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Valley Forge II

 
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Mars
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going to post this here unless someone thinks it should go somewhere else. This is the only copy of this that I have seen and it came shrinked together with a copy of TSR Valley Forge.



Title: Valley Forge II A Supplement to Valley Forge
Item Code: n/a
Type: Wargame simulation
Copyright: David A. Wesely
Author: David A. Wesely
Artwork: n/a
Place of Publication: n/a
Format: n/a
ISBN: n/a
Cover Price: n/a
Mass: n/a
Dimensions: length 27.8cm, width 21.7cm, thickness .3cm

Here's is a discussion that I had with the author about it as well:

Well, it worked like this.

In 1975, Gary Gygax and I were discussing publishing my Strategos-N Napoleonic rules (which I had self-published) through TSR. Then he had a brainstorm, and asked me to prepare a set of American Revolution rules based on Strategos-N, to be released for the Bi-Centennial at GenCon in 1976. I did a lot of research and created 150 pages of "The Redcoats Are Coming" with battlefield and siege warfare rules, orders of battle, etc, for the entire war. By the time it was ready to submit, the first purge had been conducted at TSR, and the climate was a lot less receptive for games from people suspected of being supporters of Dave Arneson. Gary was friendly enough, but Briian Blume kept revising the agreements Gary and I would reach, and I could not get a signed contract. I self-published "The Redcoats Are Coming!" and got a copyright in early '76. Then we had a final meeting. Gary came up the the Twin Cities to negotiate a contract with MAR Barker for Empire of the Petal Throne, so everyone was on hand at the same time and we got a contract typed up and signed before it could be twiddled by Brian.

The copyright for "Ther Redcoats Are Coming" was assigned to TSR in the contract, and Gary took the 150-page manuscript back to Lake Geneva.

As Gencon '76 approached, Gary proposed renaming it "Valley Forge": I replied that the rules were for the whole war, not just one battle - and in fact, while the rules could be used to set up Valley Forge, there never really was a "Battle of Valley Forge", and who would want to game out freezing your feet off and starving while you wait for spring? Also, the rules were "a little too long" for a typical $10 per copy TSR product, and would be broken into three parts, with the Order of Battle and Siege Warfare being left for later. (I agreed with that - they had cost me more than $10 per copy to print my little run for the copyright application).

When I arrived at Gencon, I discovered that my rules had been a little edited... they were now called "Valley Forge" and featured a full-color
cover of President General Washington reviewing the troops raised in 1794 to put down the Whiskey Rebellion. Full-color covers were part of the new, more sophisticated products being released by TSR (the black and white covers on D & D having been such an obvious failure!): Little Bighorn, Empire of the Petal Throne and Valley Forge all had expensive color packaging, and a large 9 x 12 format (in place of the old booklet size used for D & D). But to keep the costs down, they had reduced Valley Forge to 20 pages, and further reduced the cost by losing page 9.
As a result the rules on page 8 abruptly start talking about Cavalry on page 10...

At the time I just accepted that this was the result of having rushed the job to get it out for Gencon, as they said, and did not suspect that it might be Brian getting revenge for my having gone straight to Gary to get a contract signed.

I also believed that this classy workmanship was to blame for sales of Valley Forge being really poor. I created an "errata section" for VF, and insisted that we get the next part of VF, containing this, onto the market as soon as possible, to limit the damage. TSR, seeing that NONE of the many American Revolution products that had been released that summer by everyone in the industry were selling for beans, wisely told me I could just have my game back.

So I set out to publish Valley Forge II. I could see that there was no way I could afford to publish 150 pages of "The Redcoats Are Coming" all at once, but I thought adding the errata section to VF would solve its sales problems. I hired one of the recently purged TSR employees - David Megarry - who had worked on Valley Forge and knew how to get things printed - to take care of the details, and provided him with my 26 pages of errata for the 18 page VF. Combined with Valley Forge, this would be 44 pages, and give all of the tactical rules from "The Redcoats Are Coming".
And I gae him the $1000 (1976 dollars, of couse) that I felt that I could afford to drop on this project. I then went off on active duty with the US Army.

David kept in touch, and as Gencon '77 approached, he called to say that VFII was ready for the printer, but that the money remaining from my $1000 would only get me about 300 copies. This would make them cost $3.33 apiece, and I could not make money selling them at less than $8.00
if I was going to give the usual discounts to distributors. On the other hand, If I sent him another $600 he could get me 1000 copies, and the unit cost of $1.60 would allow me to sell them for a reasonable retail price of $5.00 and discount to retailers or distributors and still make a profit. That all sounded good, so I dropped him another $600.

Once again, my relations with TSR were confusing: While Brian was giving Valley Forge back and bidding me good riddance, Gary was adding it to the TSR catalog, hence the stock number 6015. I think Gary later bought some from me for the TSR store.

At Gencon '77 I sold about 150 copies: most at $5.00 apiece, some at
$3.00, discounted to a retailer, so I recovered about $700. There were a lot of people who wanted to fix Valley Forge - but almost all of them seem to have come to Gencon '77! Over the next 39 years I managed to sell another 150 copies, almost all at distributor prices ($2.25 less shipping, say $2.00/copy). SO I got back about $1000 of my $1600 (and spent a lot of my time packing, billing and shipping them, which cost me something). Still, I learned a lot about game publishing which helped me bring out Source of the Nile. For one thing, I learned that I could have just run off the first 150 copies, and waitied to see how well they sold, before sinking any more money into them. The question I needed to ask was not "How many more will I get for another $600 now?", but "How many more will I get for another $600 next month?", and the answer would have been "Oh, about 600" instead of "700". If they had sold really well, I would not have cared about the 100 fewer copies.

I got some of the TSR Valley Forge in lieu of royalties when they discontinued it, and sold them bundled with VFII. However, it is more likely that your bundled set came from Lou Zocchi, who was my major distributor. He saw the advantage of selling them as sets (it cut down on all the complaints from retailers about "being stuck with unsaleable copies of that turkey Valley Forge"). In about 1985, I still had 700 copies on hand in the unopened original boxes from the printer, and I let them go for free to any distributor who would pay the shipping, figuring I was never going to sell them anyhow. I have maybe five copies left today.

And to be honest, changing Strategos-N to The Redcoats Are Coming and then to Valley Forge did not create a very good product. I was off in the Army and had little chance for playtesting the changes I made then, but over the years since, I have been able to see that it has a lot of problems.
The biggest one, though, is that the American Revolution is just not very popular, so it was never going to get the kind of sales needed to make Valley Forge a winning product for TSR. I also did not know that selling 1000 copies a year was doing really well for most TSR non-D&D titles back then. so I should have gaged my print run accordingly.

My orignal copies of "The Redcoats Are Coming" were all sold a long time ago (I ran off very few, and lost money on every sale).

Hope that covers everything.
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Mars
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I acquired VF2, I only purchased VF1 and was shipped the package. In my research to find out more about VF2, I came across this Armory/TSR ad which made me think it was released by TSR:



The ad is from one of the earlier Dragon Magazines.
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tfm
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since it was vended as a separate item, it should have it's own thread, or there should be a thread titled Valley Forge/Valley Forge II Pack.

I leave it to your good judgment Cool

Oh, a kick-ass item btw!
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found this:



Apparently Valley Forge II was not released by TSR, at least according to the The Dungeon Hobby Shop April 1978 order form.

Any ideas?
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I gather, VF2 is mostly the part of the original VF1 that was edited out so at some point TSR had this material - perhaps only in manuscript form. VF2 was later released by Wesely himself and I think Zocchi bundled VF1 and VF2.

Perhaps the best place for it is to create a David A. Wesely forum and put it in there and then link it to VF1.
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