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Subject: Is Midway Broken? The 'IJN Delayed Entry Turtling Strategy' rss

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William Garramone
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Midway is the first war-game I ever received (on my 10th b-day) and have enjoyed around 5 games of this before being sucked into role-playing games and then ASL for many years after that. I was wanting to pull this oldie back out and I had not one, but two different people in my gaming circles tell me that the IJN can win every time. What follows is their play experience and opinion of the game. I would like to see this 'theory' tested more fully, even though I have made comments elsewhere on the geek that Midway was potentially broken without having tried this yet...yeah, I know; I shouldn't have said that without fully exploring the claim via play-testing. blush

According to Q & A from Avalon Hill, delayed entry is allowed for the IJN player. Basically, what's to keep the IJN player from delaying his entry until Turn 10 (when the Atago enters) and then coming on board in one huge Task Force of 21 ships and all of their accompanying planes? From here, he makes his way towards Midway Island. If the USN tries to attack, the IJN player simply places all of his carriers and valuable ships in the center of the battle-board, keeping in mind that the rules say if there's not enough space to simply use the half-spaces and it is implied that the spaces do extend, and then screening the hell out of his valuable ships and withering the American attack down to zilch. Because of the huge amount of ships the IJN will have, it becomes a game of attrition through odds. Once the attack is over, the IJN can launch one heck of a retaliatory attack because he will know exactly where the attack came from (I hate this rule) and then we see the American forces dissipate even more. Once the last wave of reinforcements comes in on Turn 17, they simply bee-line to the already giant Task Force One to make it even larger. When the IJN player arrives at Midway he sits on the island until it is reduced and destroyed. Heck, the IJN player could even wait until Turn 17 for those reinforcements before coming on board as well. That would give him all 26 ships for one HUGE Task Force. Even then, he has 18 turns to get to Midway and reduce it or in the Basic game destroy it in 4 turns.

Now, I am aware that the USN player receives one V.P. for every turn Midway is left standing, but this will be mitigated by the immediate gain of 15 points by the IJN player after he destroys it. After that, it's a matter of sailing around doing searches with Task Force Behemoth and picking off the remaining USN ships, if they haven't already been destroyed by trying to attack the IJN Task Force.
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Seth Owen
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It's been a long time since I played, but as I recall, while this is a tempting IJN strategy for some players, it can be defeated,

For one thing, it pretty much spots the US a bunch of points for Midway holding out. If the US figures out what you are doing, which is likely, you've handed him the initiative and made your moves very predictable. If you don't hang around and the board edge and suck up every new group of arriving forces you're leaving yourself open for the US to pick off whatever group(s) you don't merge into the combined force. Don't forget that the US can exit the map after making receiving at least one attack west of Midway. If he makes a attack just before dark he doesn't need to sink much to get enough points to win and scoot off the map. And if he picks off the Atago then you won't even capture Midway.

There's also the fact that the Japanese don't have a numerical advantage until the 0500 June 4 group arrives. The US can attack you before then and if they figure out you're waiting for the 0500 group you're making their searches much easier. The US already has a search advantage and if you try the turtle strategy there's an excellent chance the US will be stalking you intently while you'll be clueless where he is.

Can the strategy work? Yes. It's a viable approach, but certainly no sure thing and when I'm the US player I'm happy if the Japanese try it.

So, is the game broken? Nope. It's simply one way to skin the cat. I think against an experienced US player it will fail more often than not, though.

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William Garramone
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Hmmmmm, perhaps you misunderstood me somewhat. You talk about the USN player 'picking off' IJN player's units early in your reply. What I'm saying is that the IJN player doesn't even come on the board AT ALL until the turn where he finally has all 21 ships because 'he delayed his entry entirely'. I don't see the USN player 'picking off' the Atago very easily with it sitting in the middle of 21 ships.

It would be a boring way to play the game but basically the IJN player could just say, 'Hey I'm not coming on board until till turn 10 so go ahead and take nine free moves with your ships but don't bother searching.' Or he could feign like he's moving his ships for 9 turns with the proper amount of faking, eyebrow raising, hesitation, etc (what I would do).

So yes, if the USN player catches on he could have all 11 of ships near the IJN player's edge for an immediate search and strike when the Japs enter on turn 10, but it's still going to be 21 ships vs 11 and the Japs have more coming in on turn 17. Enter here again the attrition statement I said earlier. Would the USN player be willing to risk that attack?
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Seth Owen
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Keesvanloomacklin wrote:
Hmmmmm, perhaps you misunderstood me somewhat. You talk about the USN player 'picking off' IJN player's units early in your reply. What I'm saying is that the IJN player doesn't even come on the board AT ALL until the turn where he finally has all 21 ships because 'he delayed his entry entirely'. I don't see the USN player 'picking off' the Atago very easily with it sitting in the middle of 21 ships.

It would be a boring way to play the game but basically the IJN player could just say, 'Hey I'm not coming on board until till turn 10 so go ahead and take nine free moves with your ships but don't bother searching.' Or he could feign like he's moving his ships for 9 turns with the proper amount of faking, eyebrow raising, hesitation, etc (what I would do).

So yes, if the USN player catches on he could have all 11 of ships near the IJN player's edge for an immediate search and strike when the Japs enter on turn 10, but it's still going to be 21 ships vs 11 and the Japs have more coming in on turn 17. Enter here again the attrition statement I said earlier. Would the USN player be willing to risk that attack?


That might be a problem except it's against the rules. On page 5 of the rule book it says "The Japanese player must place his ships arriving at 0500 June 4th in any of the shaded Zones along his lefthand edge of the board."

The Midway Hit Record further says "All newly arriving ships come on board at the beginning of the specified 'hour' and are placed on any of the shaded squares."

The Official Rules Changes noted in the Wargamer's Guide to Midway further note that Japanese ships can leave the board at any time, but if they do so they cannot return. There's no mention of ships delaying their entry.

So the Japanese can, indeed, build their huge 'combined fleet' but not without going through a period of vulnerability first.

If, for example, they wait for the Yamato force before heading for Midway, then they are counting on being able to avoid a late-game strike that doesn't manage to sink a single Japanese ship. (The 15 points the Americans get for Midway being canceled out by the 15 point Midway capture, so even losing the Nagara, Yura or Sendai would be enough to lose.

If the Japanese don't wait for the Yamato then there's a risk of the Yamato group being picked on by a by-passed US fleet or the US fleet, again, making a late game strike that the Japanese can't answer against the main fleet. Don't forget that this is a very predictable strategy so the US player should have very little trouble tracking you whole fleet, determining what you are up to and having plenty of time to get ready for it. And he has a number of tactics available to deal with it such as making a long-range attack on your fleet when it's getting ready to invade Midway. 30 squadrons can land at Midway so most of the US carrier planes can take part without breaking the kamikaze rule -- especially if he's figured out what you are up to and transferred planes to Midway first so he can use a shuttle tactic that leaves the US carriers beyond range of the Japanese even if they have time for a counterstrike,

Now, I am not saying a combined fleet strategy can't work. I've made it work myself. But it's not fool-proof and it's especially not fool-proof if the US player figures it out early in the game. So the game is not broken, It's merely a viable strategy -- one with a counter strategy and hence not broken.
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Gerald Upton
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I'm a Chicken Yamamoto. The Japanese fleet carriers don't have enough screening value as far as I'm concerned. If I play the Japanese, the First Air Fleet will hang back near the edge where the U.S. player can't yet get to them until at least the second group of four heavy cruisers come on.

At this point, with the four extra units, the Japanese fleet is in pretty good shape. They can make a formation that is pretty hard to really damage. They might lose at most the two weaker carriers, but the U.S. is going to lose a lot of aircraft to get these, making them pretty impotent for the rest of the game.

In fact, I recently had a game where I used this strategy. The (inexperienced) U.S. player had his fleet split into two, and couldn't reach me with the aircraft from one A/C. He put his strike from two carriers onto the Akagi only, lost 8 squadrons, and got a sum total of two hits.

One of my beefs with the game is that some of the Japanese heavy cruisers have too strong an air screening factor at 3 and in one case 4. These should all be reduced to 2.

Having consulted my original Midway 64 manual, it does say the Japanese player "must" put his starting ships on. Nowhere can I find a reference that says either player can delay the entry of any of their ships. What you're describing sounds like a house rule to me.
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Seth Owen
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LouisXIV wrote:
I'm a Chicken Yamamoto. The Japanese fleet carriers don't have enough screening value as far as I'm concerned. If I play the Japanese, the First Air Fleet will hang back near the edge where the U.S. player can't yet get to them until at least the second group of four heavy cruisers come on.

At this point, with the four extra units, the Japanese fleet is in pretty good shape. They can make a formation that is pretty hard to really damage. They might lose at most the two weaker carriers, but the U.S. is going to lose a lot of aircraft to get these, making them pretty impotent for the rest of the game.

In fact, I recently had a game where I used this strategy. The (inexperienced) U.S. player had his fleet split into two, and couldn't reach me with the aircraft from one A/C. He put his strike from two carriers onto the Akagi only, lost 8 squadrons, and got a sum total of two hits.

One of my beefs with the game is that some of the Japanese heavy cruisers have too strong an air screening factor at 3 and in one case 4. These should all be reduced to 2.

Having consulted my original Midway 64 manual, it does say the Japanese player "must" put his starting ships on. Nowhere can I find a reference that says either player can delay the entry of any of their ships. What you're describing sounds like a house rule to me.


Normally, I try to do that as well, There is a risky element to doing that, however. If the US has lost track of your carriers he may be able to glean a hint as to where they are if he finds the four cruisers and you're trying to get the two groups together. Usually it's worth it, but it is a factor to consider.
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William Garramone
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LouisXIV wrote:
I'm a Chicken Yamamoto. The Japanese fleet carriers don't have enough screening value as far as I'm concerned. If I play the Japanese, the First Air Fleet will hang back near the edge where the U.S. player can't yet get to them until at least the second group of four heavy cruisers come on.

At this point, with the four extra units, the Japanese fleet is in pretty good shape. They can make a formation that is pretty hard to really damage. They might lose at most the two weaker carriers, but the U.S. is going to lose a lot of aircraft to get these, making them pretty impotent for the rest of the game.

In fact, I recently had a game where I used this strategy. The (inexperienced) U.S. player had his fleet split into two, and couldn't reach me with the aircraft from one A/C. He put his strike from two carriers onto the Akagi only, lost 8 squadrons, and got a sum total of two hits.

One of my beefs with the game is that some of the Japanese heavy cruisers have too strong an air screening factor at 3 and in one case 4. These should all be reduced to 2.

Having consulted my original Midway 64 manual, it does say the Japanese player "must" put his starting ships on. Nowhere can I find a reference that says either player can delay the entry of any of their ships. What you're describing sounds like a house rule to me.
@Gerald. Actually, the delayed entry rule for the Japanese comes officially from Avalon Hill in one of their Q & A sections (wish I could find it, grrr) but where I think I made a mistake and Seth corrected me was that the INITIAL STARTING Japanese forces MUST start on the board. I was under the impression that even the starting forces could choose to delay entry but it seems that ONLY subsequent Japanese arrivals may delay entry.

Thank you Seth for your replies for an old wargamer who is dusting this fun game off. Looking forward to playing it next weekend with my gaming partner hopefully. I wish you lived closer. For some reason I just don't really enjoy playing board-games over the cpu.

Cheers Everyone, and let's roll some 43
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Seth Owen
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Keesvanloomacklin wrote:
LouisXIV wrote:
I'm a Chicken Yamamoto. The Japanese fleet carriers don't have enough screening value as far as I'm concerned. If I play the Japanese, the First Air Fleet will hang back near the edge where the U.S. player can't yet get to them until at least the second group of four heavy cruisers come on.

At this point, with the four extra units, the Japanese fleet is in pretty good shape. They can make a formation that is pretty hard to really damage. They might lose at most the two weaker carriers, but the U.S. is going to lose a lot of aircraft to get these, making them pretty impotent for the rest of the game.

In fact, I recently had a game where I used this strategy. The (inexperienced) U.S. player had his fleet split into two, and couldn't reach me with the aircraft from one A/C. He put his strike from two carriers onto the Akagi only, lost 8 squadrons, and got a sum total of two hits.

One of my beefs with the game is that some of the Japanese heavy cruisers have too strong an air screening factor at 3 and in one case 4. These should all be reduced to 2.

Having consulted my original Midway 64 manual, it does say the Japanese player "must" put his starting ships on. Nowhere can I find a reference that says either player can delay the entry of any of their ships. What you're describing sounds like a house rule to me.
@Gerald. Actually, the delayed entry rule for the Japanese comes officially from Avalon Hill in one of their Q & A sections (wish I could find it, grrr) but where I think I made a mistake and Seth corrected me was that the INITIAL STARTING Japanese forces MUST start on the board. I was under the impression that even the starting forces could choose to delay entry but it seems that ONLY subsequent Japanese arrivals may delay entry.

Thank you Seth for your replies for an old wargamer who is dusting this fun game off. Looking forward to playing it next weekend with my gaming partner hopefully. I wish you lived closer. For some reason I just don't really enjoy playing board-games over the cpu.

Cheers Everyone, and let's roll some 43


Yeah, if you can find that Q&A please post the reference. I missed seeing it along the way and it's not mentioned in the 1979 Wargamer's Guide to Midway. Avalon Hill was known to issue contradictory shakerulings from time to time so it's possible that they thought better of that answer if it's from before 1979. The Midway Hit Record seems to indicate that arrival is not optional, but it's not a formal rule, of course. I'm not in favor of allowing it for the very reasons your proposed strategy makes clear -- it's too easy for the Japanese to build up a big fleet. This would be unhistorical as well as being bad for game balance which seems plenty of reason to not allow it. One can't get too "rules lawyerly" with these old wargames because they simply were not written with exploitation in mind.

I hope you find a good opponent nearby. I'm planning on marking the 70th anniversary of the battle this summer with at least one session of Midway if I can.
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Gerald Upton
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Here's something to think about. The first part of the Japanese fleet that was spotted by U.S. reconn was the invasion fleet. Why? Because transports tend to be a lot slower than warships, so it had to sail first. Until June 3rd it was well out ahead of the rest of the Japanese ships.

I think it could really change the strategy of the game if the transport fleet came on at the same time as the First Air Fleet, right at the beginning of the game. It would be complete with the Jintsu (the true flagship of the invasion fleet, not the Atago) and the five APs from the Coral Sea via Midway expansion set. It would only move one zone per turn.

That could make things interesting for the Japanese player!

How would it affect play balance?
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Bill Eldard
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Keesvanloomacklin wrote:
I don't see the USN player 'picking off' the Atago very easily with it sitting in the middle of 21 ships.


Since Atago is essential to capturing Midway, I'd throw every aircraft in range against the IJN task force and concentrate in it. Of the 21 IJN ships, only 8 can help defend Atago; she should go down. Additionally, some T bombers should be able to peel off and attack the screening IJN ships to pick up a few additional points.

If the BB's are screening Atago, go after the carriers for big points.

Then exit the US ships off the board.
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Genghis Ahn
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Battle Manual Question #5: May units move off the search board?

Answer: Yes, Japanese may move off the left edge, US units off the right. The US fleet may not leave the board until it has been attacked or Midway has been reduced. Once off, units MAY stay off for the rest of the game.

This clearly states it is OPTIONAL for these units to stay off or come back on. Or as Don Greenwood would say: MAY does not = MUST.
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Seth Owen
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Genghisx wrote:
Battle Manual Question #5: May units move off the search board?

Answer: Yes, Japanese may move off the left edge, US units off the right. The US fleet may not leave the board until it has been attacked or Midway has been reduced. Once off, units MAY stay off for the rest of the game.

This clearly states it is OPTIONAL for these units to stay off or come back on. Or as Don Greenwood would say: MAY does not = MUST.


Which edition of the Battle Manual? The Official Rules Changes in the Wargamer's Guide to Midwayfrom 1980 # 3 reads Ships of either side that leave the mapboard may not return. They are not considered sunk and the opponent receives no victory points for them.

As far as I know this was the last official ruling.

Allowing them to return raises all sorts of questions (where do they come on? From where they left? Teleport back to the start? Move off board? How?)

Also, the rules change allows the Japanese to also flee off the north or south edges AND disallows kamikaze attacks.
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Seth Owen
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LouisXIV wrote:
Here's something to think about. The first part of the Japanese fleet that was spotted by U.S. reconn was the invasion fleet. Why? Because transports tend to be a lot slower than warships, so it had to sail first. Until June 3rd it was well out ahead of the rest of the Japanese ships.

I think it could really change the strategy of the game if the transport fleet came on at the same time as the First Air Fleet, right at the beginning of the game. It would be complete with the Jintsu (the true flagship of the invasion fleet, not the Atago) and the five APs from the Coral Sea via Midway expansion set. It would only move one zone per turn.

That could make things interesting for the Japanese player!

How would it affect play balance?


There's variant looking at that precise point in the wargamer's Guide, a reprint of an old General article called "One Ship Invasion Fleet?"

With the Coral Sea variant kit you have the counters needed to make something like the invasion fleet with up to 5 APs to represent to 12 actual ones and their light escorts and the CL Jintsu which was the actual flagship of the invasion fleet.


I'm not sure if you'd want to use the Coral Sea landing rules (which are VP based) or the Midway rule (which is turn-based).


It might make an interesting variant that would give the US another target
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John Hooper
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From The General, v17, #4:

Q. Must Japanese reinforcements enter the game at their designated time?

A. Yes, but they can enter and leave the board in the same turn.
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Steve
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wargamer55 wrote:
Genghisx wrote:
Battle Manual Question #5: May units move off the search board?

Answer: Yes, Japanese may move off the left edge, US units off the right. The US fleet may not leave the board until it has been attacked or Midway has been reduced. Once off, units MAY stay off for the rest of the game.

This clearly states it is OPTIONAL for these units to stay off or come back on. Or as Don Greenwood would say: MAY does not = MUST.


Which edition of the Battle Manual? The Official Rules Changes in the Wargamer's Guide to Midwayfrom 1980 # 3 reads Ships of either side that leave the mapboard may not return. They are not considered sunk and the opponent receives no victory points for them.

As far as I know this was the last official ruling.

Allowing them to return raises all sorts of questions (where do they come on? From where they left? Teleport back to the start? Move off board? How?)

Also, the rules change allows the Japanese to also flee off the north or south edges AND disallows kamikaze attacks.

The Battle Manual I saw it in was the 1975 one, page 24, collumn 2, Question 5. It does say "may stay off".
The rule change from 1979-80 seems more recent and so governing.
I wonder what the date is on the issue of the General that was noted?

I wonder if it might be better to fix the "problem" of 1 huge Japanese fleet a different way. They fixed it with an artifical rule about giving VP to the US for each turn he holds Midway, as if 2 hrs. or even 2 days one way or the othe makes any difference. And forcing the Japanese to at least start with their historical plan, well the fleet organization and entry times based on that plan. It seems silly to give the players the ability to change the decisions that were made, but not change the plan and the organization at least some.

Japanese fleet doctrine called for several smaller "Task Forces" instead of 1 huge fleet. This is why they start in 4 groups. Why not make a rule to simulate this doctrine instead? I propose something like 13 to 15 ships is the largest number per zone, with BB count as 2 ships. [If you add DD they don't count, and if you add Trans they count as 1/2 ship.]

The US at this time had a different, but simular doctrine. Each CV was at the center of its own circle of escorts. All 3 might be in the same zone, but they were far enough apart that their AA fire could not help the other groups.
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hoop wrote:
From The General, v17, #4:

Q. Must Japanese reinforcements enter the game at their designated time?

A. Yes, but they can enter and leave the board in the same turn.


This may be where the mistaken idea came from. This allows the Japanese to avoid having a force picked off -- but at the cost of losing them for the duration of the game. There's no provision for them coming back.
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Seth Owen
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Steve1501 wrote:
wargamer55 wrote:
Genghisx wrote:
Battle Manual Question #5: May units move off the search board?

Answer: Yes, Japanese may move off the left edge, US units off the right. The US fleet may not leave the board until it has been attacked or Midway has been reduced. Once off, units MAY stay off for the rest of the game.

This clearly states it is OPTIONAL for these units to stay off or come back on. Or as Don Greenwood would say: MAY does not = MUST.


Which edition of the Battle Manual? The Official Rules Changes in the Wargamer's Guide to Midwayfrom 1980 # 3 reads Ships of either side that leave the mapboard may not return. They are not considered sunk and the opponent receives no victory points for them.

As far as I know this was the last official ruling.

Allowing them to return raises all sorts of questions (where do they come on? From where they left? Teleport back to the start? Move off board? How?)

Also, the rules change allows the Japanese to also flee off the north or south edges AND disallows kamikaze attacks.

The Battle Manual I saw it in was the 1975 one.
The rule change from 1979-80 seems more recent and so governing.
I wonder what the date is on the issue of the General that was noted?

I wonder if it might be better to fix the "problem" of 1 huge Japanese fleet a different way. They fixed it with an artifical rule about giving VP to the US for each turn he holds Midway, as if 2hrs. one way or the othe makes any difference. And forcing the Japanese to at least start with their historical plan, well the fleet organization and entry times based on that plan. It seems silly to give the players the ability to change the decisions that were made, but not change the plan and organization.

Japanese fleet doctrine called for several smaller "Task Forces" instead of 1 huge fleet. This is why they start in 4 groups. Why not make a rule to simulate this doctrine instead? I propose something like 13 to 15 ships is the largest number per zone, with BB count as 2 ships. [If you add DD they don't count, and if you add Trans they count as 1/2 ship.]

The US at this time had a different, but simular doctrine. Each CV was at the center of its own circle of escorts. All 3 might be in the same zone, but they were far enough apart that their AA fire could not help the other groups.


The Avalon Hill design philosophy at the time was heavily into "YOU are in command" and so they generally avoided history-based restrictions and "idiot rules" on players. That was more of an SPI thing.

Of course, that meant that a lot of their games -- such as Midway -- were not likely to play out in a historical manner.

Frankly, the Japanese predilection for dividing their forces into a large number of smaller forces is still kind of puzzling and has come in for general criticism by most naval historians and strategists who have commented on the issue. A House Rule that forces the Japanese player to stay in his historical groupings would certainly be justifiable if you can get your Japanese opponent to agree to it. (Naturally, if YOU are the Japanese player you can simply play that way on your own. Good luck).

It was also US doctrine not to operate more than two carriers in one task group, so you could have House Rule to that effect as well, if you wanted. Generally the US carriers operated separately but nearby (next square in game terms).

Not generally reflected in games such as Midway, there could be problems when mixing forces together due to differences in signal protocols and command relationships. Unless practiced, you couldn't just throw together two groups and expect a smooth transition. If the four Japanese cruisers had joined the carrier force, there would probably have been some rough spots as they integrated. I don't believe that cruiser division had operated with the carriers before, whereas the battleships and cruisers that start the game with them had been operating as part of the carrier group since the beginning of the war.
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Steve
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To Seth Owen

Yes, here I am talking about house rules.

I did not mean to require the Japanese to stay in their original groupings. I would make a rule to allow them to trade a few ships between groups before the game starts. You might have special decks of cards that players can draw. Sight unseen. They would allow trades between forces, additional forces, extend Japanese plane ranges, allow US to demand full information after a search, allow US to deploy "Dummy Task Force" markers and lie about what is in them for a while, etc. The cards would cost you VPs however. At least if you use them.

But then, I would be making a lot of changes, which I will outline over several posts, because I'm into simulations.

I do not feel the the US Task Groups [built around 1 CV] must be in separate zones. They could all be in 1 zone, they just could not help each other with AA fire.
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Gerald Upton
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Isn't it interesting that a game that is now over 50 years old is still causing so much interest and controversy?

Re: Turtling Strategy.

If I am playing the Japanese I spend the first two-three moves charging straight ahead. I will still be outside of strike range of the US player.

Then I will spend some time doubling back. The US player doesn't have enough calls to cover all the zones you can reach if you are going back, and by this time I've got an idea of his search pattern. It's very hard to find a fleet once you've lost it, and he still won't be in strike range until about 15:00 hours.

By the 05:00 June 4th turn, I am usually in the B column, 4 zones from the edge, ready to join up with the cruiser fleet when it comes on. If the US player has not found my carrier fleet and starts searching for my cruiser fleet, then my carriers will forge straight east, but in line with the cruiser force, looking for an opportunity. If the US player lays a strike on my cruisers, he must reveal his location. Guess what happens next turn!

If he still persists in searching for my carriers, then the carrier and cruiser force joins up on the 07:00 turn. At that point, they can resist a strike by the US forces, only loosing 1 or - with bad luck on the die rolls - 2 carriers. Sometimes even none. Also the US aircraft will be severely reduced after that.

Of note, since the Akagi and Kaga have better aircraft capacity, by this time I have transferred aircraft from the other two more vulnerable carriers. Thus even their loss will not be too great a problem.
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Seth Owen
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LouisXIV wrote:

Isn't it interesting that a game that is now over 50 years old is still causing so much interest and controversy?

Re: Turtling Strategy.

If I am playing the Japanese I spend the first two-three moves charging straight ahead. I will still be outside of strike range of the US player.

Then I will spend some time doubling back. The US player doesn't have enough calls to cover all the zones you can reach if you are going back, and by this time I've got an idea of his search pattern. It's very hard to find a fleet once you've lost it, and he still won't be in strike range until about 15:00 hours.

By the 05:00 June 4th turn, I am usually in the B column, 4 zones from the edge, ready to join up with the cruiser fleet when it comes on. If the US player has not found my carrier fleet and starts searching for my cruiser fleet, then my carriers will forge straight east, but in line with the cruiser force, looking for an opportunity. If the US player lays a strike on my cruisers, he must reveal his location. Guess what happens next turn!

If he still persists in searching for my carriers, then the carrier and cruiser force joins up on the 07:00 turn. At that point, they can resist a strike by the US forces, only loosing 1 or - with bad luck on the die rolls - 2 carriers. Sometimes even none. Also the US aircraft will be severely reduced after that.

Of note, since the Akagi and Kaga have better aircraft capacity, by this time I have transferred aircraft from the other two more vulnerable carriers. Thus even their loss will not be too great a problem.


I don't think anyone would say that this strategy can't work, only that it's not fool proof or "broken." As you note, there are quite a few "IFs" involved, especially the results of the US searches.

The US player has a number of counter strategies that he can follow and there's an excellent chance with this Japanese strategy that you'll have literally no clue where the US is, because you've given up the ability to search close to half the board for the entire first day. More if you wait for the Atago group.

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Gerald Upton
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Last two times I've played, it's worked for me. Last game I had the US fleet spotted from the 09:00 turn on the first day, picked them up at 05:00 the next day and clobbered them at 07:00.
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Peter Lloyd
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Firstly, I notice that no one has bothered to posted the official rule changes that are being argued. Without them the entry discussion comes across like the "scientists/historian/experts" all agree sort of nonsense. To deal with that drivel, I submitted the rules change image from the back of the WGG.

In fairness, the exit rule did first appear in the 1975 rewrite. It is badly written. here it is:
Quote:
5. May units move off the search board?
Answer: Yes. Japanese units may move off the left edge, U.S. units off the right. The U.S. fleet may not leave the board until it has been attacked or Midway has been reduced, Once off, units may stay off for the rest of the game.


I contend that the red "may" was intended to be "must". If it wasn't then there would be reentry rules or some such procedure.

Bringing Kondo's invasion force on early is an interesting idea. I have 2 issues with it.

1. The invasion was actually scheduled to occur after the game ends. So it is fudging as it is.
2. Premature exposure will probably just get it sunk. That also detracts for the focus of the game (ie. the carrier battle)

While it is ahistorical, it is probably best to leave it's arrival alone.
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Seth Owen
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LouisXIV wrote:

Last two times I've played, it's worked for me. Last game I had the US fleet spotted from the 09:00 turn on the first day, picked them up at 05:00 the next day and clobbered them at 07:00.


Well, if the US plays badly then I am sure it would work. There's little excuse for a US player to allow himself to be tracked consistently from 0900 on the first day. One should be able to shake a search pattern, although it may come at the cost of delaying or abandoning a plan. If one merely occupies the center zone of an area, one has nine areas you can be in the following turn. The Japanese have only three searches and the US, unlike the Japanese, does not have a specific destination they're headed to.

Keep trying it. Eventually your US opponent will figure out what he's doing wrong and it won't work any more.
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It seems BGG doesn't want the official rule changes spread around. My upload was declined.

Maybe it was something in the eggnog.
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wargamer55 wrote:
Well, if the US plays badly then I am sure it would work. There's little excuse for a US player to allow himself to be tracked consistently from 0900 on the first day.


If the US player is charging straight ahead, anxious to get in an air strike as soon as possible, it's not hard to track him once you've picked him up. Even for the Japanese it's not hard to find the US if they start at the limit of their first-turn allowance and forge ahead. It's just a matter of keeping track of how far forward they could be, then moving your search pattern across the board from one side to the other. Takes three turns at maximum.
 
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