I am an old Pacific Theatre wargamer and have played a lot of Pacific War, Empire of the Sun, PTO and USN Deluxe.
I just picked up Asia Engulfed, have read the rules and we are about to start a game.
The one thing that bothers me in the rules is that it appears that Naval Interception is automatic for the Reacting Player, for fleets in a sea zone, even if they move 2 or 3 sea areas to get there. Each side picks Day or Night Action for the first round (no Avoid allowed). There is guaranteed to be an Air or Surface battle unless both side's die rolls are tied (bad weather).
Every Pacific game I have played there is always a fair chance that a Reaction Player interception will fail. In EOTS it varies from 20 to 80 %.
I believe that this is very un-realistic as naval or air interception should not be automatic in a huge sea zone. I can see automatic interception by the Reacting Player if they are in the port box under attack.
Does anyone have any house rules for the Reacting Player to have to make a certain die roll for success, for air and/or naval interception?
I believe that there should be a low chance of success unless an area, port or island is the subject of an air or naval attack (they radio for help). Naval units in the same area (eg a port box not under attack) should have a decent chance - perhaps rolling 1-5 on a die.
Naval units in adjacent sea areas should have a lesser chance - perhaps 1-3 on a die. Naval units three zones away - perhaps on a 1-2.
If the interception die roll was successful, then the players would then choose chits and determine if it was day, night, avoid or surprise. Bad weather would be factored into the initial interception chance die roll.
I think it because Asia Engulfed is a block game. Blocks have a much higher profile than counters so it is easier to see them from a distance. This makes the chance of detection sufficiently high as to make auto-detection a justifiable design choice.
It is an abstraction to allow the game to be played and be fun for both sides. There are numerous sorties that occur where combat does not occur, these were abstracted out of the game by ramping up oil costs for the sorties that do occur in the game. The only ones represented in the game are the ones where combat does occur.
Oil consumption is ramped up to abstractly account for all the sorties where they did not historically find eachother.
Your house rule will make Japanese oil drip dry without combat, also remember each turn is two months, at some point in the two month turn they should find eachother if they are trying hard enough.
It is an abstraction, as designers we are allowed to do that sort of stuff
I understand if it is not your cup of tea, but if you tinker with the game you can expect a very frustrating time as the Japanese, when you sortie the fleet, expend a huge chunk of oil, and only have a 1/3rd chance of finding the enemy.
Thanks for the quick reply, Rick.
You make some good points. However, this game does not allow you to make a sneak or surprise attack, on say a port, with a limited force, as you know that the enemy player can always intercept you with a larger force - from up to 3 sea zones away.
You make a good point about the wasted oil. Rather than the reacting player moving up to 3 sea zones and spending oil, then not intercepting, I would recommend a house rule that if the reacting player does not make a successful reaction die roll, he would not even be allowed to move any reacting forces, so would spend no oil:
Succesful reaction move allowed where:
*Friendly port/area/island under attack in same sea area where reaction player has units: roll 1-5
*Friendly port/area/island under attack one sea area away from where reaction player has units: roll 1-4
*Friendly port/area/island under attack two sea area away from where reaction player has units: roll 1-3
*Friendly port/area/island under attack three sea area away from where reaction player has units: roll 1-2
*Enemy fleet moving through same sea area where reaction player has units in port/area/island: roll 1-4
If the reaction player has units in several different sea zones, each is rolled for separately on this table
You could give the Allied player a +1 advantage due to superior signals intelligence/code breaking.
If the reaction player makes a successful reaction die roll, he could then move to the port/area/island under attack and then choose the Day or Night chits as per the normal game rules, paying oil for the move if applicable. Therefore no wasted oil points.
This reaction die roll would allow a player to undertake a risky attack with few units, gambling that the opposing player would not make the necessary reaction die roll to intercept with overwhelming force.
The player would be forced to keep fleets closer to the key defensive bases, rather than hiding 2 or 3 areas away, so that they could sail 2 or 3 areas to intercept, which did not happen historically.
The designer has given you his reasons for doing it.
If you want to screw up the game and make it unfun to play then charge ahead with house rules (even though you haven't played it yet)
If you want more justification think of it this way.
Generally a player will not move into a sea zone where a reaction can occur without first having a target - either an invasion or a port attack in mind.
Because of the scale of the game such an undertaking will be major (or the damage inflicted would be below the scope of the game) and last for a significant period of time (e.g. Gudalcanal campaign).
The movement of fleet blocks into a sea zone doesn't represent a single movement of a single fleet but potentially multiple operations over that two month period with ships hanging around to support the bigger campaign.
If the opponent chooses to intercept it means they are not just chasing a hit and run fleet but actively combating a major operation. An interception is a given based upon the fact that the fleet will be sitting off shore supporting the invasion and have screening forces.
Rolling a night action may represent only coming into contact with the screening forces. Rolling a load of misses on a day action may represent actually not finding each other giving one side the ability to then call off the operation.
Try playing the game first. A lot of the other games you have played will not help you with this and may hinder your understanding as it does things differently compared to those games.
Good points, Jon.
I will play the game a few times before adding house rules.