By Craig C. RobertsonChief Game Developer, 1A Games

Thank you, TOI fans, for helping us fund the Next Wave Core Set Kickstarter! Not only did you fund the project completely, you also blew past the first stretch goal and added three different Artillery Strategy card decks to the Core Set.

As you know, we at 1A Games are committed to listening to our fans. One of the things we heard most frequently during the past month, in a multitude of forums, is that YOU WANT THE PACIFIC! To be honest, you’ve been saying it for years on every TOI forum you can find. That is why we are going to be launching the Kickstarter for the first TOI Pacific expansion next summer. The real question is, which Pacific War expansion do you want first?

During August and September, we ran a poll asking you which expansion you would like to see next. We received 195 separate responses listing your top three choices. Here are the results, in order of popularity:

  • U.S. Marines vs. the Japanese, 1941-1942    62%
  • British and Commonwealth forces vs. the Japanese, 1941-1942 44%
  • The Winter War, Soviets vs. the Finns, 1939 41%
  • Germany vs. Poland, 1939 40%
  • U.S. Army vs. the Japanese, 1941-1942 37%
  • Russia vs. the Japanese, 1938-1939 19%

It pretty much confirmed what we already knew: TOI fans want the Japanese and the Marines.

Now, we had originally planned to continue covering WWII in chronological order. That’s why all of the possible responses only cover the years 1938 through 1942. However, when we actually started laying out what should be in each expansion, we realized that most of the possible opponents for the Japanese already exist in TOI. The U.S. Army, the British Commonwealth, and the Soviets are all thoroughly covered in the system. You might be saying that technically, the British aren’t anymore, because Days of the Fox is currently out of print. That is true, but if you don’t have the British from Days of the Fox, a decent amount of British infantry IS still available in the Normandy campaign expansion (which is one of my personal favorites, by the way).

The main issue is that the only two armies that we need to actually produce from scratch are the Japanese and the USMC. That means that all we’d have left to do besides that is scenario design and producing the maps. Ah, the maps! This is where things get interesting. As we looked over the types of terrain that we’d need for three expansions covering 1941 and 1942, we realized that we’d pretty much need the same terrain for all three. Whether it was in the Philippines, Burma, or Guadalcanal, the Marines, the British, and the U.S. Army fought over similar terrain. We’re talking about mountainous jungles and other difficult tropical terrain.

That got us to thinking. We decided to look at the Pacific in a different way. Now, as you all probably know, WWII in the Pacific can be divided into three major stages, each fought over vastly different terrain:

1. Early Japanese Conquests:  This period covers the period from the invasion of Manchuria in 1931 to the Battle of Midway in June 1942. Major campaigns include the Philippines, Wake Island, Singapore, French Indochina, and Burma. This period also covers the brief (and disastrous) campaign against the Soviets in the Khalkhin-Gol region. Except for Khalkhin-Gol (desert), the battles were primarily fought in dense jungle and mountainous terrain.

2. The Island-Hopping Campaign: This period, from August 1942 to August 1944, begins with the invasion of Guadalcanal and ends with the capture of Saipan. It is best known for the amphibious invasions of Japanese strongholds in the Solomon, Gilbert, and Marshall island chains, including Tarawa, Kwajalein, Tinian, and Eniwetok. This period is typified by relatively small, flat atolls with some jungle.

3. The Bitter End: Beginning with the invasion of Peleliu in September 1944, the war enters its most brutal phase as the Japanese dig deep into cave complexes, inflicting heavy losses on attacking American soldiers and Marines. This period includes the liberation of the Philippines and the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Here the terrain was fought mostly in rocky, volcanic terrain with lots of caves and gullies.

This is what we need to know: Where do you want us to start? Which of the above periods should the first TOI Pacific expansion cover? Please participate in the poll on our 1A website and let us know what you want to see first. We recognize and listen to our fans!

Tide of Iron poll: