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Subject: Fool Proof Japanese Strategy rss

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Barton Campbell
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Bring the Japanese fleets in with one ship/square completely spread out like a checker board fan with the carriers hanging back. The Americans will find targets like mad but will only find solo cruisers and battleships etc and be completely puzzled. But the Japanese player will be able to search all over the board with ship searches! Plus if the Americans attack any of these ships he will reveal himself for your return air strike. Against someone who has never seen this formation it works every time.
 
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Seth Owen
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Sounds like a good way to lose four unescorted Japanese carriers to me.

Or the U.S. could just send muliple strikes to wipe out all the singleton cruisers and battleships (5T and 5D v. each BB, 6D v. each CA/CL) for 20 points. Followed either by a followup against the unescorted carriers or boogying back to Midway.
 
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Darrell Pavitt
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bartman347 wrote:
Bring the Japanese fleets in with one ship/square completely spread out like a checker board fan with the carriers hanging back. The Americans will find targets like mad but will only find solo cruisers and battleships etc and be completely puzzled. But the Japanese player will be able to search all over the board with ship searches! Plus if the Americans attack any of these ships he will reveal himself for your return air strike. Against someone who has never seen this formation it works every time.



I have to laugh: today I was reading the scenrio notes to the later version of USN. For the battle of Midway scenario, Miranda (or maybe Dunnigan) says:

Quote:
The Battle of Midway might better be called “The Destruction of Japanese Naval Doctrine.” The theory of dividing one’s fleet into numerous groups incapable of mutual support was not the way to win a battle, let alone a war.


I'm not saying your method doesn't work in the game, only that it takes the Japanese error to it's extreme form.
 
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Barton Campbell
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I agree that it would be completely unrealistic in actual war but it works like a charm in the game.
 
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Barton Campbell
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wargamer55 wrote:
Sounds like a good way to lose four unescorted Japanese carriers to me.

Or the U.S. could just send muliple strikes to wipe out all the singleton cruisers and battleships (5T and 5D v. each BB, 6D v. each CA/CL) for 20 points. Followed either by a followup against the unescorted carriers or boogying back to Midway.


As I recall the Japanese player does not have to give out the number of ships located. If that's the case the Americans can't divided up their strike force so conveniently. After the first strike the US player must reveal his location.
 
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Dan The Man
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bartman347 wrote:
Bring the Japanese fleets in with one ship/square completely spread out like a checker board fan with the carriers hanging back. The Americans will find targets like mad but will only find solo cruisers and battleships etc and be completely puzzled. But the Japanese player will be able to search all over the board with ship searches! Plus if the Americans attack any of these ships he will reveal himself for your return air strike. Against someone who has never seen this formation it works every time.


"Unbeatable" strategies of the past have always told the Japanese to wait around and amass an unbeatable single group (maybe use the 4 light cruisers as scouts).

Interesting, and possibly effective the first time...
 
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Seth Owen
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bartman347 wrote:
wargamer55 wrote:
Sounds like a good way to lose four unescorted Japanese carriers to me.

Or the U.S. could just send muliple strikes to wipe out all the singleton cruisers and battleships (5T and 5D v. each BB, 6D v. each CA/CL) for 20 points. Followed either by a followup against the unescorted carriers or boogying back to Midway.


As I recall the Japanese player does not have to give out the number of ships located. If that's the case the Americans can't divided up their strike force so conveniently. After the first strike the US player must reveal his location.


Well, there's a very good chance such a strategy will reveal more than one square with Japanese forces given the 4-zone US search ability. If the Japanese player reveals a square with "BB" and another square with "CA" or two seperate squares with "BB" or anything like that then the US player should be able to figure out what's going on easily. Another turn of searching should make the situation clear enough that the US can start picking off isolated Japanese ships. Your strategy specifies that the CVs are hanging back, so the US should be able to safely strike the exposed ships while still being out of range. IF the Japanese carriers are close enough to hit the US then they are close enough to be hit BY the US and, with no escorts at all, will probably be wiped out.

Could your strategy work against an inexperienced US player? It could, as will many others, but it is hardly "fool-proof." Indeed, it's a very high risk gambit that will fail much more often than it succeeds.
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Barton Campbell
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"Gambit" is a good word to describe this strategy. In chess you can normally use a gambit only once against an opponent. After he has seen it he's generally "on to" it.

Actually, I only used this gambit once against my brother. I had tons of searches which completely opened up the board for me. In that game it worked like a charm. He sunk one cruiser. And I ended up blasting the US fleet.

The point is to baffle your opponent. If he's expecting the same old bunching up of the Japanese Fleet into one or a few groups it will generally work the first time. I seemed to recall that I kept the first fleet appropriately bunched up but as more entered the board I fanned them out. With the Japanese Fleet completely spread out he didn't even find my carriers or realize what was happening.

I guess it's a little disconcerting that such an gamey, seemingly unrealistic strategy would work but it worked for me.
 
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Seth Owen
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bartman347 wrote:
"Gambit" is a good word to describe this strategy. In chess you can normally use a gambit only once against an opponent. After he has seen it he's generally "on to" it.

Actually, I only used this gambit once against my brother. I had tons of searches which completely opened up the board for me. In that game it worked like a charm. He sunk one cruiser. And I ended up blasting the US fleet.

The point is to baffle your opponent. If he's expecting the same old bunching up of the Japanese Fleet into one or a few groups it will generally work the first time. I seemed to recall that I kept the first fleet appropriately bunched up but as more entered the board I fanned them out. With the Japanese Fleet completely spread out he didn't even find my carriers or realize what was happening.

I guess it's a little disconcerting that such an gamey, seemingly unrealistic strategy would work but it worked for me.


Well, it's a double blind game so an odd surprising strategy may catch someone off guard, but I think you're overestimating its utility just because it caught him by surprise and he evidently reacted badly to it. I doubt it would work against most players, even if they've never seen it before. It's really easily countered, as I outlined above. If the US player is paying attention he should spot it right off the bat. Being told you found a task force with "BB" only would be such an odd thing that I would expect most US players to focus their minds quite sharply.

In real life, of course, it would be far too risky to even try, but that's a common problem in wargames. Wargamers are generally much more willing to take risks than real-life generals and admirals are. No one dies when your gamble comes a cropper. A real-life admiral would never risk capital warships in such a way.

Just to be clear, there's nothing wrong with trying such an odd approach in the game. It may just work, after all, although I doubt I'd trust in my opponent walking into my trap. It is a very "Japanese" plan, dividing forces to an extraordinary degree and expecting the enemy to do exactly as planned. In the actual event this approach tended not to work very well and I don't think you'll win many Midway games with it.

My main beef is touting it as a "fool proof" plan when it is actually a very high-risk gambling sort of plan. To me a "fool-proof plan" requires a winning percentage well-over 50% against skilled, experienced opponents in order to warrant such an audacious label.
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Barton Campbell
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Actually, the term "fool proof" does not refer to "skilled and experienced" gamers. Fool proof means even a fool couldn't mess this up, not a skilled and experienced gamer.

I've used it once to win a game. That would give me a 100% win ratio with this strategy.

By the way the Japanese did not lose using my strategy. Their version of spreading out their forces is a piddling next to mine.

It's not really a high risk gambit. Against someone mentally stuck in stereotyped strategies, which most Midway gamers are, it works like a charm. In most wargames where you have 100% knowledge you can win many times by simply unnerving your opponent with surprising moves even before you have actually won. I had a game were I was beating an opponent so bad he surrendered. Then I offered to take his side and continue the game with him playing my side. He agreed and the game continued. A few turns later he threw in the towel again. I then offered to take my original side back. He didn't take up my offer.

To hit an opponent with a surprising strategy is even more unnerving in a double-blind game like Midway. Simply hitting him with an unexpected strategy can be a lot more disorientating and dispiriting than the actual damage it may at first cause. But mistake after mistake an opponents game knocked off balance will rapidly disintegrate.

There is another advantage to this strategy. The game is no longer a double-blind game. There are so many Japanese ships spread out and ship searching that only the American player is effectively blind.

If you don't want to use it be my guest not to. You can condemn it without even trying it, fine. But if you do be prepared to shock your opponent out of his seat.

PS - Highly recommend to read Liddle Hart's Strategy on the use of deception and surprise over the centuries to win armed conflict.
 
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Seth Owen
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bartman347 wrote:
Actually, the term "fool proof" does not refer to "skilled and experienced" gamers. Fool proof means even a fool couldn't mess this up, not a skilled and experienced gamer.

I've used it once to win a game. That would give me a 100% win ratio with this strategy.

By the way the Japanese did not lose using my strategy. Their version of spreading out their forces is a piddling next to mine.

It's not really a high risk gambit. Against someone mentally stuck in stereotyped strategies, which most Midway gamers are, it works like a charm. In most wargames where you have 100% knowledge you can win many times by simply unnerving your opponent with surprising moves even before you have actually won. I had a game were I was beating an opponent so bad he surrendered. Then I offered to take his side and continue the game with him playing my side. He agreed and the game continued. A few turns later he threw in the towel again. I then offered to take my original side back. He didn't take up my offer.

To hit an opponent with a surprising strategy is even more unnerving in a double-blind game like Midway. Simply hitting him with an unexpected strategy can be a lot more disorientating and dispiriting than the actual damage it may at first cause. But mistake after mistake an opponents game knocked off balance will rapidly disintegrate.

There is another advantage to this strategy. The game is no longer a double-blind game. There are so many Japanese ships spread out and ship searching that only the American player is effectively blind.

If you don't want to use it be my guest not to. You can condemn it without even trying it, fine. But if you do be prepared to shock your opponent out of his seat.

PS - Highly recommend to read Liddle Hart's Strategy on the use of deception and surprise over the centuries to win armed conflict.


"Perfect plans" were all the rage back in the 1960s when I first started playing Midway and other Avalon Hill wargames. Time has shown that perfect plans usually were not so perfect once players became experienced enough. Thinking your plan is perfect or fool-proof simply because you won the one-time you tried it seems premature.

Simply because the enemy doesn't expect a strategy doesn't mean it's a good idea. The Americans discounted signs that the Germans would attack through the Ardennes in the winter of 1944 because it seemed like such a bad idea for the Germans to throw away their elite troops on an offensive that couldn't succeed that they couldn't believe the highly respected professional German staff would do it. The Germans achieved surprise, but ultimately it was the American assessment that was proved right and the Germans merely hastened their defeat.

In your Midway strategy your ship searches all over the place will quickly reveal your plan. You are right that the game won't be double blind with this approach, but wrong as to who will be the most blinded. It will be the Japanese. The Americans can predict the possible maximum extent of Japanese ship and air searches in the early game while the U.S. can search the whole map fromthe beginning. The Americans will have a very clear idea where your ships are and what they are up to. It's been my experience that ship searches rarely find anybody and usually aren't worth the intel the provide to the enemy.

It's certainly possible that an incautious or overly aggressive U.S. player will get caught, but much more likely he'll simply hang back and pick off your scouts. Losing the CL Nagara as a scout is a regretable, but defensible trade-off. Losing battleships that way is flirting with disaster.

No experienced U.S. player will allow himself to be close enough to be detected by a ship search before his own searches will have found your isolated scouts fanning out ahead of the carriers. Having your scouts spread out does increase your searches, but it also vastly increases the chances that an American search will find something. Once he starts finding stuff your plan falls apart. It's very easy to overwhelm an isolated ship. He only needs to use one carrier to do it and he can keep the other two ready to pounce on your carriers if they get close enough to attack.

Now, evidently you've persuaded yourself that this is a brilliant strategy and there is little I can say to sway your opinion, so good luck to you. But I'd humbly suggest that most wargamers are hardly so stereotypical nor so easily "unnerved" as to fall for this plan. Get back to us after you've tried it a few more times against other opponents.


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Barton Campbell
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Quote:
Get back to us after you've tried it a few more times against other opponents.


fair enough
 
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