Game Spotlights

Published: February 20, 2023


Carrier Battle – Philippine Sea

Carrier Battle – Philippine Sea Background

Compass Games‘ upcoming Carrier Battle: Philippine Sea is based on Carrier (Victory Games, 1990) but is a new, standalone game currently available for preorder.

Carrier Battle is a solitaire simulation of the largest carrier battle in history, fought during the invasion of Saipan (June, 1944). As the U.S. commander, you maneuver your task forces and conduct air searches in a tension-packed contest to find the Japanese carriers before they locate and attack yours. Simple game mechanics control Japanese movement and determine the timing and strengths of their attacks. You will not know that a Japanese air strike is headed your way until it is detected by radar and you scramble your fighters to intercept.

Players: 1 Age: 13+
Play Time: 30min – 5hrs Complexity: 7/10
Time Scale: 80min/turn Unit Scale: individual capital ships, small groups of smaller ships, 8-12 aircraft
Map Scale: 33 nautical miles/hex Solitaire Suitability: 10/10

Carrier Battle Gameplay

The game has a total of nine scenarios. Four learning scenarios take you through the rules by programmed instruction using slices of the real battle. The other five are full-scale, fully replayable games. These include one-day scenarios for each day of the action, a two-day scenario for the whole battle, and two hypothetical scenarios. One presumes different US plans, and the other supposes that Midway never happened and the Japanese arrive armed with the full Pearl Harbor striking force.

USS Tennessee
USS Tennessee

Carrier Battle – Philippine Sea includes a hexagonal map of the area of ocean where the battle took place, at a scale of 33 nautical miles per hex. The mapsheet also includes player displays for US task groups and air missions. One complete game turn represents 80 minutes of real time, divided into four Action Phases of 20 minutes each. There are 528 die-cut counters representing individual capital ships, groupings of smaller ships, air units of approximately 8-12 aircraft each, and informational markers. Other play aids include Japanese force (“Butai”) displays, a charts and tables booklet, a game-turn flow chart, and a Japanese air raid decision flow chart.

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