From: Northwestern Georgia, USA
I am pleasantly surprised that so many of you can recite events from three years ago game time. I know it's hard to play the game and to follow the AARs of others, so I just didn't expect this level of attention. Thank you. And I'll do my best in the AAR with Q-Ball.
Some comments about important points of the game:
1. Two Disagreements: Miller and I had a few strong disagreements during the course of the game. Most recently, he objected to my use of solo-DDs to scout enemy waters west of Borneo. Prior to that the situation in China - mainly the effect of "nuclear artillery," but also the destruction of the Chinese economy by strategic bombing - caused great angst on my part. I made things tough on Miller, because on the one hand I urged "No house rules, do your worst;" but, after we had put months into the game and discovered that there was no possible way to defend China against the twin Japanese scourges, I changed my mind. But I did a very poor job articulating my feelings to Miller and left him rather confused. We even terminated the game for a few weeks in November.
2. The Re-Do on the Allied Carrier Victory in Java in '42: There was no way to fix this problem. Every time Miller ran the replay, the game crashed. So we had to re-do the turn. Unfortunately for the Allies, the re-do was far less of an Allied victory. But there was nothing else that Miller could do, so I had no qualms with this.
3. Pilot Training: The Japanese airforce remained nearly the equal of the Allied airforce utnil the end of the game in April 1945. That should not be. I assume that the source of the problem was my total failure to engage in pilot training. The Allies had total superiority of the seas, but the failure to gain control of the air kept the Allies in check throughout the game and really ramped up my losses.
4. Two-Day Turns: Love these - LOVE THEM! But I love them to much, I confess. We were moving so quickly, and I wanted to get through the game so badly, that I cut alot of corners and flipped turns almost instantaneously. I didn't watch combat replays for the last year-plus of the game and often times I ignored for weeks at a time entire sectors of the map over the past six months of the game. I also refused to engage pilot training and stopped setting search arcs many months ago. I stopped paying attention to many, many details. This hurt me in the game, but helped us move the game along at break-neck speed. I think one-day turns may be preferable in that they impose a little more moderation, which, in turn, seems to encourage more attention to detail.
5. Turning Point: The turning point came very, very late in the game - autumn of 1944. Miller committed the KB against a huge Allied invasion armada as it approached the southwest cape of Borneo. This was understandable - he was sure that Palembang or Singapore were the targets. Had he withheld the KB for awhile, attacking when my ships were in no-man's-land on the way to Hainan Island, the battle would have been bloody and Allied losses would have been higher. This would have blunted and slowed the ensuing Allied offensive in China. I think had Miller withheld the KB, the results would have been dramatic enough that most readers would have declared the game a Japanese victory by the time it ended.
6. Bad Allied Decisions: By far the worst decision I made in the game was the invasion of Luganville in June 1942. It was awful because I dragged things out so long that Miller knew exactly when and where I was going and had a huge reception awaiting. That and the dreaded carriers-react-against-orders feature combined to devastate the Allied carrier fleet. I actually think the invasion of the Kuriles in March 1943 was a good move, though it ended badly. I achieved strategic surprise and put good troops ashore, but through mismanagement of my fleet and some uber shoreguns I lost most of my supply transports. The other factor was that the invasion released a large number of home guard units - I hadn't realized this would happen - which allowed Miller to put together a counter-invasion when he otherwise couldn't have for much longer. That operation came pretty close to being an outstanding and crippling victory.
7. For want of a nail the shoe was lost: The Kuriles did have one very fortunate benefit. Miller sent in a four-BB combat TF. Somehow, thigns went awry and all four of those BBs got sunk. It started with small things like a PT boat getting lucky with a TT. It was at this point that the serious depletion of the IJN began.
8. Say What?! I reached a pont of utter frustration soon after the massive Battle of Morotai in November 1943. That carrier battle turned out very badly for the Allies - again, the react-against-orders feature was a killer - and was licking my wounds. Then, a strong Allied combat force anchored by BB South Dakota, encountered a weak IJN combat force anchored by a CL. The Japanese TF sank South Dakota. That one nearly drove me to drink.
9. Thanks, General Sherman! The Allies were largely ignoring Burma when I got the idea of using my very weak force to try and outmaneuver the Japanese force at Akyab. This succeeded there and then at Rangoon. Suddenly, a theater I had intended to ignore became the theater of greatest advance for the Allies.
10. Holy Subs! Japanese submarines attained a level of mayhem unparalleled in the history of gaming. I mean I lost an incredible amount of ships - including nearly ten BBs - to Miller's subs. In part, this was due to some code-tweaks that had unforeseen uber-sub consequences; in part it was due to Miller's use of subs; in part my failure to adapt adequate countermeasures fast enough; and in part to pure luck.