Sunday, 21 April 2019

Command Magazine Ziplock Game: Midway (Play Test)

Of the Command Magazine Ziplocks series from the 1990's this (Midway) is my favourite and I reckon the most "pick-up and playable" game they produced. It was their "golden time" when IMHO they were winning against S&T. I have the game Ziplock but alas never picked up the Magazine and its detailed description of the midway campaign (see below, here are other more complicated Midway games out there, but this one strikes a nice balance between complexity and play-ability):

A simple map but intuitive orbat alongside it gathers everything you need together - a nice piece of game design (see below, the IJN display is shown below - tons of kit heading to Midway): 

The counters are clear and crisp - good quality production for the early 1990's. Red for the IJN, Blue for USN, Green [not shown] for Marine Units from Midway (see below, ships surface-air-move factors, planes air2air-air2ship-range - USN Wildcats (AF 5)are bounced by IJN Zeros (AF 7) nasty for the US!):

We played an earnest play-test, conducting searches and scenario deployments with the Japanese assault train moving steadily towards Midway, with the IJN CVs using a fog bank as cover to get in as close as possible to Midway without detection. The game played through and a mutual air-strike took place. The USS Yorktown was attacked by teh 1st and 2nd IJN Air Fleets. The Yorktown's planes missed their targets but the IJN arrived on time and en masse! (see below, Task Force 17's air defences were swamped):

The USS Yorktown was duly dispatched as well as some cruisers and destroyers with other damaged (see below, most units have two steps strengths, but some weak ones only one step - a hit on a CV has the unhelpful effect of prohibiting flight operations, which can mean a lot of ditched planes in the sea):

We played on a few more turns. The Japanese ahead with the Americans moving in to defend Midway with the USS Hornet and USS Enterprise. The IJN carriers are keeping a respectful three hex (out of air attack) distance. Midway itself is crammed with Marine aircraft and is in effect an unsinkable CV. The IJN plater (me) was waiting for the assault force to go in to wear down the attackers before "going after the carriers" - logic being that the US player will have to try and attack the IJN Invasion Fleet and would suffer losses in the process): 

You get an idea of how much kit the IJN player has(see below, look at all those counters to the right hand side):

I have heard it said by another ''credible wargaming source that the US Naval War College since 1950 have annually wargamed the Midway Campaign and the US side has never achieved a victory on the scale of the historical event. It would be great to corroborate this if at all possible.

Next: We decided that as good as it was as a two-player game we were going to play the full-thing with an umpire so Fog of War could really play its part.

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