Guadalcanal first impressions



  • I got my copy today like many others. Sooo cool at first glance. The components do seems to be a better quality than some of the previous A&A games. I will not be able to play with an opponent until Sunday but overall I am impressed. Of course the Cruiser situation is bad but, I emailed AH and I hope they respond quickly to send me correct ones. What has been your first impressions? What’s your first game been like? Anyone missing any other pieces?



  • Hi

    I have had my first game, and my opening statemet is “wow”. This is a really good variant, and if anyone hasn’t bought one yet, i would highly recommend it.
    I won’t talk about tactics too much, as you will all find your own in your own games. However, USA by the end of go 2, should own 2 full islands and be prearing for a push on the third!
    Set up is really easy and takes just 10 minutes. There is no IPC money to worry about. The layout is simple and learning time is a couple of reads of the rulebook and a first game to run through whilst using the rulebook.
    What i do like is the size of the sea zones. You can have a large fleet in a zone and it fits easily. A&A Pacific was too crowded and at times you had to use markers which i didn’t like. With this game you can see all units on the board all the time. I also like the way you move a type of unit then your opponent does. This is a great idea. How many times have you played someone at Pacific, who spends ages moving ships about and then doesn’t want to do that move so you have to try to remember all the zones they moved from so you can put all the units back! When you move one type of unit at a time, this situation doesn’t occur. Also, planes move a set amount, then a set amount at the end of each turn. This is great because you don’t have to remember how many moves a plane has left, as you have to do in other A&A’s.
    There are no amphibious assaults to worry about. Land units don’t move unless you load or unload them. Axis and allies can occupy the same island. Art can fire on ships, and ships can fire on airfields. These ideas were all winners for me. It adds such a twist to the game, and gives you alot more variant to gameplay. I would describe this version of A&A as a complicated game of chess, with endless moves.
    At the end of go 2, we discussed the previous turn. I had a USA fleet but the japs sent a bomber to it. I then sent 4 fighters to intercept the bomber from carriers from another sea zone. The japs then sent 6 fighters to escort the bomber. I lost all 4 fighters, but the japs lost 1 bomber and 3 fighters. Their 4 fighters left did no damage on my fleet, so to intercept them in the air was the right thing to do. However, after this move, we realised that the japs should have ignored my fighters and gone for my carriers instead as they were only escorted by 2 destroyers, a cruiser, a sub and 2 transports. Then we discussed other ways the move could have gone. In the end we could have honestly had 10 or 12 different moves on that go. This is what i mean when i say this game has so many variants. Because of that i am sure this game could keep you occupied for a long time. I am a big fan of other A&A’s but unless you play variant rules i generally find my games can be a bit the same (e.g World version - if Japs build 2 factories on the mainland and churn out 6 tanks a go, generally it is over for the allies). As far as Gualdacanal goes, i can’t see an agreed way of winning yet. (We didn’t finish our game. We had a few moves each to discuss, learn the rules etc).
    I think the cost of the units, and the amount of points you earn to buy units is well balanced. Both sides think they can win, even after a few goes. The war can still swing any way depending on strategy.
    On that point i think this is a far more strategic game. Because battles are not done where basically one wipes the other out, or the attacker withdraws, you can have opposing sea units in the same zone for go after go. And the same for land units.
    The battle box idea is good. No more turning over the lid to use as a box to throw the dice in. No more dropping the dice either. It is simple to use, and by throwing a 1 the attacker can choose the casualty. This is really handy especially if you are targeting 2 transports and one has cargo……
    You have to return damaged ships to base for repair and pay a supply token to repair them. This is better as Battlehsips that sustained damage in a battle, don’t miracuously repair themselves at sea. You force an opponent to send the ship back for repairs, so it is out of the game for a move or 2. Also, subs are more important. They are quite cheap, but with subs you get to choose your target. Handy if you see a carrier, and it’s planes wouldn’t be able to land if you sunk the carrier…
    With this game you also get proper storage space in the box for all the components. The board itself is very high quality. My only quible is that could have put more grey discs in the box, and fighters. Fighters rule the game for me. Also, subs are more important than you may first think…eg. one idea is to get a pack of subs toegther and move fighers over thm to protect them on the air attack phase. The subs can then target certain ships in a fleet. This is just another another way to play, but may be worth a try.
    With A&A Bulge i found as the USA that i had too many supply tokens. This game is balanced more. You have to balance new units with buying supply tokens. They are cheap but you don’t get many points to buy things. My advice for the first couple of goes, is protect what you have and invest in some supply tokens.
    In all this game is a winner for me. I have played A&A since i was a kid. I was disappointed with D-Day and the Bulge, but they have got a winner in this game for me. The VP’s are easy to add up. You don’t have to spend time counting land zones to see if your IPC’s are right. Quickly you can work out what you have to spend. Whether you win, depends on your purchases, strategy and a bit of luck with the battle box. Sounds obvious i am sure, but when you play, you will see what i mean.
    The rules are good, but i did find that some were not clear. I have asked for clarity on these in another posting. For example, AA guns are in the game, but not mentioned in the rule book. Of course you could say that you use AA guns as in other games, but if this is your first purchase, you wouldn’t know that and may struggle to understand when you use AA guns.
    I am playing again very soon, and can’t wait.

    Hope you find this posting useful.

    Thanks.



  • I agree. The game is excellent. Only played once but, I am already feeling that it is better than D-Day and BOTB. I loved the game I played, even though I was the Japs and lost! It seems balanced and I love the combat system! I think for the most part with maybe a few adjustments this combat system should be used for all A&A in the future. The back in forth movenment as well is really fun because it keeps everyone in the game.



  • Have been able to play 3 times now and love this game! I find it weird that there is not a lot of discussion about this new addition to the A&A family. Is anyone playing? What do you think about this great game or does anyone not like it?


  • 2017 2016 2015 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    i have 4 copies but haven’t played it yet.

    i will in 8 days however.


  • Official Answers 2007 AAR League

    My local game shop can’t get my set in. His distributor has fouled the whole thing up. I really want to play and I really want to participate in all of these discussions but until I can get some games in I’d be talking out my woo ha.  :x

    And I do enough of that already.  :lol:


  • Official Answers 2007 AAR League

    Okay my set came in and I didn’t get to do much more than open it and check the pieces with the inventory in the rulebook.

    Box is the same as the other sets except for graphics.

    NO MISSING PIECES. I had what the part inventory said I should have.

    Granted I didn’t count the BOTB or D-Day sets out to see if they had all the pieces the box says they had. I never thought because there weren’t enough pieces for every spot on the reinforcement charts I was shorted pieces. That is not to say I wasn’t but the point is I didn’t check. But this set had what it said I should have.  🙂

    I hate the tray. It has good points like the board sort of snaps in, making the board a sort of lid. And there is one unlike in Revised and D-Day. It does not have enough spaces and it has these indentations in the spaces giving each space two levels which I think is going to prove awkward.  I prefer the nine space deal in the Bulge set. 😞

    Great board very shiny and lively looking.  🙂

    Heavy stock on the ref. charts, islands, and various tokens. Good graphics. Very good.  8-)

    Battlebox/Dicebox too soon to tell. It does seem sturdy enough and like it will hold up. 😐

    Rulebook has lots of color this time around and seems very clear (although I haven’t finished reading it.)  🙂

    That’s it so far.  😐

    Now I got to get a game in which will be tough before the holidays.  😞



  • I have played the game now and the instructions are not clear on one thing.

    Do you only pay supply to move ships from the cards during deployment or do you also pay during movement as well?  I only noted you pay during deployment.

    Also, when fighters and bombers are attacking one another, do you add the ship anti air values or do you have a pure air combat first?

    Thanks

    Commander Hara



  • Frimmel, I think you will enjoy the battlebox. It is won the best things about this new game. I hope you get to play soon because I think you will also like the back and forth play that Guadalcanal gives you.

    Commander Hara, to move you units from the base card you can pay supplies during deployment or move them up doing the move phase. I hope this helps and you enjoy the game! That was something I did wrong the first time I played too. It is a little unclear in the rule book.


  • Official Answers

    @Commander:

    Do you only pay supply to move ships from the cards during deployment or do you also pay during movement as well?  I only noted you pay during deployment.

    You only pay supplies to move ships during Deployment.  During the Movement phase they move for free.  Basically, paying to move them during Deployment just gets them to the front faster.

    @Commander:

    Also, when fighters and bombers are attacking one another, do you add the ship anti air values or do you have a pure air combat first?

    Everything that attacks air units, including AA guns, ships and other air units, attacks them together at the same time.


  • Official Answers 2007 AAR League

    @Admiral_Thrawn:

    Frimmel, I think you will enjoy the battlebox. It is won the best things about this new game. I hope you get to play soon because I think you will also like the back and forth play that Guadalcanal gives you.

    I’m certainly excited about the way movement works. The one player moves their units of x type and the other player counters is very attractive to me.  🙂

    The combat system isn’t really blowing my skirts up so to speak.  😞 I haven’t played yet but it seems the random part is only that you get a chance to hit the more valuable piece instead of it having to go onto the less valuable piece.

    That “no hit doesn’t hit” part feels like the traditional system pretending it is a random system.  😐

    2 FTRs on a FTR and BOM in this system getting two hits destoys both if I understand the system correctly. But in the BOTB system it might be just a FTR, just a BOM or both that get hit.

    One hit has a chance at the BOM where in the traditional system it doesn’t but it does in the BOTB system too.

    I think that “no hit doesn’t hit” takes away the part where a battle can not go as calculated even if you were really lucky and the dice did come up better than the average calculated for hits like in BOTB. I once had five hits on one unit in BOTB and two units were able to hold the ground. That is “random” to me.

    But I won’t know till I get a chance to play. And it still looks like loads of fun.  🙂



  • I might partial agree with you. I think the combat system works great but, maybe could benefit from the lack of “no hit doesn’t hit”. Sometimes it seems like when you have an air battle all your planes die most of the time. It would cut back a little if it was a little more BOTB like. The way that" some hits don’t hit". Easily fixed with house rules.



  • After playing several times I prefer to play with out the victory points. It of course takes longer to finish a game but feels more statisfying to win. I just play without getting points but to just conquer the islands until they are all captured or my opponent capitulates. Has anyone else played this way?



  • I am working on a game right now just to see how long a non VP game takes.
    The US won via VP’s 15-13 but I kept going. The game board looked more like a draw then a US victory. US held three islands and Japan held three islands and both navies were still able to carry on the fight, in fact the Japanese were about to land troops on New Georgia to try to retake it.

    Seems like the VP game is real short, I also have not been able to damage an air field yet in order to slow down the VP rush.

    On the other hand I am really fond of this game, it seems evenly matched depending on your purchases and deployment. Battles go back and forth and the first airbattle we tried opened eveyone’s eyes, its dangerous to be a pilot in the south pacific!

    I kind of like the battlebox and am going to try it with AAP, substituting the aa gun for armor.

    On the other hand while “no hit doesn’t hit” might work well, often in combat your weapons are aimed at something and often hit something else. In the pacific spreds of torpedoes were fired at ship A only to miss and hit ship B and sometimes even ship C. When I was a USMC tanker most of the time I hit (or missed cleanly) what I aimed at but sometimes I hit other things and many times I had to “spray and prey” as they call it. I could see how you could fire at an enemy tank but instead kill the enemy troops nearby…enough of my early 90’s “war” stories.



  • My son and I are just playing our second game today.  Yesterday’s game was called on account of cluelessness.  We played several things the wrong way.  Unfortunately, I blame this on the rulebook not being fully developed with playing examples and situations that will certainly occur not even being mentioned in the rules.

    I think this is a quality game.  The appearance that a game will proceed quickly once we understand the rules is a plus because I couldn’t get him to stick with a full game of AAR.  I received only one red chip, not the ten indicated in the rulebook inventory.  I think the cruisers are too close to the size of a battleship, but that is because the destroyers are much too big to begin with.  Downsizing cruisers and destroyers would improve the game for me.  I also think more fighter aircraft need to be included because when you deploy a carrier, you want to place two aircraft pieces on the carrier, not an airplane and a chip.  Then you need at least six additional fighters, one for each airfield you are likely to use (I think realistically controlling five might be the max that ever happens in a VP game).  I really love the battlebox.  I hated the situation where an opponent selected his infantry and empty transports.  This system is a nice balance between randomness and focus.  I always thought, especially in sea battles, that a player should have a chance to focus on particular ships.  It also creates the right feeling of making escort ships relevent.  There is good reason to have plenty of destroyers to pick up the random hit nto assigned to a missing battleship, or transport.  It also gives a player a chance to hit the loaded transports which I find more satisfying from a realism perspective.

    My son is rather timid and as the Americans has not made much of a fight.  Unfortunately, my forces will build up (4 islands to 2 islands) and he will see they need to act with more purpose early.  Studying the game, though, I see that it will be difficult for the Japanese to hold four islands through two turns.  It appears to me the US will easily capture all of Guadalcanal and Melita on turn 1 and could build an airfield on Melita on turn 1 if they dare.  Turn 2 will often see Santa Isabel fall to the Americans, unless the Japanese protect her too much, when New Gerogia will fall to the Americans instead.

    The arrangement of the sea zones presents problems for the defender.  There are just too many ways for an agressor to make progress and little opportunity for the defender to block him.  This then appears to lead to a massive naval battle when niether side wants to make such a gamble.  This really captures the feeling of tension and importance Guadalcanal represented to the Pacific war.  Many folks heard about the Battle of Midway and know it was a turning point in the war.  But few understand the significance of Guadalcanal as the Marine Corps victory that accomplished the same thing in the island campaigns.

    I’d have liked some changes to the ships, and a few more fighters, but I give this game two big thumbs up!


  • Official Answers

    You could always contact AH Customer Service to get your missing red chips.  Alternatively, you could buy a copy of Battle of the Bulge (which I’m sure you’d enjoy), and use the red chips from it, since they don’t get used anyway.



  • or raid a Yahtzee  game  :lol:


  • Official Answers 2007 AAR League

    Early Impression after my first two games.

    The battlebox is loud and the twelfth die doesn’t always settle into the neck.

    Air units don’t live long.

    Subs are cool if they sink things otherwise you are better off with a destroyer for 1 more IMO. Although if your opponent is still in Revised thinking they might send aircraft after them when the planes would be better off somewhere else. 🙂

    The game shouldn’t be long enough to worry about getting some sort of shuck-shuck going from your base card to the front. It is two turns from the slot (szH) or (SZI) back to base and 2 points for a supply to deploy to board or three turns back to board without the supply and unless the fight is at Guadalcanal or Malaita that is too slow. It is 2 points for a new TRN. If you want to get land units from the base to the front you will need more TRNs or DST along with the additional land units.


  • Official Answers

    @frimmel:

    The battlebox is loud and the twelfth die doesn’t always settle into the neck.

    You could always try my battle strip.


  • Official Answers 2007 AAR League

    @Krieghund:

    @frimmel:

    The battlebox is loud and the twelfth die doesn’t always settle into the neck.

    You could always try my battle strip.

    I caught that the other day. It is pretty slick. Did you make up the dice order from Chessex special or was it a standard thing they do?


  • Official Answers

    It was a custom order.  I don’t remember the exact cost, since I ordered some other stuff with them, but I think it was around $3 per set of twelve plus shipping.


  • Official Answers 2007 AAR League

    Could you post the file you used to print the strip?  🙂

    The forum allows several file types to be attached to a post. Size limit is 256 KB.

    Pretty Please.  🙂

    I’m not quite ready to punt on the battlebox but I did miss handling dice and I didn’t get to use my cool- Yoper Special Dice Tower.



  • I too have had problems with the battlebox.  I find frequently the 11th-12th dice don’t always settle properly.  Also on a couple of occassions when shaking the box the sleeve has opened and a few of the dice flew out knocking units around the board.

    I like the “battle strip” idea…I may give that or something similar a try.  Can the same results (probability) be achieved with fewer dice (i.e six)?

    Great info being shared in these forums; Thanks.


  • Official Answers

    @frimmel:

    Could you post the file you used to print the strip?  🙂

    I’ll probably post it on BGG this weekend, along with instructions.



  • Rolling the die in the box is a little noisey but, so can rolling on a table. Plus the dice don’t fall off the table! I love the battle box!!! 😄


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