The Pacific War: Fight Smarter Not Harder

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There will never be another war fought in the way the Pacific War was fought again. Technology rules it out, and the the geopolitical landscape of today makes it unlikely another major naval war is in the offing. And yet all wars of every age have been fought just like the Pacific War in one vital way. The harnessing of people and their talents.

If one were to look at carrier battles, you’d get the impression the naval war took a nap between Guadalcanal and the Philippine Sea. It did not, surface actions abounded. Guadalcanal saw five major surface actions and two of those had battleships at the heart of the task forces. Numerous small ship actions took place across the central and southwest pacific taking a terrible toll on the IJN (Imperial Japanese Navy) weakening it and paving the way for even greater advances by the USN (United States Navy). In the early stages of the surface war the IJN had a huge advantage against it’s enemy in night actions as well as in tactics, weapons and training. And these advantages came because the Japanese Navy used the talents of it’s personnel to the best advantage. The IJN had poor radar so they gave the men with the best night vision the best optics then available, allowing the Japanese to often spot enemy ships first and gain the precious advantage of firing first. Tireless training in gunnery and torpedo attacks meant the IJN had a huge advantage in night surface action. So much so the Japanese spent the war attempting meet the USN in night surface action when possible. Going so far as to postpone a battle until night could cover their ships.  The USN had A LOT of catching up to do, and America responded like, well, Americans! Partly with technology: radar, and the indispensable Combat Intelligence Center (CIC) aboard ships,  TBS radio, the ECM Mk II ciphering machine, and ever better radios. But while later day Americans talk endlessly about these leaps in technology and how they changed forever fleet combat, we forget that America fought smart, and by fighting smart won the war. Navajo code talkers spoke a language no Japanese listing post could ever decipher. American reconnaissance units flew thousands and thousands of useless missions over non-target Japanese assets making the empire expend men across the face of the pacific weakening the garrisons of real targets. The full employment of American citizens of Japanese ancestry; even after their shameful treatment by a Government that desperately needed every loyal man, women and talent they could bring; were used not just to understand the enemy but to tailor make our propaganda to the average citizen of Japan, and to shape the post war policy of occupation by American forces.

If the pacific war has given us lessons in how superior technology can shape and change a war or warfare in general, it has also taught the lesson that a nation can possesses the industrial, technological even the numerical advantage, but victory comes only with the full employment of every talent that every citizen can bring to produce victory.

Raven Games
Raven Games

Space verses Water and all that lies inbetween!

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I love ships! I’m more likely to play a fleet of ships then almost anything else. That’s a funny comment from the guy who wrote Warsaw Pact 8-4 and Crusher huh? And yet ships are a passion of mine.

When you first sit down to write a game of ship-to-ship or task force-to-task-force combat the first question you ask “Is this on the water or in space?” Now you might think that is a really weird brain wave, but on a 2D game board there truly is very little difference. Sure you write to two very different realities; is that the right phrase(?); but when you start out, the environment plays only a minor part in your thoughts.  And yet when I settle into writing a game of combat that takes place at sea I feel at home; by the by I live in a land lock state; when I put those ships amongst the stars I’m not only at home but my penchant for space civilizations, technology and warfare kick in like a drug and off I run.

Steam & Steel came out of my attempt to write a space combat game that was based on battleship combat from the age of coal fired ships and somehow ended up being a game of sea combat during World War II in the pacific! So much for planning…Laughing EmojiSteam and Steel has been one of those few projects that ‘just works’ and treats you well.To tell the truth I’m going to miss working on this game as soon as it’s done and offered.

The theatre of operations is a fascinating, it was here in the waters around Guadalcanal that the Japanese lost their superiority in surface and air fighting over the USN. It was also here that the Japanese lost any chance they may have had of a negotiated peace. The allies won, and won big at Guadalcanal, and it was here that the allies realized that total victory over Japan was possible.

Will there be any other titles in the Steam and Steel line? I think so, the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic convoy runs offer wonderful opportunities to explore the Regia Marina and the Kriegsmarine. Well, we’ll see what the future brings together–no?

Raven Games
Raven Games


Why Korea?

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So Red Charge is a game of combat in Korea in 1950? REALLY?? Why on earth would you do Korea? After all what happened in Korea?

A peasant army representing under half the total population of a country the size of Utah, pushed back and humiliated the United States Army, Marines, Air Force, and Navy. It did this with only equipment backing from the USSR and Red China. As the North Korean Peoples Army (NKPA) pushed down the traditional invasion route of the Uijeonbu river valley they used North Korean tactics, command structures, doctrine and above all blood to achieve their surprise and success. In the end the NKPA took on the world.

It was not meant to be that way, the NKPA had been designed to destroy the Republic of Korea forces in few weeks and present the world with a fait accompli. American forces however were quickly inserted into the fighting. The United States Army and Marines truly felt; at least in some commands; the mere sight of American soldiers would give the NKPA and Kim Il Sung pause…it did not, and the US Army and Marines found themselves fighting a terrible ground conflict against a better prepared, equipped and trained enemy. Never the less young men from Iowa, Colorado, New York, and elsewhere toughened up.  They fought a tidal wave, winning out after a tenacious campaign against the onrushing enemy at Pusan.  The ground combat was vicious no holds bared and ideological in its nature.

That is Why Korea…enjoy

Raven Games
Raven Games

Building the Parts II

The counters to my games need to be printed and cut out, but there is an order to this process that saves time and grey matter…

1) Print the counters on glossy paper to give them a professional look and feel.

2) Cut out the front side of counters in bulk. DO NOT attempt to glue each counter front to poster board individually.

3) Cut out the back side of the counters and then separate them into individual counters.

4) Glue the bulk front counters to the poster board. Give yourself plenty of room between counter bulks. Take your time and arrange the counter bulks on the poster board BEFORE gluing. A goodly layer of adhesive spray glue should be used on each bulk. Smooth the counter bulk gently with your hands only. When using newspaper or such for spraying onto, change the paper often, sticky newsprint gets onto the counters and ruins them.

5) Cut out the counters using an Xacto knifeXacto KnifeMake sure you start with a fresh blade and change the blade as needed. DO NOT USE A DULL BLADE.

6) Lay out the now cut bulk counters upside down (blank side up) in even rows on fresh newspaper or paper and apply another layer of  adhesive spray and gently one at a time place the back of the counters on. Make sure the back is in the same direction (top to top) as the front. Counters are done.

If you make a mistake or ruin some counters: Reprint ant start again.


Raven Games
Raven Games