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Christopher O
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Empire of the Sun

Concept & Overview



Empire of the Sun is a grand strategy level wargame covering the entire Pacific theatre of the Second World War from its infamous beginning in December 1941 until the dawn of an entirely new era of warfare in August of 1945. While covering a huge geographic area and a multitude of armed forces personnel and weapon systems as well as a few notable civilian and political aspects, the game manages to be both playable and challenging.

Veteran designer Mark Hernan, father of the card-driven system so very much in vogue with many strategic (and non-strategic) wargames today and first introduced in We the People as well as originator and co-designer of the very popular Great Battles of History series, is no stranger to game design. He has even visited the period (if not the scale) before in Victory Games' Pacific War, though, as he states in his design notes for Empire of the Sun, a strategic scenario was beyond the playable scope of that offering.

Designed for two players, each player takes control of either the Japanese Empire or the assortment of Allied powers (The United States, Great Britain and its then "crown colony" India, New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, China, etc.) arrayed against it. Each scenario represents a year of real time, each turn representing four months, with the option to play multiple consecutive years or even the "Full Campaign" of 1941-1945. The scenarios are intended to play in approximately four to six hours, with the campaign game lasting considerably longer.

The game is played on a 56cm X 86cm (22"x34") full-colour folding paper mapsheet, with two comprehensive reference cards - one 21.6cm x 27.9cm (8.5"x11") and one 27.9cm x 43.2cm (11"x17"). Each player receives a strategy card deck of 82 (Japanese) or 83 (Allied) cards. The counter mix includes 280 14.3mm (9/16") counters (air and ground units, as well as book-keeping markers) and 88 15.9mm (5/8") counters (naval units)

Movement is hex-based, using the now-standard format for card-driven strategy games of each player alternating card plays for unit activation or the execution of a historical event. Players may also pass (if they have any passes remaining) or hold one card each for future play with the special "Future Offensives" rules.

Each ground unit counter represents formations ranging in size from the doomed Dutch battalions of approximately 300-500 men scattered over the Dutch East Indies to the huge Army sized units of 10,000 or more of the Imperial Japanese Army. The air units represent formations from squadrons (8-12 planes), to Wings, all the way up to the US Air Forces comprised of multiple Groups of hundreds of aircraft. Naval counters represent individual large capital ships and their attendant escorts and logistical ships.

The game also includes the 48 page rule-book, which includes multiple scenarios (and scenario variants), tournament rules suggestions, designer's notes, examples of play and one ten-sided die.


Game Mechanics



Mark Herman develops and expands his now gold-standard CDG system in Empire of the Sun, but the game mechanics remain very familiar. After initial set-up, each player is dealt a hand of cards, the size of which varies depending on the strategic situation (strategic bombing, submarine campaigns and certain events affect this number). For every card less than seven, each player is given a "pass" the use of which are tracked on a track on the mapsheet. On his or her turn, a player may play a card, pass or place a card into reserve for a future offensive.

The game turn is broken down phases. First, the Strategic Phase, where reinforcements arrive (or don't arrive - see "Game Play" below) and reduced units receive replacements. Strategic warfare is also conducted during this phase, which affects card draw for the turn. During the Offensives Phase players alternate playing Strategy cards for their effect as an event (historical campaigns, events or other effects) or for the card's value as Operations. In the Political Phase the effects of the occupation or non-occupation of certain hexes will result in the surrender of certain countries and the modification of the US Political Will. In the Attrition Phase, out-of-supply air and ground units are reduced or eliminated (naval units get a figurative "get out of jail free card" for attrition). Finally, the End-of-Turn Phase covers the inevitable victory conditions check and various book-keeping tasks.

All seems very familiar, right? Not completely! Now, I confess my strategic CDG experience is limited to Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage, Wilderness War, Twilight Struggle, 1960: The Making of the President and one fairly introductory session (two turns) of Paths of Glory. I haven't played We the People or For the People to be able to compare mechanics from those games. The "pass" option for card play does not appear in any of the strategic CDGs I've played (maybe PoG? I can't remember), nor does the "Future Offensive" method of saving a card (though in Wilderness War, a card may be retained for the next turn under certain circumstances). The Twilight Struggle mechanic of not playing one card during the turn does not figure into strategy either - you always play all of your cards, or reserve one (at a time) for a future operation. These changes, though subtle, definitely add a wrinkle to the mix of the larger family of CDGs. The "future offensive" card functions as a kind of "hole card" (as in poker) and mitigates the often excruciating pain of discarding a card which would be vital to play one or two turns down the road, but is useless at the moment. Instead of being consigned to the discard pile, where you are unlikely to see it for some time (though some games contain a mechanic for re-shuffling the discards back into the draw), you can hang on to it. You can also use it to gain initiative if you play your "future offensive" card as the first card to be played in a turn.

Combat is resolved by a fairly straightforward single die roll by both sides, which is used to find a factor (1/2x, 1x, 1.5x, 2x) to modify the attack strength of the unit involved to get a number of "hits". The number of "hits" is compared to the defending units' defence values, and units are reduced or eliminated if you can inflict enough hits on it to equal or exceed its defense strength. As is typical with step-loss type wargames, all defending units must be reduced before they may be eliminated, with certain exceptions for critical hits on naval units in air-naval combat. No CRTs or battle cards to be seen in this CDG, though a handy multiplication/division reference table is provided for the less mathematically inclined (or at least those without a calculator handy).

Combat is modified by terrain, air superiority, amphibious assault, etc. but also intelligence condition. "Intelligence condition?" you ask? This is where this system breaks away from the usual wargame mold.

Each card, which can be played for offensives with an operations card value or a event card value, has an intrinsic intelligence value. The bigger the operation or campaign (the more units which can be activated by the card) the higher the intelligence value. If the opponent plays a reaction card OR rolls equal to or less than the intelligence value (if no specific intelligence condition is specified by the Strategy Card played), the attack can become an intercept or an ambush. How does this make a difference?

Battles default to a "Surprise Attack" intelligence condition, in which the attacker inflicts casualties before the defender. With a successful intelligence roll, the intelligence condition becomes a "Intercept", with both sides inflicting hits simultaneously. With the play of the right reaction card, an attack can become an "Ambush", with the defender inflicting casualties first. As you can imagine, the differences are absolutely critical, especially in large-scale battles. In this way, Herman has encoded the vital importance of the role of intelligence and counter-intelligence to the Pacific War in a fairly elegant step.

Although Wilderness War incorporates this mechanic in the presence or non-presence of Indian or Irregular units in its system, the huge effect that foreknowledge (or lack thereof) of the enemies' movements via intelligence conditions cannot be understated in relation to this game. Twice in my gameplay thus far, what appeared to be a reasonably equal battle for me or my opponent were turned into blood-baths by effective play of Ambush or Surprise Attack conditions.

Another twist on an old stand-by system is the Zone of Influence projected by air units. In many hex-and-counter games, the Zone of Control (ZOC) is an old staple, helping the bridge the reality gap of units being able to project a certain amount of control over hexes their physical counter does not occupy. In Empire of the Sun, Zones of Influence are used in a similar, but subtly different manner to simulate the logistical and early-warning effects of aircraft patrols, interdiction missions and close air support. ZoIs affect amphibious assaults, strategic movement and the intelligence conditions of battles, which is to say, extremely significant aspects of gameplay. You cannot be successful at this game without understanding and capitalizing on ZoIs.

Supply and command/control are simplified but decently modelled through the immobile and very vulnerable HQ counters. Rules regarding both these aspects of the game will be very familiar to any experienced war game player.

The modification of the standard back-and-forth pattern of CDG card play via the passing mechanic, along with the "future offensives" hole card and the game-swinging role of intelligence in combat stand out as mechanics which distinguish it from its predecessors and well-meaning imitators.

That said, a number of small sub-sets of the rules, such as those dealing with China and Burma, as well as a number of small exceptions or modifications to standard rules for specific units or unit types and situations, while being simulative in nature and probably unavoidable for purposes of realistic gameplay, do require careful reading and paying attention while playing.


Artwork and Components



I liked the production design of the maps and counters in general, and the cards in general are easy to read and quite understandable. The rest of the components are, on the whole, serviceable without being outstanding or poor in any regard.



The game box is typical of most GMT offerings; fairly non-descript illustration-style modification of an existing period photograph depicting a Japanese soldier throwing a grenade. The rest of the box describes the game accurately and in some detail, and when opened the box sides show the usual interesting trivia often included on GMT box game sides.



The map is also fairly typical of GMT games in general, but for some reason, the combination of typefaces, colours and general layout of the map is somewhat more appealing to me than your typical GMT map for some reason. Informational importance is well communicated through typeface and size of text, as are other informational aspects of the map.



The pieces are well done, using standard NATO symbology for the ground forces, plan views of aircraft for the air units and silhouette views of naval forces.

Sky blue is used for both US Army and USAAF units, in a small departure from the wargame norm, but the usual tan for Commonwealth, orange for Dutch, red for Chinese, yellow for Japanese and olive green for US Marine units remain. A darker blue (though not "navy" blue) is used for US Navy units. Combat values are organized in a fairly understandable pattern for easy reference, along with standard set-up hex numbers on some counters for the full campaign and 1942 scenario.



The die-cut counters are on good quality cardstock, with no visible delamination that we could see. All of the counters separated well, without need for lengthy knife-work, although one could do that if one wished, of course.

The rulebook is the only aspect I could fault with this game, though its sins are relatively minor. A number of errors of omission and typos were found when comparing the rulebook which shipped with the game to its current (as of this writing) rules 2.0 version listed at the GMT website. Some pretty significant clarifications to amphibious combat and revisions and clarifications to supply also figured in the changes from the shipped rulebook to the latest edition.

A few examples of play were incorrectly referenced, and in some cases wording and ordering of rules were unnecessarily convoluted, making a medium-to-medium-high complexity game seem even more daunting on first read-through.

Mention should be made of the excellent Quick Start Set-Up map which is great for finding counters and placing them on the map. First time game set-up is significantly reduced by use of this map in conjunction with the hex numbers printed directly on standard campaign starting units.



GMT and many other wargame designers should take note of this simple but effective player aid.


Gameplay



Empire of the Sun has a relatively light counter density and a quick set-up. However, after reading through the rules and setting up, both my opponent and I often found ourselves thinking to ourselves "What on Earth do I do now?"

This is not as a result of poor rules, or awkward mechanics, but rather the sheer size of the battle area involved. Sure, the game map is physically small, but what it represents, and the options available to the player are immense.

Granted, certain strategies, such as the early capture of the Philippines and the usual island-hopping path to victory for the US player in the South and Southwest Pacific, are evident, but on a whole, both the Japanese and the Allied player have a lot of options.

Now, some aspects of play are pretty mechanically obvious - the slow elimination of the Dutch garrisons in the East Indies and the destruction of Commonwealth forces in Hong Kong and Malaya seem like no-brainers. However, the order and pace at which one applies oneself to those seemingly simple tasks, and the extent to which one commits resources, via card play or movement of your forces, is daunting. This is quite aside from the swirling cauldron of bluff and counterbluff near Midway, Wake and the Solomons. Do you push on the Aleutians? Should you adopt an early high-casualty blitz-type strategy or conserve your units for the longer war? What's enough to throw at China-Burma-Indonesia (CBI)? How about the meat grinder of the Port Moresby Rabaul-Guadalcanal triangle?

The units in Empire of the Sun, with a few exceptions like the Indian ground forces and Chinese, can get around so quickly that unless you place your air and naval assets with the precision of a watchmaker to gain maximum effect from ZoIs, you will find yourself frequently attacked in locations you might have otherwise thought safe. Amphibious landings happen frequently (as you might expect) and if a carrier unit moves with an amphibious force, you can even neutralize ZoIs as you move, so even careful ZoI overlapping can be countered.

With observation and repeated play, I imagine patterns and strategies emerge which will seem obvious to the veteran player. To a first time player (and having never played anything depicting the Pacific theatre on a grand strategic level more complex than Pacific Victory), it's more boggling than Paths of Glory.

You can often place reinforcements almost anywhere within reason, and as HQs are more or less immobile once placed, you really need to think about where they go. (As a tip to future players, if you're stuck about where to put any of your reinforcements, check out the handy reference charts near the back, which show historical "placement" of reinforcements at various stages of the war). This, combined with the high mobility of your forces, makes for a very fluid "front" (the term is extremely loosely applied), pretty much the diametrical opposite of the few turns of Paths of Glory I played.

This is not to put down or belittle PoG (crucification by the wargaming community would probably ensue), but this is a very different game depicting a very different war. Unlike Hannibal or Wilderness War, where two or three routes of invasion seem obvious, an imaginative player can even hope to take Oahu with careful planning.

In gameplay terms, much of the success in finding victory hinges on the understanding of individual victory point goals in each scenario, something which might be overlooked by a first time player.

Realistically, the Japanese, by virtue of their strategic reserves, cannot possibly win a war of attrition and must seek to maximize their few advantages (surprise, initial force superiority and position) before they are inevitably overwhelmed. The Allied player must grin and bear the steamroller like advances of the IJA and IJN in the first few turns, then shake off the punch-delirium and marshal forces for the slog up the island chains and to the heart of the Empire.

Summary



Although this game is given a 7/9 rating for complexity by GMT, it really isn't all that difficult at its core. The elegant and simple system that launched We the People on a path to wargame stardom remains as effective and interesting a system as it has been for the last fourteen years. With the small but powerful changes made by Herman in this latest iteration, the game system remains fresh and interesting, especially when applied to the Pacific theatre. Where it stumbles a little are in the numerous (but usually understandable) small rules and exceptions which add flavour at some cost to game pace.

I enjoy this game a lot, but it is definitely not one where I feel that I will have a good grasp on its strategy after two or three plays. It feels at times as wide as the Pacific, while at others (as with the doomed defenders of Corregidor), one feels confined, as though there is nothing you can do to alter the inevitable.

Entire battle fleets can be wiped out in a blink of an eye as a result of a card play or a poor intelligence roll, but it never feels random the same way that other games can.

Empire of the Sun takes a massive campaign, effectively a war unto itself on the other side of the world, and compacts it into a playable and engaging war game where you can very palpably feel the weight of history bearing upon you. The cards and events guide you, but you hold the reins and although the martial spirit of the Japanese cannot possibly win over the mechanized technological might of the United States, the fun is in fighting it out anyway.

Empire of the Sun is challenging, interesting and well presented. While it does not quite interest or engage me as some other CDGs I have played, such as Hannibal or Wilderness War (while still interesting me more than Twilight Struggle or Paths of Glory, thematically and gameplay speaking), I feel that it is definitely a game which will grow on me.


Post Script - Canadians in the Pacific

Although ultimately doomed to extinction historically and in this game by virtue of its static defence of the strategically important port of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Division as represented by the counter in hex 2709 historically contained two regiments of the Canadian Army, the Royal Rifles of Canada (not to be confused with the Royal Canadian Rifles) and the Winnipeg Grenadiers. Despite their lack of combat experience and more or less futile situation, both units held tenaciously against horrific odds for as long as they were able.

To quote from the Veteran Affairs Canada website:

Quote:
The defence of Hong Kong was made at a great human cost. Approximately 290 Canadian soldiers were killed in battle and, while in captivity, approximately 264 more died as POWs, for a total death toll of 554. In addition, almost 500 Canadians were wounded. Of the 1,975 Canadians who went to Hong Kong, more than 1,050 were either killed or wounded. This was a casualty rate of more than 50%, arguably one of the highest casualty rates of any Canadian theatre of action in the Second World War.


While Canadians are not mentioned by name (as are many other smaller countries who also played a part) for simple reasons of scale, I believe it is important as a Canadian to mention the sacrifice of those two Regiments in the Defence of Hong Kong in any game which depicts it at any scale.

I dedicate this review to their memory.
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Mark Herman
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Thank you for writing such a well written and thoughtful review.

Mark
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Randy C
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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I like the game and your review. Especially the last sentence.
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Rob Buchler
United States
Michigan
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Well-reviewed! For me, EOTS is a notch or two above Paths of Glory and Barbarossa to Berlin in terms of complexity, which has been keeping it off my table. I've yet to attempt Japan's first turn on my own - I follow the play example in the rulebook and just roll the dice.

But this game really captures all that I hoped it would when I picked it up. Would set it up now, except my 19-year-old moved back with us recently and took over my room in the basement that had been dedicated to my gaming and painting. The missus frowns on a wargame being set up all week in the living room cry
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Tony Buman
United States
Harlan
Iowa
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Great review. As an old school wargamer just getting back into the hobby, you have helped me understand the whole concept of "cards" in a wargame.
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Christopher O
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Summer grasses / All that remains / Of soldiers' dreams. - Basho.
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After reading this geeklist which comprehensively covers many CDGs of Empire of the Sun's type:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/19644

... I thought it best to mention (well, mention again, though perhaps not stressed enough in the review) two things which do happen which may come across as negative for either first time players or players who are very familiar with CDGs but expect a certain outcome.

1. There is a period during this game if you are playing the full campaign or the 1942 scenario (or any multi-year scenario which includes 1942) where if you're the Allied player, you're just "taking the beats", as it were and not doing much else than damage control. In fact, much of my time in the first hour or so of play as the Allies was spent with my jaw hanging open and trying to figure out how I could preserve what few forces I had in the region from imminent destruction, or if indeed I should just try to inflict as much damage on the IJA and IJN by defending in situ as much as possible. This could be very frustrating for some players. If this sort of historical "sitting on your hands" frustrates you, start with the 1943 scenario and do not do the full campaign or the 1942 scenario. If people can't abide this level of historical determinism, you will probably dislike this game much more than this review would allow for. It's still not completely sitting on your hands, since deciding when and where to play cards for Ops and events are still very relevant, as is the possibility of selecting a card as a Future Offensive.

2. Intelligence condition changes, as result of die roll or reaction card play, has a huge effect on gameplay. I say this pretty emphatically in the review, but it almost has to be experienced to be believed. In my first play as the Japanese, what looked like a fairly decent 1.5 to 1 attacker vs. defender odds attack by a CV + CVL force (+ other air and naval units) on his one CV force + assorted naval and air units resulted in a crushing defeat for me (both CV/Ls plus some additional units lost) when he played a card which resulted in an Ambush. Now, one could argue that this is a gamey, broken mechanic, or one could point out the various historical intelligence coups which resulted in similar one-sided victories for the Allies (and occasionally, Japan). Depending on which side of the argument you sit, you could be really put off by this mechanic. You can check out Mark Simonich's optional variant intelligence table (http://www.gmtgames.com/nneots/IntelTable5.pdf) for an alternative to this mechanic, but do play with the rules as written the first time and decide for yourself.

I also made some somewhat offhand comparisons to other CDGs within the review. I should clarify.

The game is mechanically somewhat more complex than Paths of Glory, more than Wilderness War and much more than Hannibal.

There are more strategic options (in terms of axes of advance) in Empire of the Sun than in Wilderness War (essentially three for the British) or Hannibal (two and a half for the Carthaginians, more or less) but there are far, far more things to consider (in terms of fronts, strategic reinforcement and political and strategic options) in Paths of Glory.

In terms of analysis paralysis, or, to be more charitable, the need to carefully weigh one's card play, Hannibal is quickest, followed by Wilderness War, Empire of the Sun and then Paths of Glory. I have never played a CDG where the difficulty of deciding how to play a card was more tense than in PoG. On the other hand, Twilight Struggle wins from the viewpoint of when to play a card, timing-wise, within a turn, and knowing when to play a certain event card for ops so that it will come back into the deck more rapidly.

I should also mention that I have played Hammer of the Scots, Rommel in the Desert and Crusader Rex, and as the writer of the geeklist referenced above, though the general concept of these games is similar (playing cards alternatively to activate units), the execution and details is distinguished enough that I don't include these games in comparison with others in the general category of CDGs of Mark Herman's design heritage.
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Tom Grant
United States
Washington
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I've had Empire of the Sun since it was first published, but I haven't played it yet. Now I really, really want to. That's the measure of an excellent review--nice work.
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Christopher O
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Summer grasses / All that remains / Of soldiers' dreams. - Basho.
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Kingdaddy wrote:
I've had Empire of the Sun since it was first published, but I haven't played it yet. Now I really, really want to. That's the measure of an excellent review--nice work.


Make sure to play with the v2.0 rules available at GMT. A few small changes make some big differences in terms of understanding the rules and figuring out supply.
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Karl Kreder
United States
Nuevo
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Great Review, I like many others haven't brought this game to the table but your review has re-sparked interest in the game for me.
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Mark Herman
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Kozure wrote:
After reading this geeklist which comprehensively covers many CDGs of Empire of the Sun's type:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/19644

... I thought it best to mention (well, mention again, though perhaps not stressed enough in the review) two things which do happen which may come across as negative for either first time players or players who are very familiar with CDGs but expect a certain outcome.

1. There is a period during this game if you are playing the full campaign or the 1942 scenario (or any multi-year scenario which includes 1942) where if you're the Allied player, you're just "taking the beats", as it were and not doing much else than damage control. In fact, much of my time in the first hour or so of play as the Allies was spent with my jaw hanging open and trying to figure out how I could preserve what few forces I had in the region from imminent destruction, or if indeed I should just try to inflict as much damage on the IJA and IJN by defending in situ as much as possible. This could be very frustrating for some players. If this sort of historical "sitting on your hands" frustrates you, start with the 1943 scenario and do not do the full campaign or the 1942 scenario. If people can't abide this level of historical determinism, you will probably dislike this game much more than this review would allow for. It's still not completely sitting on your hands, since deciding when and where to play cards for Ops and events are still very relevant, as is the possibility of selecting a card as a Future Offensive.

2. Intelligence condition changes, as result of die roll or reaction card play, has a huge effect on gameplay. I say this pretty emphatically in the review, but it almost has to be experienced to be believed. In my first play as the Japanese, what looked like a fairly decent 1.5 to 1 attacker vs. defender odds attack by a CV + CVL force (+ other air and naval units) on his one CV force + assorted naval and air units resulted in a crushing defeat for me (both CV/Ls plus some additional units lost) when he played a card which resulted in an Ambush. Now, one could argue that this is a gamey, broken mechanic, or one could point out the various historical intelligence coups which resulted in similar one-sided victories for the Allies (and occasionally, Japan). Depending on which side of the argument you sit, you could be really put off by this mechanic. You can check out Mark Simonich's optional variant intelligence table (http://www.gmtgames.com/nneots/IntelTable5.pdf) for an alternative to this mechanic, but do play with the rules as written the first time and decide for yourself.



I wanted to drop a quick note on two points here, which I will take on in reverse order. The intelligence aspect of the key is critical to understanding the war and my design. One of the difficulties in a manual game is how to bring true uncertainty to the player experience, while keeping true to history. I went for an 'empty' map design in that it appears at times that many places are poorly or under defended. During the real war the Allies, in almost all cases, underestimated Japanese ground defenses. The entire reaction mechanic allows this to happen. In addition the situation where one side thinks that its an attack in their favor which goes bad is exactly what the Japanese experienced at Midway, so I feel very good when players get that view. Although players often like the feeling that they can do something, which Mark S. partial reaction house rule reflects, it is counter historical in my view as how can you sorta know what is going to happen. Either you believe that there is an attack and you respond to win or you do not know and you do nothing. A partial response just doesn't make sense to me, but that's just me.

On the first point about the Allies feeling beat down. Good, that's what you are supposed to feel. The reality is the Japanese started the war at full strength and prepardness and the Allies were more or less the opposite. At some point in the game the Allies will be stronger, but it is the goal of the Allied player not to wait for that to happen, but try to accelerate it.

In order to win the war the Allies must regain air and naval superiority, which begins with air superiority. From the very first, the Allies must fight an air war. The Allies have 5 replacement steps per turn and each turn that any of these are unused is a strategy failure of sorts. The Allies get most of their main US air forces in the first couple of turns. They must get frequent and constant use, even to their elimination, because like the Phoenix they will rise from the ashes next turn to continue the process. The Japanese get at most 5 replacement steps for the game (achieved through card play), so this is job number one.

Job number two is to kill the Japanese navy through the death of a thousand cuts. Simply stated the Allies need to trade their initial naval forces on a one or even a two for one basis. With the useful destruction of the US Navy in exchange for a similar loss on the IJN side the Japanese will be out of gas and then a new US Navy enters the game. That is how it was done historically and that is what will work in the game.

I hope these comments will help guide new players in some of their first games. I designed this game to be endlessly replayable. I have played over 100 games and I am still learning new tricks, so have fun.

Mark
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Mark Greenman
United States
Utah
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Good review. Have played EoTS for about 1.5 years now, and it rapidly became one of my faves.

My experience at learning the game was that a few 'tactical' lessons needed to be learned and become part of the standard thinking before the strategic aspects of the game becomes more managable. A couple of these are -

On attack:
Pinning - On the attack, you can utilize some of your activated units (most often Air units) to pin-down enemy units that you don't want reacting to the focal point of your Offensive. Ground units can't react out of a declared battle hex, and Naval and Air units have to participate in the declared battle, so units in declared battle hexes can't effectively react. The Allied LRB Air units are especially useful for this purpose, as they have longer range, and as Mark Herman noted, they will 'rise from the ashes'. This requires the right kind of card (one with a Logistics value) played as an Event, which makes these cards even more valuable.

Invading non-named locations - For larger islands, not every invasion needs to be done in one fell swoop. If you amphibiously invade a hex with no named location (mostly the Ports and Airfields), and no enemy ground unit, then no battle occurs in that location, and there is not the chance of the devastating losses common with the bloodier opposed amphibious invasion. In general, this needs to be done within range of your own land-based air cover (so you can project/neutralize the ZOI to supply the just seized location).

Defense: Stack single step Armies/Corp (1 ASP worth) in a port with at least one naval unit, preferably in a location that cannot be 'Pinned'. These make very effective reaction forces to oppose the key Amphib invasions either side makes. As long as you can project some ZOI over where you want to defend, then even a vastly inferior naval unit can escort your single step army to the critical invasion zone, which if not outright defeating the invader, typically will cause high losses. Even the threat of this reacting army/naval unit can cause the attacking player pause, perhaps delaying the invasion until your ZOI can no longer get you there (which leads to the advantage of stacking the Army unit with light carriers... but that's another day).

Thanks so much Mr. Herman for this gem of a game.
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Tong Chi Wai
Hong Kong
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Thanks for this great review. The game stimulates the war in my homeland as a Hong Konger. I'm looking forward to buy a set for play.
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Jon Akers
United Kingdom
London
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Kozure wrote:
Empire of the Sun

Unlike Hannibal or Wilderness War, where two or three routes of invasion seem obvious, an imaginative player can even hope to take Oahu with careful planning.



Nice review, But surely this isn't the case? Hadn't the japanese ruled out the idea as impractical due to supply issues?
 
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Mark Herman
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azrael86 wrote:
Kozure wrote:
Empire of the Sun

Unlike Hannibal or Wilderness War, where two or three routes of invasion seem obvious, an imaginative player can even hope to take Oahu with careful planning.



Nice review, But surely this isn't the case? Hadn't the japanese ruled out the idea as impractical due to supply issues?


It is posible to do, but it takes a major change in the Japanese logistic structure to accomplish which obviates other options. If you check in our current staff game, this situation is evolving, but it is very hard to accomplish.

Mark
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Ty Snouffer
United States
Downers Grove
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How does one check in on one of the staff games?

thx
 
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Mark Herman
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tsnouffer wrote:
How does one check in on one of the staff games?

thx


Here is a link to the ongoing game. We are about to finish off the second to last turn.

http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?13@403.O4DMbmldbC9.120@.1dc...
 
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Erwin Lau
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Thumb and GeekGold for the dedication to many Canadian and Indian soldiers who had made lot of sacrifice in the defense of Hong Kong.
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Craig Hebert
United States
Goodlettsville
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Happy to be the 200th thumb of such a well done review - thanks!
 
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