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VTS Game Rules Changes

VITP/WAS “Development”

The Avalon Hill games of ‘Victory in the Pacific’ and ‘War at Sea’ provided a wonderful base for development of an even more “accurate” and fun game of air-sea warfare of WW II. The original author, Richard Hamblen, was under time pressure and sales angles to publish the game as a product. A thoughtful “amateur” (truly defined as a ‘lover’) like me was NOT, so I was able to “enhance” it at leisure. I will try to give you an overview of the changes and additions I made. Depending on how familiar you are with the original game and its systems, these may or may not make sense to you. I will be happy to clarify any rules you have questions about.

---Variable turn of Japanese entry with associated rules.
---Began the war at Pearl with a clash between the Ward (new piece) and the Japanese Midget sub (new piece) with rules like WAS ASW. Ward gets attack bonus. Surviving sub can take a shot at any Pearl ship.
---10-Japanese ship maximum at Pearl enforced.
---US sub (new piece) included in Pearl targets.
---Oil Tank Farm included as Pearl target, with subsequent movement loss penalties and/or Points of Control to American ships.
---Hit die re-roll bonus for opening Pearl attack.
---Possibility of Enterprise being in Pearl during the attack (linked with USS Utah, mistakenly attacked. New piece.)
---Japanese decision after two rounds at Pearl on whether to stay for 2 more rounds. Japanese carriers may split commitment between Pearl and general sea area (to guard against American CV’s showing up) but MUST commit before US “Loc. Uncert.” forces are placed. Japanese cannot switch commitments for 3rd battle round, automatically a “day” action.
---Marshalls (Wake mission) sea area is included as one of “Loc. Uncert.” die rolls. US allowed to “abandon” prior to battle.
---Cent. Pac sea area has special contact/battle rules on opening turn.
---Opening SNLF must commit at time of air unit placement.
---Two-phase Indonesia Sea Area battle on first turn.
---Die roll for “Day/Night Battle Determination” boosted if a CV is present.
---“Holdouts” to attack, “0” attack factor DOES have ‘rights’ to attack and engage.
---“Cruiser” guns have reduced effect when firing upon battleships.
---Japanese 22 Air Flotilla has bonus attack factor
---US Navy and Marine Air units have bonus attack factor
---Any Brit or US CV in Indonesia for Japanese surprise attack CAN fire back.
---Direct passage between Indonesia and Bay of Bengal subject to air attack “gauntlet” depending on who owns Singapore.
---Changed BB attack factors (generally reduced), defense factors for many pieces on both sides due to further research.
---Added a few weak carriers to Japanese side and/or boosted air factors for the later conversions.
---Created Japanese “Raw Materials” convoy periodically originating in Indonesia, with penalties/benefits thereof, both long and short term.
---Japanese Midget sub gets a shot at a British BB in port turn 2.
---Japanese “mystery carrier” (new piece) that is a decoy—MAYBE (US did NOT know what carriers Japan had and constantly mis-identified them)!
---New “CV AIR UNIT” that represents dropped-off CV aircraft at an island base, with rules for use.
---Additional “weak” US sub early, “weak” Japanese sub later, along with ASW capabilities. Later US sub given TWO pieces and upgraded attack factor.
---“Flip-side” of US Marines given attack and aircraft factor—for later entries.
---Anti-aircraft cruisers given to Americans, plus rules.
---Limited “night” airstrike capability.
---American/Brit radar “enhancement” for anti-aircraft.
---Anti-aircraft rules, somewhat complex in explanation, but fairly simple in use, applied (using air attack factors, except for American CLAA’s), for instance, so that multiple CV’s against ONE opposing Land-Based Air will overwhelm it without much consequence instead of allowing the LBA full attack. Also, virtually eliminates the ‘suicide carrier’ ploy (GREAT game tactic, poor history) to stop an invasion or enemy control.
---Added limited-time SNLF for Japan.
---SNLF’s and US Marines cannot be unescorted (another favorite tactic of distraction).
---Doolittle Raid and rules.
---Weak NEIAF piece (new) with return rights.
---RAF air unit for British bases.
---Flip-over US air units with upgraded factors for later turns.
---USS Langley rebuildable to CVE if it survives.
---Seaplane carrier USS Curtiss (new piece) added.
---Added a light cruiser (new pieces) each to Japanese, Commonwealth, and US forces.
---British monitor “Terror” added, but a sitting duck in Indonesia.
---Small Vichy French possible participation.
--- “Polar Route” for liaison ship(s)
---Ability of US BB’s to upgrade to “radar bonus” in later turns.
---Ability of Yorktown-class CV’s to upgrade to higher defense factor (excellent damage control)
---“Fleet Train” supply base (new piece) for the US creates a “major port” in forward areas later in the game.
---“Admiral” pieces (new) that add or reduce damage to attacks and can help repair ships. Also “fun” to blame or praise famous admirals (instead of yourself) for their performance.
---Repair facilities for Singapore.
---Once-per-game “speed repairs” for both sides.
---When combined with WAS, several options exist, such as starting with NO BB’s at Pearl, Japanese raids on the US West Coast, additional British forces in the Far East, South American participation and basing, etc.

OK, I THINK that is all for VITP. Now for WAS. As you may know, WAS was VERY simple, but fun. It overlooked, however, the great harbor-related instances of seapower like the Taranto raid, the entire French Navy and its demise, the Campbeltown raid, the X-craft raid, and the Italian Frogmen. It also underrated the British carrier force’s capability to influence battles, and the importance of Malta. Of course, it also gave the Italians an admiral (the player) who would actually DO something with his navy! At any rate, WAS was given a major overhaul by me.

---MAJOR re-work of the game board doubling its size, adding sea areas such as Caribbean, N. American Littoral, S. American Littoral (plus the continents of N and S America), Cape of Good Hope, the Arabian Sea, part of the Indian Ocean, splitting the Mediterranean, adding the Black Sea. Creating new ports and locations, as well as canals. Now the VITP and WAS boards can be combined so that the whole world is continuous.
---Completely revamped Order of Appearance charts for all participants.
---“Gauntlets” of air attack for narrow sea passages at the English Channel, Sicily, and Gibraltar.
---“Buffer” sea areas (American Littorals and the Arabian Sea) that blend WAS and VITP rules.
---Cycling “day” battle rounds (every three) instead of only once, and automatic “day” battle upon retreat or pursuit.
---Split-up of the Land Based Air units, with a bonus piece, and additions and subtractions as the war progresses (new pieces individually named).
---10 turns instead of eight.
---Greater POC requirements for win.
---An opening Baltic fight representing Poland/Norway (new pieces).
---Additional pieces for the Axis, some changes in attack/defense factors.
---An “Afrika Korps” convoy (new piece) and possible Alexandria imperilment.
---Malta (astride the two Mediterranean areas) basing, attack, and invasion/takeover rules, including Paratroopers.
---British supply convoys for Malta (new piece).
---Air factors (CVE’s) for later Allied convoys. (new pieces)
---“Force H” raiding-from-Gibraltar rules.
---French fleet participation, with variables for who gets what, including possible Axis participation (new pieces), immobilization, etc. (LOTS of new pieces-one color for Allied another for Axis)
---Italian Armistice and subsequent Allied/Axis use of ships (new pieces of different color).
---More generous basing, movement, and Strategic Redeplyoment rules (though not as liberal as VITP).
---Possibilities for Turkish, Spanish, Argentine, Brazilian, Chilean, and Greek fleets to join (new pieces).
---Additional Russian pieces, and Russian capitulation if Allied convoys don’t make it through.
---German air attacks on fleeing Italian ships after Armistice. (new pieces)
---Additional actual Allied forces around the world. (new pieces)
---Special British commitment to Singapore when Japan attacks.
---POC changes to sea areas and special assignments.
---Axis Auxiliary cruisers (Atlantis, etc.—new pieces)
---POC for subs or Auxiliary Cruisers (e.g. Atlantis) operating in areas without opposition.
---Italian oil shortage linked to Malta takeover and sequencing and basing penalties.
---Italian Frogmen attack on British ports. (new piece)
---Taranto raid on Italian ports, coupled with Vichy French ship attack.
---Campbeltown raid on “Brest” to limit repairs. (new piece)
---“X-Craft” raid on German ports. (new piece)
---Allied strategic bomber raids on ships in ports; VLR aircraft for ASW. (new piece)
---Changed rules on ASW (favors Axis) and put bonus sub in for Axis. (new piece)
---Super Axis sub (Schnorkel) on last turn. (new piece)
---British subs for attack and Malta supply (new pieces).
---“Cruiser” guns have reduced effect when firing upon battleships.
---Panama and Suez canal rules on movement, ownership, and closure.
---“Admiral” pieces (new) that add or reduce damage to attacks and can help repair ships. Also “fun” to blame or praise famous admirals (instead of yourself) for their performance.
---Possible German and/or Italian aircraft carrier participation.
---British “decoy” battleship (Centurion) and rules. (new piece)
---Anti-aircraft rules slightly different than VITP.
---Possible limited German participation in the Pacific; possible limited Japanese participation in Europe.
--- “Polar Route” for liaison ship(s)
---Greater American participation, but still limited.

WHEW! I think that’s it. I hope I have not overwhelmed you.

Admiral U. Furashita

P.S.--the above changes are for the "historical" version only. The "Grand Fleet" variant, that includes the fictional ships of this site, adds only a few more rules, mainly dealing with the additional countries engaged, or the playing pieces themselves. I have also added several "building options" and "if-then"s to Grand Fleet that are not in the original historical game.


to French Navy  |   to German Navy  |   to Italian Navy

to Minor Countries' Navies   |   to Royal Netherlands Navy   |   to Royal Navy

to Soviet Navy   |   to United States Navy