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Subject: Guadalcanal Diary rss

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Mark Herman
United States
New York
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I am humbled by the strong support many continue to show for this 1985 design and in case you had missed the news it is going to be reprinted by NUTS! in the near future. Toward that end I am cranking up my personal playtest machine to restart the process again.

The re-design has been complete for some time, so the project is moving toward crowd playtesting once the new graphics are available and the appropriate cyberboard/vassal sets are in place. I would expect this will take until about July. The major core rules changes in the reprint are in four areas.

1. Submarines are entirely redesigned, you will see more of this in the session report that follows.

2. The air units are no longer generic air types, but specific air units, such as the 20th Pursuit Group or the Tainan Air Group. Along with this are Air HQs (such as the 13th AF, 21st Air Flotilla), that get attached to the Command HQs from the original design. These Air HQs impact supply, coordination, and repair of air units in their command.

3. Ground Combat: This one is still being tested, you'll see some detail in the session report, but I have a replacement for the ground CRT that from all that I have seen so far does exactly what the old one did, but uses the same procedure as all the other combat systems. Testing will determine if it stays or not, but so far it is working perfectly as it was when I finished it the last time.

4. Ground movement: As this scenario only allows ground combat in the Guadalcanal space, we did not test this new feature, but it has been a strategic scenario 'house rule' by many for decades. My modification of it goes as follows. Any ground unit activated for an operation receives a counter that gives the unit a number of moves equal to the number of operation weeks. So in a two week operation its a 2 and in a three week its a three and so on. Each time the ground unit moves you reduce the counter by one, when you are at zero you deactivate unless it occurred sooner due to a unfavorable combat result.

5. There are many other chrome rules and modifications that you'll have to read the rules to see, but the biggest out there is the strategic scenario will get a bit of a makeover with a separate section of additional rules, quite extensive, for when you lose your mind and play the whole war.

This session report is for the Guadalcanal Campaign Scenario and only covers the August turn for now. It uses the ORIGINAL map and counters from the VG version, so asking me if these are the final graphics is a waste of your time.

Japanese: Mark Herman
Allies: Gary ' the Gonz' Gonzalez (worked on the original game as indicated in the credits)

The Japanese rolled a Level 1 Strategic Intel and the Allies (I found this out at the end of the turn) had Level 2.

The Allies get the first Operation in this scenario, so they cranked up the fleet, boarded the Marines and headed off to Guadalcanal. The new submarine rules give each side a submarine base that has submarines assigned to it. The JP base was in the Marshall's and the US base was in Australia. You then pay 1 CP per 6 submarines activated at the beginning of the month and you place one or more submarine patrol markers on the map. The distance between the submarine base and the patrol area is broken into 5 hex increments and this value is divided into the total submarines assigned to the patrol area. In the JP case they had 12 submarines operating at 15 hexes from their base for a patrol strength of 4 (12/3) submarines. This little formula accounts for the tempo of submarine operations where some are in base, some are on patrol and some are in transit. The Allies had a patrol strength of 2 (6/3). In the photo we used a submarine counter to represent the patrol area.

Starting position on August 1942.

For the JP I set up at Torpedo Alley/ Junction, and the Allies set up in the northern slot. Each patrol area has a 3 hex radius, so when TFs enter the zone you roll for detection and if successful you roll against your patrol strength, equal to or less and you get a number of attacks equal to the patrol strength, each attack is against a different target with a strength of 2 on the torpedo line.

With a level 1 strat level the JP operational intel level was surprise attack, no surprise there, and when the US invasion fleet was three hexes from G'canal they were detected by submarine and attacked killing one DD with the ASW reply killing one submarine. Given that it was a surprise attack we immediately went to Battle rounds at the end of the first round the JP activated a near historical SAVO Island reaction of 3 x CA and 1 x CL.

The Allies won the 2nd Battle round initiative and entered Ironbottom Sound and invaded G'canal. Now here we ran the battle with the old and the new. The good news is the result was the same in both processes. What happened is a 5% chance in both systems. Essentially the Marines wiffed, the JP hit with a mandatory retreat, the Marines broke, and retreated to their transports taking 6 losses. This is the 3:0 result , with doubled losses for 6, in the 0-5 column on the original ground crt or really poor die rolling in the new system with the same 5% chance.

I have played this scenario with the Gonz uncounted times. In all of those times the Marines have failed to take G'canal twice on the opening operation. This time and way back at an old WBC the JP (Gonz) with an intercept sank my Marine transports. I guess that makes us even for now.

With the Marines sailing back to base with my reaction force deciding not to engage in a Dusk naval battle in the presence of a likely US BB, I was right, we all sailed home with the Allied submarines putting two torpedoes into me. What Gonz had lacked as a grunt he more than made up for as a submariner. The Japanese then won the next operation and reinforced G'canal with 3 infantry battalions from Rabaul.

We have written down the position so we can continue it on Vassal, but I was very pleased with the most recent test of the new systems.

Final position at the beginning of September 1942. Note Guadalcanal is still Japanese, what will the citizens back home think...

More to come...

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Ingo Perings
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Hi Mark,

nice Idea with the subs. i have started a strategic scenario at the last weekend and i am thinking about to implement the new rules. What about the other subbases. do you have the locations? are the active the whole war?

a question on the old design. could subs attacks more then once in a contact phase? for example: two task forces cruised trough there hex. the same for a Destroyer. he traversed two hex with a sub in each. could he return attack to both subs?

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