Victory in the Galaxy
Published by Hobby Japan as supplement game for “Tactics” magazine #68.
“Victory in the Galaxy (ViG)” was a supplement game of “Tactics” during monthly-era.At that time, Tactics published wargame issue and RPG issue alternatively. And, this game was publidhed on RPG issue. Because of this fact, most of Japanese wargamer doesn’t notice this game properly.
Several years later, “Game Journal” old-edition published the article about this game on issue 48 (Sci-Fi animation games issue). Then, suddenly this game became famous in Japanese Sci-fi gamers.
Mr. Okamoto is not famous around wargamers. He was probably freelance writer of the “Tactics” magazine. He published not only this game but also “Geiearth Saga” and “Shadows of Ks-Birlcess” on “Tactics” magazine one after another. He was one of amateur game designers who contribute “Tactics” magazine during its difficult time.
For these games, he made his unique touched games among fantasy, Sci-Fi and horror. But, after these games, he seemed to walk away from game designing. According to the record, he is also known as a main writer of a sourcebook of Japanese Medieval Cthulhu RPG. Maybe he was flourished as BNF of RPG, and that is the reason why his game was published on RPG issue not on wargame issue.
Expansion of galactic empires.
Game Map : shown in starsystems, abstractly showing core of the galaxy
Game Units : probably shown in fleet
Game Turn : 10 years ? ( just guessing )
Game Map : two thirds of a full-sized map, printed in colors
Game Units : one counter sheet (about 200 counters), sold separately from Hobby Japan for subscribers
order determination phase
movement / combat / conquest phase
victory determination phase
production / development phase
Characteristic game mechanics
Because this is a supplement game, it has smaller map and numbers of counters are limited. But, Mr. Okamoto magically designed interesting game filled with exciting gadget.
The game map is shown in concentric circles around the core of the galaxy. Every player start with only one his home starsystem. His victory condition is becoming the first player who colonized into one of the central starsystems.
The game map can no way be said to be “large”. But, once you play this game, you will feel that it is very vast undevelopped area. The reason is that your capacity is very limited in earlier stage. You can move only one of your stack only to adjacent starsystem. This means your territory will never expand more than one starsystem by one turn basis. During the play, your capacity will be gradually raised by technology development. But, even with these development, your capacity is strictly restricted in many ways comparing with ordinary wargames. This really affect the feeling “this galaxy is very vast”.
From this restricted starting status, the technology development will raise your capacity. Since expansion rate is so slow as above, cashflow of your empire doesn’t grow rapid neither. From your small budget, you must extract your development cost carefully. Especially in first few turns, your budget is seriously limited. But, as above, the effect of the coming development is sometimes critical for overwhelming your enemies.
Honestly speaking, the results of development seems less effective from their first appearance. But, in this game, because first status unusually restricted from regular wargames, even the small capacity change which is very common ability in other game is destructive.
For example, the capacity that “you can split your stack into 2 groups during your movent and thus to move into 2 different starsystems” is natural capacity in many wargames. But, because in this game your capacity is limited to move 1 stack only to 1 adjacent starsystem, this splitting movement is exciting new technology which can accelerate your expansion rate multiprized dramatically.
The above is a typical example, but the same story for other development. Capacities which doesn’t deserve any mentioning in regular wargames can be shocking and really critical in this game. This is really a “Sense of Wonder” which is an important essence of Sci-Fis.
Down the road, grown empires will crash around the central starsystems. For those gameturns, each will have become a unique superpower which has many developments. Honestly speaking, even for those superpowers, it now has a regular capacity as other wargames. But, in this game, this seems a mythical collision like Ragnarok. This is magic of Mr. Okamoto.
By the way, multiplayers game usually tend to sink ever deeper into a depression. But, in this game, well-thought unique time-limit is set in the gameplay.
The first one is a victory condition. Because, you only need to colonize one of the central starsystem you don’t need to eliminate all of your opponent from the galaxy. Also, in case that the similar empires which have similar capacity tends to sink ever deeper war. On the other hand, in this game, because every superpower have distinct unique capacity, it usually not tend to make a seesaw battle.
The second one is limited number of berserkers. Once you have berserkers which number is equal to the number of players, the game is finished. Berserker will appear because of failed development at random. Thus, it can be controlled somewhat because players who do not like the game to end will stop their development. But, as described above, development is really powerful in this game and probability of berserker is pretty low, usually you will try some developments and sooner or later the berserker will appear one by one.
AH’s “Amoeba War” has similar goal in which every player advances into central starsystem. It also has the same gadget the “Berserkers”.
From Japanese Sci-Fi wargames, Epoch’s “Rise and Fall of galactic empires” has the same game thema. This game is also out of print interesting game.