The game ended saw me manage to lose Yorktown, Enterprise, Hornet, Vincennes, Pensacola and Atlanta while trying to defend Midway Island against a massive concentration of Japanese vessels (and AA factors) cunningly marshalled by boardgame mate Pat in Avalon Hill's Midway. Despite these devastating losses the Japanese troop carriers were destroyed, about ten cruisers were sunk, and Midway held onto to give the US a narrow points victory.
|Chikuma, Kaga, Atago and Hosho under attack by American planes from Hornet and Midway.|
|The end of the Hornet. Already damaged, she and her support vessels could not hold off the Japanese attack.|
It was a tense and exciting game and although we (the USN, that is) launched about four air strikes over the duration, we could sink only the weakest Japanese carrier due to the massive AA factors in Pat's carefully aligned defensive walls and the way that both players deployed fighter aircraft.
There were interesting tactics on both sides. Pat held back to assemble his forces into an almost unassailable mass but did not get near to Midway until the penultimate day of play, which meant he did not have quite enough time to reduce Midway's defenses and invade.
I also held back (mainly because I'd surprised Pat with a very fast and very early advance in our first game and did not want to reprise those same tactics), focusing on staying hidden and out of range of his main force and picking off isolated Japanese cruisers sent forward on reconnaissance. This came back to haunt me though: I wasted a number of precious torpedo bombers in attacks against low-value targets when using overwhelming numbers of dive bombers instead would have seen no losses at all. When it came time for the attack on the main force those torpedo bombers were badly missed. I did not have the flexibility in attack angles I needed to defeat the arrangement of AA defences protecting his main carriers. As a consequence, I felt able to only strike at the periphery of his force, hitting mainly cruisers and light cruisers.
Pat had no such issues, and after sinking Enterprise and Yorktown in two superbly executed attacks using excellent angles and overwhelming numbers, we lost the plane carrying capacity to seriously threaten his carriers and had to fight accordingly.
A very fun game!
As for the beginning, the game is GMT's Great Battles of Alexander, and the scenario is Granicus. As a newcomer to the system (even though I've had the game since about 1995), distance boardgame mate Andrea kindly offered me the job of King of Macedon. It's going to be a challenging fight.
|Andrea has already begun pulling some troops back from the river and marching the hoplites forward.|
I'm so used to playing grand-tactical ancient battles on square grids that it's taking me a while to get used to the peculiarities of a hex grid (zig-zag movement paths, etc) again. No doubt I'll get over it quickly!