If you are a solo gamer and have not played these, you are missing out. True, the original board games are not easy to find, and usually come at a high price. But don't let that deter you from getting PDF versions and playing the VASSAL modules. (If you need help finding PDFs, contact me).
Also see Carrier Virtual Flip Book
Once you have the PDF, print your own rule book and charts - that is all you need apart from this module (at least that is the goal). And at a fraction of the cost of buying one of the surviving originals.
One downside to the print versions is the use of multiple draw cups essential for even small scenarios. For example Carrier needs at least fifteen draw cups: seven Japanese ships clases, five US ship classes, combat forces, transport forces, and sequence chits. Thats a lot of setup time that is largely eliminated in the module.
The module has six maps windows:
- Sea: the hex grid area of the printed map. The gray border has been cleared of printed content. The blank space in the northwest corner makes a good work space to place sequence chit draws, or to lay out ships and air units for introductory scenarios.
- Holding boxes: carrier displays, carrier TF displays, and a dozen multi-purpose holding boxes for non-carrier TF's,air strikes, and JP ship groups.
- US bases: Guadalcanal and Port Moresby air unit displays.
- Sequence chits: for handling Japanese sequence chits, force chits, and commitment levels.
- USN ships: US ship selection (by class); five draw decks.
- IJN ships: Japanese ship selection (by class); seven draw decks.
There are no charts or tables (which is my normal practice in vmods). Chart windows clutter up a module and are never as clear or legible as the printed versions. Chart images cause module bloating, too.
All of the counters have been created as Game-piece images in the module (for legibility at different zoom levels).
Japanese Force markers ("C" combat and "T" transport - located in the Pieces palette) are color-coded by destination: brown for Hebrides, orange for Moresby, red for Solomons (i.e. Guadalcanal, New Georgia, or Bougainville).
- Game-piece layer for location status:
L? = approximately located
L! = located
R = Returning to base
- Rotate to indicate that a force has been successfully searched in the current segment (important for location status).
Japanese Force Chits: Levels 1, 2, and 3 have three basic types (carrier, surface, transport) and a game-piece layer where required to show the specific type. On Level 3 Chits, the top two numbers are anti-air value and commitment points (which is also the air strength of carrier chits).
US Air units: Have NATO icons (fixed-wing attack and bomber aircraft). Each air unit has two numbers on the bottom: air steps and endurances. The magenta number on the righ edge of an air unit is the time aloft (dynmaic property).
US Air Strike (shown at left, in the following image) has Strike ID number in the center and a time aloft counter at the bottom. An air strike marker can be rotated 90-degrees to indicate that it is on the return leg of its mission.
Ships have a built-in damage indicator in red on the right side (dynamic property). Ship name appears under the game-piece in the mouse-over stack viewer.
US Task Force/Group markers are rotated 90-degrees to indicate that they have moved in the current turn.
The Records Track has been omitted from the module and integrated into the Chits map.
BETA version: This module has seen limited playing time, so if you use it and find any omissions please contact me via BGG geekmail. I will be happy to receive suggestions for improvement, too.