The board consists of a large Guadalcanal map surrounded by ocean with Savo, Florida and Tulagi Island to the north. The Americans land on Florida, Tulagi and Guadalcanal on the first turn in the D-Day style. The Japanese begin with a small force on the northern islands and a slightly larger force on Guad. At the end of the first turn (of every game) the Americans capture the airfield (Henderson Field) and use it as their "capital" for the remainder of the game. The Japanese "capital" is on the southern half of the island. It represents a general Japanese HQ. Both sides receive reinforcements on a designated area of the island. The Japanese on the south western side and the US on the northern side. You purchase your units based on the value of the territories you control. However, these must be shipped to your designated landing area and can be intercepted by the opposing sides' warships.
The game lasts 14 turns representing approximately 15 days per turn. (that's about the length of time the campaign really lasted Aug '42-Feb '43). Every turn incorporates land combat. Every even turn (2, 4, 6, etc.) also includes naval combat. The spacing out of the naval combat represents the larger naval battles. Historically, most of the major naval battles (Savo Island, Cape Esperance, Tassafronga) were over by November, but I thought this would be a little better in keeping with the spirit of the game. The outcome of the naval battles will affect the amount of forces you can wield on land.
Each side also has supply tokens located at Henderson for the US, and on the eastern beaches for Japan. Notice that the Japanese supply base and HQ are in two different places. Well, you've heard of the Tokyo Express, they had to occasionally float their supplies onto the beaches as the only way to get them ashore. This is trying to recreate the difficulty of having your supplies sneaked in under cover of night.
The biggest attraction to this game is the Victory Condition. Since the Japanese historically had enough forces to defeat the Americans and retake Guadalcanal (granted it was a slim chance it was still doable with a powerful naval victory or two), I decided that the reliable victory condition of "holding off the enemy long enough to win the game NOT the battle" was unecessary. Now the object for both sides is to capture the enemy's HQ. This means that both sides strategy is revolving around three things: Capture Enemy's HQ, keep in supply, and control the seas. It's a much more balanced scenario than one side trying to hang on by a toenail to win the game rather than destroying the enemy. Not that I don't love A&A: Pacific!
The gameplay should be very entertaining. I envision hexes. Clear, jungle, mountain, and water. Each will affect your units differently. The combat system should remain the same. Purchasing units should also remain the same. However, the Japanese player is not allowed to have aircraft on Guadalcanal itself. It can still buy aircraft, but these must be placed offboard and used only in conjunction with the naval battles. They can still attack on land. This is supposed to represent the US capture of Henderson Field and the Japanese having to rely on carriers and the aerodrome at Rabaul.
All in all it's a great mixture of ground attrition and naval combat, with the occasional carrier skirmish thrown in. I really hope I didn't bore you with my musing but I just had to tell someone!
oh and ps.
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