simple mechanic. It makes VCs relevant, gets the money into play, and restores the map itself (over the NO page in the manual) as the primary way players evaluate their standing and situation vis a vis their opponent.

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