OK, Baron, so it sounds like you’re only proposing to move the Hawaii battle group to Midway (and add 1 ftr), without moving the San Francisco BB. I still say that the battle you’re proposing sounds like a lot of fun and very thematic, but it seems to me that any serious Japan player would choose to send the full fleet of 1 SS, 1 DD, 1 CA, 1 CV, 1 BB, 3 ftr, 1 bmr – not just the more limited fleet you propose of 1 SS, 1 DD, 1 CA, 1 BB, 1 ftr, 1 bmr. Japan has no special need to take the island of Midway on J1.
Can we block off the Japanese BB + CV so that they can’t reach the Midway battle on J1? Maybe that Canadian Pacific fleet you mentioned could be in position to move to Wake Island or something, so they have a choice of either screening the US fleet or reinforcing the US fleet. I worry that the Canadians would have to block two separate sea zones, though, which is rarely cost-effective.
What if we…
(1) Move entire Hawaii naval group to Midway
(2) Add 1 British fighter (bid) in Western Canada
(3) Move the San Francisco battleship to Midway (max total Midway fleet: 1 SS, 1 DD, 1 CV, 1 BB, 2 ftr)
(4) Move Caroline Islands carrier group back to Philippines, and
(5) Add 1 Russian bomber to Moscow.
That would allow a max Japanese attack of 1 SS, 1 DD, 1 BB, 2 ftr, 1 bmr, which is pretty much a 50-50 battle! If the UK does not reinforce with the bid fighter, then Japan has 85% odds to win the Battle of Midway, but not much is likely to survive past the bomber and battleship, and the USA can counter-attack with 1 DD, 2 ftr, 1 bmr, which will easily kill off the surviving Japanese BB at a profit. If you build a Pacific carrier on A1, you could probably also use the San Francisco transport to attack the surviving Japanese bomber after it lands – you’d have, e.g., 2 inf + 1 ftr vs. 1 inf, 1 bmr on Wake Island, and 1 DD, 1 ftr, 1 bmr vs. 1 BB in the Midway sea zone.
Other options for the W. Canada fighter, if it doesn’t land on the American carrier, include helping to pick off surviving German subs off the coast of the Eastern US, or flying to the Scotland sea zone to land on a new British carrier in the Atlantic. It gives the Canadians a bit more involvement in the war, and helps the Allies choose whether to establish parity in the Pacific on round 1, or whether to start at a small deficit in the Pacific in order to get a faster start in the Atlantic.
I’m not even sure if I like this better than the A0 turn, or if starting setup changes are “lighter” edits than changing where in the turn order to start the game. I do think this would get you an interesting Midway battle, and that it would be relatively balanced in terms of Axis vs. Allies and Atlantic vs. Pacific.
Black Elk, I agree with your thoughts about how the island of Midway itself is pretty useless, and I agree that it’s desirable to setup an A1 counter-attack on a carrier that’s necessarily exposed as the result of a J1 attack. However, I’m not sure that even an undefended bomber would be enough of an incentive for Japan to alter its J1 naval battle plan – there are about 80 IPCs of expensive hardware at stake for each side in the opening naval battle, so taking out a 12 IPC bomber is not a good reason to accept a risk of losing the naval battle. I guess if that bomber turned out to be crucial to the A1 counterattack, then killing the new Midway bomber could be part of a solid Japanese strategy, but Japan really needs its sole surviving transport to operate in Asia – I’d hate to force them to use that transport in Midway; it kind of narrows the range of the available Japanese openings. You could give the Japanese a second surviving transport, but then that changes the Asian land war, and pretty soon you’ve got an entirely new starting position, not just a Pacific naval fix.
I’m also concerned (Gosh, when am I not concerned?) that giving America an entire second task force in the Pacific is too powerful for the Allies. If you want to give the Japanese an interesting choice between hitting Hawaii and hitting Midway, and you also want to trap a Japanese carrier near Iwo Jima, then you need a fleet in each sea zone that can stand up to an attack by, e.g., 1 SS, 1 DD, 1 CA, 1 BB, 3 ftr, 1 bmr. The defending fleet needs to inflict enough casualties that, on average, the attacking fleet will be vulnerable to a profitable counter-attack. So a lone carrier, even fully loaded, isn’t going to stand a chance; it needs some serious support ships. Let’s say you have 1 British fighter as the ‘swing’ unit that can land in either the Hawaii Sea Zone or the Midway Sea Zone. So now the Americans need something like 1 CV, 1 ftr, 1 SS, 2 DD, 1 CA in Hawaii and in Midway, so the Allies start with a total of 2 SS, 5 DD, 2 CA, 2 CV, 1 BB, 3 ftr in the water in the Pacific, plus the Midway bomber (if desired) and (presumably) the Hawaii fighter and the 2 ftr, 1 bmr that start on the US mainland. That’s just an insanely high level of total unit value. Maybe it could work if the Japanese are able to reliably sink enough of it (but not all of it) on J1, but it makes me anxious. What if the British fight and win the battle in SZ 37, sinking a Japanese BB and CV and denying the Sumatran fighters access to a J1 Midway battle? I feel like just a couple of dice going the wrong way could bury Japan under a ton of Allied naval firepower starting on round 1, without any chance for Japan do get a better outcome through skillful play – you might see Japan get helplessly crushed in as many as 1 out of 3 games.