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Gundam History

Producer:Tsukuda Hobby (original)
Series Number:SF Series-66
Number of Counters:900+ 1/2"
Number of Maps:8, 7"x22" Mounted
Scale:Tactical (1 unit = 1 MS)
Complexity:5 - Advanced
Playing Time:Unknown??
Number of Players2+
Year Produced:1987 (original)
Price:¥11,000 (Dojinshi version)
Other Components:178 Data cards, Turn Record Sheets, Charts and Tables, Counter Tray, Rules and Dice.

Introduction

In Japan the copyright laws are a bit different from the States. While in the States, a simple case of copyright infringement (i.e by using Disney's Mickey Mouse without permission) will often ends in a lawsuit; In Japan there are tons of stuff (usually comic/manga) published by amatures using famous Anime or video game character designs, without permission from the copyright owner. Beside not being pursuit by law for copyright infringement, those stuffs - usually called "dojinshi" has quite a following and are sold extensively at Anime shows etc. This also holds true in the gaming market.

My copy of this game is actually a "dojinshi" product. To say "dojinshi" may not be very true to the description, since "dojinshi" usually applies to creation using copyright materials, but the game that I got is basically a "copy" of the original. The rules are a photocopy of the original, but the counter arts, data cards and maps are graphically design by the fans circle that produce this "dojinshi". Well, I am not going to argue on the terms, since I am not native and don't know the culture or language that well. And in the Japanese Auction that I get the game, it is listed as a dojinshi version. So I will call this game a dojinshi.

The reason that I only got a dojinshi version of the game is because, the original copy of the game sells at around ¥22,000 up to ¥44,000 at auctions, and I am sure I am never going to pay that price for a game. Well, even the dojinshi version cost ¥11,000. On the auction that I get this game, the seller has five copies for sell and within a short period of time, four copies were already sold, I am lucky to have notice about this and be the last to get a copy. You can see how hard it is to find this game. Another reason I got this dojinshi is because it also includes two expension kits produced by the fans circle, I will describe them in detail later on.

About the game

The reason for such a high price in the Japanese used game market is because the game is a limited production with each box individually numbered (It is sure a collector's item). It is also almost the final version of Tsukuda's Gundam series of tactical wargames. The game cover war machines (MS, MA, vechicles) from the One year war (Original Gundam Anime Series) to ZZ Gundam's period of time. The rules of the game are very complicated and take Gundam simulation games to the extreme. The rule book has twenty-five pages of rules which divided into a total of fifth-five sections. It is sure the ASL (Advanced Squard Leader) in Gundam simulation games.

NOTE: For complexity, I have yet to figure out how Tsukuda rate their games, it was supposed to be between one and six with one being the simplest and six the toughest. Then Gumdam History only get a five, but it is the most complicated Gundam game I have seen, while some games being not as difficult as Gundam History has got a six rating, so I am confused. Rule of the thumb is, do not trust this rating when comparing between games. But stay tuned, I may put up my own system on rating those games, after I have played them.

Since the rules are not translated yet, I cannot give a more detail look of the game system, but base on skimming through the diagrams and reading some of it, I have got somewhat an impression. The game covers 3D space combat, with vector space movements as well as ground and air movement and combat. The combat system is very detail, each machine have different locations and parts and each part/location has a structure strength value, each machine also has their own location table. Each weapon has different range and different damage value, and the damage value decrease as range to the target increases. So to resolve combat, one has to see if the shot hits, and then what location, then if the shot penetrates armor and how much damage it cause etc. Also certain parts when destroyed will give different effects to later performance of the machine etc.

Beside the rules and tables, I think the heart of the game lies in the near two hundred data cards that cover all the machines used. The cards have all the weapons data, hit location determined table, location status and various melee attack methods etc. The counters in the game merely serve as location and direction markers. One can easily substitute minuatures or plastic model kits into the system, although you have to enlarge the maps hex for plastic models useage.

My dojinshi do contains two additional modules, design and produced by the fan group who make this dojinshi. One expands the game to 0083 "Stardust Memory" machines and scenarios, while the other expands to 0080 "War in the pocket". The rules in the expansion are minimal. Both expansion comes with rules, counters (War in the Pocket 70, Stardust Memory 98) and data cards (War in the Pocket 8, Stardust Memory 13). The 0080 expansion do also include two 11" X 14" maps of the Artic base, seen in the Cyclops Team assault at the beginning of the OVA series.

One interesting fact on the rules of Gundam History is, it is very simular to the rules in the Titans, AEUG and Gate of Zedan series of games (I have make some comparison in Japanese and they do look simular, but since all these games are not translated yet, It is still hard to see right now), the data cards on the machines are identical as well. The designer of those games are the same. Since I know that Tsukuda have another series - Side One and Core 3 which is about the ZZ Gundam period ( Titans, AEUG and Gate are about the Z Gundam period), I am suspecting that Gundam History may be a collection or combined edition of those games with add in for the Gundam 0079 period as well. I maybe wrong, but if you know more please contact me.

Components

The dojinshi components are pretty good, when compared to other original game I have from Tsukuda, it doesn't look very different.

The counters came mounted in four cardboards, although I suspect that the counters are printed from an inkjet printer directly on the cardboard pieces, it does not came die-cuted. And the counter graphics looks very good, crisp, clear and colorful.

The mapboard, although mounted, are on a very thin piece of cardboard, taped together so they can be fold. The map graphics are also clear and crisp. Check out a picture of all the maps on the left.

The data cards although called cards are actually printed on light green color paper. It comes in two machine data to a page, and the graphics and data are good qualities much like a print from a laserjet.

The rules, although photocopied, came in a little cute (Japanese stype for sure) plastic file binder with holes punched on the copies. The game also came with a box (Gamers style), with a photo of the cover of the original Gundam History Box glued to the box cover. It also came with a counter tray (Gamers style).

I have include some scans of the counter arts and maps below. There is also a photos of the original (download from some auction), below the scanned samples.

Conclusion

I will need to play this game at least once to see how the rules interact and others inorder to see how good it is. Contact me if you are interested, but first I need to get the rules translated. All in all the dojinshi package are pretty good. Another interesting fact is that by looking at the expansion modules that the fan group produced, the dates that those are produced are in 1998 or 1999, and they even advertise for an expension pack for the system with warships and such. So there are people still playing this game in Japan. If you have any information on this coming up warship module or the group called "CHG", please contact me as I will like to get more stuffs from the group.

Map Samples:
Counter Samples:

Here is a picture of the original Gundam History game, compared the original with the dojinshi one from the picture above.

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