|One of the new features of the Axis & Allies Guadalcanal game is the combat system and the battle box. This preview of the upcoming Guadalcanal game will cover how combat is resolved using the battle box. The box comes with the game pre-assembled and ready to use with the 12 dice included with the game. The back of the box (see photo with full story) contains a convenient reference chart with the attack power of each unit of the game.|
In the Guadalcanal game, combat is divided into 4 separate sequences: attack air units, attack sea units, unload transports and destroyers, and attack land units or airfields. After the attack sequences, the first, second, and forth, all casualties are removed from the battle zone. Unlike the standard Axis & Allies game, an attack does not continue until one side has won or retreated, instead each side rolls one attack each, the casualties from both sides are removed, and a battle can result with enemy units on the same sea zone or island zone. When conductind a sea battle, artillery adjacent to the sea battle may contribute their sea attack power. Sea units with a land attack may contribute their land attack power to a land attack in an adjacent island zone. When conducting a land attack on an island zone with an enemy control airfield, the player must specify whether they are attacking the enemy units or the enemy airfield. Units that have attack values for more than one type of attack may attack in each of those attack sequences (if they haven’t already been destroyed in a previous attack sequence).
Attacking with the Battle Box
To resolve combat, each player much calculate the cumulative attack power of their unit attacking during the current attack sequence. It is possible for one player to have zero attack power and only the other player attack (this can happen to aircraft during sea battles). For instance, the Allied player has 2 destroyers and 1 cruiser in a sea zone and the Axis player has 1 battleship and 2 transports in the same sea zone. The attack power for the Allies is 4 and the attack power of the Axis is 3 (see the chart below). The attack power tell you how many dice in the battle box you are supposed to look at. The first player, let’s say the Allies player, takes the battle box, shakes it, let’s the dice settle into place, and pulls out the tray until the first 4 dice are showing. For each roll of a 1 or a 2 a hit is scored. To determine which unit was hit, look at the location of the 1 or 2 in the dice tray and line it up the the unit type listed on the outside of the tray (see images), that is the unit that was hit. If there is no unit of that type, then start from the front of the tray and name off each unit listed until you reach one that is present in the battle. Note: this aspect of the battle system means that for particular battles certain unit will be hit more often than others. After, the first player names off the casualties, the second player rolls their attack. When both players have rolled once each, the attack for that sequence/zone is complete and casualties are removed.
Ones and Twos
Under certain circumstances at result of a 1 or 2 will yeild different results. When there are multiple transports or destroyers and some or all of these units are carrying units then you must pay attention to the hit roll result. On a reult of 1 the attacker decides which of the units their opponent loses and on a roll of 2 the player losing the unit decides which to loose. Finally, when attacking a capital ship, Aircraft Carriers and Battleships, a result of a 1 means the unit is destroyed and a result of 2 means the unit is damaged. Note: battleships always ignore the first hit, whether it is a one or a two. Damaged units are not removd from the game, instead they are placed in the damaged area on the home base card.
Attack Power Chart
Note above that submarines do not have any attack values. They have a special attack that is used during the movement phase. During the sub sequence of the movement phase, a sub may move and attack a unit of it’s choice. Apply the results of attack immediately to the chosen target.
The attack power and random designation of casualities with this battle box attack system is unique and makes the game quite interesting. It helps to make sure that no two games are the same. My biggest concern with the battle box is that the box isn’t very wide and it seems like the dice don’t have enough room to turn in all three directions. After three games, however, there was nothing about the dice results that would backup seuch concerns, the dice, as they should, seemed random each time. Even so, when I roll with the box, I press on the top and bottom of the box to make the side bow out a little bit to give the dice more room.
Sometimes the dice in the battle box don’t always fall into place. The way the box works, however, makes them all fall into place as you pull out the drawer. Sometimes you might have to jiggle it a bit to make it work but the dice always fall into place.
This battle system also forces some tactically challenging situations. This is due to the fact that after each sequence, casualties are removed. You could fly in your bomber to help with a sea attack only to have it shot in the sea phase before it even had a chance to help out. Don’t worry, you’ll learn this aspect of the rules very quickly in your first few games.
Axis & Allies Guadalcanal will be available in stores on November 16, 2007 with an MSRP of $50 USD. For more details about the game please read the following articles:
- Axis & Allies Guadalcanal Preview 1
- Axis & Allies Guadalcanal Preview 2
- Guadalcanal Designer’s Notes: A Guadalcanal Diary by Larry Harris (Avalon Hill website)
- More Details for Axis & Allies Guadalcanal
- Axis & Allies Guadalcanal Product Details (Avalon Hill website)
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