Victory in the Pacific

A Normal Turn One (NT1)
by James Eliason and John R. Pack

The purpose of this variant is to eliminate the Location Uncertain rolls and their accompanying disaster scenarios without removing the variability of the turn one raids that flavor the game.  To accomplish this, control over Allied forces is almost completely returned to the Allied player -- with very few units fixed in position.  Rule 18 (Turn One) is also completely replaced to accommodate this change.

The changes simplify the game.  At the same time, the game is balanced by widening the Allied player's options (thereby reducing Japanese commitment to the raids and increasing the average number of survivors) and removing the arbitrary chance that USN CV fall victim before the Allied player ever gets to move them.

The changes from the 2nd edition game can be summarized as follows:

  1. W and X location uncertain groups are based in Johnston Island and may move from there
  2. Allied forces (other than units in Indonesia and Pearl Harbor) are placed in bases and allowed to move freely
  3. US ships are limited to two areas
  4. Japanese must designate third round targets in the Hawaiians before Allied raiders move
  5. Allied forces in the Hawaiians are not required to fight to remain in the area
  6. A day/night roll is required for 3rd and 4th Hawaiians rounds even if Allied forces aren't fighting
  7. Basing Uncertain rolls (Groups Y and Z) keep the chance for 3 CV in Australia the same but reduce the chance for 4 or more
  8. LBA may return fire during the second round of each raid
  9. The Japanese calls the order of resolution per normal rules

The benefits of these changes, in order, are:

  1. Allied player chooses the level of risk he'll take with his CV -- stay safe in the Hawaiians, risk the I-Boat for better basing, or attack
  2. Placement of Allied units (other than those in Indonesia and Pearl Harbor) is completely under Allied control
  3. IJN only has to worry about North Pacific Ocean, Central Pacific Ocean, and Marshall Islands over the 2nd edition but also knows that no more than 2 CV can possibly move to these areas
  4. The risk to USN forces staying to fight is reduced while the odds that bottomed ships will survive increase
  5. The USN is guaranteed 3 extra PoC and the flag if it doesn't fight in the Hawaiian Islands
  6. Without four guaranteed day rounds, bottomed ships do not need to be conceded
  7. USN doesn't lose any strategic options
  8. IJN must target the hard-to-hit LBA during raids or risk losses
  9. One more exceptional rule has been eliminated

Give it a try and see what you think!  Let us know what you think after you've played it!  Check out play-testers experience by following the links from the detail of each quick round game!

Normal Turn One (NT1)

Text file containing NT1 Set-up

Allied Starting Forces

Philippines: 117 Houston

Singapore: 117 Exeter, 117 De Ruyter

Indonesia: 456 Prince of Wales, 336 Repulse, 24* 5th A.F.

Pearl Harbor: 553 West Virginia, 553 Maryland, 453 Tennessee, 453 California, 443 Nevada, 443 Arizona, 443 Oklahoma, 443 Pennsylvania, 117 New Orleans, 117 San Francisco, 24* 7th A.F.

Johnston Island: 117 Salt Lake City, 117 Northampton, 117 Chester, 117 Chicago, 117 Portland, 117 Astoria, 117 Indianapolis, 117 Minneapolis, 137+4 Lexington, 027+4 Enterprise

Samoa: 117 Pensacola, 117 Louisville

Australia: 117 Australia, 117 Canberra

Ceylon: 443 Revenge, 1241 Hermes

Basing Uncertain: 137+4 Saratoga, 027+4 Hornet, 027+4 Yorktown

Arrive with Turn 2 Reinforcements at Pearl Harbor: 117 Vincennes, 117 Quincy

18. The Surprise Attack

On the first turn, play is altered slightly to reflect the effects of the Japanese surprise attacks on Pearl Harbor and in Indonesia. Movement and combat are executed in sequence normally, except:

18.1 Pearl Harbor: Japanese ships with speed >= 5 may automatically move to the Hawaiian Islands during the raiding phase where they immediately conduct an air raid (two rounds) against Allied units in Pearl Harbor.  The 7th A.F., if available, may return fire during the second round.

18.11 After the air raid, the Japanese can retreat or stay for combat. If they retreat now, they cannot be pursued.

18.12 If the Japanese stay, each IJN carrier must immediately designate a target in the event that the first regular combat round is a day action. Targets may include units raiding, in Pearl Harbor, or in the Hawaiian Islands. If, during the first regular combat round, the assigned target is unavailable (i.e., not in Pearl Harbor nor engaged in combat in the Hawaiian Islands), the carrier loses its attack during the first regular combat round. If the first combat round is a night action, these target designations are ignored.

18.13 After the Pearl Harbor air raid, the Allied player moves his raiding units.  The Japanese player then places the I-Boat.

18.131 USN raiding ships may not attempt to move into a third sea area (moves which would normally require a speed roll).

18.132 Units in Pearl Harbor are raiders and may not move until the raiding phase.  During raider deployment, undamaged ships from Pearl Harbor may freely leave the Hawaiian Islands.  The 7th A.F. and damaged ships from Pearl Harbor may only move to the Hawaiian Islands.

18.133 Units in Indonesia count as patrollers but may not move at all.

18.14 At the beginning of the first regular round of combat in the Hawaiian Islands, the Allied player may refuse to engage Japanese forces.  If so, Japanese units may not attack Allied units in the Hawaiian Islands and vice versa for the remainder of the turn (Exception: The I-Boat may still attack any ship which left Pearl Harbor).

18.15 Japanese forces may remain in the Hawaiian Islands for a maximum of two regular rounds of combat. Within the limitations of 18.12, they may target engaged Allied units (18.14) and, during day actions, units in Pearl Harbor.  After two regular rounds of combat, the IJN must retreat.  Engaged Allied units may pursue.

18.16 Japanese ships may not pursue Allied forces which retreat from the Hawaiian Islands.

18.2 Indonesia: The first two rounds of combat in Indonesia are automatically day actions. The 5th A.F. may not return fire during the first automatic day action. Allied units may not be disabled nor retreat until the third combat round.

18.3 Basing Uncertain:  Immediately prior to Allied basing, the Allied player rolls one die for each “basing uncertain” ship.  On a roll of 1, the ship may be immediately based at any red Allied port; otherwise, the ship bases at Pearl Harbor.

Questions & Clarifications

Turn 1 Sequence of Play

1. IJN Patrols
2. USN Patrols
3. IJN LBA (Allied LBA can't move, see 18.132)
4. IJN Amphibious Unit (Allies have no Marines)
5. IJN Raiders

  • Pearl Harbor Air Raid (See 18.1)
  • Japanese decision to retreat or stay in Hawaiian Islands
  • Japanese target selection for 1st Regular Combat Round in Hawaiians

6. USN Raiders
7. IJN I-Boat Placement
8. Regular Combat

  • USN decision to engage or not (see 18.14) precedes the day/night roll in the Hawaiians
  • A day/night roll for the Hawaiians is made even if the USN does not engage
  • First two rounds in Indonesia are special day actions (see 18.2)

9. Flags & PoC
10. IJN Basing
11. Basing Uncertain (see 18.3)
12. USN Basing

Q18.1-1 [3/03] If the 7th AF shoots back and rolls a 5 is the target ship disabled?
A. Yes.

Q18.3-1 [7/03] If the Hermes raids into Indonesia on Turn One, can it shoot back on the first round?
A. Yes.  Note that the Hermes becomes subject to the special rules if she makes this choice -- neither able to retreat nor be disabled until the third round.

Q18.132-1 [3/05] Can the 7th A.F. be left in Pearl Harbor instead of placing it in the Hawaiian Islands?  And, if so, can it continue to return fire after each daylight round during regular combat?
A. Yes.  Yes.  Any ship or unit can always be left in port rather than being moved.  Naturally, any unit left in Pearl Harbor is subject to possible additional attacks during the first two regular combat rounds even if the Allied forces in the Hawaiian Islands elect not to engage the enemy.

Victory in the Pacific® is a registered trademark of The Avalon Hill Game Company.