Monday 6 November 2023

South Pacific, 1914 - Madasahatta Style

Not for the faint hearted but a great doorstop of a game - carrier battles, air strikes, naval battles - you name it, it’s all there. One of my absolute all time favourite boardgames.

Way back in 2020 I was able to reacquire a copy of the Avalon Hill version of S. Craig Taylor’s epic boardgame Flat Top, covering carrier battles in the South Pacific in 1942. It is a game that is a hugely rewarding experience to play, albeit requiring a lot of time and commitment. I recall playing the original Battleline version to death ‘back in the day’ but as yet have not done so with the Avalon Hill version you see above.

I had a brainwave, triggered off by all things, reading about Von Spee’s voyage across the Pacific from Tsingtao to the Coronel and the Falklands via the islands of Samoa. The brainwave is quite simple. Let us  suppose for one moment that the Far East Squadron headed to the Solomon Islands after leaving Tsingtao. This has a certain historical resonance as originally this chain of islands was split between the British and the Germans although neither country expended much in the way of resources there.

Let us imagine that both nations HAD developed their colonies including garrisons etc and suddenly you have a theatre ripe for gaming in. 

Even better, the plot maps already exist in the game Flat Top for the naval side. For the allies the Australian Navy will feature as the prominent force with the Royal Navy providing senior command and a few big and shiny ships no doubt! The Germans will have whatever escaped from Tsingtao plus a smattering of AMCs and sundry other assorted scrap metal. It will be a naval campaign of small scale actions and raids, set against a backdrop of restless natives, European soldiers of fortune, traders, missionaries and colonial garrisons. 

THIS IS NOT A NEW PROJECT - just a bit of a variation on an existing one….


Steve J. said...

For years I never really had any interest in gaming the WWII Pacific War, but recently have become more interested and certainly in the Burma campaign. So this sounds lots of fun, ticks all the boxes for 'what if's?' etc and is just my sort of thing. Looking forward to seeing what you do with this not new project;)!

David Crook said...

Hi Steve J,

I had always looked to expand Madasahatta and so acquired the ships with this in mind but whilst I am hugely fond of Eric’s creation I have recently been thinking that something along similar lines but elsewhere may be a better option. Eric’s South East Asia WW1 naval campaign was more fleet based but his will be a proper colonial style set up so very much 2nd line ships for the most part with the occasional more modern vessel added for effect.

I have pretty much all the ships I need - perhaps a couple of modern RN light cruisers could be added - so it really would just a case of scoping the map out, assigning locations for the combatants and painting the models.

No pressure then!

All the best,


Chris said...

I also played Flattop to death with the original Battleline version. I know that there are some ships in the AH version that were not in the Battleine version. Any other differences between the two?


Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Hard core
And I am completely envious