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Subject: The Fires of Midway @ Cold Wars rss

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Chris Storzillo
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Wayne
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This is crossposted from CSW.

I got a chance to play a learning/ beginners scenario of The Fires of Midway at Cold Wars in Lancaster, PA this past Saturday. What a great time!

First, it's always a pleasure to see Ed Wimble. It's tough to find a nicer guy in our hobby than Ed. Also Stalingrad Steve Cunliffe (the designer) was on hand to talk me and my buddy Jeff through the scenario.

I was the Americans and Jeff was the IJN. We each had one carrier and the plan was for me to protect Wake Island. The game first starts out with the Search Phase. Steve described it like a game of Memory with cards arrayed in a grid. You take turns secretly looking at 2 cards and turning over only one of them. This serves to fill your hand if you draw some particular cards, allows you to place low clouds or squalls if you draw some others or just get skunked altogether if you draw "Empty Ocean" cards. After the 3rd fleet sighting card is pulled the search phase ends and the tactical battle begins. I drew 2 of the fleet sighted cards but not the 3rd and deciding one, so Jeff "won" the search phase. Our hand size was about equal, with me having a slight edge, I'd say.

His planes had an edge in range but mine had the edge in firepower. We both launched our CAP and then he launched his first attack on my carrier. I was able to splash one of his incoming planes but I ended up taking some damage to my carrier after that. Not all of his planes made it back safely. I then launched my attack. His Zeros splashed one of my torpedo bombers but one did get through to deliver a good hit on his Carrier. One of my planes also didn't make it back to my carrier either.

Then the second wave came. Jeff had some great cards and even better dice rolls. Steve said he's rarely seen someone have such good luck before (for Jeff that is, bad luck for me). I told him that's because he hasn't spent that much time around me before. I have incredibly bad die rolling luck and my opponents seem to have very good die rolling luck. Just ask Dan Dolan!

Well Steve's advice to me then was not to bother doing any damage control, just launch whatever planes I had left because very soon my carrier was going to sink anyway. Well, my second wave also had some good luck and Jeff's carrier met mine at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean

The game ended in a tie but I consider myself a winner because I immediately gave my credit card # to Ed for my pre-order. I knew I was going to get this game anyway because I'm a big fan of The Hell of Stalingrad, but this certainly solidified in my mind that this is going to be a really fun, great game.
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Steven Cunliffe
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Chris,

It was a real pleasure to demo the game! As much as you like the Wake Island Scenatio that was a game with just two carrier, the game gets even better with the Midway scenario and 7 carriers involved in the intense action!

Steve
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CPBelt
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I also demoed the game at Cold Wars and have placed it on my to buy list. Steve did a great job explaining the basic game and offering suggestions. I can see it has great replayability. Now I'm interested in Hell of Stalingrad as well.
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Chris Heinzmann
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Re: The Fires of Midway @ ConsimWorld Expo
I too was able to play FoM at ConsimWorld. I didn't make it to the Con early enough to buy a copy but Game Depot has it on order for me . I saw the game out on the table and asked if I could watch the owner play with his friend. His friend said he didn't want to play.
Keep in mind that this was a 'cold play' and neither one of us had read the rules fully prior to opening the box.
Setup took a bit of figuring out but once you know what to look for it was easy. We decided on the Coral Sea scenario. I had two US Carriers and John had three Japanese carriers. We picked our Admirals, turn order cards, which I swapped to that I was 2nd and 3rd (perhaps not a great idea).
We then began the search phase / conditions phase (I don't have the rules handy so I am paraphrasing). I won 'confident' and started our initial deployment of aircraft. I found that US planes don't have such long legs so because I had to fly through low clouds I ended up smoking when I arrived to the enemy carriers (not a good thing). John's initial attack didn't fare that well either and only a Zero made it through. Each of these different phases required a little shifting of cards around to focus on what is happening and you will need some decent table space. I would say half of an average 6 person dinner table or all of a 4 person dinner table should be enough. It was a little confusing at times but after the third round of attacking with planes we both had the 'flow' down with only minimal rule book flipping. One thing for you 'luck' based die rollers out there. When attacking with bombers you want to roll high, when using torpedo's you want to roll low. John said that this was a little more die/luck based than 'Hell of Stalingrad' but when you think about what the odds were of sending out those planes w/out radar hoping to find the enemy fleet this sort of fits. There were also a few jet cards, not just the F-14 in the box (I hope this was NOT a Consimworld only special) I am looking forward to snagging my own copy when it arrives. I have to report the the Lexington went down a fiery inferno before I could drive her into a squall to put some of the deck fires out, all aboard were lost.
 
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