The ultimate World War II naval game, the one that has naval gamers salivating. The largest naval battles in history, Leyte Gulf and the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The carrier battles off the Marianas and Cape Engaño, the battleship duel in Surigao Strait, the heroic sacrifice of the American "Taffy" task forces all these and more are present.
With the numbers growing for Second World War at Sea: Leyte Gulf, development work is entering the next stage as we prepare for final artwork.
Terry Moore Strickland, who's done almost all of the boxed game covers for Avalanche Press over the last couple of years, has finished Leyte Gulf's cover and it is an astonishing piece. We're going to a new box size for the large Classic Wargames, double that of our usual "deep" box. Imagine two of them placed side-by-side on their long axis, for an 11x17 inch front, two inches deep.
The first counter sheets are being designed now by Peggy Gordon and Shane Ivey. Thanks to the losses inflicted by three years of war, the Japanese ship counter set is not much larger than it is in our Midway or SOPAC games. We've given them some nice extras: the third and fourth Yamato-class battleships, all six Unryu-class carriers, and a full division of the Shimikaze-class super-destroyers.
The American armada is vast, with almost two dozen battleships, a dozen fleet carriers, nine light carriers, plus flocks of escort carriers and cruisers. New classes for the Second World War at Sea afficionado include Iowa and Montana class battleships, Baltimore class heavy cruisers, Cleveland class light cruisers, Independence class light carriers and Essex class fleet carriers.
Jim Sawruk and Kevin Canada are working away on the aerial orders of battle, which promise to be huge. There are many new types on either side, ranging from Judy dive bombers to F4U Corsair fighters. The Japanese will get a whole set of new generation aircraft they never actually fielded, but American intelligence could never be exactly sure of this and so the American player can't be granted the luxury of hindsight.
Players of earlier games in the series will note that almost every ship in the game has increased anti-aircraft values, some of them enormously so. Both navies loaded their warships with automatic weapons, 20 mm and 40 mm for the United States, 25 mm for the Japanese. And the Americans now wield the awesome proximity fuse in anti-aircraft combat, turning their cruisers seemingly into Aegis-equipped vessels.
Map sketches are done, and these are on their way to Terry for artwork now that she's finished the cover. There are two of them, covering the Philippines and the Marianas.
Scenario design is well underway, with the battles of Leyte Gulf and the Philippine Sea the centerpieces. The carrier raids on Formosa also get play. No telling yet exactly how many scenarios the game will include, but there will be quite a few. It probably won't equal Bomb Alley's fifty, but there will be a healthy selection from which to choose.
Leyte Gulf includes:
* 24"x18" tactical map
* Three 34"x22" operational maps
* Nearly 2,000 game pieces
* 24-page series rule book
* 24-page scenario book
* 2-player aid cards
* 6-organizational cards
During the summer and fall of 1944, history's greatest naval battles raged in the western Pacific Ocean, as the United States fought to finally subdue the Japanese Empire, and the Imperial Navy put up fanatical resistance to the last possible moment.
Leyte Gulf is one of the largest wargames ever published, and it covers both of these battles plus many more. It's part of our Second World War at Sea series of operational-level naval games. You can read about how to play them here.
There are 22 scenarios, five of them battle scenarios that use only the tactical map, and 17 operational scenarios. You can read a preview of them here.
The huge number of pieces represent every significant ship and airplane that fought or could have fought in the Western Pacific in 1944 and 1945. Well-known ships like the destroyers Johnston and Hoel, the escort carriers of Taffy Three, and the Japanese super-battleship Yamato are all present. So are some ships never completed, like Yamato's two sisters or the American Montana-class battleships. And the Japanese even get a handful of jet planes.