Many Panzer Campaign players will have noticed that the new WDS 4.0 versions have undergone a standardisation process in terms of the default optional rules. This is highlighted in the scenario descriptions. The rationale for this is covered in the new Optional Rules section of the User Manual but is worth giving a quick summary here for those that have not seen it.
For Panzer Campaigns (PzC) most optional rules are a consequence of how the game series has evolved over time. As new rules were added, an option was provided so that older games could still be played with the original rules. In some cases, the new rules themselves were found wanting and only used in a handful of games. Of course, few players are fully aware of the history behind the rules and some rules were not fully explained in the documentation. Confusion was common. Many players came to mistakenly see optional rules as ‘advanced rules’.
To add clarity to the situation, it was decided to move all titles closer towards a standard set of default rules. The model we used was that provided by the Ed Williams “ALT” scenarios. These scenarios all use unit values based on the McNamara database and the rules used are seen as the best fit for the data. All PzC games from Kharkov ’43 onwards use this database and all games prior to this have ALT versions of the scenarios. Thus, a standard approach to rules and unit values exists within each title. As the number of titles continues to grow it is increasing important that the series plays as a series. We will continue to move towards a more consistent approach and plan to eventually have a single set of WDS standard scenarios in each title.
Which brings us to Japan ’45. This title had a set of optional rules that differed in a number of important ways from the new standard. We knew that implementing the new default rules would upset the balance of the scenarios but perhaps underestimated by how much. We discovered through testing that the change strongly favoured the attacker, which is generally the Allies and so among other things we increased the difficulty of getting off the beaches. Having tested the small to medium size scenarios, (adjusted and released in 4.0), we were generally happy with the result of the changes. The details are covered in the “Default Optional Rule Changes.pdf” included in the game (or available to download here – link ). But we knew there was more work to be done.
Most importantly the campaigns had not been tested under the new regime. Time had not allowed it prior to the release of the WDS 4.0 version. The hope was that the changes we had made for the smaller scenarios would translate to the campaign but sadly it was not that simple. In the days following the landings the numerical superiority of the Japanese forces quickly led to a stalemate situation. So back to the drawing board. Changes have now been made including such things as the delayed release of some Japanese reserves.
So far, testing suggests that real progress has been made but the testing team now consists of only Kevin ‘Typhoon’ Burton and me. We are past turn 55 of our 4th campaign attempt and things are going well. We both feel that the current campaign is seriously good fun and challenging for both sides. We also believe it is looking balanced, but it is possible that we are slightly biased. What we need is some help!
So, anyone who wants to volunteer as a tester should contact me (see my email contact at the end of this post). Let me know the size scenario you call handle, roughly how many turns per week and whether you wish to play versus the AI or via PBEM. Ideally, we would like to find some players who are willing to try the campaign, but it is not the only testing required. How much past experience you have had with Japan ’45 is not important but already owning the game is a requirement.
It will be a rewarding experience but not in the literal sense of there being a reward. Sorry! But there are larger testing projects on the horizon which will be handled differently. However, for Blitz members, you will receive ladder points for any PBEM scenarios tested. If you are not currently a Blitz member, then what are you waiting for? Link to the Blitz