My Initial Lessons Learned on Guadalcanal



  • Played my first face-to-face Guadalcanal game tonight. I lost in Turn 4 as the US player due to a failed effort to take New Georgia, I think. Here are some lessons I learned and wondered if I missed anything else:

    • Don’t ship a bunch of US supplies up to New Georgia until the results of the amphibious assault is determined. The US practically gave the Japanese the supplies to build an extra airfield and get an early lead on victory points

    • If bombers and support fighters are going to assist in the amphibious assault, keep them in the same sector as your own fleet for the extra AA power. I practically lost my whole air fleet by trying to take out his ships in a sector that he, as the second player just converged over 8 fighter squadrons.

    • Seems like the tide of this game can be determined pretty early by the failure or success of taking New Georgia.

    • Still need to figure out submarine attacks and hits. Something doesn’t feel quite right. How many dice do you need to sink a sub? Will one die roll of a “1” or “2” just walk up the box side until it reached “Submarine”?


  • Official Q&A

    @Cobalt:

    How many dice do you need to sink a sub?

    Only one, if the sub is alone.

    @Cobalt:

    Will one die roll of a “1” or “2” just walk up the box side until it reached “Submarine”?

    Yes.  If you hit a unit type that isn’t there, you read the chart from the beginning until you reach something that is there and apply the hit to that.  The effect is that destroyers, cruisers and battleships protect carriers, transports and subs by soaking up “unassigned” hits and only allowing direct hits to get past them if there are enough attack dice to reach past them on the chart.  Any ship that is alone has no screen, and any hit goes directly to it.


  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    @Cobalt:

    • Don’t ship a bunch of US supplies up to New Georgia until the results of the amphibious assault is determined. The US practically gave the Japanese the supplies to build an extra airfield and get an early lead on victory points

    You can build the airfield even if you don’t control the island and score the points for it yourself. You do need to maintain land units on the island though.

    • If bombers and support fighters are going to assist in the amphibious assault, keep them in the same sector as your own fleet for the extra AA power. I practically lost my whole air fleet by trying to take out his ships in a sector that he, as the second player just converged over 8 fighter squadrons.

    A tricky part of this one is figuring out or remembering where the guy who moves LAST is going to go or finding a way to make him move where you are prepared to meet them.

    Fighters in this one are fragile. Unlike Revised where planes can fight the whole game the life expectancy of aircraft is about half a turn after they’ve moved from the base cards to a carrier or air base on the board.

    I buy fighters more than infantry in this one.

    • Seems like the tide of this game can be determined pretty early by the failure or success of taking New Georgia.

    Got to go with ‘depends’ on this. I don’t know that that is untrue but I’ve won games never setting foot on New Georgia.



  • Well, lets add to your list of lessons.

    First lesson, you almost certainly have a set of cruisers that don’t match the silohettes <sp?>on the game cards (the jap cruisers are green and the 'mericans are orange).  Wizards has an exceptional record for providing replacement cruisers at your request.  I got mine in about a week.

    Lesson number two, the reinforcements in the printed rules are half the number they should be.  Each player gets ten points plus four for each controlled island.

    Lesson number three, forget New Georgia on turn number one.  Take Santa Isabel, Malaita and Guadalcanal on the first turn.  This requires an all out effort, but it is well within reach of the US player.

    Lesson number four, don’t send aircraft alone to tackle a substantial fleet unless you are desperate for Victory Points.

    Lesson number five, escort your transports with destroyers.  Don’t load destroyers unless you have no choice.  Destroyers take any undesignated hits in the battle box.  Statistical analysis shows this becomes very expensive when you have loaded destroyers.

    Lesson number six, send plenty of fighters to escort and protect your bombers.  Fighters sacrifice themselves for bombers just as destroyers sacrifice themselves for the fleet.

    I wish you many seasons of pleasure with the game.  My son loves his.  Painting the ships and soldiers is very rewarding as well.  Good Luck.</sp?>



  • Thanks for all the feedback from the Axis & Allies Guadalcanal veterans out there! I look forward to trying game #5 soon.


  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    Dinosaur makes a good point about the reinforcement scheme (base ten and four per controlled island)  and the rest of his lessons are also valid in my experience.


  • Official Q&A

    @dinosaur:

    Lesson number two, the reinforcements in the printed rules are half the number they should be.  Each player gets ten points plus four for each controlled island.

    Thanks, Dinosaur!  I can’t believe I forgot to mention this!  :oops:

    This erratum and lots more useful information can be found in the FAQ.



  • Yeah, I found the great articles on the Guadalcanal game at the Wizards website and we did play with the 10 reinforcement errata.

    I haven’t noticed any problems with my crusiers. I’m not a historical miniatures purist so as long as they are the right color, a little bit bigger than a destroyer, but smaller than a battleship … I’m good to go.



  • Try playing it with no VP’s… first one to control all 6 island wins… it becomes quite the battle.  😉


  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    @Cobalt:

    I haven’t noticed any problems with my crusiders. I’m not a historical miniatures purist so as long as they are the right color, a little bit bigger than a destroyer, but smaller than a battleship … I’m good to go.

    Compare them to the silouhettes on the cue cards and you’ll see the descrepancy. They do work even if they are wrong.



  • I will have to put Guadalcanal A&A on my christmas list. The game sounds awesome. How would you all rank the game compared to other A&A games?



  • I would rather have A&AR but AAG would be my second choice.  It is a very different game from AAR because of its scale, though.


  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    @ABWorsham:

    I will have to put Guadalcanal A&A on my christmas list. The game sounds awesome. How would you all rank the game compared to other A&A games?

    Missed this one.

    I would put it second. My personal prefs are:

    1)Battle of the Bulge
    2)Guadalcanal
    3)Revised
    4)Pacific
    5)Europe
    6)D-Day


  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    While I can’t argue Timerover’s history qualms, I do think the game is fun.

    Players alternate moving a particular type of unit giving the game a fast pace and forcing a different thinking into planning your moves. What would be a good analogy?

    Any golfers in the readership? It is sort of like golf. You have to think of it in a sort of “If this goes wrong where do I NOT want to be?” It is as much about being sure not to be out of position as it is to be in position. It is the most Zen of the games.



  • @frimmel:

    @ABWorsham:

    I will have to put Guadalcanal A&A on my christmas list. The game sounds awesome. How would you all rank the game compared to other A&A games?

    Missed this one.

    I would put it second. My personal prefs are:

    1)Battle of the Bulge
    2)Guadalcanal
    3)Revised
    4)Pacific
    5)Europe
    6)D-Day

    I would actually say:

    1.  Guadalcanal
    2.  Pacific
    3.  Bulge
    4.  Europe
    5.  Revised
    6.  D-Day



  • Granted, I’ve only played the game twice so far, and both times I was the Japanese, but I thought having “forward” airfields on the islands of Santa Isabel and New Georgia would help to “assert air superiority” closer to the islands of Guadalcanal and Malaita.  If it is a good idea to build airstrips on those islands, it must only be a good idea late in the game, because both times on turn one I built a forward airbase, once on Santa Isabel and once on New Georgia and loaded them down with infantry and artillery and some AA Guns ASAP and both times they proved to benefit the US more than the Japanese.

    I could not hold them and managed to do nothing more than give away perfectly good airfields that I couldn’t take back or damage. And the one turn that I did manage to land any of my own aircraft on either of them, they proved to be no kind of threat to the US forward positions.

    So I’m guessing after only two  :roll: games and not having read a lot about the other strategies of the game yet, that its better to build your first airstrip on Bougainville and your next airstrip on Choiseul and than fight for the other islands and concentrate on taking or damaging the US airstrips somehow while looking for opportunities to take out their capital ships.

    cool fun game though!



  • I believe building an airfield on Santa Isabel is too ambitious.  I like to build an airfield on New Georgia on turn 1, and I would think you should be able to hold it.  My biggest problem is that I don’t have tough competition to evaluate the different options.  However, I am beginning to think Japan can win with an aggressive building strategy and using subs if the US gets too close with their carriers.



  • You could try and do with the Japanese did historically, and that was to build on Bougainville first, and then on New Georgia.  They did establish a small floatplane base on Santa Isabel, but never built any airstrips on Choiseul, Santa Isabel, or Malaita.  Having been there, there is really no place on those islands for air strips, without massive amounts of earth-moving and first buiilding a harbor to put supplies ashore, and then somehow building some sort of road net.  The Japanese did a lot of their airfield building by hand, with a minimum of mechanical equipment.


  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    The US has to take Santa Isabel, Malatia and evict the remaining Japanese from Guadalcanal on turn one. They have to get even on reinforcement points.

    I think the Japanese are better off on turn 1 being in a position to contest New Georgia if necessary, they can get enough together to make it unattractive to the US, but moving the supplies back to build an additional airfield on the island they start with an airfield on. (Map is fuzzy in my head for some reason today.)

    The game is short and both sides must move fast but at the same time remember they can’t win it on turn one. IMO.


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