Battle of Midway Review
sdpoulter last edited by
Here is my review of the game…
Objective: Score ten or twelve victory points depending on how many you wish to play to. Each carrier sunk is worth three points, battleships are worth three points, and cruisers are worth one point. The player controlling Japan’s forces can strike Midway Island and inflict up to five points of damage before it is rendered non-operational. The first player to ten or twelve victory points wins.
Setting: The Japanese Navy is sending a fleet to Midway Island for a pre-invasion assault. To the north are two Japanese task forces searching for the U.S. fleet. The U.S. fleets have not yet been found by Japanese reconnaissance.
Game Play: Without getting into too much detail, there are essentially five phases to the game. The first phase is the reconnaissance phase which is limited only to the player controlling Japan’s forces and enables the player, once per turn, to try and establish where the U.S. fleets are located by uncovering a task force card. The second phase consists of both players moving their aircraft two spaces. The third phase is ship movement which is one space. The fourth phase is the combat phase which consists of aircraft combat followed by ship combat if any exists. The fifth and final phase consists of the second movement of aircraft of up to two spaces, also called the recovery phase, in which planes in the same sector as a carrier may refuel.
Uniqueness: What makes Battle of Midway unique is twofold, first the fuel markers and then the ability to replenish aircraft, one fighter, one dive bomber, and one torpedo bomber, from the carrier every turn. The thing that makes these items unique is the logistics. The players only get four turns of fuel which equates to sixteen moves per aircraft before they run out of fuel and need to be in the same sector as a carrier for refueling. This makes planning bombing missions risky because the player needs to estimate their moves back to the carrier so as to not run out of fuel in the middle of the ocean. As for the reinforcement aircraft, three per turn per carrier, one needs to be mindful to leave room for those three aircraft when recovering aircraft that are out of fuel.
Game Aesthetics: The battle map is a color map made on a nylon surface, much like a sign or banner would be, which makes it durable and easy to roll up and fit in a tube. The best part about the map is the detail. There is an inlay of an actual battle chart with real notes from the actual battle of Midway, pictures of Japanese and U.S. forces, and a picture of Midway Island. On the left side is a column that reads, “Japanese Reinforcements”, underneath these words is the picture of a Japanese carrier. Below that is the picture of a Japanese officer and below that are the victory points with Japanese writing for the numbers and beneath each number is a picture of a U.S. plane reminiscent of the “kills” that were tallied on aircraft. On the right side is the same setup, picture of U.S. carrier, U.S. officer, and victory points with pictures of Japanese planes underneath.
Summary: In summary, the first person to ten or twelve victory points demonstrating the best use of logistical maneuvers wins the game.
Personal Experience: I thoroughly enjoyed playing Battle of Midway. I got the chance to play with a friend of mine at the demo given at PacifiCon on September 1st by the game designer Mike Kelley. I was the U.S. and had the ideology to strike fast and strike first. I attacked cruisers, quickly racking up five victory points, halfway to a win. My friend damaged Midway Island for one victory point. This became my fatal flaw and I would not realize the error of my ways until several turns later when attempting to bomb Japanese carriers that were now well protected by the IJN air force. Each turn my friend pumped out fifteen new aircraft to my nine. I was outnumbered six to one every turn and could not equalize the difference through combat losses. To play this game again I would strike the Japanese carriers earlier in the game to limit the production of new aircraft and also bring my fleets down to Midway to protect the island.
Pros: The versatility of the map is such that it can be used with the War at Sea miniatures and the regular Axis and Allies pieces.
Cons: The dive bombers and torpedo bombers are difficult to tell apart, they need to be more identifiable some way, maybe by color or something.
Great review of the game DFA. Thanks!
If guadalcanal played this way without the dice battle box, I think it would be a lot more popular. Battle of midway is everything you would want out of Guad. Simple movements and combat resolves quite simply, roll a 1 and attacker chooses casualty, roll a 2 and defender picks. Great game.