Recommend
6 
 Thumb up
 Hide
7 Posts

Midway» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Part 3 - Midway - THE AMERICANS rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Ron Pfeiffer
United States
Surfside Beach
South Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is the third in a series of articles regarding strategies for playing the game MIDWAY. Many of the strategies were derived initially from an article that was in THE WARGAMER magazine issue #9 published sometime in 1979. The original writer Meic Harries had a real good understanding of the game and I used most of his suggestions while learning the game. Our new wargame group FORWARD OBSERVER picked this game along with 6 others as part of our first topic - BEGINNER WARGAMES. We will attempt to give new players both a sense of each game and some ideas and thoughts about how to play. We hope that our comments will pique interest in the games and help introduce newcomers to the hobby.

The Americans

The American side starts with just about the same number of planes as the Japanese. They are split between your carriers and some land -based air on Midway itself. You only have 8 cruisers and so you really can not afford what would be one of the worst things that could ever happen to you and that is surface-to-surface combat with any of the major elements of the Japanese fleet.

You do have the advantage of an extra search over the Japanese (you get to search 4 areas each turn to his 3 area maximum) , making it easier to locate and then hang on to any of his ships that you find. Strategically you have an island to defend and enemy carriers to sink and you also have time on your side. You know that the Japanese fleet has to eventually come to Midway and eventually he is committed to attacking it even if he hasn’t located you beforehand.

He on the other hand does not know whether you will be preparing for a pre-emptive strike, whether you are trying to intercept him as he arrives or whether you are going to simply wait awhile and then counter-strike. He has a much more difficult time with his searches because he is never sure what tactic you are going to use. He really can’t focus on just one possibility because of the consequences of putting all his eggs in one basket and then being wrong.

Superior placement of your small fleet is vital to your success in this game.

So the AMERICAN can choose to strike preemptively. The American maintains his maximum rate of advance in order to strike the AKAGI and MOGAMI groups separately or together on the first day. The important thing with this strategy is to strike quickly and seize the initiative. By striking quickly you can cripple the Akagi group by perhaps sinking a carrier or two thereby destroying the Japanese option of a fast attack on Midway . This also gets you some points early on for destroying some part of his group. This may act as an offset to the eventual points that he will score for landing on Midway. If you succeed with this option you can either retire during the night turn and then begin the waiting game for his arrival or you can close up for another strike, this time against a weakened force on the next morning.

Another option is to evade on the first day while coming forward for a strike position by 0500 on June 4th. If you have had good searching on the previous day you should have at least a hint about whether the AKAGI and MOGAMI groups have joined up or if they are now going to Midway or are waiting to link up with the ATAGO group.

With or without the AKAGI group, the ATAGO group contains two prime targets in ZUIHO (2 hits to sink for 6 points) and the critically important ATAGO (4 hits to sink for 4 points and the 15 denied points for sinking the ship that carries his landing forces. Actually the value to you is with 6 hits you pick up 26 real points (10 points for the two ships plus 16 points for Midway surviving to the end of the game) and 15 invisible ones (the ones that he does not get for landing on Midway). Remember that without ATAGO the Japanese cannot land on MIDWAY and must then turn to a strategy of destroying every one of your ships in order to be victorious be the end of the game.

In order for this strategy to succeed you must not take many losses on this first day. Even moderate air losses might leave you with little punching power for the rest of the game and probably a dubious chance of overall success.

Another choice you have is to try and advance but also evade until the YAMATO group appears and then attack at that time trying to destroy 4 or 5 of these ships. For that to be successful you must not have suffered air losses previously. Evasion is very difficult for this length of time and the Japanese player will figure out what you are trying to do when even the beginnings of the reduction of MIDWAY bring no attack from you.

A final option is to wait in some unlikely place near Midway until the Japanese player commits himself to a MIDWAY reduction and then attack when the Japanese are readying his aircraft. You know that he must ready his planes and you know that when he does his fleet is much more vulnerable to damage from your attack. The only disadvantage to this option is that it begins very late in the game and if you have screwed up you will not have time to fix a muffed initial attack once superior Japanese forces are in play.

One last tactic that Merc, in his article, alludes to is one that should not be allowed in the game, The American locates the Japanese carrier group and then launches a suicide one-way strike at extreme range to catch the opponent unaware. With the points that the American gets for this he then steams off-board to victory. This should not be allowed, Kamikaze strikes by the Japanese!!! in 1942 is unrealistic, let alone for the Americans!!

More on other tactics later.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brad Miller
United States
Seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Not sure whether it was a one-way suicide strike, but isn't the "hit the Japanese then steam off the board" the standard American strategy? Hanging around waiting for the superior Japanese numbers to locate you and decimate you seems a recipe for a loss...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ron Pfeiffer
United States
Surfside Beach
South Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
What I was referring to is simply sending planes out without hope of returning. Except for Jimmy Doolittle's attack on Japan where there was doubt about whether or not the planes would and even could reach Japan for that 'first bombs dropped on Japanese territory terror factor' never in the course of the war (at least that I am aware of) did the United States and its Allies send planes on intentional one way trips. In any case many planes from Doolittles group got to China. If you, during the battle score enough points to feel comfortable leaving the area, secure that you have achieved victory then by all means do that. But if you send your planes in without the possibility of them returning in order to secure some added points then please don't play with me!. I know of no American officer during the engagement who would have given that order. I know that this is only a game but it is based on a historical occurrence and as such I think that, at a minimum, the game should be limited to historical possibilities. Any and all of the strategies that I have mentioned in the first 3 articles could have been attempted. Using American Kamikaze’s could not.

Yes there is a possibility that you send planes off and then ships are sunk and they have no place to return to but that is a different set of circumstances.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brad Miller
United States
Seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree with you that that is ahistorical and bogus
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
steve mizuno
United States
San Diego
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

This "strategy" was deemed unfair by Avalon Hill in several rules clarifications. The U.S. fleet must receive at least one airstrike west of Midway before it can "leave" the search board.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Seth Owen
United States
Norwich
Connecticut
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
soltan gris wrote:

This "strategy" was deemed unfair by Avalon Hill in several rules clarifications. The U.S. fleet must receive at least one airstrike west of Midway before it can "leave" the search board.


Official Rules Changes listed in Wargamer's Guide to Midway include:
1. American ships may leave the map board via the East edge after receiving at least one air attack west of Midway island.
2. Japanese ships may leave the map board via the west, north or south edge at any time.
3. Ships of either side that leave the map board may not return. They are not considered sunk and the opponent receives no victory points for them.
4. No one-way suicide attacks are allowed. A player may not launch an attack in which his planes cannot safely return to a carrier (or Midway).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
wargamer55 wrote:
4. No one-way suicide attacks are allowed. A player may not launch an attack in which his planes cannot safely return to a carrier (or Midway).


And this rule is most critical, because it retains historical accuracy as well as impact game play.

That said, it is possible to swap decks to get the most out of aircraft strike ranges. In other words, with a total range of 14 (as I recall), Enterpise's air group could fly 10 spaces to the target, attack, and recover on Yorktown 4 spaces away, while the Yorktown air group flies 4 spaces, attacks that same target space, and recovers on the Big E 10 spaces away.

Midway can also be used this way. Have some carrier aircraft fly to Midway for basing (staying within Midway's capacity). Then strike from Midway at a target 10 spaces away, and recover back aboard the carrier 4 spaces from the target. The US player has to announce where the strike came from -- Midway -- but not where the planes landed. The Japanese player may assume that planes landed back at Midway, and not realize he still has USN CVs close by.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.