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"Guadalcanal campaign at Pacificon" Topic

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Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP14 Aug 2018 6:46 p.m. PST

Back in April I posted this topic to brainstorm about running a sort of "campaign" of linked games to play out the big Oct '42 air/sea/land offensive on Guadalcanal. I floated the idea to a bunch of local gamers who are regulars at Pacificon, a local convention held every Labor Day weekend, and got enough interest that I decided to pull the trigger. I'm calling the project Sky, Sea, Jungle, with a full bow to Lou Coatney for inventing that most awesome title (even if I'm not using any other part of the game he gave it to), and for showing me 20 years ago that playing all 3 operational milieus of the Guadalcanal campaign as single gaming experience was a fun and feasible idea.

I have spread the workload out by recruiting other people to run games for the project, in order to reduce my own workload, increase engagement with the gaming community, and prevent anyone from burning out (either GMs or players). Each of the GMs I conscripted has a set of "usual suspects" looking to play one of his games at this convention, so this method helps recruit players, but I also thought having 5 different games each using different rules would help encourage players to play more than one of the games in the series without feeling like they wasted their convention playing the same game over and over.

I set up a web page to show the full layout of the campaign, but here's a summary:

  • Fri PM Check Your 6! My game: a big formation of 15 Betties tries to fly across the table to bomb Henderson Field, protected by Zeroes and intercepted by Wildcats. This is just a very even matchup that will scale easily to 8+ players.

  • Sat AM General Quarters 3 Night action in the Slot; Kongo, Haruna are on the way to bombard Henderson Field with a cloud of cruisers and destroyers, but are intercepted by a smaller USN cruiser task force with USS Washington in the lead and some DD pickets. The USN probably can't win a slugfest, but might be able to stop the bombardment.

  • Sat PM Two simultaneous linked games:
    1. Sky's the Limit, an unpublished WWII dogfight game by a local gamer with a small cult following A motley collection of Avengers, Dauntlesses and P-39s try to fly off the table through a cloud of intercepting Rufes (floatplane Zeroes). Any that get off the table fly into the naval game at the next table:
    2. Action Stations PT boats try to slip past IJN DDs to attack a troop convoy unloading IJA reinforcements on the North end of Guadalcanal. The game remains a night action until the first airplanes show up, and then dawn breaks and the air attacks start.

  • Sun AM The Japanese infantry assault to take Henderson Field, played using Memoir '44. One GM is bringing the card decks, rules, some terrain (hills, rivers, bunker and road) and custom 4" hex mat, another GM is providing all the 15mm miniatures, and I crafted a set of about 400 palm trees and the forest floor to make it really 3D. The USMC starting forces will be reduced by the effectiveness of bombardments by Betties and IJN BCs; the IJA forces will be increased by any successful troop landings in the PT boat game.

If this turns out to be as much fun as it looks on paper, I'm planning to haul it up to Enfilade 2019. If I can't recruit any other GMs to participate, I may have to cut it down to 3 or 4 games, but the concept should still work.

- Ix

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP14 Aug 2018 6:50 p.m. PST

I'm already looking ahead to Pacificon 2019 and thinking about doing something like this for the 1942 Desert war – Italians vs. British at sea and over the Mediterranean, British vs. Germans on land and in the North African skies. I already have plans to try out a few games like Rommel, KISS Rommel, DivTac, and Armored Division in an attempt to find a land game I can use with my microarmor.

- Ix

Thresher0114 Aug 2018 7:08 p.m. PST

Sounds like a great idea, and a lot of fun.

Wish I could attend.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP15 Aug 2018 3:09 a.m. PST

Very ambitious, looking forward to the after action report. I do like games like this as it gives all players a vested interest in the outcome. I may, for example, prefer air games and play only in the Friday night game. But the results echo through out the whole weekend. Great way to keep the excitement going.

Battle Cry Bill15 Aug 2018 4:19 a.m. PST

Great idea. If there were multiple events like this it could be part of the description of how the con weekend went. More unifying experiences at conventions will make them more meaningful to attendees IMHO. Probably more fun to run them too.


dragon6 Supporting Member of TMP15 Aug 2018 7:57 a.m. PST

Aren't PT boats completely useless in 1942? Except to try to shoot up barges of course. In '42, if I remember correctly, they are still using 21" torpedoes and we all know they literally can't hit anything.

In '43 they have more guns, to shoot barges, and get Mk 33 torpedoes which aren't great but might actually work by then.

BuckeyeBob15 Aug 2018 10:28 a.m. PST

PT boats prior to '43 used the more reliable bliss mark 8 torpedo.
Unfortunately the lower exploding charge would damage but likely not sink a larger surface target.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP15 Aug 2018 12:44 p.m. PST

The PT boat scenario we came up with is 4x transports unloading near the shore, with some DDs on patrol. Each transport that successfully unloads contributes an extra IJA unit to the Sunday land game. The transports are vulnerable to all the weapons aboard a PT boat, and the little barges transporting troops to the shore are vulnerable to MGs and cannons.

Originally, I wanted to play the Oct 11 Tokyo Express convoy, with Nisshin and Chitose and a bunch of DDs loaded with supplies and troops getting unhistorically attacked at sea, but it turned out to be impossible to get Nisshin and Chitose in 1/1200 scale (or 1/1250 scale) for a reasonable price. I actually have all the ships (and PT boats) in 1/2400 scale, but I don't want to play a PT boat game with pieces that small, and I doubt anyone else does either. I gave up trying to make that work and came up with a "not real, but plausible" scenario, and it turns out it works better with airplanes anyway.

- Ix

saxophone16 Aug 2018 4:16 p.m. PST


One of these days, I'm going to GM Panzer Miniatures for the first time at SBGC. If it goes well, I might be able to run something that ties in with your Pacificon 2019 campaign.


Scafcom1 Supporting Member of TMP20 Aug 2018 6:49 a.m. PST

Looking forward to the con, Ix. Finishing up on the minis and ship sheets for the Saturday morning game today. I will be ready come game time.

Louis Coatney29 Jun 2019 5:52 a.m. PST

Sky, Sea, and Jungle is now FREE to print off and play on CoatneyHistory. :-)

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP30 Jun 2019 3:33 a.m. PST

For those Google challenged or lazy, like me

Lou is absolutely amazing and I have long enjoyed browsing his site. Talk about someone would be amazing to break bread with (or enjoy a few brews).

Louis Coatney27 Mar 2021 4:41 a.m. PST

Thanks, Mark. Bruce Geryk interviewed me, and the podcast is at link

Hobby lore, including Frank Chadwick's dried bean, when we were students at Augustana in Rock Island Illinois in 1971, and my adventure with Dana Lombardy and John Hill at/in the Soviet Embassy housing compound film theater in DC in 1980.

Many new games which can enable miniatures setups are on CoatneyHistory including Debacle: Dutch East Indies and Malaya 1941-42 and Mongoose vs. King Cobra: Indian Ocean Carrier Raid Apr42.

But don't miss brand-new Postcard Barbarossa! (It's not-odds combat system is probability-based, but with the push-your-luck Special Factor WILD. :-) ) 30 minutes tops.

And I'm 74 and have had 4 heart attacks in the past 4 years, so folks would be wise to print off everything you want from CoatneyHistory NOW.

I've added the Sims class destroyers to my cardstock model ship plans there, by the way.

donlowry27 Mar 2021 7:49 a.m. PST

I have fond memories of cons at the old Dunfey hotel, back in the day!

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