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Tony Kerstan
Australia
Hobart
Tasmania
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TLR version - Get Kaiapit if you are a hardcore wargamer and interested in the subject.


Kaiapit is a game about a rare subject area: New Guinea in World War Two. Each counter represents a platoon or section. This game would suit a Grognard wargamer who wants to explore the subject area and enjoys playing a filler game with a beer. I played it solo and enjoyed it. The beer was good too.

The components are not comparable to today's high graphic expectations, but they are serviceable. The components include a sturdy box, die-cut counters with standard NATO symbols and a gorgeous map. Kaiapit also includes a cardstock player aid with the terrain chart, game-turn track and counter information, which speeds up play.

The rules are black and white large font written in a conversational style. The rules assume that the player is already familiar with hex and counter wargame rules of movement, stacking, combat, terrain effects, retreat paths etc. There are no zone of control or supply rules due to the scale. The rulebook is open to interpretation and as such, I would not recommend this as an introductory game. However Kaiapit would be easy appetiser for a hard-core solo wargamer, or to teach a new wargamer the basics.

The rules are 7 pages long, including, solitaire rules, optional rules and designers notes. The system is a standard IGO-UGO sequence of play with odds-ratio combat. Interestingly, some terrain types provides column shifts in favour of the defender, while other terrain provides a die roll modification in favour of the defender. The combat results table consists of retreats, routs, pins and elimination results. However it is hard to eliminate unit unless there is a big numerical advantage, or the defender is surrounded. Attempts to remove Routed and Pinned can be made in the Recovery Phase.

Additionally, if the defender is forced to retreat or is routed due to combat, the attacker my pursue and attack again.

While this sounds fairly standard, it works well Kaiapit. The Australians commandos arrive in force early on and must drive off a small Japanese force guarding an Airstrip. If the Aussies have been unable to capitalise on their early superiority, then sizable Japanese reinforcements and tight victory conditions can make it a hard fight. The optional rules add Banzai charges, Fog of War and a boost for the Japanese when solo playing the Aussies.

Kaiapit includes two scenarios and it plays fast and smooth. I finished the long scenario solo in 45 minutes. The lack of zone of control, the nuances around combat and the tight victory conditions make Kaiapit fluid and challenging play. Some luck is involved, but there are plenty of die rolls to smooth things out.

Kaiapit ticks the boxes for me with an unusual subject, easy rules, quick setup time and soloability. I suspect that Kaiapit could be a great "go-to" game for when you're in the mood to go Commando in the Kunai grass
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Eleazar Lawson
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For the record, it's my call...expend all remaining in my perimeter.
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I realize that the original post is years old. However, I came to this page planning on writing a review of this game. After reading this, I realized it sounded pretty much like the review I was going to write. I agree with every particular. The size of the game makes it accessible; it features tense gameplay on an obscure topic with more or less traditional mechanics. These might be negatives for some gamers, but there are still those of us out there who enjoy this type of gaming. This particular game puts me in mind of a micro game of the golden age, when Metagaming, Task Force Games etc. produced small, inexpensive games on every conceivable topic. Even as a fan, I must concede that many of those titles were stinkers, but every now and then they came through with a really good game. Kaiapit makes me think of the gems of that era.
 
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