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Victory is an exciting, fast paced strategy game. You command a variable force of army, navy, and air units, over maps that can be joined together in a variety of ways. You can choose from ten (10) different unit types based on WW2 technology.
Victory encourages players to plan their own armed forces. Players divide their budget into Land, Sea and Air arms and then buy units. Players can experiment with hundreds of different strategies. The four geomorphics maps included can be arranged in dozens of different ways, so no two games will ever be alike.
Although Victory isn't a simulation of a historical campaign, it has many historical elements. The Victory game system is simple, fast and fun and is an accurate reflection of WWII unit ablities and combined arms combat.
Victory is an expandable game. Columbia Games has published several additional maps, units and scenarios.
I'm always willing to try new things. I have beem exposed to all kinds of games in the past, and have had a passion for all types most of my life. Thus, it isn't often that I can say that I am trying something really new for some time.
I have tried some war style games in the past, and can say I reasonably like Axis and Allis, Shogun/Samauri Swords, and Kingmaker. I suppose I'll never really get really enthusiastic detailed counter pushing, days long, military simulations. However... if Columbia's 'block' games qualify, then I suppose I am a 'wargamer' now.
One reason I decided to try Victory is that I love neat ideas. To those of you unfamiliar, Columbia uses hard wood blocks with decals attached instead of traditional 'counters' to represent military units. This idea intrigued me, so I bit the bullet and bought it. I'm sure glad I did. I'm thrilled with my purchase!
The first thing that I like about Victory is the blocks themselves. They are very thick and very tip-resisistant (important as shown later). It is slightly annoying to have to put on the decals myself, but I enjoyed doing it as I enjoy assembling some 'German' games (like Ursuppe).
Another thing that I liked that may annoy traditional wargamers is that the board is not limited to historical WWII battles (i.e. Midway, Battle of the Bulge, etc.) The game comes with geomorphic maps that fit together in many different ways to create a new battleground each time the game is played. Additional maps are available to change up the terrain, such as Alpine, Desert and Ocean maps. So each game played on a different map offers strategic possiblities.
The game offers enormous versatility as there are multiple units for ground (including Marines, Mechanized Infantry, Armor, Infantry, Paratroopers, etc.), Air (including Fighters, Heavy Bombers, Dive bombers and even Torpedo Bombers) and Sea (including Destroyers, Cattiers, Cruisers and Subs). There are also elite units available to augment your army even more.
The game rules are very logical and easy to learn. In fact, I think they are eaier to learn than some of the 'German' games I have recently tried. Another innovation is the order of fire for the units. Each unit fires in a specific order and with a specific number of dice dependent on the unit's current strength. Combat is resolved simultaneously.
As for the 'bookkeeping', this is kept at a minimum because all blocks are oriented toward thier current strength. There is also constant tension and excitement as all units are kept hidden until an attack is made exposing them (think Stratego).
The other nice touch is that reinforcements are constantly streaming in via the production points in cities that are the ultimate goal of conquest for the game. Therefore, it is up too me as a player to decide the proper mix of units to help me to victory or crushing defeat.
Victory seems to me to be more strategic than simulation, although specific scenarios can easily be made. I don't think this is a bad thing for someone like myself who appreciates history, but looks on it as a theme and not something to be strictly reenacted or replayed over and over again.
Oh, and did I mention that you can have multiple players with their own armies with the extra block armies available? Or did I forget that more elaborate rules are available for use with a 'logistics set' (air strips, supplies, fuel dumps, etc.)
All in all, this is a wonderful game that offers more than I ever thought I could get from a war game! I look forward to playing it many more times and exposing myself to more block games in the near future. Who knows, I might own a GMT box game yet?
Victory is a WWII game which does not take place in any particular location. The geomorphic maps (with plenty of expansions available) keep the terrain variety high.
The most clever innovation is the blocks that serve as pieces. They give both Stratego-style fog of war and the ability to damage a unit in four steps.
The brilliance doesn't end there, though. In combat, units fire in a specified (and easy to remember) order depending on their type. Casualties are taken immediately, so there's no need to remember how much damage the first player did while the second player rolls. The attacker decides whether to direct each attack at air, navy, or ground units, and the strongest units in the category in question take damage first. This whole process is much smoother and more exciting than, say, the Axis & Allies version.
There are a good selection of unit types, which vary in their combat strengths for different targets, movement abilities, and position in the attack order. Surprisingly, every unit has the same cost--but you're limited to counter mix, so you can't buy only battleships.
In fact, there is no single best unit; they all seem to have their place. This would suggest that it's better to have many different weak units than a few strong ones. This is balanced by stacking limits, which favor the opposite policy.
There are a number of other nice touches that keep the bookkeeping to a minimum. For example, infantry units can move by sea--but they can only land at friendly ports (or beachheads established by marines). There's no need to keep track of separate transport boats to carry them.
The rulebook is well laid out, and the components are very nice (both visually and tactilely).
Overall, Victory does an excellent job of maintaining tension and keeping the focus on strategy, rather than on the rules.
My first experience of Columbia Games was via their excellent Quebec 1759 some 25 years ago. What was striking about this game's presentation was the nicely mounted mapboard and a host of wooden blocks which represented the adversaries in the Seven Year War. The simplistic method of reducing troops' effectiveness by rotating the unit seemed an inspired device. Fog of War was also cleanly handled, the unit's information side being shielded from your opponent, not unlike Tri-Tactics or Stratego.
Ultimately, of course, it matters not whether these little tweaks work if the game itself is lifeless. Columbia's track record suggests little concern in this department, and, if I'm correct, ALL of their "block" games remain in print.
Previous Columbia titles have concentrated on the Civil War, WWII, with single volumes devoted to the Anglo- American War (1812), Waterloo campaign (Napoleon) and the aforementioned Quebec 1759 (Britain versus France in North America). Victory -- TBOW is based on WWII technology, but is non-specific in both land and sea battles, and uses geomorphic maps like the Advanced Squad Leader system.
Alan How has directed his energies to describing the four-player version of Victory (above), which I have played and enjoyed. The traditional two-player confrontation uses any two of the four maps provided and victory is achieved by holding 15 points worth of cities at the end of a game turn. So, you need to steam in on the offensive, but retain a holding in your more valuable centres.
The key to Victory, is, I think, air support. Combat is resolved in strict order, starting with Fighters, then Dive-Bombers, Bombers, the Navy, Armour, Paratroopers, Marine and finally Infantry. Air units can fly from three to six spaces, attack, and then return (if successful) to any friendly base. Once the attacker has completed all movement, the defender may respond with any legitimate air units to join any impending battles. This can prove devastating, particularly in the initial stages of combat when you are unaware of the opposition's strength.
The rule book is just 10 A4 pages, and includes clear examples of play and just about the best game chart I have ever seen, with the units listed in battle order and with their movement and combat costs clearly noted - no arguments here. There are straightforward supply and replacement rules (the latter providing new units or step increases for existing units).
I cannot imagine Alan's review being anything less than positive -- I have not been privy to his piece as I write this -- and I would confirm his views. Do not, for one minute, think Counter "anti-wargames". We are happy to cover anything which offers either the unusual or a system more in tune with our Editorial policy. Victory accomplishes this on every front.