The end of Pre-Cons arrived with a bow to the inevitable and a new, shorter format; four rounds of Swiss play followed by elimination rounds for the top four players. 27 players engaged in 43 grueling matches. Many games used the Menzel options for the first time, providing what seems to be the most balanced set of options/scenario to help offset the prevalent IJN advantage.
The Nagumo award went to Ed Menzel, with three IJN) wins among his four victories. The Halsey award went to undefeated Jim Eliason, with five, yes, five Allied wins in his six victories as he made up for decades of falling short of the grand prize by running the table.
Basic stats, for you numbers freaks: 20 IJN wins, 22 Allied wins, one tie. Amazing – the Allies have suddenly become favored. Much of this may be due to the more widespread use of the Menzel options. Proposed by Ed Menzel and refined over three plus years of intensive testing, these changes threaten to end decades of IJN dominance and rote play. The Menzel options were used 20 times in the 43 games, and resulted in 15 Allied wins in those games. For more on the Menzel Options and many other ViP tips (replays, clarifications, the VASSAL module for PBeM and online play, etc.) go to gameaholics.com.
Our new format got it all done in just two days, finishing on Monday night. The demo on Saturday evening was well-attended (for an old grognard classic), drawing six still interested in the classic game.
An action of note:
Round 4: Ed Paule (IJN) vs Ted Drozd (Allies) saw the Allies stay in Hawaii on Turn 1 to fight – something not often seen. The battle resulted in each side losing four CVs. Ed went on to win after seven turns. That makes for a different game!
The semifinals pitted Jim Eliason (Seed 1, 4-0) vs two-time champ Ed Menzel (Seed 4 at 3-1), in a rematch of their just-completed Round 4 game. They used the Menzel options and a 0.5 POC bid given to the Allies. Jim’s IJN surprisingly failed to capture Singapore on Turn 2, giving Ed’s Allies a big early boost. A large Turn 5 battle in Indonesia was won by the IJN, giving Jim the ability to run his POC total to 25, the high point of the game. On Turn 8, Ed sent 14 Allied surface patrollers and six CV/CVL patrollers to the Japanese Islands for a showdown. The IJN was able, through a few rounds, to sink or disable all Allied patrollers, clinching the game. Raw POC was IJN +1, net POC after the bid was IJN +1.5 POC.
In the other bracket, the defending champ Ed Paule (Seed 2, 3-0-1) vs Dan Blumentritt (Seed 3, 3-1) match used Options 1 (I-Boat), 2b (Individual CPO Withdrawal) & 3c (West Coast Escape). Daniel secured the IJN and gave Ed 8.5 POC to play the Allies. Turn 3 saw Dan’s IJN threaten both the US Mandate and the Coral Sea with Ed losing Samoa. Ed’s Allies fought back in Indonesia and the West. On Turn 7, Ed’s Allies forayed into IJN waters with a large CV group. The ensuing air battle squashed IJN hopes and resulted in a raw 1 POC Allied score and a net Allied win of 9.5 POC after the bid.
The Final employed Options 1 (I-Boat), 2b (Individual CPO Withdrawal) & 3c (West Coast Escape). Jim accepted Ed’s opening 7.5 POC bid and played the Allies. Ed’s CVs raided Pearl Harbor and eliminated all but one wrecked 443 battleship, two damaged battleships, one cruiser and the 7th Air Force.
At the end of Turn 1, the POC was at the standard +7 for the IJN. Turn 2 – there were no Allied patrollers in Indonesia. Allied raids pushed five CVs into the South Pacific and surface forces into the Central Pacific. The POC after two turns was IJN +15. Turn 3 saw the conversion of Pearl Harbor and a battle in Indonesia won by the Allies with no Allied CV losses. POC rose +1 to IJN +16 – slow going. Turn 5 POC rose to IJN +20. Turn 6 featured a big battle in Indonesia in which the IJN badly needed a day action. Ed got his day, but to no avail as Jim’s Allies downed three LBA in one pass. Lae fell to a Marine invasion. The POC after Turn 6 was IJN +21. In Turn 7, Ed’s IJN decided to defend Hawaii with a large surface fleet, relying on intimidation to keep the Allied CVs at bay. This worked, but Jim ventured into Japanese home waters with a large CV fleet, facing Ed’s three LBA and five CV/CVL defenses. Jim’s patrollers and CVs prevailed, flagging the Japanese Islands for a six-point swing. The POC dropped after Turn 7 to 12. Ed did the math and conceded - ending two decades of frustration for Jim Eliason as he finally joined the ranks of VIP champions.