Tuesday, December 06, 2005

We the People (Revolution III)

This is the latest rematch after I have lost twice to Dennis. He spots me two PCs to start with this time. I am pretty new to We the People, so my commentary is only likely to illustrate that I have no idea what I am doing.

My main goal this game is to pay better attention and not get my forces caught without retreat capabilities, a mistake I have made too often in previous efforts.


The game starts with quite a few PC placements. The Brits take an upper hand in Massachusets and Virginia, while the rest of the board is fairly loyal to the Americans or neutral. The Brits also hem Washington in a bit (his only escape route is to Newport, RI) to create threat that the Americans have to respond to, and also trying to get some freedom of action in New England.

Cornwallis and 3 CUs land in Barnstable. I don't have the cards to move Howe twice, so I don't want to attack with him into Lexington and Concord and then suffer attrition.

Right after his arrival in the colonies, Cornwallis attacks Greene in Providence. I could have attacked Washington, but if I defeat Greene, Washington will be forced to move to avoid a battle where he could be eliminated. That will force Washington into Winter quarters a card play earlier than he may have liked, and may allow me to move Howe to someplace useful like New York. Cornwallis wins the battle, but only inflicts 1CU loss (depite winning on a DE card). Green retreats to Hartford and then Washington retreats to Albany.

Unfortunately, the low losses in Providence means that there is very little room for maneuver. So instead of moving Howe somewhere useful, which is no longer possible, Carleton marches from Quebec to Pittsburgh. From this position he threatens the Continental Congress, and may be able to take them off the board at the start of next turn. At minimum, his presence will force a defensive American response.

At present, the war is going to end in 1781.


No campaign cards, so unfortunately, I will probably not be able to disperse the Continetal Congress. I do have a fair number of Ops cards and an amnesty card. So we will see what mischief I can make.

Predictably, the US plunks reinforcements in Philadelphia to protect the Continental Congress. It's only 2CU, and I wonder if he is low on Ops this turn. Cornwallis heads to Hartford to finish off Greene, and open the coastal route to New York, where I hope to gain control of some ports in order to move my base of operations further south. After a tense battle, Cornwallis prevails and the coast is now open.

The Americans reinforce Arnold in Philadelphia with another 2 card. The Brits bring in their own reinforcements, Burgoyne and 5CU, to Norfolk. I am hoping to bring some pressure to bear from the South, or at least maintain the threat.

A spate of PC placements follows, as both sides try to snap up what is left of the colonies loyalty. Near the end of the year, the Brits offer an Amnesty to clear out American sympathizers and Howe marches down the coast to New York, where he sets up Winter Quarters.

The Brits commit a terrible blunder, however, and fail to notice a group of PCs that are isolated, causing 6 PCs in the south to come off the board.

At present, the war is going to end in 1781.


Fresh off their blunder, the Brits pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and sally forth for a new year.

Many Ops cards, one campaign, and one amnesty card make a terrific tonic. The initial goal is to tighten the noose around General Washington. At a minimum, hopefully I can force him to squander a move somewhere to move out of harm's way. Secondarily, I will be looking to make inroads into territories where the Americans are strong, picking up a few PCs at a time, as best I can. Thirdly, I want to enable myself to place PCs in the south again, where my blunder has locked me out.

The Americans reinforce Washington in Albany and spend the Winter training, ending any advantage the British Regulars may have had. The Brits and Americans continue to snap up open spaces in the North East, placing PCs throughout the area.

Clinton+4CU arrive in Montreal. If Washington does not move with the next card, he could get cut off by my campaign card. Clinton can cut off his escape routes to the North while Howe moves in from the south to attack. Dennis notes this in plenty of time, however, and Washington skips off to Pittsburgh to attack Carleton, who is surrounded (so much for my vow to watch this more closely). Things go badly for the Brits, and Carleton is removed along with 2CUs.

From this point, however, the turn starts to go better for the Brits. Burgoyne moves to Salem where he can place a British PC which will re-open the South to British PC placement. Green and 3 American CUs arrive in Albany just in time to meet an attack from Howe, who routs the 3CUs worth of new recruits.

With casualties mounting, Lafayette and 3CUs turn up in Alexandria. It's a saving grace that the Brits have forced the Americans to spend so many Ops on reinforcements this turn! Otherwise, he could have turned the whole map blue.

The Brits place PCs in Salem and Albany, freeing Burgoyne and Howe for further action with the campaign card and then remove PCs using their amnesty in Petersburg and Abingdon. The Brits are planning an assault on Alexandria and removing those PCs will give them a miltia advantage in Virginia.

The US is forced to discard their last 2 cards (including European War). The British final campaign eliminates Lafayette and his entire force from Alexandria and moves Carleton to Norwich, from which he can take control of New Hampshire next turn.

The best news for the British at turn's end is the number of casualties they have inflicted. They have 18 CUs on the board, opposed by only 5CUs with Washington and 4CUs locked down defending the Continental Congress.


A spectacular hand this turn, with the key being Continental Line Mutiny. I can consolidate the open areas of the board a bit, since he will not be able to place PCs after this card is played.

He gets the French Alliance card, and plays it immediately, to bring the French Navy, Rochambeau and 5 CUs into Baltimore. Oh well, this is about as late as it has appeared in our games thusfar, and at least I didn't have to play it and help him out myself. The Continental Line Mutiny hits as my first card play, and then we're into the turn for real.

He brings 3CU into play with Lafayette at Wyoming Valley, and Howe immediately moves to attack them. I want to keep the attrition going. Howe overwhelms Lafayette and causes 2CU of losses. Dennis then brings 3CU of reinforcements into Reading to join Lafayette. I place PCs over two card plays in Concord (securing NH), Charlotte (giving acces to SC), Petersburg, Camden (isolates Cheraw), and Hillsboro (isolates Wake).

He forces me to discard, so I will not be moving last this turn, though the card that I lose is a war ends in 1783 card, so not a huge loss. Carleton+5CUs arrive in Wilmington. But he moves Lafayette to Springfield, joining the 1CU there.

I'd like to move Carleton with my last card, but Howe is exposed, and he's not really going to make a serious dent in Pennsylvania, while Lafayette's presence in Springfield creates all kinds of threats. So, instead, Howe leaves Pennsylvania to attack Lafayette. We get an absurd card distribution which puts us in serious danger of losing the battle if Lafayette counterattacks. Luckily, he doesn't, and though we inflict no casulaties, Lafayette is forced to retreat. Unfortunately, he is also able to move unopposed to Rhode Island, where he will bring the locals back into line.

Wake, Cheraw and New Haven are all isolated and lose American PCs.

Colony Status (B=8, A=5, N=1)
Canada (B)
New Hampshire (B)
Massachussets (B)
Connecticut (B)
Rhode Island (B)
New York (B)
New Jersey (N)
Pennsylvania (A)
Delaware (A)
Maryland (A)
Virginia (B)
North Carolina (B)
South Carolina (A)
Georgia (A)

At present, the war is going to end in 1781.


I get a terrible draw this turn. Two discards, a card to remove an American PC in NC, where I control pretty much all the spaces, and then three 2's and a 1 card. All my "3" rated Generals are locked in place.

The Americans start aggressively this turn. Lafayette and 5CUs head to Hartford to attack Cornwallis and his 3CU. and they are quickly overwhelmed. Corwallis escapes with just 1 CU to New Haven. Luckily, reinforcements (4CU) join Lafayette in New Haven, allowing him some safety.

At this point, North's Government collapses, and the war is going to end in 1779! I have no war ends cards of my own, so I have to assume that this is the last turn. I have a solid lead in colonies, but my lack of mobility could be an issue.

The Brits place PCs in Cheraw and Ninety-Six, seizing control of South Carolina.

The Americans place PCs in Hartford (taking control of Connecticut), Monmouth (taking control of NJ), and Gilbert Town.

The Brits place PCs in New Haven and Augusta (Connecticut and Georgia are now Neutral), but the Americans place a PC in St. Mary's, retaking Georgia immediately afterwards.

The Brits discard and Lafayette moves once again, this time to Concord, where, when they flip the PC, they will take control of NH.

The Brits discard once again. Rochambeau moves his force south, taking advantage of John Glover Marblehead Regiment, to move all the way to Camden. From this position, they will take control of South Carolina also.

The Brits have only two cards left. One of them removes the American PC in Gilbert Town, which has no impact on the game.

At this point, the Americans cannot win, having control of only 8 colonies, and I need 2 colonies to manage a win for myself. The last card moves Cornwallis and 5CU to Newport. When Cornwallis flips the PC in Newport, the American PC in Hartford will be removed for isolation, giving the British control of both Rhode Island and Connecticut at the final bell!

Colony Status (B=7, A=7, N=0)
Canada (B)
New Hampshire (A)
Massachussets (B)
Connecticut (B)
Rhode Island (B)
New York (B)
New Jersey (A)
Pennsylvania (A)
Delaware (A)
Maryland (A)
Virginia (B)
North Carolina (B)
South Carolina (A)
Georgia (A)

The Brits just manage to eke out a win with 6 Colonies (plus Canada).


Despite having below average mobility on the last turn, I have nothing to complain about, since my card draw throughout was extremely good and allowed me a lot of mobility with a minimum of discards. My blunder in isolating a string of PCs was luckily made up for by getting the Continental Line Mutiny at the right time.

I tried to be more aggressive in this game, using the British leadership to be the attacker and cause attrition. Even though he has an inexhaustible supply of CUs, each CU he brings onto the board is one PC he doesn't place. In the middle game this worked well in giving me the initiative.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Empire of the Sun (Stephen Crane rematch)

This is a rematch against Stephen. This time we started after Turn 1. We didn't play some of the optional rules, like allowing the Allies to have ABDA in their hand.

Turn 1 is skipped in this scenario, so we start with...

Turn 2

The Japanese intend to expand more quickly and aggressively. By turn's end they have secured Manila, Tarakan, Kuantan, Singapore, Rangoon, Bangka, Soerbaja, and Medan.

The expansion has been rapid and bloodless. The Allies have toeholds remaining in Tjilitap, Palembang, and Balikpapan. Only Tjilitap is remotely defensible, however. Having the Dutch land, air, and naval forces intact means it can be reinforced. The allies will focus on keeping it out of Japanese hands next turn so it remains a thorn in their side.

Additionally, it is expected that battles will occur for Guadalcanal. And, depending on Japanese reinforcement placement, the Marshall Islands are always vulnerable to invasion. Taking either Eniwetok or Kwajalein on turn 3 makes it easier to make progress of war goals on turn 4 or 5.

As it turns out, The Japanese reinforce Kwajalein, but Eniwetok remains undefended and (more importantly) without air cover. This means that Eniwetok may be taken without fear of opposition, since an invasion here will not create a battle hex or qualify for Special Reaction.

Having learned from last game, ANZAC is placed in Darwin where it can activate forces in both the DEI and Australia.

Turn 3

The Japanese move quickly to tighten their grip on the DEI. Palembang falls rapidly, and a battle in the Java Sea and at Balikpapan dents the US Navy while the location falls into Japanese hands.

An attempted US Navy surprise raid against Rabaul is met by a large japanese Naval force, and only good luck prevents the complete annihiliation of the US Battleship and Cruiser forces. As it is, they limp back to port heavily damaged.

The Japanese attempt to invade Guadalcanal, which has been reinforced between turns with Marine land and air forces. The plan is detected and a contingent of Army land forces are rushed to the island ahead of the invasion. Meanwhile, the air and naval battle in the Solomon Sea results in fairly heavy losses for both sides. Most of the allied air units in the theatre are damaged, and the US cruiser is sunk in exchange for damage on a pair of Japanese CVs.

On the downside, the Japanese CVs return to Eniwetok, thus foiling Allied plans for a no-risk invasion of the island this turn.

The Japanese fare badly in the land assualt on Guadalcanal, and the entire Japanese force is wiped out. Guadalcanal remains safe for now, though the Allied naval and air forces in the area are severely battered. As a result, the Allied carrier force from Hawaii is moved to Funafuti where it may be able to assist in the further defense of Guadalcanal.

A brief pause in the action enables the Australians to send land forces to Tjilitap, further fortifying it to prevent the Japanese from completing the takeover of the DEI.

The Allies launch a series of hit-and-run attacks to end the year, starting with another, larger, surprise raid against Rabaul, this time managing to actually surprise the Japanese. The Japanese have 2CAs, an APD, and an air unit stationed there, and all 3 are damaged. The Brits launch a surprise raid against the Kongo in Bangka, damaging it.

By turn's end, Tjilitap and Guadalcanal are still holding out. (It turns out Stephen did not realize that Tjilitap had to be taken to complete the conquest of the DEI.) Next turn the Allies will look to move to the offensive in some limited theatres. At a minimum an invasion of either Kwajalein or Eniwetok needs to occur so that, on turn 5, progress of war goals can be met. One of the key US reinforcement placements is an LRB unit in Tarawa. The goal is to have a unit capable of suppressing Eniwetok or Kwajalein. Additionally, since the Rochefort card is tucked away as an FO, it may prove a tempting target for the Japanese and force a battle favorable to the Allies.

Outside of that, the goal is to use the growing air strength in a war of attrition against Japanese targets.

Turn 4

The Japanese do not like the LRB at Tarawa and use their first card of the turn to attack what looks like a lonely unit, using the bulk of their Navy. The Rochefort card is played and a massive US naval and air response is waiting in ambush.

The Japanese forces are decimated. 2 CVs are sunk and a third is damaged, along with a Japanese BB and air unit. The Japanese forces respond in anger, scoring their own critical hit, sinking the Enterprise, and damaging the Lexington.

Even so, this is the turning point in the game. The Japanese Navy in the central and South Pacific has been reduced to a half strength CV, a half strength BB, a CVL, and a few CL/APDs. From here on out, the US Navy outnumbers them and is able to act with considerably lower risk.

The Brits use the shocking defeat as impetus to move their forces towards Rangoon and keep the Japanese thinking about several fronts (and looking at other parts of the board), rather than focusing on fortifying Kwajalein and Eniwetok.

The Japanese respond with an assault on Tjilitap, but Australian Coast Watchers warn the British who send their Navy to defend. Unfortunately, both sides forget to bring the ammo, and the air-naval battle is inconclusive. The attack on Tjilitap also results in a bloodless draw

The Japanese come after Tjilitap again and once again the British Navy responds. This time the results are bloodier and the British Navy is fairly well mauled. The Australian and Dutch land forces repulse the Japanese, however, and the Japanese chances of taking Tjilitap and the DEI end (for all practical purposes) when their land unit is eliminated.

The remaining Japanese naval forces are now divided between Truk, Eniwetok, and Kwajalein.

A massive US offensive takes Kwajalein and eliminates all Japanese units stationed there.

A second US offensive suppresses Truk and falls on Eniwetok, eliminating the remaining Japanese CV and BB unit in the Central/South Pacific, and leaving Eniwetok open to invasion.

At this point, with their defenses virtually eliminated, the Japanese units in the area begin to fall back to their second line of defense. Rabaul is vacated and the Navy leaves Truk (before the US Navy can attack it there) for the Japanese home islands.

The allies land south of Rabaul, but do not take it. Since they will not make progress of war this turn whether they take it or not, Rabaul will be left for later. Rabaul is placed into a air ZoC, however, so it cannot be reinforced.

The Central Pacific HQ is removed from the board. It will be repositioned to Kwajalein between turns. From that position, it commands the board.

Turn 5

The Allies begin the turn by taking Kwajalein and Palau. At turn's end the Marshalls will fall, and the Allies will make progress of war goals. The remainder of turn 5 may now be spent improving the Allied position and fighting a war of attrition against scattered Japanese forces. Additionally, a net is being cast around Truk, in an attempt to isolate the garrison and HQ there.

Allied air units now begin raging a long-range war against small pockets of Japanese units in the DEI and Phillipines. Groups of LRBs coming in from 6 hexes away and non-LRBs attacking at half strength from 4 hexes away stand a good chance of achieving surprise since they never enter range of Japanese air units. Additionally, the +1 DRM for the allies in 1943 means that a group with 20 factors can do a lot of damage with very little risk.

Following this strategy, the Ryujo and Nachi are sunk and the Japanese air force in the Phillipines is eliminated. The only setback is the British naval raid against Soerbaja is repulsed with losses to the Brits and no damage to the Japanese.

By turn's end, most of the Japanese forces outside Burma, DEI, and the Phillipines have pulled back to the Home Islands. The forces in the DEI and Phillipines have been whittled down significantly. Next turn's focus will be on the DEI and Phillipines, in order to reduce the Japanese card draw. I need a few turns in which the Japanese have less cards than the Allies in order to whittle down the Home Island defenses.

Turn 6

The first Allied step is a landing on an undefended Mindanao and an air-naval raid at Balikpapan. Balikpapan is the only defended Borneo resource hex, and eliminating the air forces there will provide a fairly free ride in securing Borneo. Allied plans go dreadfully awry, however, and reacting Japanese air forces sink the Enterprise (her second trip to the bottom) and a CVL.

The Allies then turn their attention to the Central Pacific. Guam is secured by Marines, as is an undefended Marcus Island. Both provide progress of war hexes, B-29 hexes, and the air units which PBM to the spaces complete the net around Truk (which is now out of supply). In addition, marauding LRBs sink the Zuiho in Soerbaja and place that hex out of supply. The small garrison means it can now be taken at the Allies leisure.

The Marines come ashore at Medan as the Allies return to Borneo. An attempt to sink the Kongo in Bangka and open all of Sumatra to easy invasion goes badly for the Brits. It does have the effect of warning the Japanese that the Kongo is vulnerable, and she retreats to Singapore.

The Allies follow her to Malaya, invading Kuantan. Singapore is without land units and the Allies wish to keep it that way, so an air unit is quickly rushed into Kuantan. Further Allied forces are also shuttled forward to Mindanao and Borneo, preparing for further invasions.

The landings at Kuantan force the Kongo to retreat once again, along with most of the Japanese air and naval forces in the area, to Saigon. Borneo is devoid of air units, and should now be easy pickings.

By turn's end, the Japanese are still drawing 6 cards. But the DEI is mostly devoid of defenses at this point, save for scattered garrisons, and will be the focus of next turn in order to drive down the Japanese hand size.

Turn 7

The turn starts by taking Tarakan and Medan in unopposed invasions. To avoid ASP costs, An Australian army is deployed into Toleokbetoeng, from which it can use land movement to take Bangka and Palembang when convenient. In addition, An Allied Army has moved overland in Borneo over the course of two offensives to be adjacent to Balikpapan and ready for assault.

On the very next card, the Allies make good on their threats. The Aussies take Bangka and the Americans take Balikpapan.

At this point, the Manchuria card is played. The Allies have an FO tucked away that allows them to take a card from the discard pile. I am playing Manchuria early in the turn, hoping Stephen has Tojo and will play it after seeing the Manchuria card played. Stephen doesn't have the Tojo card, and the offensive is squandered in an attempt to whittle away the Saigon forces which results in far more Allied casualties than Japanese casualties.

The Allies next use a combination of an attack on Manila and a small Ops card (which prevents the Japanese from having enough movement to bring any forces from the Home Islands or SE Asia into the battle) to land forces on Luzon, capturing a vital airbase. Kamikazes show up for the first time and cause damage to the naval units accompanying the invasion, but overall it is a successful effort which ends with Manila out of supply.

The Brits get on the move again and, despite being slaughtered in the air battle, their land forces retake Rangoon. Meanwhile the Japanese move air units back to Manila to bring it back into supply. The Aussies take Palembang and the Marines take Singapore. The goal of reducing the japanese card draw has been achieved by turn's end, as they will br drawing only 4 cards.

The Japanese have now been split into three main groups. They have a small number of forces in the Phillipines. They have a force in SE Asia large enough to cause concern. And they have a well-defended Home Islands.

Turn 8

The Allies begin thinking about the end game.
  • If Tojo and Manchuria come out in the right order, winning by resource hex strangulation is virtually certain. The two Soviet hexes would fall, Manila could not possibly hold out against a determined Allied assualt, and Soerbaja is too far behind the lines to hold out longer than the Allies desire it to. But this is entirely dependent on card luck.
  • A B29 victory is definately possible, already the Allies have B29 bases. But this is dependent on dice luck.
  • This means the invasion of Japan must be contemplated.
The Phillipines forces are of little concern. The SE Asia forces are large enough to be a problem for at least one or two card plays, but their mere presence causes concern on every card play. The Brits are too far away to quickly take the SE Asian ports and airfield, and it is not clear that is advantageous anyway, since that would only cause those defenders to scamper back to Japan. And the air and naval defenses of the Home Islands are outnumbered on the board, but they have such a limited amount of space to defend that they are formidable.

The Allies now have a +3drm for air-naval battles, which must be taken advantage of.

So a two-part strategy is devised.
  • Any large Offensive cards will be used to launch massive assaults on the home islands to reduce the air units defending it, especially the irreplaceable units, with LRBs and CVEs smothering as much as possible.
  • The smaller cards will be used to take the Phillipines and cut SE Asia from supply. To do this the Allies will need to take Manila, Formosa, and Hanoi. Once out of supply, the Japanese units in SE Asia can be left to rot, or picked off one hex at a time as needed. Either way, they cannot influence the outcome of the game so long as they cannot move.
Unfortunately for Stephen, the allied card draw is near-perfect. Manchuria turns up in the hand. The Allies get an offensive with a 8 logistics value. And the Allies have cards that allow them to draw a card from the discard pile in their hand and tucked away as an FO. The 8 logistics card will be used twice to pummel the home islands, while the other cards will be used towards other goals.

The Allies start small. I want to see if I can draw out reaction cards before hitting Japan. Plus, I want to take a few easy progress of war hexes, so I can concentrate on other matters. The Marines take most of Malaya, and the Aussies take Soerbaja, putting me at 4 hexes after the first offensive.

The American then attack the home islands and land on Formosa. The result of the attack on the Home Islands is a draw, with a few Japanese air units destroyed against an Allied CVL destroyed and damaged.

At this point, the Japanese play ISR on the Allies. The Allies immediately end ISR, however, and draw the same offensive card from the discard pile to launch a second attack against the Home Islands, as well as taking the last open airbase on Formosa.

This attack is a much larger success. Attrition is high against smothering units, but the last remaining pre-war air units are eliminated. Over two cards, the Japanese have lost 80 factors of irreplaceable defense.

The Japanese launch an air attack against the Marines in Malaya, but air-naval combat is ineffective by both sides. The Manchuria card is played again, hoping to draw out Tojo while I still have a card up my sleeve that will allow me to take it out of the discard pile. Once again, Stephen does not have Tojo, but the offensive manages to capture Manila.

The Japanese follow up against the Marines in Malaya again. Despite being outnumbered, fighting in open terrain, and without any reaction forces to help them, the Marines are very Marine-like and repulse the Japanese.

By turn's end the Allied situation is fairly good. Only Hanoi and the surrounding hexes remain to be taken before the Japanese forces in SE Asia are out of supply. The Allies have all the resource hexes they need, in case Tojo & Manchuria come out. And the Japanese Home Island defenses have been drastically reduced.

The last Allied action is to take the SW Pacific HQ off-board. It will be re-deployed to Manila from which it can better assist allied ground units in SE Asia.

Turn 9

This turn I contemplate the invasion of Japan.

The plan this turn is:
  • Finish cutting SE Asia off from supply by taking Hanoi and moving the Chinese into positions blocking overland routes. This will eliminate all threat of reaction from the air and naval forces stationed there.
  • Continue the naval assault on the Home Island defenses.
  • As the last action of the turn, make landings at the empty (other than intrinsic garrisons) spaces of Ominato, Hakodate, and the open hex south of Ominato. (I plan this for the last action of the turn because I cannot stage air units to those hexes but I can place my newly-arrived units in those hexes.) The port at Ominato will allow me to move land units into Japan fairly freely, without ASP, and avoid other costly beach landings and their inherent progress of war implications. I can then slog it out on land from North to South until the Home Islands are subjugated.
The first step is taken with the first card and SE Asia is cut off. With the second card, a large American naval force attacks the Home Islands and at this point Stephen conceded, as he realizes he is left with little to do but absorb more hammer blows.


Nothing in this game has shaken my feeling that EoTS is a wonderful game. In fact, I was amazed at how differently this game played out than our previous game. Both of us discovered new tactics we hadn't yet employed, and the overall strategic sweep was very different.

The appearance of the Rochefort card and the resulting battle was the clear turning point. That card and the follow-up offensives eliminated the majority of Japanese naval power and allowed the Allies to rapidly switch from defense to offense earlier than either of us planned or expected.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Empire of the Sun (Dennis Menear)

This was the first ever attempt at EoTS. Dennis played the Allies, and I played the Japanese.

We started with 1941. As it turns out, I believe that allowing the Japanese to run their own first turn tends to unbalance the game a bit. Improved Allied play and some PW adjustments will probably eventually bring this back into balance, but in this case, the Japanese initial position was just too much to overcome.

Turn 1

The Pearl Harbor attack yeilds less than stellar results. IAI has significantly better luck. Hong Kong falls. FEAF is eliminated and the 19th LRB is reduced, while much of the Phillipines is taken in amphibious landings, including Mindanao. Force Z is damaged, but manages to limp back to Singapore. Wake, Guadalcanal, and Rabaul all fall into Japanese hands. The Japanese land forces in Borneo and Sumatra.

Turn 2

As 1942 dawns, the Japanese focus on eliminating all air and naval forces in the DEI, Malaya, Burma and Phillipines, to make their conquest more smooth. Coordinated attacks on air-naval targets at Singapore, Manila, and Borneo are coupled with landings on Borneo. Manila still possess limited air presence but Borneo is seized and Singapore is opened to Japanese ground forces.

The Allied naval froces raid into the Marshall islands, where they are met by the main Japanese carrier force. It does not go well for the Japanese and only the limited Allied naval stregnth prevents a total disaster.

A second Japanese offensive sees the last vestiges of Allied air power in Manila eliminated, the AVG eliminated in Rangoon, Japanese ground forces inside Rangoon and Soerbaja, and Japanese ground forces at the gates of Singapore.

A series of raids throughout the turn eliminates the Dutch air force, leaves the Dutch navy hanging by a thread, and places the Japanese army at the outskirts of Tjilitap.

Turn 3

The Japanese receive another infusion of good campaign cards, and set about completing their conquest of the DEI, Burma, Malaya, and the Phillipines.

The first Japanese offensive finishes off the Dutch navy, opening up Tjilitap for assault, and it quickly falls. Oilfields on New Guinea are seized, and only Manila and Palembang hold out, among the Japanese resource hexes.

Soon afterward, Singapore, Manila, and Palembang fall, after which the Japanese begin shuttling their forces into defensive positions on the perimiter of their empire, awaiting hammer blows from the US. Forces are moved forward to the Marshalls, and Tarawa is invaded.

The Allies begin to fight over Guadalcanal, but the Japanese forces are tenacious, and air and naval support is available to make the going rough.

An unfortunate battle in Rangoon eliminates most of the Allied land forces in Burma, and by turn's end, the country is conquered.

Turn 4

The Japanese have ceased outward expansion and are husbanding their resources for defensive purposes. Guadalcana remains the focus of Allied efforts, but an unfortunate result turns back their initial invasion, chewing up precious ASPs and denting their growing naval power.

The Allies attack Rangoon and completely eliminate the entire Japanese land force in Burma, leaving the gate to South East Asia wide open momentarily. Reinforcements are rushed from Korea and the home islands to Bangkok, where they will make a last stand. Luckily, the forbidding terrain will slow the Allied approach to the city and leave them vulnerable. Indeed, as their forces arrive at the outskirts of Bangkok, the Japanese counter-attack, all but wiping out the British navy in the process.

When the Allies finally reach Bangkok, both sides are too tired to fight effectively, and the battle is inconclusive, but leaves the Japanese in possession of the city, and leaves their forces mostly intact.

Turn 5

Allied Political Will is at +2 to start the turn.

The Allies turn their attention to Java, and attempt a landing at Soerbaja, which is roughly treated in an Air-Naval battle, and turned back. They find themselves without enough naval power in the area, and must shuttle some forward from rear bases.

Meanwhile, the Japanese begin to pull back the vulnerable outer edges of their empire to provide a garrison for crucial areas, such as Formosa.

Turn 6

Allied Political Will is at +1, having missed Progress of War in the previous turn. Japanese efforts will be focused on preventing progress. An offensive-cancelling card is safely tucked away as a "future offensive" and another is in this turn's hand, which should make things difficult for the Allies.

The Allies start the turn promisingly, taking Soerbaja. Attempts to take the remaining areas of Java are turned back, however, and offensive progress in the DEI stalls.

A follow-up attack on Bangkok yeilds similar inconclusive results on the ground. Bangkok remains in Japanese hands and the Allies lack the ground forces to press the attack.

At this point it is clear that the Allies will never make progress of war and they sue for peace.


This was a learning game for both of us, and we made many mistakes, strategically, tactially, and rules-wise. The Allied learning curve is clearly steeper, since they have to crack open the Japanese defenses and often don't have that much with which to do it. Coupled with the 1941 opening, which enables Japan to significantly improve on historical results, it was too much to accomplish. Both of us are looking forward to the rematch, which will be played using the 1942 start.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Empire of the Sun (Stephen Crane)

Playing the 1942 scenario with none of the v1.3 changes (they occurred after we started). This was my first completed Empire of the Sun game. I played the Allies.

We did make one pretty serious rules error in overlooking that it cost 1ASP per step for armies/corps, which I am certain benefitted me as the Allies.

Turn 2:

A heroic defense at Manila by MacArthur requires Japan to play 3 cards before the city falls, and even takes a CVL and land unit step with them before the dust settles. The Japanese advance to the gates of Singapore. Overall, however, MacArthur's defense has forced some serious delays in the Japanese timetable.

Turn 3:

US Army, Navy, and Air reinforcements go to Soerbaja to force the fight in the DEI on turn 3. Anzac also goes into Soerbaja. This turns out not to be a very good place for it, since it cannot activate Auusie units (who suffer attrition turn after turn) nor can it help out with activations in Malaya. Later in the game it relocates and becomes useful.

The US and British naval and air forces provide support in Singapore and the DEI. This includes two surprise raids into Borneo to decrease Japanese cruiser strength in the area (surprise event cards and 1Ops cards prove very effective for the Allies, prosecuting a war of early attriton). Even so, by turn's end, the Japanese have whittled the Brits and Americans to a skeletal force.

The Allies also use a surprise card to send the Marines and their small naval forces to take the lightly defended Kwajalein.

The War in Eurpoe is not going well, and is at level 2 at turn's end.

Turn 4:

Turn 4 starts with ISR afflicting both Allies and Japanese.

The Japanese take Singapore without much resistance. The allies attempt yet another Surprise attack in the DEI, but this time the Japanese are waiting and the Allied ships limp home with their tails between their legs. A subsequent Japanese Offensive all but eliminates Allied air and naval power in the region.

MacArthur steps in to end ISR for the Allies. The Allies use their new-found cooperation to land on Truk, which has no ground units, forcing the South Seas HQ off the map. The Japanese regroup at Saipan and shift gears. They begin setting up a defensive perimeter in the Philipines and Marianas.

The War in Europe returns to level 1.

Turn 5:

At this point the Japanese are only drawing 4 cards, having made very little progress capturing the DEI resource spaces.

ISR hits the Allies once again and will last the rest of the game. They are never again able to come to agreement.

The Allies take Rabaul, which has been mostly abandoned as the Japanese pulled back. A naval attack on Eniwetok convinces the Japanese to pull forces back and fight another day enabling the Allies to complete the conquest of the Marshalls.

While Doolittle raids Japan, the Japanese beef up their defensive peremiter in the Maraianas with an array of naval, ground, and air units. As the Allies get closer to the home islands, there are fewer spaces to defend and the ones that exist start to look pretty daunting.

Turn 6:

The Allies are hampered by ISR and garrisons on islands in the Marianas which cannot be taken by the Navy/Marines alone, making it impossible to make progress in that area. With large naval stacks in Saipan, Manila, and Ulithi, all within reaction range of each other, even the desire to fight a war of attrition is hampered by a lack of cooperating air units with sufficient range to launch smothering attacks, without undue risk of getting into a naval battle in which the odds will be highly against the Americans.

So the Allies turn their attention to SouthEast Asia and whatever else they can find. Rangoon is seized with massive losses on both sides. Saigon follows soon afterward. The American Army manages landings on Mindanao and Borneo, staying out of spotting range of Japanese aircraft in Manila and Miri since the navy is petulantly staying home.

Turn 7:

The outlook is mostly the same at the start of Turn 7 as it was in Turn 6. Direct confrontation being unwise, the Allies once again start taking what the defense is giving them.

Progress is made in Malaya, which falls back into British hands (or Indian hands, more accurately) and Hong Kong is re-taken. The American navy, still quietly sitting on its hands while the Army does most of the heavy lifting, launches a small surprise raid on the Marianas to sink the Yamato, and manages a bit of extra attrition through skip bombing and submarine attacks.

The War in Europe starts going in the Allies favor and is at level 0 by turn's end, though a Japanese raid on the Panama Canal means reinforcements are still delayed this turn.

Japanese ISR ends when the emperor steps in.

Turn 8:

Though the allied naval forces are growing in strength, the outlook remains the same as last turn, due to ISR. Nibbling around the edges and biding time are again the watchword for the allies. ANZAC is repositioned to Mindanao, and proves very effective in that location.

The British seize Formosa, Hanoi, and (mistakenly) Canton and Yungning (we forgot the garrison rule for these cities, ooops). The Brits on Formosa advance a bit too far and come within range of a hornet's nest of Japanese air units on the home islands. This lesson weakens allied resolve for a landing in Japan and they start looking for alternate ends to the war.

The Aussies make a landing on Luzon, the Marines take Marcus Island, and the Army advances overland (much more confortable for them), to take Tarakan.

An attempt by Army air units to attack the Japanese in Manila is dealt with harshly. The pilots grumble that "had the navy been around to help out, we might have had a chance." But such complaints fall on deaf ears.

Central Pacific HQ is removed so it can be relocated to the Marshalls, within range of Allied units in the Phillipines. Next turn, if ISR remains in effect, the Allies will need to start sacrificing CVEs and CVLs to smother Japanese forces if they hope to crack the shell. And to do that, they'll need more "oomph" than ANZAC can provide. (A card with 8 logistics for CPac is stashed away as Future Operations and Marine airwings have been diverted to the DEI, so they may stage to Leyte to smother Manila.)

Turn 9:

The B29s arrive and succeed in strategic bombing from Marcus Island. They are immediately reduced when the Japanese play the Tinian Air raid card.

Tojo resigns, but immediately the Soviets invade Manchuria. This is yet another link in a chain of luck for the Allies, who have drawn the Manchuria card on 4 successive turns, but used it for Ops in the previous 3 turns, hoping it will come back into their hand again in time to secure a resource space victory and avoid an invasion of Japan.

The Japanese are now down to 4 resource hexes: Manila may prove a difficult nut to crack, due to the carrier forces there and the supporting forces in the Marianas, and due to Allied ISR issues. Seoul is garrisoned with a Japanese 18-12 unit and is not ever going to be an easy target. Medan is empty and far behind Allied lines, just waiting for a spare Allied Op. And Miri is likewise behind allied lines, out of supply, though occupied by a 2-6. If the Allies can take Manila, it should be enough to insure victory.

The Aussies and Brits are used as sacraficial lambs in an invasion of Northern Luzon, designed to take the airfield (this will cut Manila off from supply and eliminate airfields into which air units in the home islands can stage). The Japanese make their special reaction, however, and the ground forces are sent packing with tails between legs. Once again, the absent Navy and Marines come in for much cursing.

The Navy and Marines demonstrate how it is done, and secure the Luzon airfield with the help of smothering attacks from the Marine airwing.

The Japanese, angered by the B29 bombings, attempt operations against Marcus island to finish off the reduced B29 unit there. The American navy gets word of their plan, however, and the newly-placed Central Pacific HQ sends a naval force which outnumbers the Japanese by almost 2-1. The result is in keeping with Allied luck throughout, and the Japanese force is decimated.

The Sapian naval force is now reduced to shell of its former self and the entire Japanese defensive position is unhinged. The allies unleash Operaion Flintlock to send 11 units into action. The forces at Manila and Ulithi are smothered, and the remaining units target the Japanese forces at Saipan and Palau. The results are bloody on both sides, but the Allies are able to absorb the losses, while the Japanese grip on the Maraianas, and their ability to help the Phillipines is diminishing.

Yet another Allied surprise card is used to eliminate all remaining Japanese air and naval forces from Manila before they are even able to respond, and the Marines follow up with an attack which eliminates the last remaining Japanese unit in the Phillipines and retakes Manila. Miri falls easily soon afterwards. And with no cards left, Medan is guaranteed to fall before turn's end, at which point the Japanese surrender.


The allies were highly lucky in this game throughout. The Japanese made very little progress early, for example Macarthur held out for 3 turns against all odds, and what progress they did make almost always came with some sort of casulaties which they could ill-afford. A generous supply of surprise cards were able to generate even more attrition and blunt Japanese efforts. The key battle of the game, at Marcus Island, went heavily in the allies favor and from there the game went in a fairly straight line in the Allies direction. And pulling the Manchuria card turn after turn until Tojo finally came out was a stroke of luck.

The PW was at +3 in the end. Had Manchuria not come out, the Allies were sweating an invasion of Japan. Enough ground losses in the invasion, and the game could have still swung to Japan at the very end.