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Mark Herman's Wargaming Blog
Wednesday, 31 March 2010
EoTS Historical Debate
Topic: Empire of the Sun
Re: [Games] The Herman night

Well you answered the question on oil as I would. It is why the Japanese start
the game with 7 cards and by mid game or so are down to 4. Think of cards as oil
points like in FiTS if you like points more than activations.

As far as the Yamato moving around it did move around, but if the JP is sending
it to a continuous stream of offensives/reactions, why is it not dead. Note that
any naval unit loses a great deal of its value when it is on its reduced side,
so the Allies need to wack it and then it stops moving around a lot. As far as
the fact that the Yamato was very expensive in oil, which is the point that you
are making, it did not matter so much once it was located near the oil.

But here is where wargaming myth gets in the way of historical fact. The
Japanese used the Yamato and the Mushahi as the centerpieces of several
reactions in 1943 and in 1944 (Leyte). For example the Yamato sortied from Truk
on September 18th with the Nagato in response to American raids. On October 17th
the Mushahi with six battleships and carriers sortied from Truk. My point being
is the Japanese did move the big boats out on several occasions to meet Allied
attacks and they were always the centerpiece of all of the reaction forces. Sure
it cost them lots of oil, but these movement had priority over mama san getting
cooking oil. The home front suffered, but the fleet was moved when they wanted
it to move. My advice in EoTS is if the JP are enamored with the Yamato focus
hits on reducing the Yamato when it is used, once hit you will not see it again
for at least 1 turn (4 months) and usually longer. It is usually only impressive

As far as the 1943 scenario being a very tense scenario where one mistake costs
you the game. What's wrong with a tense scenario, I thought that was the point
of good gaming. The same could be said for a Japanese mistake. Each situation is
unique in a game where based on probability you will not see the same hand twice
in your lifetime. As they say in chess for every chess brilliancy there is a
reciprocal chess blunder.

But this is how all my EoTS conversations go. I do not expect you to change your
views and quite frankly it does not bother me that you do not like the game.
What you will find is I have lectured at the US Naval War College on this topic
and I have studied it in great detail. Folks are always telling me that this is
unrealistic and this is not historical, but I have reams of data that says that
most of what I am hearing are wargame myths not concrete facts. EoTS is a
strategic game not like all the other Pacific games mentioned (Pacific Fleet,
Asia Engulfed, East Wind Rain, etc.) an operational game on one map. That is
what I was going for and that is why I play it. Nimitz never concerned himself
with air points and wave attacks etc., which are considered the standard for
this type of game. EoTS goes its own way on purpose and is not everyones cup of
tea. I am fine with that.

But I love the debate...


--- In, Philipp Klarmann <philipp.klarmann@...>
> I think the pinning issue is resolved (at least for me), but what about the
> oil issue? I see that you argued many times that the cards display the
> logistical limits on major movements by the Japanese, but it's often the
> case in EotS that Yamato scurries around reacting to offensives. I find that
> EotS especially in 1943 is brutally tough on the Allies, mostly one mistake
> will cost you the game.
> 2010/4/1 markherman50 <MarkHerman@...>
> >
> >
> > That is the point these days. There are lots of games out there and many
> > calls upon people's time. The fact that there is an active EoTS group is
> > much better than most games have these days. Most games generate no long
> > term enthusiasm so I am glad that EoTs still is actively played. The fact
> > that a game does not reveal all of its mystery's immediately is a two edged
> > sword. If it does not catch your fancy you move on because it is too much
> > effort to play well, if it does you stay with it and the experience doesn't
> > get old even after many playings. No free lunch there.
> >
> > As far as the rules go, people deal with rules of games they want to play.
> > I break out in hives when I think of ASL rules or most of the more popular
> > CDGs and just about any of the magazine games. The ones on topics that I am
> > interested in I deal with, if I am less interested then any set of rules is
> > too much. My take is we all take in information differently and if a game
> > has many nuances to add historical richness, which I wanted for EoTS, which
> > makes the rules more involved. What I find is experienced gamers seem
> > incapable of following the EoTS sequence of play. All wargames have
> > sequences of play, so why is this one so hard. It is what it is.
> >
> > As far as the wtf moments that you mention regarding 'pinning' of fleets
> > all I can say is WTF! I wrote an entire monograph that anyone can get on my
> > website about this very point with all of my research. It would have been
> > easier to write a rule that states that historically fleets abandoned their
> > anchorages when they were in range of enemy land based air. Of course then
> > people would try and get around this rule. Instead I chose to incorporate it
> > into the system. You do not have to move your fleet back, but if you choose
> > to ignore the historical facts thats the players business. I just set the
> > table, but if you want to eat your dessert first, go for it. The monograph
> > comes with the post war interviews establishing their thinking on this
> > topic. So, WTF...
> >
> > Anyway, Washington's War is appealing to a broader audience due to its
> > lower complexity. I went out of my way not to make the game more complex,
> > just more interesting, at least for me. Over time I had issues with WTP that
> > kept me from playing it. That has now been addressed in Washington's War and
> > due to its short playing time it gets a lot of play around my house.
> >
> > Break, break... One of the annoying things about Yahoo groups is I find it
> > hard to get to the original message in a thread if it is set within a
> > subthread etc. So to CV...
> >
> > I may be a cheap bastard, but if you had asked, I would have been happy to
> > send you a copy of Washington's War. One of the unfortunate aspects of my
> > later years is I have lost the ability to read minds. And if you ever get to
> > DC, I will buy you dinner.
> >
> > Mark
> >
> > --- In<>,
> > Philipp Klarmann <philipp.klarmann@> wrote:
> > >
> > > Thanks for your comments. I think Empire of the Sun suffers a bit due to
> > the
> > > fact that there is small group of excellent players giving you feedback
> > > while leaving out the large rest of the gaming population. I do not doubt
> > > that EotS is a great brain exercise and therefore, fun for some, but I
> > fear
> > > that most of the players like me are put off by the complexity and some
> > > mechanisms which make sense after a dozen or so playings. Compared to the
> > > easy approach Washington's War offers, one dreams about a similar playing
> > > experience with EotS which it simply isn't.
> > >

Posted by markherman at 10:45 PM EDT
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