* * BPA Single-Elim Semi-Final * *
Brad Solberg (IJN; Bid 4.5) vs. Max Zavanelli (USN) 

The I-Boat Raid and West Coast Bases adjustments are in play.

Turn 1

=======================================================================
POC RECORD       Area  IJN/USN   1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8
----------------------------------------------------------------------
     Japanese Islands   3   3   IJN  
     Aleutian Islands   0   1   IJN 
  North Pacific Ocean   1   1   --- 
Central Pacific Ocean   1   0   IJN 
     Hawaiian Islands   2   3   --- 
     Marianas Islands   2   1   IJN 
     Marshall Islands   1   1   IJN 
            Indonesia   3   1   IJN 
  South Pacific Ocean   2   1   IJN 
         U.S. Mandate   2   2   USN
            Coral Sea   2   2   USN 
         Indian Ocean   2   0   USN 
        Bay of Bengal   2   1   USN 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
         IJN Subtotal           +12 
         USN Subtotal            -5 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
              Net POC            +7 
       Cumulative POC            +7 
=======================================================================
Turn 1 Pearl Raids: Sink 5 BB, Damage 3.  Others escape
       Indonesia:   POW escapes with 4 dmg
       Carriers:    2 in Hawaii, rest in California 
       Conversions: None

IJN Comments: I opened with my usual 4 BB escort in Hawaii with the balance going to CPO. The first raid was abysmal, the second OK, leaving a somewhat below average Pearl. 2 CV showed in Hawaii and none in CPO, so with a moderate surface fleet and 5 CV on the board I'd give a slight edge to Allies for this turn. Max surprised me by basing only 1 CV in Australia but I have to assume he'll make good use of the extra CV threat in the Northeast.

Sunk Ships:
USN
3-3-6. Repulse
5-5-3 West Virginia
4-5-3 California 
4-4-3 Arizona 
4-4-3 Nevada 
4-4-3 Pennsylvania

Turn 2

=======================================================================
POC RECORD       Area  IJN/USN   1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8
----------------------------------------------------------------------
     Japanese Islands   3   3   IJN  IJN
     Aleutian Islands   0   1   IJN  IJN
  North Pacific Ocean   1   1   ---  USN
Central Pacific Ocean   1   0   IJN  ---
     Hawaiian Islands   2   3   ---  IJN
     Marianas Islands   2   1   IJN  IJN
     Marshall Islands   1   1   IJN  IJN
            Indonesia   3   1   IJN  IJN
  South Pacific Ocean   2   1   IJN  IJN
         U.S. Mandate   2   2   USN  USN
            Coral Sea   2   2   USN  USN
         Indian Ocean   2   0   USN  USN
        Bay of Bengal   2   1   USN  USN
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
         IJN Subtotal           +12  +13
         USN Subtotal            -5   -6
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
              Net POC            +7   +7
       Cumulative POC            +7  +14 
=======================================================================
Turn 2 
       Conversions: Phillipines, Johnston (invasion)
                    Attu, Lae, Singapore (isolation) 

IJN Comments: I used my normal flexible opening and Max responded with LBA in Coral, USM and Marianas. Sasebo went to Marianas and took Phillipines. The bulk of the navy went to Pearl. 4 CVL backed the lone cruiser in CPO, Junyo to Aleutians. SPO got 2 LBA, Marshalls 1 LBA and Kaga, Indo 3 LBA. This opening emphasizes air power, necessary since I do not have a commanding surface advantage.

My other opening possibility in this situation a 3 area attack but I felt Max's surface force was a little too strong and I wanted to give this opening another try. (last time Wayne Melnik got a combination of 2 Night against Flag results *and* a total whiff by the CPO force to shatter the IJN position. But the first time I beat Joe Dragan...)

Max put the brits and one CV in Indo, a strong BB+CA force to beat up my Coral sea cruisers and the rest of his iron, including 4 CV to CPO.

As Max's response is the goal of this opening, I got an opportunity to see how it worked "in the field". It did lock down Lae and Attu without a fight and ensured no block. But it depends heavily on the first salvo, where 10 bonus and 3 normal shots should hopefully get 4 hits and sink 2-3 USN CV. In addition 6 normal shots should hit one Brit CV. As a 1-area attack, the risk of losing CPO is balanced by the fact that I'm supposed to take Pearl.

This time I got the minimum for it to be a "success". 2 USN CV and one Brit CV sunk, at the cost of all 4 CVL. But Max used up all of his hits in CPO, as his Indo force damaged only 1 LBA and all 6 of my fast CA escaped heavy fire in USM and especially Coral Sea. We each lost a patrolling CA to heavy carrier fire. This opening worked well enough this time without needing hot dice that I'll probably keep it, especially since hot dice could have mangled USN and the downside risk is typical for my openings.

Overall IJN assessment of position: Decent POC, Singapore converted, some bases converted, good Pearl threat, no KO threat, no surface attrition, slightly unfavorable air power attrition balanced by 6 LBA for turn 3 conversion of Pearl and defense against the 3 USN CV. Still anyone's game although as IJN I feel I'm a little behind the usual pace. The events of turn 3 should overshadow everything that happened so far, which is the sign of a close game.

USN Comments: Allies have an easy game so far as Japanese present no problems and give several major opportuniites. Of the japs always go to Pearl. but there the threats end. If you are going to Hawaii with the Yokosauka, why bother with extra carrier and power in Marshalls? of course there's always the chance of a suicide US carrier.

risking Indonesia is unnecessary....allies have 9 shots and 4 ships for targets, japs 9 shots 3 for allied targets...so there is some modest chance for major allied victory or to cripple Jap LBA needed on T3.

Marianias is also a major shot. Day, day followed by night and two chances for a 5 could absolutely set off a crisis for the Japs.

Regardless of these outcomes....allies get Coral and Mandates uncontested, get a free point at N.Pacific, are certain to get Midway as a base where a lucky night roll would be ruinious for unprotected jap carriers....and are certain to at least cause the japs to waste their Sasebo marines at Philippines.

allies way ahead of schedule with outright chances to win early on turn 2. Japanese player is a gambler willing to undergo risk of ruin to gain small advantages.. sort of like writing naked put options and then one day the market crashes.

Sunk Ships:
IJN
0-1-5(2+) Ryujo
0-0-5(2+) Shoho
0-0-5(2+) Zuiho 
0-1-4(1+) Hosho 
1+2-7 Atago

USN
1-3-7(4+) Saratoga
1-3-7(4+) Lexington
0-2-7.(2) Indomitable
1-1-7. Australia

Turn 3

=======================================================================
POC RECORD       Area  IJN/USN   1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8
----------------------------------------------------------------------
     Japanese Islands   3   3   IJN  IJN  IJN
     Aleutian Islands   0   1   IJN  IJN  USN
  North Pacific Ocean   1   1   ---  USN  ---
Central Pacific Ocean   1   0   IJN  ---  USN
     Hawaiian Islands   2   3   ---  IJN  IJN
     Marianas Islands   2   1   IJN  IJN  IJN 
     Marshall Islands   1   1   IJN  IJN  IJN
            Indonesia   3   1   IJN  IJN  USN
  South Pacific Ocean   2   1   IJN  IJN  IJN
         U.S. Mandate   2   2   USN  USN  USN
            Coral Sea   2   2   USN  USN  USN
         Indian Ocean   2   0   USN  USN  USN
        Bay of Bengal   2   1   USN  USN  USN
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
         IJN Subtotal           +12  +13  +10
         USN Subtotal            -5   -6   -7
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
              Net POC            +7   +7   +3
       Cumulative POC            +7  +14  +17
=======================================================================
Turn 3
       IJN patrolled Hawaii heavily and nothing else.
       USN patrolled Brits in the areas they could reach and 1 CA
       in every other sea zone.
       IJN LBA went to Japan, Marianas,SPO,Marshalls and 2 to Hawaii
       USN put 5 in Hawaii, 1 in USM and both Marines in Hawaii
       Kure went to Aleutians
       IJN raiders put a 554 in Coral Sea and Japan,
       Yamato and Junyo in Aleutians to support Kure
       USN raiders put the CV's in expected Aleutians and Coral,
       and divided the surface forces between Coral, NPO and Aleutians. 

IJN Comments: Again IJN got the result the move was designed to cause. USN CV in the line of fire of the slow CV and away from my POC rich interior areas, USN surface fleet drawn to my raiders. This gives me excellent odds of stealing 2 POC in northeast and a free hand in Hawaii. If he does not back up his Coral Sea fleet with his other CV he will lose 2 POC. I'm trading a BB for a perimeter.A slight (10-15% chance) of converting Dutch Harbor while his fleet is drawn into Aleutians and North Atlantic is a bonus. Attrition to my exposed raiders is hopefully balanced by my LBA shots against his patrolling cruisers.

USN stands to win a bit in attrition, especially CV. He does not risk his fleet but by giving IJN a 75%+ chance at Hawaii he also does not get a good chance to break the game open in his favor. Still, his odds before the day/night are better than mine of taking Dutch Harbor.

IJN sunk the marines, beat up some patrollers and removed the CV in Aleutians with deadly Hiyo bombs and an I-Boat disable. Yamato failed to sink the Aleutian patroller, so my suicide ships gained only 1 POC and failed to remove the flag in Aleutians.

In Hawaii I got night and sunk his Marines and a BB, disabling another. He sunk one CA in return. Then he withdrew his LBA, leaving me to flatten his final BB. This move frankly caught me by surprise although in hindsight it is excellent. With a full complement of LBA he has an excellent chance of holding his NE bases, converting attu and contesting SPO. If the Marines had got through his chances of holding Hawaii might have been worth losing his LBA.

On the other hand, IJN did get a bit of useful attrition and the capture of Pearl means my strategic situation is tough but not impossible. Max has great raiding lanes and good chances to hold his interior bases, but his fleet is divided and IJN is strong enough to hold a few key areas no matter what. I think the game is still very tight.

If Max had held Pearl I'd be nearly dead. Given that he had a moderate chance of holding Pearl and the loss does not appear to have tilted the game as far to my side as I'd hoped, I'd have to give Max the edge for strategy this turn.

Sunk Ships:
IJN
1-2-4(3+) Hiyo
1+1-8 Suzuya
1+1-8 Tone
1+0-7 Oi

USN
0-2-7(4+) Enterprise
5-6-5 North Carolina
4-5-3 Mississippi
1-1-7 Salt Lake City
1-1-7. Canberra
1-1-7. De Reuter

Turn 4 removals
0-2-7.(2) Formidable
0-2-7.(2) Illustrious

Turn 4

IJN Report: IJN patrolled 4 CA to USM and put everything else on raid

I think this was the turn Max did not patrol (except the Brits). He could have put a flag on Marshalls and did not, which is not too surprising considering that he took my KO threat quite seriously. Remember I lost no CV at Hawaii turn 3 because he ran. The fact that he was not able to get any benefit from 4 LBA and 2 CV turn 4 because of awkward IJN flags made his decision to withdraw from Hawaii turn 3 look less strong. But hindsight is wonderful, of course.

IJN put a single LBA in each ocean where USN could not concentrate 2+CV (USN had 3 but flags messed up their coordination. In addition IJN put a damaged LBA in Aleutians, hoping to prevent the conversion of Attu.

The feint to USM worked, drawing 4 LBA. With his raiding worries, USN devoted only 1 LBA to the northeast, in NPO.

IJN put a CV in each LBA-covered area ("Flag defense") except Aleutians. The rest of its navy, including 2 SNLF were split between CPO and NPO. The division of the USN fleet allowed a shot at retaking the northeast.

USN had nothing better to do with 2 of his CV than add them to the 4 LBA in USM (attempting to attrit cruisers) His final CV went 1 on 1 with my damaged LBA in Aleutians, along with his remaining NE force, about half his surface ships.

In hindsight I gave USN too good a chance in Aleutians. I should have speed rolled a 436 in there and put an undamaged LBA on the spot - reducing the chances of converting Attu and keeping the NE open from 45% to 20% or less. The dice gods were looking out for fools, though, and the LBA held, disabling the CV. Combined with the failure of the single LBA in NPO, USN lost its primary advantage and had to settle for fairly strong air and good raiding lanes going into turn 5.

IJN, through many small victories, had turned the tide and had the advantage going into turn 5.

Turn 5

=======================================================================
POC RECORD       Area  IJN/USN   1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8
----------------------------------------------------------------------
     Japanese Islands   3   3   IJN  IJN  IJN  IJN  IJN
     Aleutian Islands   0   1   IJN  IJN  USN  IJN  ---
  North Pacific Ocean   1   1   ---  USN  ---  ---  IJN
Central Pacific Ocean   1   0   IJN  ---  USN  ---  ---
     Hawaiian Islands   2   3   ---  IJN  IJN  IJN  IJN
     Marianas Islands   2   1   IJN  IJN  IJN  IJN  IJN
     Marshall Islands   1   1   IJN  IJN  IJN  ---  IJN 
            Indonesia   3   1   IJN  IJN  USN  IJN  IJN
  South Pacific Ocean   2   1   IJN  IJN  IJN  USN  USN
         U.S. Mandate   2   2   USN  USN  USN  USN  USN
            Coral Sea   2   2   USN  USN  USN  USN  USN
         Indian Ocean   2   0   USN  USN  USN  USN  USN
        Bay of Bengal   2   1   USN  USN  USN  USN  USN
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
         IJN Subtotal           +12  +13  +10  +10  +12
         USN Subtotal            -5   -6   -7   -6   -6
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
              Net POC            +7   +7   +3   +4   +6
       Cumulative POC            +7  +14  +17  +21  +27
=======================================================================

IJN Report: IJN patrols NPO/Japan with damaged CA, Hawaii with most of the surface fleet, holding CV and a few BB/CA for raid.

USN patrols areas Brits can reach, 2 ships in Coral (protected by flags), one cruiser in Marianas/Marshalls and a strong patrol in SPO. This patrol is backed by 4 LBA (others go to home areas) Marines go 2 to SPO, one to Indonesia.

IJN puts 2 LBA in each of Indo/Marianas/Marshalls, with the damaged LBA in Marianas. Each LBA group is backed by enough CV to match expected USN forces (one CV in Indo/Marianas, 2 in Marshalls). The three slow CV back the Hawaii force. USN's patrols allowed the use of the heavy BB's to attempt to shoot patrollers if the LBA+CV fails (and to get cheap attrition in areas uncontested).

USN's heavy patrols preclude attacking Hawaii. The chance of driving off LBA is about 35% in Indo, 40% in Marshalls/Marianas. If LBA hold, IJN only has to win a turn 8 battle in Japan. If they fail, IJN will need the 1 POC it prevents with the BB reinforcements and will need to steal a POC or two on turn 7 to have a chance. With no further attrition, IJN has excellent chances of winning the turn 8 battle so the decision was made not to contest SPO or interfere with the USN Marines.

USN decided to bet the farm on Indonesia and reinforced with Brits, BB's and CV's, with slower ships and CA to SPO. As this gives him the worst chance I did shade things slightly to encourage it. It does give a bigger USN reward - a victory there makes me really scramble turn 7 to stay in the game.

This turn the dice payed me back for my CA survival luck last turn. Max had 5 CA exposed to 14 bonus and 23 normal shots and only one was sunk. However the real focus of the turn was Indonesia.

This was a tense battle, especially as Max got Night and Day/Night on the second two rounds. IJN sunk all 3 CV and sent the patrollers home, USN sunk both IJN CA and crippled both BB (and sunk the CV). In the end, though it was the CV vs LBA results that were decisive, and Yorktown came up short.

USN has had a 25-45% chance every turn to break the game open in their favor (turn 2 Indo 30%, Turn 3 Pearl 25%, Turn 4 Aleutians 45%, Turn 5 Indo 35%) Each time IJN has got the luck. IJN had the odds on each occasion but the string of defeats was pretty unlikely and I feel fortunate that the dice have countered Max's excellent play.

At this point IJN no longer has to take big chances. The game will revolve around which of us can improve our odds of the final battle.

Sunk Ships:
IJN
1-2-8(3+) Soryu
1+1-8 Mikuma
1+1-8 Mogami

USN
0-2-7(4+) Enterprise
0-2-7(4+) Yorktown
0-2-6(4+) Wasp
1-1-7 Wichita

Turn 6 Withdrawals
0-2-7.(2) Victorious

Turn 6

=======================================================================
POC RECORD       Area  IJN/USN   1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8
----------------------------------------------------------------------
     Japanese Islands   3   3   IJN  IJN  IJN  IJN  IJN  IJN
     Aleutian Islands   0   1   IJN  IJN  USN  IJN  ---  ---
  North Pacific Ocean   1   1   ---  USN  ---  ---  IJN  IJN
Central Pacific Ocean   1   0   IJN  ---  USN  ---  ---  IJN
     Hawaiian Islands   2   3   ---  IJN  IJN  IJN  IJN  IJN
     Marianas Islands   2   1   IJN  IJN  IJN  IJN  IJN  IJN
     Marshall Islands   1   1   IJN  IJN  IJN  ---  IJN  IJN
            Indonesia   3   1   IJN  IJN  USN  IJN  IJN  USN
  South Pacific Ocean   2   1   IJN  IJN  IJN  USN  USN  USN
         U.S. Mandate   2   2   USN  USN  USN  USN  USN  USN
            Coral Sea   2   2   USN  USN  USN  USN  USN  USN
         Indian Ocean   2   0   USN  USN  USN  USN  USN  USN
        Bay of Bengal   2   1   USN  USN  USN  USN  USN  USN
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
         IJN Subtotal           +12  +13  +10  +10  +12  +10
         USN Subtotal            -5   -6   -7   -6   -6   -7
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
              Net POC            +7   +7   +3   +4   +6   +3
       Cumulative POC            +7  +14  +17  +21  +27  +29
=======================================================================

IJN Comments: IJN patrolled Hawaii with the cruisers, repaired a couple ships and held the BB+CV for raids.

USN patrolled Indo/SPO/Marshalls heavily, including one CVL in Marshalls and put a single cruiser in Marianas.

USN's heavy patrols allowed me to defend Hawaii with fleet only (still have 6 fleet CV to USN's 3+5CVL) and so I used 2 LBA in Marshalls, 2 in Marianas, put a damaged one in Indo. USN put 4 LBA in Indo, 2 in SPO and the rest in his back areas. IJN put all 3 SNLF in SPO.

Now USN is overloaded. If he moves his two garrison troops in Lae, a "day" result will lose him the game if he does not support Indo with at least one CV. But if he does that, then he has no real chance of taking Marianas and Marshalls, which he also must do.

I saw a lot of ways good things could happen if I removed 3 POC - if Marshalls held and the patroller in Marianas went away *or* if Marianas held I could win by putting USN in a position where he had to patrol both NPO and Japanese Islands successfully versus the entire IJN fleet. I had decent odds of this, as his battles in best chance were only 65% affairs. Plus if he committed to that I had a decent chance (35%) of taking Indo, ending the game right there.

USN chose the most conservative option available, abandoning Marshalls, moving one Marine to take Phillipines and supporting Indo and SPO with the fleet that would have gone to Marshalls. He sent 2 CV+2CVL to Marianas, enough to probably do the job.

This gave up 2 POC in Marshalls, which meant the patroller in Marianas was suddenly very important. Important enough that when the first round was Day/Night, USN diverted 4 shots from his CV to cripple Musashi. This worked, but if USN had fired at the LBA it would have saved him 2 CV and the area. In the end, Marianas held because of Musashi's sacrifice, and Max was faced with a near lock.

USN could only break the lock by taking Japanese Islands turn 7. IJN had a surface fleet just as large as everything USN could bring to bear, and had a huge air advantage (4 LBA, 8 CV plus 3 1-bangers versus 2 CV+2CVL). Facing this, Max resigned.

Conversions: Phillipines (Invasion)

Sunk Ships:
IJN:
6-9-5 Musashi
USN
1-3-7(4+) CV16
0-2-7(2+) Princeton
0-2-7(2+) Cowpens

Final IJN comments: One thing I managed to do in this game was avoid all conflict with LBA and force Max to fight it every turn. When he got a "6" he got a bunch, all together, or he rolled 2 damage. Although Max had chances in turn 5 and 6, winning the battles he lost would not have destroyed IJN's game - I was still odds-on to win the final turn 8 battle because my CV fleet was intact and that is a 6 POC swing that I did not have to use because of the favorable late game results. Although I did not realize it, the game decisively shifted to IJN favor when the turn 4 move captured both northeast ports and the USN had nothing better to do with 2 of his CV than chase cruisers.

I also can't find too much wrong with a game where every critical battle was odds-on for IJN. During the game I was uncomfortable with how many critical battles there were, but the advantages I was gaining for the risk were more than I thought, and I had my share of bad breaks (most notably the failure of Yamato to remove a patroller in aleutians turn 3 which is why Max had one extra chance to ruin the IJN position - the bad Pearl raid and below average turn 2 results in CPO also contributed). I do think the 1-area opening is not my strongest, but is still the right thing to do in games where the USN fleet is strong and the LBA is positioned in a defensive fashion turn 2.

I did feel for Max though. It is tough to go turn after turn seeing a chance at outright victory go up in smoke with poor dice, even if the individual odds in each battle are against you.


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