Attendance was up at Victory in the Pacific in 2023, including seven new participants. In order to simplify things for newcomers, the default game was the Menzel Option which expedited the pregame process.
After five Swiss rounds, Jim Eliason emerged as the only undefeated player at 5-0. He was joined in the playoffs by Ed Menzel and John Sharp, both 4-1. There was a three-way tie for the final playoff spot between Bob Hamel, Jim Bodenheimer, and Ted Drozd. Based on strength of schedule, Bob qualified for the playoffs, Jim secured the coveted fifth place plaque and your illustrious GM unwisely earned sixth place the year after we lost our “sand” plaque.
Jim and Bob squared off in the first Semifinal. Playing the Menzel, Jim took the IJN and proceeded to take Pearl on Turn 3 and max the POC on Turn 4. Bob was able to execute the rare recapture of Pearl on Turn 5 but after Turn 6 the lead was still too great and he was forced to concede to the IJN.
In a mirror game, Ed and John faced each other in the other Semifinal and also played the Menzel. Ed, playing the IJN, was able to take Pearl on Turn 3 as well. Although John kept the POC closer for a time, he was still forced to concede to the IJN on Turn 6.
This led to a showdown between Jim and Ed. Again, under the Menzel option, Jim took the IJN. Turn 2 was eventful. Both sides lost three carriers plus a decent number of cruisers in combat in the Central Pacific and the Aleutians. But the key action resolved around where marines were unable to land. The USN managed to save both the Philippines and Johnston Island which put Japan in a bad position headed into Turn 3.
After several rounds of day combat in Hawaii, control (and the potential capture of Pearl) came down to the Hosho vs. a single Allied LBA. As anyone who has ever been in a comparable situation before can tell you, this did not end well for the Hosho. The USN was also able to control Indonesia which allowed the USN to gain one POC on Turn 3. Jim’s IJN was able to regain two POC on Turn 4 but the board position was insurmountable and he conceded shortly thereafter.
The use of the Menzel Option vs. the out-of-the-box rules had the desired effect of reducing the bids. With the new edition on Kickstarter, the plan will be to use its Tournament Scenario going forward which is also known as Menzel 3cM.