Every serious competition has one game or match commonly remembered as the "Greatest Ever", or possibly multiple contenders for the title:
Gridiron football has the 1958 NFL Championship between the Giants and Colts - the very first overtime game as well. Soccer / football has two from the 1970 World Cup: Brazil-England and the Final That Never Was, or the Italy-West Germany semifinal Game of the Century. The NBA has the Boston-Phoenix triple-OT game, among others. Chess has too many possibilities to count - perhaps Kasparov vs Topalov 1999, Byrne vs Fischer 1956, Levitsky vs Marshall 1912, or Hoffmann vs Petrov 1844? Boxing has Ali-Frazier and the Thrilla' in Manilla.
To me, historical wargames belong in the lore of great competitions as well. And Victory in the Pacific, in my opinion, has Jim Eliason vs John Pack in the 2003-2005 Top Ten Invitational. Thankfully for us, and thanks to Jim & John, the full game replay is available with commentary and combat rundowns from the participants.
This replay was originally posted in slightly longer form on GameAholics (which hosts various play-by-email competitions for Victory in the Pacific, Gangsters, and Hoity Toity) and is being posted with permission of GameAholics. All images are screenshots from the Victory in the Pacific module for the Wargame Processor game aid. How it works: The Top Ten Invitational takes the winners of the other various online & face to face tournaments, as well as other highly-rated A.R.E.A players, and has all 10 of them play each of the 9 others over a two-year period to crown an overall champion. Gameaholics also has a rotating ladder as well as single-elimination tournaments that are open to all skill levels - check it out if you want some serious but friendly competition.
Now, onto the game...
Neutral comments: Jim and John chose to play with the "Normal Turn 1" variant which uses a normal turn sequence for Turn 1 outside of freezing some Allied ships in place for the air raids, makes the IJN roll day/night to finish off any bottomed ships (night represents not having time to get that 3rd strike in), gives the USN some limited freedom of movement in place of rolling location uncertain groups, and lets Allied LBA shoot back on round 2 of the raids if they survive round 1. John bid 0.5 POC to play the Japanese and Jim accepted.
All maps show the positions after all movement is complete. The ships shown around Pearl Harbor in the turn 1 are the bottomed ships from the air raid after the initial 2 rounds.
IJN Comments: Jim thought seriously about going for the Hawaiian Islands which is why he patrolled the Coral Sea with a single CA and put those two PoC at risk. Ultimately, however, the Allies play it safe and keep the fleet from engaging. The net Allied losses are 4 BB and 2 CA sunk at Pearl Harbor with two left on the bottom (West Virginia with 8 damage and Tennessee with 9 damage). California escapes as a cripple while Pennsylvania and 7th AF get out without a scratch. The I-Boat whiffs to leave the USN in control of the Coral Sea.
In Indonesia, it takes two rounds to shoot down the 5th AF. The 5th AF whiffs. The third round is also day -- which allows the IJN to sink Prince of Wales. Repulse escapes unharmed. On the whole, I think the IJN came out looking pretty good. Since this is an NT1 game, I'll have to watch the PoC carefully.
Japanese losses: none
Allied losses: Maryland, Prince of Wales, Arizona, Nevada, Oklahoma, San Francisco, New Orleans
Japan 12 Allies 9
TOTAL: Japan +3
USN comments: Wow, very aggressive move. With a little luck on your speed rolls I'd have had things a lot easier. As it is, all five speed rolls have gone your way. But that's fine if I can get one good D/N roll in Hawaii. The Brits stay home. Your move indicates they might need to conserve their forces.
IJN comments: I go with my standard turn two patrols -- 6, 4, and 2 CA in the three Allied home areas respectively. This allows me to use almost any offensive I choose after I see where the Allied LBA go.
The USN goes for a very aggressive LBA posture with one LBA in the Aleutians and another in the Marianas. This is a good combination since the Sasebo NLF can only counter one of them! However, it leaves the Allied home areas very weakly defended -- which is my signal to go for the full court press.
I hit all three home areas with fairly balanced forces (when one considers that the Allies can't get as many BB to the Coral Sea, and factors in the LBA in the Mandate). I use fast ships in the Hawaiians because I'll need to retreat if both CV from the Japanese Islands fail speed rolls. trust my offensive will be enough to keep the USN from going after Indonesia even though the USN would have a 50-50 shot at keeping Singapore.
The first round of combat sees my CA in the Aleutians sunk. My CA in the Central Pacific misses and is sunk in return. My LBA manage to disable one CA in the Marshalls. In Indonesia my LBA put 4 damage on Royal Sovereign. Night comes up in the Marianas to allow my NLF to take the Philippines and end the LBA threat. Nothing catastrophic for the IJN here, but the USN does score some attrition for no losses.
In the Coral Sea, my carriers sink one CA and disable the other -- a disappointing result. Night in the U.S. Mandate allows the LBA to retreat -- also disappointing (since shooting one down now would really help for next turn).
In the key fight in the Hawaiians, it's a day action. That's good news for the IJN. The IJN sink Lexington while putting maximum damage on Saratoga while also disabling Saratoga and Enterprise -- a poor showing when I'd hoped to sink three CV! However, in return the USN also shoots poorly -- sinking only Shokaku while disabling Zuikaku and Shoho and putting one point of damage on Junyo. Hiei is also sunk. If the I-Boat can remove a CV, we'll have equal daytime firepower ... but it's not to be as the I-Boat whiffs.
So I call for a retreat and the entire USN pursues my single group. In retrospect, I should have simply stayed. Daylight is still shining and Junyo sinks Hornet. Hornet returns the favor while Yorktown sends Haruna packing with 1 damage. My retreating group then breaks and it's every man for himself. During the remainder of the pursuit, the Yorktown disables her target while Allied CA sink Chokai and Haguro without loss (which is definitely a surprise)!
Pearl Harbor is saved by the Allies which also means that the two bottomed ships from the initial raid will make it back into the game.
The final action in the turn sees Yokosuka invade Port Moresby while the Coral Sea carriers sink the repairing California in Australia.
Singapore and Lae convert to Japan by isolation.
Japanese losses: Hiei, Chokai, Haguro, Ashigara, Maya, Shokaku, Junyo
Allied losses: California, Pensacola, Lexington, Hornet
Japan 15 Allies 3
Net: Japan +12
TOTAL: JAPAN +15
IJN comments: My goals this turn are to convert Samoa, New Hebrides, and possibly Guadalcanal and establish a credible threat to Australia for next turn. If I'm fortunate, I'll also sink a USN CV and a British CV along with 4-5 LBA. This latter killing of LBA is critical to establishing a rolling threat -- where one major port is converted each turn. The reasons are simple -- an LBA this turn can't join forces with next turn's reinforcements, while carriers that are disabled this turn can help convert ports on each turn! This helps negate the major advantage of LBA (that they can't be disabled).
Since no Allied ships can get to the Coral Sea or South Pacific, I patrol these with two CA each. The reason I use two CA is that a single LBA can't hope to remove the patrollers if I use raiding CV to counter rather than my own LBA. I patrol with fast CA in the areas I expect to have to leave in a hurry -- but I still want to patrol everywhere in order to tax Allied resources and pick up anything he lets me have. This will be a very "open" turn for Allied raiders because my LBA will be ensuring that the British fleet is kept at bay in the Indian Ocean and Indonesia while I expect most of my CV and surface forces will be needed to convert Samoa.
I'm very pleased that the USN doesn't repair Saratoga since I doubt I'd have had a CV to spare to try for the air raid. In fact, the tendency of the USN to hold as much as possible for the raiding phase serves me well here since it means that I don't have to worry about US flags showing up anywhere except the Marshall Islands (since I'm not concerned with the Aleutians and North Pacific).
Jim also uses an LBA to guard the Hawaiians and splits up the defense of the Mandate and Coral Sea. The odds of the LBA pulling a surprise in one area are much higher with the split. However, I'd have recommended a further split -- putting an LBA in the South Pacific since I have no NLF to threaten Guadalcanal. By splitting only into Coral Sea and U.S. Mandate, I get to use an LBA of my own to counter the threat of Jim's last two LBA.
My NLF and raids are no surprise -- moving those that can't get to the Mandate to the Central Pacific in the hopes of securing Midway (a key base now that Pearl Harbor won't fall). Two CV back up my LBA in the Coral Sea while the rest go to the U.S. Mandate. A bad round in either Mandate or Coral Sea could let the Allies win a very key area. I send a damaged 436 on a suicide mission to stop a US flag in the Marshalls. I'd prefer not to worry about those bases next turn.
Jim plays it safe with his CV and sends his forces to beat me up everywhere I'm not very strong. It's a good move -- especially his not using a CV in the Central Pacific, even though there some risk to Midway. I'm happy the British are going to fight in Indonesia (especially since Hermes missed her speed roll), since if I can sink a British 0272, that'll be the end of most of the British CVL. I hope that my surface losses won't be too high -- and that my flags will win some night actions where I can get an exchange.
USN comments: Well, let's try this and see what happens. I'd like this position with a higher bid, but with only 0.5 I'm none too comfortable. I hate to not repair Saratoga, but she'd just be dead meat to an air raid if I did, unless I stacked Hawaii with LBA.
I also had a hard time deciding what to do with LBA. Mobility? POC? Base retention? 'Tis a puzzlement. Here's my attempt at untying the Gordian knot.
Chase my Marines if you want to. I sure am short of CVs. I'm going to want some night actions this turn I expect. I'm taking a gamble in the CP. If you take Midway (about a 20% chance I figure) I'm in some trouble, but I decided I couldn't risk a CV this turn, so I sent them to safe areas that still should yield some good POC. Since you want the south that badly, I guess I'll have to let you have it for now. Hopefully I'll get some more advantageous surface attrition, and kill a CV or two.
IJN comments: In the Marianas and Aleutian Islands, my cruisers are both disabled without scoring any results themselves. On the other hand, I get away despite day action in the Hawaiians without loss. In the Japanese Islands, the first round is night action. Yamato sinks an Allied cruiser but takes 6 damage, then is sunk at night by Yorktown. In the Marshall Islands, the first round is night. Canberra is disabled to Ceylon to prevent the Allies from flagging the area. In response, Kumano is disabled to Saigon while Haruna is sunk. The I-Boat sinks Enterprise in what is sure to be one of the game's critical attacks. In the Central Pacific, night action comes up: no chance for Hiyo to stop the US Marines. My forces manage to disable Houston (a non-result). In return, Mikuma is sunk with a single shot while 11 shots fail to sink Hiyo. Who'd have guessed?
In Indonesia, my LBA disable Illustrious and Indomitable (the latter, with 2 damage, will be the first removal, no doubt). The British can't score a hit, and thy withdraw. I'd hoped to sink one of the British 0272s to remove them all at the end of the turn, but it's not to be -- next turn's attempt to convert Australia will have to deal with Hermes plus one of the 0272s.
In the U.S. Mandate, my CV shoot down two LBA in the first round. In return, Hiryu is sunk. RNZAF runs off to fight another day.
In the Coral Sea, my LBA and CV whiff during the first round -- opening an opportunity for the Allies to save Guadalcanal and New Hebrides this turn and thwart my designs on Australia. Such a result would probably win the game for the Allies. However, the Allied LBA whiffs as well. The next round sees the IJN shoot down both LBA. The Allies whiff again.
The first round didn't look promising, but the final results are very good. The Japanese lose only one CV (the same as the USN) and they shoot down four LBA. However, the two BB and one CA lost in exchange for one Allied CA could spell trouble on the surface in the future -- especially as Pearl Harbor has repaired the two bottomed BB left over after turn 1. However, I should have enough surface forces to make the Australian conversion next turn. That should make it very hard PoC-wise for the Allies to recover.
The sinking of Enterprise makes this turn an IJN victory. As a result, the USN will, once again, be limited to two operational CV. That may allow me to secure some areas with a single LBA -- especially areas where the Wasp will need a speed roll (adding risk to any Allied venture). It also means the I-Boat, by itself, is a significant risk to any USN operation that depends on CV. My challenge next turn will be to complete the conquest of Australia without letting the PoC head south and without surrendering too much to the surface-powerful USN. I'll probably need some secondary forces to threaten Midway or the Hawaiians.
USN comments: This situation really sucks. My paper airplanes didn't serve me very well last turn and now things look pretty lousy for preventing formation of the Greater Southeast Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. I've pulled out games before that I thought were hopeless, but seldom against a player as good as you. We'll see if my dice improve. I realized how bad it would be for you to lose Coral Sea, which is why I stayed against the odds. I was certainly hoping to at least kill one CV if I lost the area. Surface attrition remains ok for me, but air attrition is disastrous, and air is what matters most in this game.
Guadalcanal and New Hebrides convert to Japan by isolation.
Japanese losses: Yamato, Haruna, Mikuma, Hiryu, Kure
Allied losses: Chicago, Enterprise, 5th AF, 10th AF, 11th AF, RAAF
Indomitable and Illustrious withdraw.
Japan 11 Allies 6
Net: Japan +5
TOTAL: JAPAN +20
IJN comments: Jim made an interesting decision to base both Marines in Ceylon at the end of last turn -- maximizing his threat to take Port Moresby from me during this turn's conversion attempt. I've seen this before, however, and have based the largest portion of my fleet at New Hebrides so that I can win Australia with surface and carrier forces (using LBA in the Coral Sea as needed). Even the ships which remain at Truk are fast ships that could raid into the Indian Ocean as needed. I'd prefer not to put my surface ships up against the British, but it's a necessary evil. I hope to nearly eliminate the British in the process.
I start my patrols with a pair of CA in the Bay of Bengal. My reasons are two-fold. First, if the British ignore those CA and charge off to the Indian Ocean I might be able to control the area and threaten Ceylon with conversion next turn. On the other hand, if the British go after these two CA, the force in the Indian Ocean will be much less threatened by British surface power (and also able to deal with the Marines). The latter is what I expect -- and I believe the British will use firepower far beyond the two CA in response.
I patrol the northeast just to keep the USN occupied while I'm busy in Australia (and possibly to threaten Midway with my NLF under the right circumstances -- since I have an available CV that can't make it to the Indian Ocean). I also patrol three CA into the Hawaiians -- just in case I want to follow that threat up. I leave most of the ocean unpatrolled -- since I plan to use my LBA to handle it. I figure the USN's two operational CV will only be able to tackle one area.
One unusual patrol is the use of Hosho in the Coral Sea. The only Allied force that can appear there is LBA. Since I need every available surface ship this turn to counter the British threat, I felt that Hosho was more useful in the area than a CA -- since the Hosho could actually help against LBA. Any LBA in the Coral Sea will draw an IJN LBA response (possibly leaving the South Pacific unpatrolled).
As it turns out, I do leave SPO open in order to place my final LBA in the Indian Ocean (vs. 3 Allied LBA) after one LBA also goes to the Coral Sea. Interestingly, my reasoning in placing an LBA in the Indian Ocean is to get the Allies to send their Marines after Port Moresby instead of the relatively undefended Philippines! In the event the USN does go after the Philippines, that LBA will reduce the CV forces I need in the Indian Ocean (maybe allowing an attack on the Hawaiians or greater defense of the Philippines).
So, Jim, the Hosho wasn't enough to intimidate you out of the Coral Sea?
USN comments: Intimidated by the Hosho?? You've been reading too many "Fear the Hosho" messages on Consimworld.
I debated sending the Marines to try to take the Philippines, but decided on the long shot in the Indian Ocean. The payoff is much higher, though the chances of success are less.
IJN comments: The US Marines both try for Port Moresby. That's one base saved in my opinion -- since I'm not relying on LBA to win the Indian Ocean. Port Moresby will re-convert to IJN control if the Allies take it.
I deploy one 436 to the Marshalls just like last turn -- to prevent a US flag from threatening the Marshalls bases. I send another plus my slow CV to the Central Pacific to bolster my threat to Midway. In fact, with two NLF and a CV, USN CV will have a hard time stopping me in the Central Pacific unless they can win a night action. I'm presenting too many targets for the two USN CV to handle.
One CV also heads to the Coral Sea to bolster my defense against Jim's lone LBA. It may appear that I've got this battle locked up, but the paucity of units is a severe concern -- since the LBA could deny me Australia with just two lucky rounds (one for my LBA and one for Hosho). The rest of my CV head to the Indian Ocean -- making seven CV and one LBA against 3 Allied LBA and possibly 3 British CVL. I'm counting on my surface navy and the flag to handle the British CVL during the first two rounds. That'll let me concentrate all firepower on the three LBA. With nearly 8 shots each, I should be able to bring down two in the first round.
Jim surprises me a little with his raids. He holds the British surface fleet back -- even though four of those BB will be retiring at the end of this turn. Of course, having not committed them during patrols, he also risks losing 3-4 to speed rolls. The two British CVL attack Indonesia instead. My hope is to sink one of them and reduce the British threat substantially. Of course, I hope to win Indonesia altogether...
Jim hits every area in the East that can be won on the surface using his surface navy. I hope to deny control before fleeing to limit my attrition losses. He uses his two CV to hit the U.S. Mandate (probably in preparation for invading New Hebrides next turn). I'll hope to trade my LBA for a CV here. Jim again relies on surface power to face my NLF and CV in the Central Pacific. Can he win night action there two turns in a row? On the plus side, he's not risking his CV too badly while I'm unlikely to win the area even if I get the day action and invade Midway -- the BB firepower is simply too powerful.
The I-Boat decision is an interesting one. The obvious choices are to help my LBA against CV in Indonesia or the U.S. Mandate. However, an interesting opportunity has presented itself -- one I believe could knock the Allies out of the war altogether. The USN has left the fate of the Hawaiians to its patrollers -- one CA, one heavily damaged BB, and one good BB. They face off against three IJN cruisers. If I get day and the I-Boat can pick off the damaged BB, there's a reasonable chance that my cruisers could win the area and trap every USN ship on the board without an advance (likely including those in the Central Pacific) based in the Hawaiian Islands next turn. That's every ship currently outside of the Aleutians and North Pacific! I figure that 20% chance is worth it -- especially since the I-Boat is unlikely to change the results in Indonesia or U.S. Mandate.
USN comments: I thought about a kamikaze run of the RN to Indian OCean but with all your CVs and the flag it would just be throwing those ships away--at least the ones that passed their speed rolls. I don't want the IJN to be able to hold the IO next turn with just 1 CA. But I need to win battles, so I'm fighting in several places. If the IJN get day in CP I'm probably screwed, but I've got to hope he loses a key D/N roll for once. I could end up controlling seven areas or one depending on how the dice fall. Your Australian offensive was more dangerous than I thought. I overestimated my counterplay potential in the north I think. Without CVs there isn't much I can do. At least I sucked enough stuff down under that the IJN couldn't patrol SPO. Now I need to get some more favorable attrition so I can win all the battles on the last three turns. I'm going to need to, since I'm going to be way behind with only a microscopic bid to help me.
IJN comments: In round one I win my D/N in every area except the one that would help the I-Boat. Midway falls and is garrisoned by an extra NLF (which can either hold the island next turn to make LBA in the area secure, or press onward into the NE corner). Hiyo, however, can only put 2 damage on the patrolling Idaho. I run away in the Bay of Bengal and Aleutians. I sink the CA in the Japanese Islands and miss in the Marianas. I disable the British 0272 in Indonesia but whiff against the USN CV in the U.S. Mandate. In the Marshalls, I achieve my objective by disabling the patroller with 1 damage.
In the Hawaiians, my CA sink the Allied CA and cripple the wounded BB. If the IJN is left with a CA after the Allies shoot, the I-Boat might still be able to set up an IJN control scenario!
In the Indian Ocean, it's night. The 2nd Marines are sunk while, shockingly, the 1st Marines are merely disabled with 4 damage!
In the Coral Sea, I get the perfect result and shoot down the Allied LBA on the first round. That means I don't even have to worry about the Allied counterattack.
The Allied response in the first round sees the British whiff in Indonesia, the LBA disable Soryu in the Coral Sea, Chikuma and Kirishima sunk in the Marshall Islands, Suzuya and Tone sunk in the Hawaiian Islands, and my LBA shot down in the U.S. Mandate.
In the Bay of Bengal pursuit, Myoko is sunk. In Indonesia, my LBA whiffs once and disables Hermes in the third round while Hermes misses. In the Hawaiians, the I-Boat puts two damage on Colorado and my last CA decides to run away. Too bad -- the two damage might have been enough if only the I-Boat had been able to go first.
In the Central Pacific, the second round is also day action -- allowing Hiyo to put two more damage on Idaho. The third round is day followed by night. Hiyo finishes off Idaho at day. At night, Portland is sunk in return for Kongo, Nachi, and Hiyo. Ye-ouch! Good thing I'd already stopped his patroller and seized Midway!
In the Indian Ocean, the first day round sees the 13th AF shot down and 1 damage on the 7th AF. In exchange, the Allies put 4 damage on Akagi. The next round sees the Marine AF sunk and two more damage put on the 7th AF. The Allies manage to disable Kaga. That's enough to persuade the remaining Allied LBA (with 3 damage) to run away.
I score my main objectives this turn (Australia and Midway) as well as advancing the PoC. However, the cost was some serious surface attrition (7 losses to 3). I didn't hurt the British at all. The base and port situation is excellent and, combined with the POC lead, should make it very hard on the USN to mount an effective comeback. With seven USN LBA on the board this coming turn, I doubt highly that I'll be able to mount another challenge to anything the USN still owns. However, my own stack of five LBA and large number of surviving carriers should also make it equally hard for the USN to challenge my perimeter.
USN comments: More favorable ship attrition for me, but poor POC and worse bases. I finally give up in IO and 7AF bugs out, having accomplished nearly nothing. I also run in Indo of course. My LBA have been really poor this game. My surface forces have been good, but they hardly ever get to shoot. POC for you, total +24. Not looking too good for the good guys. At least you have no safe areas next turn. But with lots of flags, CVs and LBA I see you maxing out the POC.
Australia converts to Japan by isolation.
Japanese losses: Kirishima, Kongo, Nachi, Myoko, Chikuma, Suzuya, Tone, Hiyo, 23 AirFlot
Allied losses: Idaho, Minneapolis, Quincy, 13th AF, Marine AF, RNZAF, 2nd Marines
Valiant, Warspite, Resolution, and Revenge withdraw.
Japan 12 Allies 8
Net: Japan +4
TOTAL: JAPAN +24
IJN comments: My main objectives this turn are 1) keep Samoa from converting to Allied control, 2) establish a solid perimeter particularly blocking movement through the Central Pacific next turn, 3) sink Allied carriers, and 4) put the PoC score all the way to 29.
Fortunately, I can use just one LBA per area to claim the Japanese Islands, Indonesia, and Indian Ocean. That will probably be enough to crank up the PoC. I hope the British will challenge one area and finally have a CV sunk! I've based enough ships in Australia to keep the British worried about a strike on the Bay of Bengal.
I may lose the Marianas or South Pacific this turn since I'll patrol them only with a CA and don't plan to back them up. However, since the Allies can't patrol these areas I'm not overly concerned. I use one BB in the Marshalls. I'm hoping that's enough to deny control to the Allies.
The NLF on Midway gives me the security to control the Central Pacific with a couple of LBA. I don't plan to mess with the North Pacific, Aleutians, or Hawaiians at all due to the overwhelming power of the Allied LBA at this stage of the game and the few areas they have bases.
The majority of my fleet will head to the U.S. Mandate to keep Samoa under IJN control. The USN will have enough force to beat me, but it'd take everything they've got. If they win, my position will still be good. If they lose, it's game over.
USN comments: I thought about several ways to approach this turn and I'm going to try an unsubtle one. Since my strategy so far has been a dismal failure, maybe I'll try the brute force method for once.
IJN comments: I'd like to have sent everything to the U.S. Mandate, but Musashi would likely fail her speed roll and the Central Pacific is still critical. I send Musashi and Hosho to CPO while everything else heads to the Mandate. I hope Hosho is just enough to make the USN avoid the CPO.
USN comments: Awww, I was going to try to blow out the CP but the Hosho scared me away. I had two ways to play this, one to try to keep the POC down, and the other to try to crush your fleet. I opted for the latter. With few bases to play with I'm not going to be able to catch up fast enough without winning all the battles from here on, and recapturing New Hebrides is important. Of course for my strategy to work I'm going to have to win a D/N roll. Maybe, just maybe, I'll actually win one.
IJN comments: In the Marshalls, the patrollers on both sides are disabled in the first round. In the Central Pacific, my LBA and Hosho easily sink the Salt Lake City. The rest of the action is in the U.S. Mandate. The first round is day action. The USN still hasn't won one of the key day/night rolls.
My carriers are deadly. All four Allied CV are sunk. The wounded 1st Marines are also sunk. I decide not to shoot at the other Marine, not only because undamaged Marines are hard to kill but because I want to save my own carriers by forcing his to shoot at my NLF.
Jim puts all his firepower on my NLF (as I'd hoped) with the exception of one CV that targets Kaga. The USN sinks both. The remaining Marines take New Hebrides after the I-Boat whiffs.
The USN is in serious trouble if another day or day/night occurs as my remaining five CV will shred his surface forces. On the other hand, he'll have to use most of his surface power against my CV if he wins the night -- which should let my surface fleet chew his up.
As it turns out, the USN finally wins a big roll and gets the night action. I concentrate on the patrollers to make certain he doesn't take Samoa. The IJN sink 3 CA and 1 BB while disabling 3 BB and 2 CA. Of the remaining BB only one retains the bonus and only one remaining CA is a patroller. The USN's return volley is also very effective -- sinking 4 carriers, 1 battleship, and 1 cruiser while disabling the other carrier, 2 battleships, and 1 cruiser.
The remaining surface forces favor the USN slightly by two ships (one BB and one CA) but the IJN bonus CA may pull it off. At the very least, I should be able to remove the remaining patroller.
The third round sees Indiana sunk, Massachusetts take three three damage, and a crippled BB and a CA disabled. Unfortunately, the Allied patroller isn't one of them. If the Allied return fire is lucky, I could take highly unbalanced casualties just trying to take out the patroller.
The Allied attack is effective -- sinking Nagato, Aoba, and Oi while disabling Kinugasa and Yamashiro to Truk. That leaves me just two small CA to save Samoa and leaves the USN in great shape to inflict more surface attrition.
In the next round, I manage to disable De Ruyter to deny the Allies Samoa and 2 PoC. But I stand to lose two more ships which may make my surface fleet nearly irrelevant for the rest of the game! Surprisingly, the Allies sink only Kitakami (with 1 damage no less) while disabling Kako.
As a result, the surface attrition is even at 2 BB and 4 CA each. The carrier attrition is five each (after counting the British removal). That should work to the IJN advantage over time. Although the USN has punched a hole in my line at the Marshall Islands and can now fly LBA into the U.S. Mandate and Coral Sea, I believe that my PoC position is solid enough to easily withstand the Allied counterattack.
Japanese losses: Nagato, Ise, Furutaka, Aoba, Oi, Kitakami, Kaga, Zuikaku, Soryu, Ryujo, Zuiho, Kure
Allied losses: Indiana, Mississippi, Louisville, Astoria, Salt Lake City, Canberra, Saratoga, Yorktown, Wasp, Victorious, 1st Marines
Japan 15 Allied 6
Net: Japan +9
TOTAL: JAPAN +29 [max]
IJN comments: My fleet cannot go head-to-head with the USN, but I still have enough to handle the British. As a result, my fleet will have two tasks -- control the Japanese Islands (against the lone Allied BB that can get there) and control Indonesia. Unfortunately, Musashi fails her speed roll to Indonesia, giving the British the opening to de-control the area if they can get an early night.
I use my LBA to control Indian Ocean and Central Pacific. I back up Midway with an extra NLF -- such that the Allies can't take Midway without using both Marines, plus destroying my NLF in the first round of combat. The USN stays away from Midway to avoid recycling my LBA at the expense of his carriers. Instead, the Allies stake all their hope on a base in the Marshalls. The British go all-out for Indonesia.
I back up both the Japanese Islands and Indonesia with raiders. Indonesia is weaker than I'd like. The USN raids avoid combat in favor of positioning for next turn. The USN didn't really have another alternative -- since a fight for Midway without taking the base would mean no threat to Indo next turn.
Not too much combat this turn... In the Marshalls, the I-Boat misses his chance to end the war, and the 2nd Marines invade Kwajalein. In the Central Pacific, Baltimore is sunk while Boston is disabled to Pearl Harbor.
In Indonesia, the first round is day followed by night -- about as good as the British could hope. I turn my carriers on the British BB in hopes of reducing the surface firepower. Akagi whiffs! Shoho disables Royal Sovereign. Hermes targets and disables Kinugasa -- leaving only three patrollers for the surface round. In the surface round, the IJN really lets the British have it -- sinking Ramillies, Repulse, Cornwall, Shropshire, and Dorsetshire. But three British, including Hermes, are left -- probably too many for my three patrollers to handle. That missed speed roll by Musashi looms large!
Unfortunately, Jim beats the odds by sinking Atago and Takao while disabling Kako with four shots each. 59% of the time at least one of my patrollers would still be around (probably not long enough to control the area, but Hermes might have had to win the day). So much for my carefully created plan! Now it'll be a real fight...
In pursuit, my forces eliminate Hermes during night action while the two remaining British CA get away. With the two removals, the British are down to a single cruiser. That should make taking Indian Ocean next turn quite easy.
The USN has a chance now, but the IJN still only needs a total swing of 12 POC. I could get that by just controlling the Japanese Islands on the last two turns. However, I'll try to make it so that even that isn't necessary during turn seven!
Japanese losses: Atago, Takao
Allied losses: Ramillies, Repulse, Baltimore, Dorsetshire, Shropshire, Cornwall, Hermes
Royal Sovereign, Devonshire, and the I-Boat withdraw.
Japan 6 Allies 12
Net: Allies +6
TOTAL: JAPAN +23
IJN comments: I patrol Indian Ocean with enough to put it just out of reach. The Allied patrols and CV basing (only six can reach the Japanese Islands) give me a crazy idea. I use only four LBA in the Japanese Islands and the other two in Indonesia. I figure I'll try to stop the US Marines and position myself to win the game by winning Indonesia rather than Japan on Turn 8 -- out of the range of many of the USN ships. My raiders go whole hog for Indonesia since I won't be far outgunned on the surface and I'll have a slight edge in the air. I use my NLF to threaten a few PoC in the hopes one will come through and to set up chances for my raiders.
However, the Allies win the preferences rolls by and large. Chester gets away under cover of night in the Japanese Islands. It's day in the Marshalls and day followed by night in the Coral Sea. In the Marshalls and Coral Sea the three NLF are easily sunk.
However, in Indonesia it's day followed by night. The Allies are happy, just not as happy as they'd have been with pure night. I can stop the Marines or I can go for the win in the area. I decide to go for the win because even CV which are disabled must go all the way back to Pearl Harbor. Shoho sinks Monterey, but the best I can do otherwise is disables, sending CV-10, CV-16, and Princeton away. The USN is devastating in return, shooting down the 25 AirFlot and putting 3 damage on the 26 AirFlot. Akagi and Chitose are also sunk while attacks on my battleships put six damage on Musashi and disable Mutsu. At this point the IJN is in serious jeopardy of getting nothing out of the forces it committed to Indonesia!
During the night half, Musashi whiffs! Kinugasa sinks De Ruyter. In return, Washington merely disables Shoho while De Ruyter gets revenge by sinking Kinugasa. Unfortunately, the F-Boat chips in by sinking Taiho. Until then I thought I was getting off easy. Daylight is probably my only hope now, and the second round is daylight. I disable Essex - way too little. The US returns fire, sinking Musashi, shooting down the 26 AirFlot, and disabling Chiyoda and Ryuho. Lights out!
In hindsight, the choice to move to Indonesia was a poor one. The resources thrown away for nothing would probably have been enough to guarantee a win in the Japanese Islands next turn. Given the fact that there was never a pure night action, I should have done much better in Indo than I did. However, since the US never missed when shooting at LBA and I shot poorly in every round, I suppose I'm lucky the attrition was merely against me 2-1 in surface, 3-1 in carriers, and 2-0 in LBA. What a catastrophe! Together with the Indonesia disaster of last turn, I think I'm no longer favored to win the game!
I'll have to come up with a swing of 4 PoC this coming turn. That'll be rough, I suspect. Everything bases in Japan except a single CA that I keep in Australia -- with the hopes that it draws more than one CA after it next turn.
In hindsight, my LBA should all have gone to the Japanese Islands while most of my raiders when to either the Japanese Islands or Indian Ocean with Musashi and Taiho set to the South Pacific to rob the Allies of one more PoC (and the conversion of Guadalcanal). Oh well...
Samoa, Guadalcanal, and Maloelap convert to the Allies by isolation.
Japanese losses: Musashi, Kinugasa, Akagi, Taiho, Chitose, 25 AirFlot, 26 AirFlot, Yokosuka, Sasebo, Kure
Allied losses: De Ruyter, Monterey
Japan 5 Allies 14
Net: Allies +9
TOTAL: JAPAN +14
IJN comments: I'll use one cruiser to patrol the Indian Ocean to draw off some Allied firepower while everything else makes the attempt to win the Japanese Islands. I'll hold back a few raiders just to force the Allies to defend some of the other areas, but Jim should be able to figure out that I can't win without the Japanese Islands -- no other area has enough PoC and can also be patrolled in force.
To be honest, I'm lucky that the Allies react as strongly to my raiders and Indian Ocean patroller as they do. I probably should have spared 1 CA to patrol the Central Pacific too.
In the Indian Ocean, my cruiser actually disables Washington -- giving me a 9% chance to win the area. Alas, I don't get it as Kako is sunk. Had I won, my job in the Japanese Islands would have been fairly easy: get rid of the Allied patrollers.
The first round in the Japanese Islands is a day. The Japanese manage to cripple a 137, sink two more, and disable another three. A decent round even though none of the one-shot CVLs comes through. In return, however, the USN shots down three LBA and sinks Hosho and Unryu. I think I needed to have at least one additional LBA survive the first round to have a good chance.
The second round is also day. I still control the weather! The Japanese shoot well with all of the pip-squeak CVLs coming through. Only Amagi fails to remove her target. Ticonderoga, Cabot, and Independence are sunk while Bataan is disabled. Essex takes 1 damage. Shoho again leads the way -- never having failed to remove her target over the past three turns. But is it enough? The USN again shoots well -- sinking Shoho, Ryuho, and Chiyoda while crippling Amagi. The USN does whiff on the LBA -- but there's not much chance he can whiff on a minimum of 44 more shots. So I'll be going for night in the vain hopes that my surface fleet can get to a USN CV eventually...
The next round is day followed by night. It seems appropriate as the sun sets on my empire. My lone LBA sinks Essex. Can I survive 14 shots to get to the night round?
The answer is no. Not even close. In fact, during the night action the USN sinks everything except Amagi, sending Mutsu, Fuso, Yamashiro, Hyuga, Kumano, and Mogami to the bottom. Yamashiro took four hits for 24 damage! All my fleet could manage in return was to disable Alabama, South Dakota, and Quincy II, while putting 4 damage on Massachusetts.
The last round is a day action, so the lone Amagi is destroyed with no chance to remove the last USN patroller. This is the first game I've ever played where every single ship and unit on my side was sunk! That alone will make this a memorable game -- but it'll also be remembered as the only time I've taken Australia and had a decent perimeter on Turn 5 with a 29 PoC lead and still lost! I blame my moves on turns five, six, and seven which formed a deadly combination with Jim's dice!
USN comments: I just finished a bizarre game with John Pack. John's 3-area attack on turn 2 had Yokosuka take Port Moresby. I saved Pearl (probably a mistake) and he ended up taking Samoa on turn 3 and Australia (!!) on turn 4 when my LBA was misplaced and also shot really poorly. That should have finished me, but I got lucky and retook New Hebrides on turn 5.
I had been losing all the important swing battles to that point but had been taking a lot of IJN ships down with me. Starting turn 6 he had only 3 CVs, 5 BBs, and 6 CAs left, but I only had two red ports and 5 green bases and a max 29 POC hole with a bid of 0.5. From then on the dice could do me no wrong. I rolled hot on his LBA and picked up 6 POC on turn 6, 9 more on turn 7, and the full 17 on turn 8 (one damaged patroller got the Japanese Islands PoC) to win by 3.5. John had exactly zero units left at the end, since I didn't disable anything. No ships, no LBA, and no SNLF. But he did still have Australia! That's the first time I ever lost Australia, and I've never even tried to capture it myself.
As the Allies, never underestimate the power of lots of CVs and lots of 6s. It may look hopeless, but if you aren't mathematically locked out you have a chance.
IJN comments: Congratulations, Jim.
Truk, Saigon, Saipan, and Singapore convert to the Allies by isolation.
Japanese losses: Mutsu, Fuso, Yamashiro, Hyuga, Kumano, Mogami, Kako, Unryu, Amagi, Shoho, Chiyoda, Hosho, Ryuho, 21 AirFlot, 22 AirFlot, 23 AirFlot, 24 AirFlot
Allied losses: Intrepid, CV-12, Ticonderoga, Essex, Cabot, Independence
Japan 0 Allies 17
Net: Allies +17
Bid: Allies +0.5
FINAL SCORE ALLIES +3.5
- Last edited Sun Aug 6, 2017 8:41 am (Total Number of Edits: 4)
- Posted Thu Dec 24, 2015 7:40 pm
Absolutely terrific--insightful and detailed!!! Many thanks.
"Never underestimate the power of a lot of 6s." Yep.
Great game and thank you for sharing with the community. I don't play this game nearly as often as it deserves.
"...the art of manoeuvering armies...an art which none may master by the light of nature. but to which, if he is to attain success, a man must serve a long apprenticeship." -- G.F.R. Henderson
I second the vote for this being "The Greatest Game of VITP Ever Played." WOW!!!!!
I repurchased a copy off Ebay not too long ago and it had never been played.
Also have Anzio headed my way now. Throwback!
Steve - we actually live about 30 minutes apart and I know a few other guys who play VITP (and many other wargames as well) in the area. I sent you a GM in case you want to try and get in touch.
Best friend and I still break out this classic AH game every now and then, and it never fails to provide a good game. It's a shame this game has never been reprinted.
Screaming Eagle and Damn Proud of it!!!
Old Curmudgeon wrote:
Best friend and I still break out this classic AH game every now and then, and it never fails to provide a good game. It's a shame this game has never been reprinted.
I think a reprint would also, unfortunately, involve a lot of "improvements." And those improvements would likely distort the game into a whole new creature that would be more complex and "heavier" and, as such, less fun.
There were talks 4-5 years ago for a reprint that would include the original game as-is, along with.
1) Variant/alternate counters such as options for the US name-reusing carriers, so they could be CV##, or Lexington II, Hornet II, etc, or use the names they were originally planned to have (Kearsarge and Valley Forge were two of them, IIRC).
2) Optional rules including the original optional ruleset plus common tournament adjustments
3) A game more along the lines of what Craig was just talking about, with a lot of extra rules and chrome and realism-based changes.
So you could play the "improvements", but could also play the classic version with no rule changes (just a few rewrites and wording alterations for clarity). Sadly, it got torpedoed for reasons I was never clear on.
Thanks for reposting this Daniel. Reliving past glory is always an ego boost. :-) One thing that got only a mention in passing that I thought was key, was on turn 5 in the big battle in the US Mandate when John declined to shoot at one of my marines. I was really happy to see that at the time, and my recapture of New Hebrides let me put LBA in US Mandate and Coral Sea, which was crucial. That game was bizarre and a whole lot of fun.
In another famous game where the Japanese took Australia Alan Applebaum made the best statement ever about a VITP game: "This game is unsalvageable--for either side." That could have been said about this game as well.
I've had other bizarre games as well, but none as fun as this. In one my Japanese won the war. At the end of turn 8 I still had a 29 POC lead and more CVs than the USN. In another as the Japanese I controlled only a single area on turn 3. In still another I lost Japan--it flipped at the end of turn 8--but I still won the game by holding Indonesia on the last two turns.
- Last edited Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:56 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:55 pm
Dan The Man
"Never underestimate the power of a lot of 6s." Yep.
6-sided strategy is da bomb.