It’s my hope that we also will not need to change components until the end of the Spring 2019 round of playtesting. Please remember that these are playtest components.
It’s my plan to have a more detail explanation of the components in the playbook, rather than the main rules. This is an area of “ask anytime” questions.
I’ve not commented on all components below—just some.
a. Cards. All cards in the game (for TF on paper, Bases, and Carriers) are set for Poker-sized cards (2.5” x 3.5”). Printing them on Cardstock will be perfect for playtesting, I think.
b. The Map. I’ve made the executive decision that the production version of this game will NOT use the underlying map (even though many folks (including me). This decision is driven by several factors
• It’s not a period map—it’s from around 1970.
• The different map sheets do not fit exactly together, meaning the seams will look sloppy – the earth is a sphere, and the mapedges reflect that.
• The existing maps do not help determine which are coastal hexes at a glance; to my eye the contrast between land and water is not great.
• The square grid on the map is very distracting with a hex grid, and the squares have no effect on play.
• The place names are all really tiny and make the islands look fuzzy. And they have no effect on play.
c. Ideas for the map. We’ll be engaging the graphic artist this spring, and one of the first tasks he’ll have is the map. I’m completely open to ideas for the map. Several items I’m going to ask when we produce Map Vision 1 (which will focus on Guadalcanal) include:
• Clear land/sea differentiation.
• Exact coastlines so it feels like a real map; I do not like “cartoon maps” which distort a land area because it’s easier to draw (for example, the gross distortions in End of Empire bother the hell out of me (https://boardgamegeek.com/image/2063405/end-empire-1744-1782).
• Minimizing adjusting landforms to the hexgrid (we don’t have rivers here!) except when necessary.
• Land will be on top of the reef indications so that only the sea portion of a reef hex is …well… reef.
• Speaking of reefs, you’ll notice that Ships can move into reef hexes, but can’t move from reef hex directly to another reef hex. Essentially, that’s hexside terrain. I hate hexside terrain. But hopefully we’ll come up with something better.
d. Charts and Tables. I know the charts and tables cards are big. I’ve tried to group related charts and tables on the same sheet, so that only one sheet is in your hand at a given time. If you are printing, they are intended to be front/back printed as follows:
• Air & Naval Movement with Search Charts & Tables
• Air Strike, A2A, AAA & CAA Combat Charts with Air-Surface Combat & Damage Tables
• Naval & Submarine Combat Charts with Ground, Base, and Logistics Charts
Down the left side of most charts and tables cards is a summary of the process for use the charts and tables on the sheet.
e. Air Strike board. The Air strike board is inspired by my experience of Midway. I used to have a much more complicated process for transferring ships from the TF counters to the board. The key will be committing ships to given quadrants before the air strike arrives. So if we can make it simpler both in word and deed that will be great. The board has room on it for some text.
f. Surface Combat board. The surface combat system is the most recent system created. I want more than line-them-up-and-shoot as in Flat Top, although I’m sure everyone will realize that the system really is line-them-up-and-shoot, with wrinkles (like torpedoes and timing). We can really woodshed this system—as long as it’s more than just line-them-up-and-shoot.
g. Task Force Counters. Right now, the TF holding pieces are different in Vassal and on paper. In Vassal, they retain their shape as full-blown counters. On paper, however, we’ve gone to cards, as putting the TF on cards will save 3 countersheets—saving a bit of $. The content is largely the same.
h. Base cards. The idea behind base cards is saving table space by only asking players to have out the cards they need for a given scenario, thus saving space.
i. Fuel capacity tracks. The fuel system is completely revised from previous versions. It’s very much Design for Effect at this point. I’m open to tweaking the numbers – but I want to have everyone be very very aware of fuel limitations and how fast fuel gets burned up.
j. Off Board Movement. There won’t be much in this round (except for air flights from Australia bases in the Coral Sea Extended Battle scenario and many with Noumea/Efate in play), and I’m hoping that the graphic artist will make them feel less cluttered (but keeping them to the same size. Noumea and Rabaul are larger because they will frequently see a lot of traffic (I think).
k. Plane counters. Remember that the fronts have only movement-related info on them, and the backs have only combat-related info. And, yes, many Japanese planes have RIGHT shifts for their defense value. They blow up a lot.
l. Ship counters. Ship fronts have the information they’ll most likely need on the airstrike board. Ship damage is tracked on the ship logs. Ship fronts include the AAA, CAA, and Maximum Available Speed from left to right on them. Ship backs include the maximum MA for a Nav/Imp in the dark-blue hex, and the Activation value after the oil-drum blob.
m. 5/8” markers. Most of these will be on the counter guide. One thing we’ll want to know is if we have the right number of markers—especially with plane denominations and others. If we can shave counters off either the 5/8” or ½” sets we’ll be able to add a few others.
• Wind Direction markers. Most of the Wind markers (which also show Clear/Cloudy) include numbers which refer to the WZ they’re placed in. The Weather markers with the die icon on them are used on the Impulse track to indicate the die roll for a Weather Phase in a given Hour.
• Barge backs. The 2/1 in the MA for barges reflects that barges can move 2 hexes in a day or twilight Nav/Imp, but only 1 at night.
• Radar. The numbered, side-specific Radar markers are for use on TF cards to indicate a TF with at least one ship with radar (marked on the ship logs).
n. ½” markers. Most of these will be on the counter guide. One thing we’ll want to know is if we have the right number of markers—especially with plane denominations and others. If we can shave counters off either the 5/8” or ½” sets we’ll be able to add a few others.
• TF Fire markers are for the TF cards
• The Binoculars markers are for marking the Search Values for searching units.
• The C/D/H/M markers note the search results on a TF (or AF)
• The TF markers with the oil drums are for the Fuel Capacity tracks.
• The mosquito markers show Malaria Morale loss on ground units
• Ground force markers. Use these mainly for ground units not on a base.
o. Cards. CV, AV, CVL, and AVD ships have cards, as do all ground bases (some on the Off Board Movement cards). They all indicate various capacities as well as launch levels for these bases. Only use the bases in play.