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Midway by Turning Point Simulations   Midway was a battle that should not have been lost by the Japanese. They had...

Midway by Turning Point Simulations Midway by Turning Point Simulations

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Turning Point Simulations


 Midway was a battle that should not have been lost by the Japanese. They had an overwhelming amount of ships and planes. Unfortunately for them, they were also suffering from what has been called 'victory disease'. Admiral Yamamoto's plan was to crush the remnants of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and sink our carriers, which were untouched by Pearl Harbor. The Japanese had just suffered a black eye from the Doolittle Raid. In actuality, the raid did only pin pricks of physical damage. The damage to the Japanese ego was much greater. The Midway invasion was planned to force the U.S. Navy into a showdown to protect Midway island. In fact, it turned into a debacle for them because the Americans had broken their naval codes. So the U.S. Navy knew exactly what forces and roughly when they would be near Midway. Even then, if not for an errant search plane on the Japanese side, things could have turned out differently.

 So what do you actually get with this Turning Point Simulations  game? First, you actually get two games. One is the on the well known battle I have been droning on about. The other is about the planned, but aborted, Japanese invasion of Midway Island. The game comes with a twelve page rule book. There are rules for laying smoke, submarines, Japanese seaplane bases, and many others. This is not just a beer and pretzels game. The rules continue with ones about CAP (combat air patrol) AA fire, and it even has a rule about what 'wave' each carrier airplane unit is in. This would represent when each unit showed up, if it did at all, and attacked. 


  The map is hard bound. It has two separate sections. The first is a hex grid of the ocean around Midway Island. The second is a battle board used for surface actions when two task forces are occupying the same hex. There is also a stiff paper map on which to play out the invasion of Midway Island. The counters are large and easy to read. American carrier fighters and torpedo bombers only have a movement allowance of two hexes. Almost all of the Japanese carrier planes have a movement allowance of three hexes. This simulates the historically longer range of the Japanese planes. Just as in the carrier war, you have to find your enemy to strike them. For each enemy task force you roll a die to see if they have been spotted or not. A submarine or CV (carrier) in close proximity increases your chances of spotting. The battle board is used when you have a task force in the same hex as the enemy. After four of his fleet carriers went up in smoke, Yamamoto was desperately trying to engage the U.S. Naval forces in a surface action. The U.S. task forces have to stick and move like a boxer, and avoid any of the enemies Sumo charges. As the U.S., you are David fighting Goliath. The battle was decided historically in about five minutes' time. Anything could and did happen during this early part of the war. Some of the U.S. carriers were equipped with radar, but it was still in its infancy. 

U.S. Deployment sheet

Japanese Deployment sheet

 I an very impressed with this game. There is so much stashed away in here compared to others in the same price range. Most, if not all, of the routines of carrier air battles are here. The only two parts of the battle really missing are the sending out of search planes one at a time, and the weather in each hex, although the die rolls for spotting each turn do make up for the vagaries of these two points. This is my third Turning Point Simulations game, and to me it was the best so far of the three. I was not really a big fan of board games on carrier operations. Until this game, I felt that a computer rendition of carrier operations was the way to go. 

Midway Island invasion map


The Battle of the Metaurus by Turning Point Simulations      The year is 207 B.C. the place is along the banks of...

The Battle of the Metaurus 207 B.C. by Turning Point Simulations The Battle of the Metaurus 207 B.C. by Turning Point Simulations

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Turning Point Simulations



 The year is 207 B.C. the place is along the banks of the Metaurus River in northern Italy. Hannibal has run rampant through the Italian peninsula since 218 B.C. This battle was picked by Sir Edward Creasy as one to add to his famous book The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World. Hasdrubal, Hannibal's brother, has lost Spain to Scipio, soon to be Africanus, and is on his way to reinforce Hannibal and finish the war. The Romans have found out about Hasdrubal's whereabouts and have succeeded in hoodwinking Hannibal, and have slipped away to attack Hasdrubal's army. The Romans are led by Marcus Livius and Gaius Claudius Nero. Nero has marched almost the entire length of Italy post haste to be part of the battle. The Romans succeeded in destroying Hasdubal's army and ending Hannibal's chances for a victory.

 This is what you get with the game:

One 11” x 17” mounted game-map
200 die-cut mounted counters
8 page Rules Booklet

 The game comes in a standard folio series size ziplock bag. The game is part of TPS' "Twenty Decisive battles of the World' series of games based on Creasy's book with additional battles added. As stated, the map is mounted, which is a very nice touch that TPS includes in this series. For this price and size you almost always get a paper map with a game. The map is also well done with the rivers, streams, and heights well defined. It is a typical closed hex map. You have to supply a ten-sided die, or use the 0-9 chit counters supplied for both sides.

 The counters are of a gray background for the Carthaginians, and a red one for the Romans. The background doesn't drown out the counter illustrations, and the morale rating and movement allowance are very easy to see. The Carthaginians have one elephant counter, and that also comes with the prerequisite of the possibility of the elephants going berserk. The ancient battles that have elephants always have that extra fog of war: who are these behemoths going to trample, friend or enemy? The game rules also throw the Hasdrubal player a curve ball with his newly raised Celtic Gauls. The Gauls may or may not follow their orders, and to top it off they have low morale ratings.  In a change from most ancient games there are no missile troops to command. The sources only mention a few slingers on the Carthaginian side, and the hex size (200 yards) precludes it.

 Just as it was historically, the Carthaginians have less troops than the Romans. The Romans also have better troops with higher morale ratings. The Carthaginians do have a slightly better position to start in. 

 The rules can be looked at or downloaded here:

 The sequence of play is: 

1. Determine Initiative
2. Change Orders
3. Undertake Player Turn
4. End of Turn/Winner Determination 

Player turn sequence
1. Movement
2. Combat
3. Reform

 The initiative is decided by a roll of the die or pull of the chit. The higher number wins, and ties are redone until there is a winner. There is no stacking allowed at any time. Naturally status markers do not count toward stacking. There are six Roman legions and each can be issued commands separately. The Carthaginian player has four separate unit groups to give commands to. These four units are all infantry. The Carthaginian cavalry and elephants do not require you to issue them orders. 

 The orders you can give the legions or groups are:

Stand and defend
Move to attack
Attack -  this does not need an order chit

 As in most depictions of ancient battles this game has a facing rule. The facing can be disregarded during movement, but the counter has to face one of the vertices of the hex at the end of movement. It also does not cost movement points to change facing. Attacking an opponent's flank or rear gives the attacker a bonus on the combat results table. Terrain also gives the attacker either a bonus or a minus when deciding the die roll on the combat results table.

 The games victory conditions are straightforward. The Roman player has to eliminate nineteen Carthaginian units (Light Infantry and Elephants do not count) before he loses 12 of his own units. If the Carthaginian player can exit twenty units off the south edge of the map before the Roman player can eliminate nineteen of his units, the Carthaginian player wins.

 The only sort of odd rule for setup and play is that all of the numbered half-hexes on the map edges are fully playable. The game was designed by the venerable Richard H. Berg, so you can be sure the rules are intelligible, and all make perfect sense. 

 The small footprint and counter amount makes this a great game for people who need a small footprint, and cannot leave a game up except during play. The Carthaginian player is faced with very long odds to either win straight up or get twenty of his units off the south edge. I would suggest that the player with more experience play the Carthaginians. The optional rule about the chance of the Gauls under Hasdrubal having to pass a die roll check for movement or attack can also be ignored to give the Carthaginian player more of a chance. In my play-throughs, the Romans invariably win most of the time. The victory conditions have been modified to make it harder for the Romans to win, but still being able to win as the Carthaginians is not an easy task. The decision to go with greater hex size and remove missile combat makes this a quick playing ancients game. For any gamer interested in a fast playing low complexity wargame, here it is. I actually stole "fast playing and low complexity" from the rules book, but it is very apt.