Thirty-one players took command of the Pacific fleets to determine the victor in this classic game of WWII naval warfare. Fifty-one games boiled down to the following players advancing to the semifinals. In seed order, the semifinalists were Ted Drozd, Charlie Drozd, John Pack, and Ed Menzel.
The final results were 2017 WBC Victory in the Pacific Champion Ed Menzel, Charlie Drozd in second, Ted Drozd in third, fourth place for John Pack fifth for Michael Day, sixth for Daniel Blumentritt, Ray Freeman in seventh, and Jim Eliason finishing eighth.
In the first semifinal, using the Menzel set of balancing options, Ed Menzel bid one for the Allies and gave a POC to Ted Drozd to play the IJN. On turn 1, Ted’s IJN used Yokosuka to take Dutch Harbor in the far north. During turn 2, Ed’s Allies flagged the Marshalls and cleared IJN units from the Central Pacific. With no base in the Hawaiians, Ted had no way to patrol Hawaii on turn 3. Ted attempted to flag the US Mandate but was defeated by Ed’s six Allied LBA. After considering this position, Ted conceded after turn 3 allowing Ed Menzel to advance to the final.
In the other semifinal, using the new Open Turn Two scenario, available at Gameaholics.com, John Pack’s website, Charlie bid 2 POC for the Allies. With two POC in hand, John launched his IJN across the Pacific. Charlie’s Allies scored big in a decisive battle in the South Pacific on turn 4. It appeared Charlie’s USN, Allies and Marines were unstoppable, rolling his choice of day/night and collaring the supply of sixes on the dice. After eight full turns, Charlie’s Allies scored a net 5.0 POC victory.
In the final, Ed Menzel, using the Menzel options accepted Charlie Drozd’s 2.0 POC bid to play the Allies. The match, Ed Menzel as the IJN +2.0 POC vs Charlie Drozd as the Allies -2.0 POC, began with a typical Pearl Harbor raid and an extra IJN effort in Indonesia. Ed cleared 5th Air Force, Prince of Wales, and Repulse from the Indonesian waters. POC after turn 1 was IJN +4 POC.
Turn 2 saw Ed’s IJN strongly contesting both Hawaii and the US Mandate. Charlie chose not to fight in Hawaii but to go up against four IJN CVs and a surface force in the US Mandate. The first round was day. The IJN four CVs scored well against the Allies three CVs and one LBA. The end battle result was heavy losses for the Allied force and an IJN flag in the US Mandate. Turn 2 ended with IJN flags in both Hawaii and the US Mandate with POC at IJN +15.
With the future rocky for the Allies, turn 3 began with all of the eastern board Allies on raid, hoping to counter the 17 IJN surface patrols in the US Mandate. Ed’s IJN was attempting to convert both Pearl Harbor and Samoa, using primarily his LBA in Hawaii and the bulk of the IJN fleet in the US Mandate. Choosing to settle the Hawaiians first, Ed’s air shot well, downing three of Charlie’s Allied LBA. After a night round during which both 1st and 2nd Marines were sunk, Charlie retreated his remaining LBA to Australia. In the US Mandate, after a number of rounds and pursuit of the IJN retreating fleet, the Allies saved Samoa. POC after three turns was IJN +23.
Turn 4’s big event was the I-Boat taking out Wasp, the latest and only CV reinforcement for the Allies. Turn 5 opened with an IJN effort to seal the South Pacific against turn 6 Allied carrier reinforcements. Charlie’s failure to get the needed “night” action day/night roll ended the Allied hopes and Charlie conceded.
Congratulations, Ed! This is Ed’s third WBC Victory in the Pacific Championship, earning the plaque previously in 2003 and 2006.
The Nagumo Award, for best Japanese play, went to Champion Ed Menzel with three wins. Ed took this award over Ray Freeman, who also had three wins, but whose POC total during those three Japanese wins was 60.5 compared to Ed’s 66.5. The Halsey Award, for best Allied play, goes to second place finisher Charlie Drozd, the lone player out of 31 with four Allied victories.
Overall, there were 54 games played with the Allies winning an even 50% of the games. With two draws, this means the IJN did NOT win the majority of the games. As to options and scenarios, an even 35% of games played used the Menzel option set, with bids from zero up to 2.0 POC going to the IJN, player gives IJN POC to play the Allies. 24% of games used no options and bids as high as 11.5 POC to play the IJN, bid added to the Allied score after the completion of play. We had nine new players and those players often chose no options to play, not being familiar with the play-balancing effects of options.
Of those games using the Menzel option set, the Allies won 12 of 19 games for an Allied winning percentage of 63%. This appears to give an edge to the Allies in games using this combination and reverses the legendary imbalance favoring the IJN.
Those players interested in more Victory in the Pacific should check the gameaholics.com a website run by John Pack, which features play hints, replays with commentary, lists of options and scenarios designed to help play balance, and opportunities to play by email on ladders and other tournaments.