Last week boardgamer Pat - my old mate in Japan - and I caught up for a game of the Avalon Hill classic, Midway. We played two sessions live over VASSAL, using messenger for the audio chat. We finished the game in about five hours all told.
It was most enjoyable. Not just for the game, but also to catch up with an old friend. Given I still feel like 1998 was only a couple of years ago, it had never really struck me that Pat and I have been gaming buddies for well over a decade now, but it's true.
For those who do not know Midway the game, it is a square-gridded board, hidden movement, 'battleships'-esque search mechanism, separate battleboard treat.
Pat and I had played this a few years ago with me as the Americans, so this time I took the Japanese. I was a bit of a nerd about it, and did some pre-planning. How was I going to go about the project of taking Midway and destroying the American carriers? I pondered.
All that pondering seemed it would count for nought though as Pat found my main force early on. It looked like it could be a long short game, but fortunately for me a bit of skullduggery threw Pat off the scent, and by several spots of luck, and an outlandishly good guess, next time we found each other I had superior numbers of aircraft to call on. With Enterprise and Hornet too far away to be of assistance, Yorktown was sent to the bottom. In the return strike Kaga was hit yet stayed afloat. Yorktown's surviving aviators, having nowhere left to land, were forced to ditch into the Pacific.
Japan now massed its forces and pressed on towards Midway itself. Pat hit the invasion force's transports (symbolised on-table by the Akagi) hard, but not before we had got a strike in on Midway, destroying its planes on the ground. In the scramble thereafter, Pat attempted to ready his returning planes to finish off the transports and prevent a successful invasion, but we were able to find him first, and a raid of all the planes we had in the theatre fell upon Enterprise and Hornet, catching them with aircraft on the flight decks.
Despite the heroic efforts of the US sailors and airmen, both carriers were sunk, and the Japanese won the day.
|American fleet spotted from Midway.|
The final result may have appeared decisive, but we had a lot of very good luck. It could have gone either way, and the game was tense throughout.
It was a lot of fun to play with Pat again, and we're going to give it another go soon.