Winning Post (ウイニングポスト), officially abbreviated as WiPo (ウイポ) or WP, is a horse-raising simulation series first released by Koei in 1993. It is Koei's longest running sports and executive simulation IP.
The series' general producer is Kou Shibusawa. According to his commentary in interviews, Shibusawa has always been in awe of horses sprinting in motion and wanted to create another IP focusing on the visual. While he enjoyed seeing them in action for historical simulations, Shibusawa wanted to "capture the thrill of pounding horse hooves" in contemporary times.
During his personal research, he became familiar with Japanese horse owners in his local area and visited popular horse racing tracks. His goal shifted into a wish to replicate the care and resources for rearing a race horse that could win a Group One (G1) race. These concepts were married into the first title and remain a core idea within the series.
The player assumes the role of an independent horse owner. Each game has the main goal to accumulate fame by entering horses into races and raising a generation of prize race horses. Most titles allow a free scenario that starts in the 1980's with unlimited time to play and no mandatory objectives. Most titles stage races within Japan, but global options are being added as the series progresses.
At the start of every Winning Post title, the player names their player avatar and their stables; secretary selection and her clothing options for her and the player's representative jockey occur in most titles. Players then assign their specialized breeding preferences and their first stallion to raise or compete in races.
Horse breeding is the crux of gameplay. A stallion and a mare's bloodlines and their compatibility to one another determines the stats of their offspring. Inbreeding, linebreeding and outbreeding exist but come with significant demerits for the descendant's health and longevity for races. The best results often come from mixing two unrelated horses with prestige bloodlines. Winning Post 7 and up include breeding options with Western horses and real Japanese race horses. Selective breeding can be done manually or automatically based on the recommendations of the player's in-game staff members.
At the start of the game, the player is regulated to stallions and send their mares to another owner's ranch. Once the player avatar gains enough fame as a horse owner, they can upgrade their facility and own a ranch for both stallions and mares.
When a colt or a filly is born, the player can designate them to weekly training sessions. Training is required to bolster a horse's base stats and to hone any skills they may learn for races. The quality of their progress depends on the experience of the horse trainer and the horse's dynamics. Breaks can be assigned to lower fatigue. Health issues and random weather conditions may hinder a horse's progress. The player recieves news notices for each major race (G1, Ouka Shou, etc.) so as to manage their schedule accordingly.
Funds and other resources can be restored by entering a horse into races. Races are entered based on the horse's reputation. Factors for altering a horse's success are the race horse's health, its stats, and the jockey chosen to ride it. Jockeys are fictional characters hired per race, but real Japanese jockeys have been introduced into later titles. Players cannot directly control their horses during races; watching races may help them judge the competition and keep track of components for improving their racing duo. Super horses —rival horses with randomly enhanced stats— can intimidate the tracks for advanced players. Later titles include the chance of breeding them or winning them from races.
Staff members and horses can die or retire from old age which times players to find the best combinations for their team. Expansions add minute updates to races, jockeys, or horses based on the real world data and projections that are available for the year it is released.
Key characters in the series who make regular comebacks are Sakurako Arima, Shuzaburo Isaka and Kikuo Takarazuka. These characters make guest appearances in Mahjong Taikai IV. Certain titles allow players to transfer their horses from preceding titles or the G1 Jockey series through save data.
- Winning Post
- Winning Post EX
- Winning Post 2
- Winning Post 2 Plus
- Winning Post 2 Plus with Power Kit
- Winning Post 2 Program '96 - localized as Winning Post
- Winning Post 2 Final '97
- Winning Post 2 Program '97
- Winning Post 3
- Winning Post 3 with Power Up Kit
- Winning Post Program '98
- Winning Post 4
- Winning Post 4 with Power Up Kit
- Winning Post for Gameboy Advance
- Winning Post 4 Program 2000
- Winning Post 4 Maximum
- Winning Post 4 Maximum Program 2001
- Winning Post 5
- Winning Post 5 with Power Up Kit
- Winning Post 5 Maximum 2002
- Winning Post 5 Maximum 2003
- Winning Post 6
- Winning Post 6 with Power Up Kit
- Winning Post 6 Maximum 2004
- Winning Post 6 Maximum 2005
- Winning Post 6 Maximum 2006
- Winning Post 7
- Winning Post 7 with Power Up Kit
- Winning Post 7 Maximum 2006
- Winning Post 7 Maximum 2007
- Winning Post 7 Maximum 2008
- Winning Post World
- Winning Post World 2010
- Winning Post 7 2012
- Winning Post 7 2013
- Winning Post 8
- Winning Post 8 2015
- Winning Post 8 2016
- Winning Post 8 2017
- Winning Post 8 2018
- Winning Post - discontinued mobile companion application for Winning Post 7
- 100man-nin no Winning Post - by DeNA and Mobage
- Pachislot Winning Post
- Winning Post Stallion
Promotional booths for Winning Post or other horse racing IPs have been regularly spotted at Japanese Racing Association events or races. The latest titles perform collaborations with horse racing sports publications.
Koei published a fan mook series called Winning Post Tsushin. It ended at nine volumes.
This series was star for Koei's second Real Escape collaboration which took place October 2013. The event was called Aru Keibaba kara no Dasshutsu ~Sono Keibaba de wa Mienai Uma ga Hashiru~. SCRAP has the commercial for the event on YouTube.
Music from the first game was performed for the GAME SYMPHONY JAPAN 24th CONCERT KOEI TECMO Special ~Shibusawa Kou 35th Anniversary~ orchestra concert.
- Kousui Koujou - Winning Post 2
- Performed by UNIT33
- DEBUT - Winning Post 3
- Performed by Maiko Kikkawa