#SundaySummary – Long ago Midway, Black Shoes, and Seconds to Die #wargame #militarybooks


New Arrival C.V.: A Game of the Battle of Midway, 1942 designed by S. Craig Taylor, Yaquinto Publications, Inc., 1979. I have long owned a copy of the 1977 Battleline edition of Flat Top by Mr. Taylor and played CV using a copy a friend had in the early 1980’s but I have not owned my own copy…until now.

Photo by RMN


To go along with the wargame CV I picked up a copy of Black Shoe Carrier Admiral: Frank Jack Fletcher at Coral Sea, Midway, and Guadalcanal by John Lundstrum (Naval Institute Press, 2013). I was motivated to buy this book because Jonathan Parschall, co-author of the seminal Battle of Midway book Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway (Potomac Books, 2005) uses Lundstrum to reconsider the battle in the article “What WAS Nimitz Thinking?” for The Naval War College Review (Vol. 75, Nr. 2, Spring 2022). There is a wargame angle to the story which I am writing up for Armchair Dragoons.

The other new book this week is 7 Seconds to Die: A Military Analysis of the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War and The Future of Warfighting (Casemate Publishers, 2022) by John Antal (Colonel, U.S. Army, Ret.) which is less about the actual war and more about that future. A very interesting (short) book that again has a wargaming connection.

Feature image by RMN

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#SundaySummary – Flash news, marking #Wargame & #Boardgame, and Midway summer reading


Next wargame arrival (this week?) should be Harold Buchanan’s Flashpoint: South China Sea from GMT Games. I expect this one to be an “office-al” lunchtime game. I also ordered from The Gamecrafter the “Baltic Approached Aircraft & Mini-Cards” for Red Storm: Baltic Approaches also published by GMT Games.


Speaking of markers, designer Dan Bullock offered a set of after-market markers for his game No Motherland Without: North Korea in Crisis and Cold War (Compass Games, 2021) which should make the game look so much nicer on the table.

The Kickstarter fulfillment for Reality Shift from Academy Games is supposedly “ready to ship.” Funded in December 2020 with an original projected delivery of May 2021, it’s only running about a year late. Sadly, of the nearly 20 items in my Kickstarter/Preorder GeekList this one is smack dab in the middle of the pack, doing much better than the oldest P500 from October 2019 that still languishes…



The Spring 2022 edition of Naval War College Review has an article by Jonathan Parshall, co-author of Shattered Sword. The new article, “What WAS Nimitz Thinking?” looks at the Admiral’s battleplan for Midway. One part I really enjoy in this Parshall analysis is the comparison of “Bad Hornet” and “Good Hornet” with regards to that carriers initial strike. Of great potential interest to wargamers, Parshall actually looks at some of the alternative battle situations by using an Operations Research approach through the work of Aneli Bongers and Jose L Torres and their article “Revisiting the Battle of Midway” published in a 2020 issue of Military Operations Research. Hmm…

Feature image courtesy navsource.org. The accompanying text reads: “On Thursday, 4 June 1942, during operations near Midway Island, an F4F-4 Wildcat, # 3-F-24, from VF-3—USS Yorktown (CV-5)—, piloted by Ensign Daniel Sheedy, accidentally fired its .50-cal machine guns while landing on USS Hornet (CV-8). ENS Sheedy had been wounded during the battle and the controls to safe the guns had been shot out, according to eye-witness accounts. Five Hornet crewmembers were killed (one of them LT Royal R. Ingersoll II, son of ADM Royal E. Ingersoll and grandson of RADM Royal R. Ingersoll) and 20 others wounded in this accident.”

RockyMountainNavy.com © 2007-2022 by Ian B is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Sunday Summary – Now You See Me…. @ADragoons @bigboardgaming @gmtgames @compassgamesllc @MultiManPub @JimDietz1 @Bublublock #Wargame #Boardgame #TravellerRPG #Books

Although I have “appeared” a few times on the Mentioned in Dispatches podcast at the Armchair Dragoons the past few seasons this past week was the first time I “appeared” on Kev’s Big Board Gaming Channel. As in I literally “appeared” on a live stream. Kev is a great host and it was a good time. I’m not sure what sort of impression I’m making on people as I’m just out to convey my love for the hobby. If you have a chance please drop by and take 45 minutes to watch and hopefully get some inspiration to play something.


My next “Reading to Wargame” series started with my comments on Antony Beevor’s The Battle of Arnhem book. Check back next week to see how it influenced my play of Mark Simonitch’s Holland ’44: Operation Market-Garden from GMT Games.

This was a good week for wargame arrivals. Three new titles are in the RockyMountainNavy house and in various at various stages of learning:

As I was waiting for the new titles to arrive I used a random number generator to select a game from my collection to play. Thus, Mississippi Banzai (XTR Corp, 1990) landed on the gaming table. This “alternate history” game envisions a Stalingrad-like offensive around St Louis in a 1948 as Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany face off in a conquered United States. More thoughts forthcoming soon.


My Kickstarter copy of Supercharged by Jim Dietz is on the mail. I’m looking forward to getting it in ouse this week and not-so-secretly hope the RockyMountainNavy Boys and myself get it to the table in a renewed weekend Game Night.

With North Korea making news this week I hope you all have read my comments on Daniel Bullock’s No Motherland Without: North Korea in Crisis and Cold War (Compass Games, 2021) that was published by the Armchair Dragoons. I think the whole world is wondering which Missile Test Event Card Kim Jong Un might play next.


With the arrival of Kido Butai in the house I looked at my Midway collection of books. Not wanting to rehash my read of the 2005 Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway by Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully I instead picked up Dallas Woodbury Isom’s Midway Inquest: Why the Japanese Lost the Battle of Midway also from 2007. Written in some ways as a counter to Shattered Sword, I ended up focusing on Appendix D which is the “rules” for a “war game” Isom uses in Chapter 10 of his book. Thoughts forthcoming.

#Wargame #FirstImpression – Fury at Midway (www.revolutiongames.us, 2020)

THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY continues to fascinate me. I think in the pantheon of naval wargames Midway is akin to the Bulge or Waterloo for land gamers – its the World War II naval battle game that everybody does. It’s been done so many times that one can feel that there is ‘nothing new under the sun’ when a new game rolls out. Fury at Midway (Revolution Games, 2020) by designer Yasushi Nakaguro thankfully foils this thinking by delivering a wargame that is both a classic, yet modern version of the iconic battle.

Fury at Midway was originally published in Japan by Bonsai Games. Roger Miller of Revolution Games took the game and made a few changes:

Changes in this Revolution Games version include making it a two map game, one for each player, which makes for an increased degree of hidden information regarding air strikes, damage, and combat air patrol. Four additional event cards were added to better cover the range of historical events of the battle. Anti-aircraft fire was reduced and rules for hitting the wrong carrier force were introduced. The map areas were expanded a hex row and the counter art was redone as well as many other small changes.

Here is how Roger Miller, developer and publisher of the game, describes Fury at Midway:

The game system is primarily one of air operations. When to strike and with what planes is the primary question of the game. This is balanced by how you defend your own fleet and the island of Midway for the Americans or the invasion fleet for the Japanese. The Japanese have to either take Midway or win the carrier battle to win the game and having two objectives really challenges the Japanese player to make a good plan while the American situation is simpler but his forces are not as well trained and errors in navigation, strike coordination, escort, etc can take a toll. Surface forces are not shown in the game except in their effects in AAA, bombardment, or the slight chance of an abstract night surface battle. This is a simple yet pretty accurate version of Midway that was a lot of fun during testing.

Fury at Midway uses a classic ‘carrier ready’ approach to air operations. Aircraft move on the Carrier Display between the Hanger, Deck/Runway, and Combat Air Patrol (CAP). Only aircraft on the Deck/Runway can launch an Air Strike. Those strikes move across a hex map to attack using a simple resolution mechanic; roll 1d6 per Step with rolls equal-to or less-than the unit Strength scoring a Hit. There are very few modifiers to the roll possible. Yes, it’s a form of ‘Yahtzee dice’ combat but it’s dead simple – and it works.

The ‘modern’ twists in Fury at Midway are Concealment, Air Operations, and the Event CardsConcealment is a key game mechanic as players ‘see’ the location of other fleets on their board but further enemy information, like aircraft on Combat Air Patrol (CAP) or formed up in approaching strike groups or even actual damage to carriers is kept hidden on the other player’s board. Air Operations recreates the ‘optempo’ of each force; the US has a Search advantage and will likely get more Air Operations in each turn. Event Cards represent the intangibles of war. There are 13 Event Cards in the game divided between US-only, Japanese-only, and both player types. All card draws are from a common deck making it quite possible to draw a card you cannot use. This is a great feature, not a bug, for as the rules put it:

If the US player draws an event card that can only be used by the Japanese forces (or vice versa), that card cannot be used. Drawing such an event keeps it out of the hands of your opponent and give you knowledge it won’t be played later.

I am impressed that even the very small rule book (12 pages double column) brings out the doctrinal differences of the fleets. For instance, a Strike Group is composed of aircraft launched from a single carrier. However, to reflect Japanese training of the time, the Japanese player can use Midair Assembly to combine strike groups from different carriers if all are launched in the same Air Operation. Another example is dive bombers which gain +1 Strength when attacking a carrier with aircraft on Deck. If the Japanese attack with a Strike Group composed of both D3A dive bombers and B5N torpedo bombers, the torpedo strikers gain +1 Strength to reflect the practice they had delivering a combined strike. There are a few more examples but my point is Fury at Midway uses simple game mechanics to deliver a very rich game experience.

My first few games show that Fury at Midway can deliver both historical and a-historic outcomes. I am a bit concerned that a Japanese player committed to the historical sequence of strikes (i.e. hit Midway first) is at a disadvantage. A better strategy might be to search for the US fleet first, strike it, then turn to reducing Midway. In Fury at Midway this may be the default basic strategy because, unlike the Japanese admirals at Midway almost 80 years ago, the Japanese player knows there are three US carriers out there. Fortunately, the game plays fast enough that players probably can play more than one game in an evening creating the opportunity to try out different strategies for yourself. Try the historic way and see if you can do better!

Fury at Midway is a light, fresh take on the Battle of Midway. I appreciate the quick play yet depth of decisions packed into this small footprint wargame. One can play the game solo but doing so loses the element of surprise – and the surprise of discovering for yourself what strikes are inbound, or where the CAP is, and which carrier has planes on deck is the best part of the game.