24 admirals commanded their fleets in the 2018 tournament. A total of 39 games took place in the 2 day tournament.
Most games used modifications to even out perceived imbalances favoring the IJN. Here are the four most commonly used:
- 1a. I-Boat Arrival: The I-Boat arrives with Turn 2 reinforcements. The I-Boat is not available on Turn 1.
- 2b. Individual CPO Withdrawal: After each Location Uncertain roll of "1", the USN may freely withdraw the associated group with no pursuit. USN ships using this free withdrawal must base at Johnston Island. The Allied player must choose before rolling for any subsequent Location Uncertain Group. Any groups that do not withdraw immediately do not have another chance to retreat prior to the end of the first combat round.
- 3b. Pearl Harbor Escape: If there's an IJN Control Flag in the Hawaiian Islands during Turn 3, Turn 3 Pearl Harbor reinforcements may also move to the U.S. Mandate.
- 3c. West Coast Escape: If there's an IJN Control Flag in the Hawaiian Islands during Turn 3, Allied units in Pearl Harbor or Johnston Island, during any opportunity to move, may be placed instead with the Turn 4 reinforcements.
- 4a. San Diego Repair Yards: During the basing phase, any USN ship with damage less than or equal to its armor factor may be withdrawn from the map (i.e., based in San Diego). After missing at least one turn, such ships return with any subsequent turn's reinforcements (with damage if not completely repaired). Total repairs in San Diego and Pearl Harbor (or Samoa if Pearl Harbor is IJN-controlled) are limited to Pearl Harbor's printed repair capacity.
After five rounds of Swiss competition, the top four advanced to single elimination. Top seed Ted Drozd faced fourth seed brother Charlie Drozd. Second seed Meng Soon Ong faced four-round-undefeated third seed Alan Applebaum.
In Ted’s and Charlie’s game, Charlie bid 3.5 for the IJN, granting Ted those points at game end for his favored side. Options 1a, 2b, 3b and 4 to balance the game were in play also, in addition to the bid. In the opening air raids, Ted’s USN Pearl Harbor ships were all sunk, no survivors but the 7th Air Force. T3 saw a spirited and successful defense of Hawaii with one undamaged Allied LBA surviving. The POC slowly rose to a high of IJN +24. On Turn 7, Ted broke the wall of IJN control flags by attacking three IJN LBA in the Marianas with one 4 airstrike carrier and two 2 airstrike CVLs. Scoring an unusual victory opened the door for the Allies. After completing all battles, the brothers discussed the situation and saw that Charlie just needed to control Indonesia to win. Dumping all of the patrollers he could plus 4 IJN LBA into Indo, Charlie set the stage for the climactic battle of the game. Getting the day he needed, Charlie proceeded to sink or disable all Allied CVs in the first round. Ted’s return attacks could not kill the IJN LBA, so he gracefully conceded.
In Alan’s and Meng’s game, Alan gave Meng 4.5 points to play the IJN. Options 1a, 2b, 3b and 4 were used for balance. Meng’s Allies lost all at Pearl except battleship Tennessee, heavy cruiser New Orleans and the 7th Air Force. Through the first six turns, POC slowly built up to IJN +24, the highest POC score of the game. Turn 7 saw Alan post a strong Japanese Islands patrol of battleships and Hosho plus patrolling the North Pacific with two cruisers. The North Pacific could not be reached by any Allies, so the point of POC was secure. POC fell 9 to IJN +15. During basing, Meng missed the ability to base USN ships in the Philippines, instead accumulating a vast fleet in Lae for the T8 forays. Alan posted strong patrols of cruisers, battleships and small carriers to the Japanese Islands in preparation for the Home Islands defense. Fast CVs and raiders were held in reserve to counter Allied efforts. Meng patrolled areas vital to the Allied POC offensive, but calculated that if he made an all-out effort for the Japanese Islands, he could grab a win. During the course of the unfolding turn phases, Alan thought a Marine was sent to the North Pacific, to invade Dutch Harbor and disable his LBA in North Pacific. In response, Alan sent a group of raiders to North Pacific. Seizing the opportunity, Meng sent all he could to the Japanese islands, realizing if he broke control, that POC swing was enough to win. Without those North Pacific raiders, Alan saw that the defense of the Japanese Islands was now not a high probability. For the Round 1 battle in the Japanese Islands, Alan chose night, having a one-ship advantage over the Allies. Meng accepted. In that surface fight, Alan managed to get five hits from six bonus cruisers in one throw, great shooting. The IJN shot well, but in many cases got damage only in Allied battleships. The Allies did better, shifting the wrap advantage over to one for the Allies. Round 2 came up day. Alan’s LBA and carriers sank or disabled all Allied carriers, making it look very grim for the Allied hopes. In surprisingly good shooting, however, Meng’s attacks easily shot down all three LBA and sank or disabled all three IJN patrolling carriers. With no hope of holding the Japanese Islands POC, Alan conceded the win to Meng. Final POC after applying the bid was Allies +2.5, propelling Meng to the final.
The final, featuring Meng Soon Ong vs Charlie Drozd, saw the two choose options 1a, 2b & 3b. Meng won the bid-first die roll, and jump-bid 4.5 POC to play the IJN. Charlie hesitated for a few seconds, then accepted the 4.5 POC to play the Allies.
The Pearl Harbor raid featured a sweep by Meng’s naval aviators, sinking all ten ships. Only the 7th Air Force survived.
In Indonesia, 5th Air Force was shot down and both Prince of Wales and Repulse suffered three damage. Turn one ended with the standard IJN +7 POC.
Turn 2 witnessed a full court press by the IJN, with strong patrols in Hawaii and fast cruisers in both the US Mandate and the Coral Sea. Single cruisers patrolled other areas. IJN LBA went to the Marshalls, South Pacific and Indonesia. Charlie’s Allies responded with LBA to the Coral Sea, US Mandate and South Pacific. Strong raid groups were sent to add to IJN patrols in Hawaii and the US Mandate. The Allies moved raiders to the Central Pacific (lots), South Pacific (carriers to supplement the LBA) and Marshalls (CVs vs one IJN LBA and the I-Boat). Charlie managed to get the block by controlling the Marshalls and flagging the South Pacific. His suicide carrier to Hawaii was caught out at night and sunk, allowing Yokosuka to capture Johnston Island. During combat, three USN CVs (one with damage) disabled to Singapore (the first part of the “Singapore Sling strategy). This allows these disabled ships to avoid air raids (as Indonesia usually has only IJN LBA, no carriers). When Singapore converts, these ships then can rebase to a safe port. In this case, as Charlie preserved Lae from conversion by holding the South Pacific, he could “sling” those three carriers to Lae, preserving their ability to reach Hawaii, the US Mandate, Coral Sea and other areas through the South Pacific and Marshalls. Great Allied play! Thanks to Ken Nied for making sure this got into this writeup.
Turn 3 started with an unusual situation: Allied flags in South Pacific and the Marshalls, IJN flags in Hawaii and the US Mandate.
In Hawaii, Meng’s IJN had only 1 LBA and two surface patrols against all six Allied LBA. The three Allies battleships stayed in port at Pearl. In a day action, the two 444 battleship patrols were sunk, and the IJN retreated.
In the US Mandate, the IJN patrolled with three heavy cruisers, followed by six surface raiders and four carrier raiders. The Allies only had one cruiser and the two Marines escaping Hawaii. In a day action, one US Marine was sunk, one disabled and the cruiser sunk.
South Pacific waters featured two IJN LBA against a lone Allied cruiser. The Allied cruiser retreated during the night.
In the Central Pacific in a big battle, two IJN light carriers and an SNLF faced a multitude of Allied raiders. When the turmoil settled, one IJN CVL and the SNLF were sunk along with two USN carriers.
In the Japanese islands, patrolling Yamato was disabled by a raiding Allied battleship, but was able to sink the single Allied patrol cruiser before heading off to port.
At the end of Turn 3, Samoa flipped to the IJN by conversion, but POC dropped two (+2 Allies for the turn) to IJN +11.
In Turn 4, the IJN sent a strong patrol to Hawaii and single cruiser patrols all over the board. Three LBA to Indonesia and two SNLF to the South Pacific rounded out the basic IJN patrol moves. IJN raiders followed the strong patrols to Hawaii, gaining a crucial flag. The Allies sent strong patrols to Indonesia and two cruisers to the Marianas. At the end of Turn 4, POC stood at IJN +15.
Turn 5 saw an epic battle in Hawaii, with the IJN trying to convert Pearl Harbor through isolation, and the Allied forces trying to stave off defeat. In seven (yes, 7) rounds of day combat, the IJN finally knocked down the last of eight Allied LBA to win control of the area and convert Pearl Harbor to the IJN.
At this point, with no T6 or T7 reinforcements, Charlie graciously conceded.
Congratulations to Meng Soon Ong. This was Meng’s first WBC and first Wood! Not bad for a rookie!
This was an unusual final, with twists both ways in strategy and luck. The final was held in the Laurel room, and had up to 10 loyal Victory in the Pacific followers in the gallery. Other finals were being held in Laurel, but none with an observation gallery like the Victory in the Pacific final.
Thanks to our entrants and thanks especially to my assistant GMs Bob Hamel and Jim Eliason for their work helping me.