Victory in the Pacific

Menzel Options
by Ed Menzel

As of September 2015, the Menzel options include the following:

  1. Adjustment #1a -- I-Boat Arrival:  The I-Boat arrives with Turn 2 reinforcements.  The I-Boat is not available on Turn 1.
  2. Adjustment #2b -- Individual CPO Withdrawal: After each Location Uncertain roll of "1", the USN may freely withdraw the associated group with no pursuit.  USN ships using this free withdrawal must base at Johnston Island.  The Allied player must choose before rolling for any subsequent Location Uncertain Group.  Any groups that do not withdraw immediately do not have another chance to retreat prior to the end of the first combat round.
  3. Adjustment #3b -- Pearl Harbor Escape: If there's an IJN Control Flag in the Hawaiian Islands during Turn 3 movement, Turn 3 Pearl Harbor reinforcements may also move to the U.S. Mandate.  In addition: Marines that move to the U.S. Mandate using 3b are restricted to basing in Samoa or Pearl Harbor (though they may invade and land on New Hebrides as usual).
  4. Adjustment #4a -- San Diego Repair Yards: During the basing phase, any USN ship with damage less than or equal to its armor factor may be withdrawn from the map (i.e., based in San Diego).  After missing at least one turn, such ships return with any subsequent turn's reinforcements (with damage if not completely repaired).  Total repairs in San Diego and Pearl Harbor (or Samoa if Pearl Harbor is IJN-controlled) are limited to Pearl Harbor's printed repair capacity.
  5. Turn One Special Rules:

    ·       Ryujo & Zuiho may NOT raid Pearl. They may make any other legal move. All other ships move per standard Turn 1 rules

    ·       After the first two air raid rounds and Location Uncertain rolls, IJN must withdraw.  USN may pursue per standard Turn 1 rules.


3cM:  A common variation of the Menzel Options is to use adjustment 3c instead of 3b:

  1. Adjustment #3c -- West Coast Escape: If there's an IJN Control Flag in the Hawaiian Islands during Turn 3, Allied units in Pearl Harbor or Johnston Island, during any opportunity to move, may be placed instead with the Turn 4 reinforcements.


Mr (Menzel post-Raid):  To bid after the air raids:

One player is selected to run the IJN and makes all of its moves (patrol, LBA, NLF, raiders) and then conducts two rounds of air raids in Indonesia and Pearl Harbor -- rolling only after the second player accepts his movement and attack designations.  Then, beginning with the second player, players bid for sides.  Whomever takes the USN then completes all of its first turn movement, location uncertain, and pursuit decisions.


Historical Information

As of May 15th, 2018, the results of all PBEM games using the Menzel options (except Mr)  are as follows:

Bid USN Wins IJN Wins
-3.5   1
-1.5 2 2
-1 6 8
-0.5 3 2
0 14 12
0.5 6 2
1 9 1
1.5 4 2
2 1  
3.5 2  
Total 47 30
Total 31 26


Prior to September 2015, the Menzel options were altered as follows:

  1. Adjustment #1 (I-Boat Raid: On Turn 1 any I-Boat assigned to the Hawaiian Islands is part of the Pearl Harbor raid force and may only target ships which leave Pearl Harbor.)
  1. Pearl Harbor Raid:

a. Carrier Limit:  6
b. Air Raid Rounds:  2
c. IJN withdrawal is required after initial two rounds; Allied pursuit is an option.
d. 7th AF may return fire on the second round if it survives the first.

  1. Indonesia Raid:

a. 5th AF may return fire on the second round if it survives the first.


Author's Comments [Pre-9/2015]: There is a fundamental problem in the game when a player can end up in a very precarious position after having been given no choices or decisions. The USN gets no meaningful decisions on T1. Then on T2, they can find themselves with no Pearl survivors and down to two LBA. Admittedly this adverse result doesn’t happen often. But an almost helpless USN on T2 is not that infrequent. And, even if it were infrequent, in any given tournament it is likely to happen to somebody or several somebody’s.

And many supported T1 CPO withdrawal/I Boat options for exactly the same reason – a potentially very negative starting position after having made zero decisions in the game.

Using the historical IJN Pearl CV raiding force will, as noted, typically give the USN 1 or 2 extra BBs to start T2. And that should get the USN out of the pure survival mode

I have records of 17 completed games. The bids have ranged from 1.5 for the IJN to .5 for the USN. Most bids have been .5 for the IJN or 0. The USN has won 14 of the 17 completed. The IJN is favored in the game in progress where the bid was 0.

I think the "Menzel" options have remarkably balanced the game - perhaps slightly overbalanced it in favor of the USN although it is too early to tell for sure.

Victory in the Pacific® is a registered trademark of The Avalon Hill Game Company.