2015 Support Drive – Ending in:
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Did a general search today and somewhere stumbled on a photo of the board (which can be seen as part of the back of the box on the Funagain entry for A&A:G).
It's an area map, not hexes, depicting the length of "The Slot" with Guadalcanal and Tulagi at lower right (almost at the corner). There are numerous sea areas along The Slot and outside of it both to NE and SW.
Seas are in an attractive medium blue, NOT the blue-black of the "new" A&A (THANK GOODNESS), and islands are in a nice tropical green with light surrounds setting them off nicely from the ocean. Very attractive. It looks like there's a big Henderson Field on Guadalcanal, but since airfields are reportedly constructable in the game, this might be a counter.
The photo also shows two small maps as off-map displays, each apparently showing an island or anchorage--perhaps this is the "reserve area" where available but uncommitted assets are kept. There are also two off-map displays. The photo shows components on the board and alongside (impossible to get a clear view of the minis, but it appears that the Japanese BB is, in fact, the Yamato mini from A&Aac).
The piece manifest indicates something like 170+ miniatures: infantry (no tanks, according to Larry Harris), fighters, bombers, destroyers, cruisers, BBs, Carriers, (probably subs too). Don't know about artillery. It appears from the photo that the Japanese pieces are light brown and the US pieces are the same green as in "new" A&A.
The most intriguing thing is a small thin rectangular box which is shown as standing vertically with a pull-out trough or drawer in the bottom. The drawer, or whatever it is, looks to be just a little wider than the standard-size D6s also in the photo.
There is no evidence in the photo of the randomizing-casualty cards that fit under the A&A:Bulge board, so this object appears to be the new randomizing device. Hard to picture how it would work since the pieces have such variable shapes but I can imagine no other function. Since the box is long (picture a box holding three cigars), perhaps there is some sort of internal dividers to randomize pieces falling through to the trough/drawer.
Anyway it all looks very nice, plenty of areas for ships to get sunk in, enougn room on most of the islands for infantry and strength chips to be placed, and with good map colors evocative of the theater of war.
I also saw information on one online seller's entry for the game indicating the release date as "October 3."
I hope we see eight weeks of designer's preview commentary on the AH site as happened with A&A D-Day and Bulge.
It's great to see a primarily naval topic in this series. If I may indulge in a prediction, I suspect the next one will be either North Africa or Eastern Front, but I think it would be fun to see a game on the air war--Battle of Britain and the Allied bomber offensive over Europe in particular, perhaps within the same game!
Nice description, thanks.
Ah, yes, you're right. I found a larger photo of the box back and can make out the artillery pieces for both sides. It also looks like they are using the Betty, B-17, Zero and Hellcat pieces from A&Aacific.
You're also right about the randomizer box--in the larger photo it is plain that the drawer holds dice, and also that there are images on the side of the drawer as well as on the larger randomizer box.
Perhaps the attacker rolls dice piece type by piece type and the results are indicated by the target type hit, if present, converting to a "miss" if that type is not present for a given successful die.
I think this looks like a better system than the somewhat fussy and component-wearing system of A&A Bulge where the ramdomizing boards are to be slid in and out underneath the board.
On the OH NO side, I've just read that release of Guad has been delayed until late NOVEMBER. OH NO.