Pearl Harbor may not have been worth it for Jeff, but that doesn't mean it's never worth it. I've seen experienced Japanese players take it quickly, efficiently and at modest cost. (I'm going from very old memory here, but John III vs. NYGiants is a good example, IIRC.)
Taken the right way and under the right conditions, an early Japanese conquest of Hawaii might well be beneficial in a campaign to achieve AV through an early attack on the West Coast.
Some very bright Forumites have discussed, at length and many years ago, ways in which a West Coast gambit, or modified versions, could harvest the points necessary to achieve AV. Also, there have been other ideas, such as attacking industry to ruin CVE production (Portland!) or 4EB production, which may have merit on their own, apart from auto victory considerations.
Unless an Alied player is very, very negligent, I do think a West Coast gambit needs to happen early, before forts are built up.
A later WC gambit might be successful against a less attentive or experienced player, but Jocke's commendable attention to fort-building and garrisoning doomed Jeff in this case, I believe.
In the end it really comes down to whether you want to win a game or play a WWII simulation. Although, a knock out of the Allies in the early months to gain Auto Victory is in itself an admirable achievement and deserves credit, it is not what I am looking for and not what I want to commit a few years of my life to see. The outcome relies on unrealistic factors and requires pushing the edge of the game mechanics and design to get the win. I hate to say it but I would probably just terminate the game and look for another opponent regardless of the outcome of the attempt. Nothing personal, it is just not what I am looking for in WITP.
Not to say I did not enjoy reading about it. But If I want a game, I will play some Doom or Monopoly.
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