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Subject: WWII Carrier Warfare Game Recommendations rss

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M Stumptner
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OK, point taken.
 
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M Stumptner
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GLENN239 wrote:
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To all the people who keep suggesting Midway here, I would really suggest that they should try Victory at Midway. Get a copy and I have a feeling you will stop looking at the old game, except now and then for nostalgic reasons.


Maybe, but part of the point is that Midway is on my game shelf and Victory at Midway isn't.

What I'm saying is you should consider changing that. You are missing a design breakthrough that was reprinted in Japan and got a spinoff in Alea magazine's Nordkapp. And it's easy to find a copy.

But, as far as your point is concerned, I don't think "well, Midway is on my shelf" is really a particularly apposite response to someone asking "what new games have been out there in the last decades". it is a bit backward-looking to say "I have the first game of this ilk ever done and that's good enough for anyone".

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With some house rules on combat and searching, Midway cleans up pretty nicely. For example, if you divide anti-aircraft losses in half (round down) and allow ships to split their a-a fire.

Alas, you basically have to ditch the whole combat system to get anything resembling the historical style of attacks.
 
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M Stumptner
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Breunor wrote:
martimer wrote:
I remember playing The Fast Carriers many years ago and actually enjoying it. It was my introduction to the 'sliding time scale' and while it was a tad cumbersome it did seem to hit a sweet spot for me.


That's interesting. I've always been afraid I was playing wrong. I remember waiting for this game, but when we played it, we couldn't get it to 'work'. Specifically, we found that the AA on the tactical board was way too tough.

We tried it a few times, and then we jsut gave up.

Unfortunately, I think it is a problem for wargamers, especially when I was young - I didn't really know if the game was flawed or if we were just missing something. I'm glad to hear that you found irt rewarding, especially because I thought it had great promise for an operational carrier game.

What you describe is the same experience that we had (and I have had it confirmed by others). So if something is played wrong there, then most people were getting it wrong...
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M Stumptner
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gittes wrote:
M St wrote:
grognard wrote:
Flat Top and Midway are two oldies that are still very good today, at the complex and simple end respectively.

I agree on Flat Top, but Midway (which I consider a groundbreaking design, but it is 45 years old now) has IMO been superseded by Victory at Midway in literally every respect. It has the same tension, is simpler, faster, has a much richer OOB and map setting (one wouldn't think that would be possible at Midway, but there it is), and it works vastly better as history in terms of both strategy and tactics.

To all the people who keep suggesting Midway here, I would really suggest that they should try Victory at Midway. Get a copy and I have a feeling you will stop looking at the old game, except now and then for nostalgic reasons.


I think you are being too hard on the old girl. Midway stacks up better than nearly all of its brethren from the era.

Fair enough, but I play none of the brethren from its era (pre-1970!) any more either. I think Midway is the Ford Model T of carrier games, and I mean that in a good way. It has a place in the pantheon of game design and I think it's a shame that the names of Lindsley Schutz and Larry Pinsky are relatively unknown. Coming up with what they produced was an incredible feat given the tools (i.e., game mechanisms) available to designers at the time. But I'm not going to play it any more than I'm going to drive to buy groceries in the Model T. Many of the decisions and tradeoffs you need to wrangle with to play well are artifacts of the game's mechanisms, and have little to do with how carrier admirals (or air group commanders) thought. There's better ways of getting there.

And I'm not someone who's into new mechanisms or games for their own sake, either.

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it is also currently much cheaper than Victory at Midway.

I'm assuming you're saying that because there's some guy who's currently posting a copy of VaM for sale on the BGG marketplace at $50. But that merely tells me something about the seller. There were three copies of VAM sold on ebay in January, with prices ranging from $10 to $22... It's really quite common and affordable. A player's game.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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M St wrote:
Fair enough, but I play none of the brethren from its era (pre-1970!) any more either. I think Midway is the Ford Model T of carrier games, and I mean that in a good way. It has a place in the pantheon of game design and I think it's a shame that the names of Lindsley Schutz and Larry Pinsky are relatively unknown. Coming up with what they produced was an incredible feat given the tools (i.e., game mechanisms) available to designers at the time. But I'm not going to play it any more than I'm going to drive to buy groceries in the Model T. Many of the decisions and tradeoffs you need to wrangle with to play well are artifacts of the game's mechanisms, and have little to do with how carrier admirals (or air group commanders) thought. There's better ways of getting there.

And I'm not someone who's into new mechanisms or games for their own sake, either.


I decided to play most of the classics from that era, partially because I like knowing where the hobby has gone since then. Midway stacks up much better than most and your Model T description makes sense. The game is a bit outdated, but foundational too.

While I have not played many other carrier games, most just seemed to achieve the same results as Midway but with more rules. I know some folks like complexity, but I am not one of them. Midway is flawed. The B-17 table is a joke. But I think it is remarkable that it achieves what it does with so little overhead.

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I'm assuming you're saying that because there's some guy who's currently posting a copy of VaM for sale on the BGG marketplace at $50. But that merely tells me something about the seller. There were three copies of VAM sold on ebay in January, with prices ranging from $10 to $22... It's really quite common and affordable. A player's game.


Yeah but I got Midway for $5 at a thrift store.

Anyway, I just guessed all your publicity for the game finally drove the price up!
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M Stumptner
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gittes wrote:

I decided to play most of the classics from that era, partially because I like knowing where the hobby has gone since then.

Same for me, in fact, but that doesn't mean I will play them again.

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While I have not played many other carrier games, most just seemed to achieve the same results as Midway but with more rules.

I've played many, and would say most get your more historical results, though many of these do use more rules. Actually I'm not aware of any other game that places so much (sad to say, misguided) emphasis on the complexity of the air attack allocation task. I remember poring over the old GENERAL articles and their intricate tactical airstrike analysis, dreaming of when I'd get to make those decisions. Well, by the time I picked up the game I knew more about carrier warfare and so the luster was off those details, so to speak.

Victory at Midway, of course, is better in both dimensions. It gives you better results with even less rules and more elegant play than Midway. I think it was the first wargame with cardboard counters that I played that did not need a CRT.

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I'm assuming you're saying that because there's some guy who's currently posting a copy of VaM for sale on the BGG marketplace at $50. But that merely tells me something about the seller. There were three copies of VAM sold on ebay in January, with prices ranging from $10 to $22... It's really quite common and affordable. A player's game.


Yeah but I got Midway for $5 at a thrift store.

I'm perfectly fine with letting you have that point on rhetorical grounds. Practically speaking, as far as I'm concerned there's little difference between a $5 and a $10 game in the era of $40 magazine games...

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Anyway, I just guessed all your publicity for the game finally drove the price up!

I fear it's just someone wanting to make a quick buck from the unwary. And if he's affected by the publicity (not just mine - let's not forget the three others who said the same thing up-thread), why is he selling his copy instead of playing it? The game even comes with solitaire rules (though, to be sure, they are a shadow of the ftf experience).
 
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Fraser
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Wilhammer wrote:
If you can recall the game's mass, you will know what you have.

Midway - flat box, light weight, mostly air.

Flat Top - Denser than a singularity - probably the physically densest wargame ever produced.

Unpunched it does not fit in the box (it bulges slightly), punched, better get a big bead box or Plano.

I didn't remember the mass, but I have now found it on the shelves, it's Midway.
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Ray.T
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Karlsen wrote:
Wilhammer wrote:
If you can recall the game's mass, you will know what you have.

Midway - flat box, light weight, mostly air.

Flat Top - Denser than a singularity - probably the physically densest wargame ever produced.

Unpunched it does not fit in the box (it bulges slightly), punched, better get a big bead box or Plano.

I didn't remember the mass, but I have now found it on the shelves, it's Midway.


Great game. I would recommend playing the full game as is before playing around with some of the variants and such.

Even though I think some variants and additions found in the GENERAL are good, some change the balance of the game to much.
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Glenn McMaster
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While I have not played many other carrier games, most just seemed to achieve the same results as Midway but with more rules. I know some folks like complexity, but I am not one of them. Midway is flawed. The B-17 table is a joke. But I think it is remarkable that it achieves what it does with so little overhead.


That was my thinking too, so I did a redesign and replaced the combat systems and tweaked the search systems, but kept word count for the original game’s rules set, including a new surface combat system to 5,200 (original about 3,500). It was mentioned that the air attack phase is too detailed, but this is half the fun of the game. I couldn't picture Midway without either the double-blind searches or the air battle board.
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Ted Spencer
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Garfink wrote:
Definitely an out-of-print classic, worth chasing down a cheaper used copy. Another game in a similar vein worth considering is Tokyo Express.
+1 A favorite of mine, too.
 
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M Stumptner
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GLENN239 wrote:

That was my thinking too, so I did a redesign and replaced the combat systems and tweaked the search systems, but kept word count for the original game’s rules set, including a new surface combat system to 5,200 (original about 3,500).

So in other words, you're not playing the original game at all, but it's great.

Quote:
It was mentioned that the air attack phase is too detailed,

Actually, that's not what I said at all. I said it encourages ahistorical tactics. The level of detail has nothing to do with it.
 
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Alan Tomaszewski
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Victory In the Pacific, Avalon Hill. It is an incredibly fun and challenging Pacific campaign dice game. Yes there's dice which represents alot of luck that happened throughout the Pacific campaign. Truly alot of fun to play in an reasonably priced classic avalon hill game.
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simon thornton
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Yes there's dice which represents alot of luck that


statistically there are so many dice it probably has a lot less luck than heavier games.
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M Stumptner
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Alan7012 wrote:
Victory In the Pacific, Avalon Hill. It is an incredibly fun and challenging Pacific campaign dice game. Yes there's dice which represents alot of luck that happened throughout the Pacific campaign. Truly alot of fun to play in an reasonably priced classic avalon hill game.

It's a great game, but again, it's a very high level strategic game, not a game about carrier warfare.

I don't see it as a "dice game" any more than any other wargame that uses dice. As the previous poster said, a large number of dice reduces the impact of the individual dieroll.
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Glenn McMaster
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So in other words, you're not playing the original game at all, but it's great.


Precisely – all the other carrier game I bought – flawed in one way or another and got stored away. This one is worthy of tinkering.
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M Stumptner
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I think it is less amenable to tinkering than any other I have seen, but to each their own.
 
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B. Marsh
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bluekingzog wrote:
Although the Second World War at Sea (SWWAS) system is over 10 years old , there is the recent Second World War at Sea: Coral Sea . I dont have that but I do own Second World War at Sea: SOPAC which is the same theatre and good fun. Again I dont own it but it is very much on my wish list , Coral Sea: Campaign Commander Volume II looks a very interesting operational game with a unique combat system. Does not contain detailed carrier rules by the look of it though.


I'm interested in this system and I am thinking about getting Second World War at Sea: Coral Sea. Can anyone provide some thoughts on the game?

How is the VASSAL module?






 
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M Stumptner
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sgtstinky wrote:

I'm interested in this system and I am thinking about getting Second World War at Sea: Coral Sea. Can anyone provide some thoughts on the game?

In virtually all other operational carrier games you only see your own units, on your on map (i.e., they are double blind). In this one, you have one map, you see the other's units all the time. At least in the version I looked at long ago, the SWWAS system also fails to represent one of the most critical aspects in carrier warfare, namely that searching in all directions takes a lot of planes (and normally commanders only looked in particular directions). Here you know where the enemy is all the time, you just have to roll a successful search to attack him, you're never going to search in the wrong direction, and if you don't find him you still know that you're at a potential disadvantage and whether you're in strike range and should retreat, or not. A very different feeling.

Put differently, it has the same style of play as a Pacific War battle scenario but not the latter's saving grace of (a) very fast playing time and (b) all battles of the war in one box.
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B. Marsh
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M St wrote:
sgtstinky wrote:

I'm interested in this system and I am thinking about getting Second World War at Sea: Coral Sea. Can anyone provide some thoughts on the game?

In virtually all other operational carrier games you only see your own units, on your on map (i.e., they are double blind). In this one, you have one map, you see the other's units all the time. At least in the version I looked at long ago, the SWWAS system also fails to represent one of the most critical aspects in carrier warfare, namely that searching in all directions takes a lot of planes (and normally commanders only looked in particular directions). Here you know where the enemy is all the time, you just have to roll a successful search to attack him, you're never going to search in the wrong direction, and if you don't find him you still know that you're at a potential disadvantage and whether you're in strike range and should retreat, or not. A very different feeling.

Put differently, it has the same style of play as a Pacific War battle scenario but not the latter's saving grace of (a) very fast playing time and (b) all battles of the war in one box.


Thanks M, that is sort of a big deal when it comes to carrier operations, searching is a critical aspect of play, not to mention making decisions on how to manage your air ops
 
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Martin Gallo
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M St wrote:
sgtstinky wrote:

I'm interested in this system and I am thinking about getting Second World War at Sea: Coral Sea. Can anyone provide some thoughts on the game?

In virtually all other operational carrier games you only see your own units, on your on map (i.e., they are double blind). In this one, you have one map, you see the other's units all the time. At least in the version I looked at long ago, the SWWAS system also fails to represent one of the most critical aspects in carrier warfare, namely that searching in all directions takes a lot of planes (and normally commanders only looked in particular directions). Here you know where the enemy is all the time, you just have to roll a successful search to attack him, you're never going to search in the wrong direction, and if you don't find him you still know that you're at a potential disadvantage and whether you're in strike range and should retreat, or not. A very different feeling.
As I recall there are modifiers for distance from friendly searchers (friendly carrier groups/islands). The system makes use of dummies and you cannot search everything. So you may know that SOMETHING is there, but not know what it is. It is design for effect, but I and my opponent thought it played pretty well (note that I have only played the Midway game).
 
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simon thornton
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There are the flaws you mention in not having a double blind system. On the other hand , you don't have the situation where because you forgot to search one hex (because you don't have a staff supporting you) you miss out on the enemy fleet or because your opponent misheard what you said (m15 I thought you said n15). You still have to decide how to organise your flights, cap etc. if memory serves inbound air strikes are kept secret until they strike home which adds to the tension.

It plays like a 'proper' carrier game but the search phase is considerably smoother and quicker. It feels like your staff are handling the searchers and your looking at the bigger picture .

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Martin Gallo
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I am assuming he is talking about SWWaS. If I am correct then I agree with him. It may not get all the details represented (correctly or even just present) but it played like it did.

If you really want to have fun with a carrier game, you probably want to go with an umpired situation so the hidden information is presented 'properly'. I never have played an umpired game of Flat Top, but I have played an umpired game of Submarine and it was a LOT of fun.
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M Stumptner
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martimer wrote:
As I recall there are modifiers for distance from friendly searchers (friendly carrier groups/islands).

Over what distances do those kick in? Normally searches were organised to be overlapping out to at least normal strike distance, so chances should be pretty even regardless how far something is away. The tricky bit historically was to work out in what directions to search so as to not waste search planes needlessly.

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The system makes use of dummies and you cannot search everything. So you may know that SOMETHING is there, but not know what it is. It is design for effect

It would seem to me that "design for effect" is only appropriate if the "design for effect" approach actually achieves the same effect, and I'm not sure I agree with that in this case. Anyway...

Concerning misidentified called out hexes, I would just chalk these up to encoding errors (a very real type of occurence) and not worry further.
 
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M Stumptner
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martimer wrote:

If you really want to have fun with a carrier game, you probably want to go with an umpired situation so the hidden information is presented 'properly'. I never have played an umpired game of Flat Top, but I have played an umpired game of Submarine and it was a LOT of fun.

Umpired games are great, but the double blind ones don't require the third person which is much harder for me to arrange. (I have multiple available opponents but matching schedules is tough.) Doubleblind games are the classic "80/20 solution" for that.
 
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Mark McG
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M St wrote:
martimer wrote:

If you really want to have fun with a carrier game, you probably want to go with an umpired situation so the hidden information is presented 'properly'. I never have played an umpired game of Flat Top, but I have played an umpired game of Submarine and it was a LOT of fun.

Umpired games are great, but the double blind ones don't require the third person which is much harder for me to arrange. (I have multiple available opponents but matching schedules is tough.) Doubleblind games are the classic "80/20 solution" for that.


I mentioned this earlier, but was hurried and didn't give any explanation.

www.fightingflattops.com is a web based version of Flattop. The biggest difference is that instead of a hex grid board, it uses Google maps, which mean Task Forces and Air Groups actually move at correct speed.

Otherwise it is very similar, carrier and base plane handling is key, as is searching.

The web based application handles the spotting and combat results, but the players handle everything else. There is no AI, it is always human vs human with a computer umpire.

I've played umpired games of Flattop, which I found moved too slowly for me. These games a about PBeM speed, though if 2 players are online together you can alternate turns pretty quickly.

And the most remarkable thing is that it is free, though a donation to the site will remove the advertising, and considering the work he puts in is merited in my view.

Currently I have 4 games running, and I've played 38 in a year or so according to my log. So whilst in one game you might be flicking through night turns or sending out searches, in another game I'm on tenterhooks wondering if my airstrike will find the target before nightfall, or be frustrated by a storm, and in a third cycling my aircraft though continuous strikes on an airbase to get my transports ashore.

Anyway, my point is, the hidden movement and spotting problem is essentially solved by this application, which was the umpire's rather boring job.
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