History: The advent of major Victory in the Pacific tournaments at Avaloncon, the Midwest Open, and the World Boardgaming Championships made it clear that bidding alone couldn't resolve the imbalances created by the luck involved with the Location Uncertain rolls. While talk about the problem was the hot topic for the decade, no action was taken until I proposed the following adjustment list along with a method of using them with tournament bidding to my PBEM ladder players in 1999.
After review and consultation by numerous players, the entire VITP community as recorded by AREA was polled. The adjustments listed here were paired down to a list of five (those originally numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, and 10). The criteria for selection to the official list was simple -- overwhelming support (defined as 70% of players being willing to consider their use and 0% of players who would refuse to consider the option no matter what). The rest of these adjustments were rejected on that basis. Additional adjustments (not listed here) have been subsequently approved (and sometimes retired) for tournament use; none of the original adjustments remains in use (though variants of four of them are).
I present them here solely for the sake of history. The adjustments may not be used in the PBEM tournament bracket except for the official adjustments covered in the Universal PBEM Format. They are for your private enjoyment only. Also see the related article, Accounting for Adjustments, which was published in 1999 to help players evaluate these variants.
Players of different abilities may wish to use one or more of the following minor adjustments in order to handicap the position of the stronger player. This may be especially useful when teaching a new player.
USN Adjustment List
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.
2. CPO Withdrawal: On Turn 1 after the Location Uncertain rolls, both sides (beginning with the IJN) may freely withdraw from the Central Pacific Ocean before the first round of battle with no pursuit. USN ships using this free withdrawal must base in Pearl Harbor (those that fight and survive may base wherever they wish, of course). If the IJN uses its free withdrawal, USN ships may not base at Midway. The I-Boat may not shoot at ships using the free withdrawal.
3. Reinforcement Flexibility: Each USN reinforcement may elect to appear at either Pearl Harbor or Samoa when friendly.
4. Repair Flexibility: Up to one-half of the repair points normally available at Pearl Harbor (rounded down) can optionally be used at Samoa instead. Samoa gains the entire repair capability of Pearl Harbor if Pearl is captured as usual.
5. Critical Repairs: The USN (not other Allies) may make partial repairs to any single ship by immediately removing one damage point after basing is completed (Rule 5.74) at Pearl Harbor if it did not previously exhaust its repair capacity for the turn. The ship cannot be completely repaired (i.e., some damage must still remain). This ability transfers to Samoa if Pearl Harbor is captured.
6. CPO Strategic Value: The Central Pacific Ocean gains a PoC value of 1 for Allied control.
7. Out of Fuel: The IJN must retreat (no pursuit possible) after the two surprise rounds of air raids against Pearl Harbor.
8. Gunnery Radar: All undamaged USN ships with a gunnery factor of 3 or higher gain the attack bonus on Turns 7 and 8.
9. Seventh Air Force: The 7th Air Force may return fire at the end of the first round of Pearl Harbor air raids (if it is still alive). It may return fire in subsequent rounds of these air raids on Turn 1 if it was available in Pearl Harbor at the start of the round.
10. West Coast Bases: USN ship reinforcements may arrive as raiders (during raider movement) in either the Hawaiian Islands or the U.S. Mandate in the event that both Samoa and Pearl Harbor are Japanese Controlled. Marines may arrive during the amphibious unit movement phase but are also limited to the U.S. Mandate and Hawaiian Islands.
11. Pre-War Edge: Score the board as set up before starting Turn One. This gives the Allies a 4 PoC lead going into the raids.
IJN Adjustment List
1. CVL Armor: The armor value of the Shoho and Zuiho is raised to 1.
2. CVL Airstrikes: The airstrike value of the Hosho is raised to 2 bonus shots.
3. Kamikazes: Starting on Turn 7, the IJN may voluntarily use LBA or carrier airstrikes as kamikazes. Kamikazes gain a +1 bonus to their attacks against enemy ships (possibly in addition to an existing bonus). The extra bonus does not apply against LBA. Any unit (LBA or CV) launching a kamikaze attack is immediately eliminated.
For players of equal levels who still desire to use the adjustment lists, the following bidding system may optionally be used.
Bidding is conducted in two phases. In the first, players alternate selecting small adjustments to the rules of the game from one of the attached lists. The higher ranked player selects the list of adjustments to be used. The lower ranked player selects the first adjustment.
In the second phase, players bid PoC to determine which side each will play (this is the same as the current procedure). Obviously, PoC bids will tend to be lower since the game will be more closely balanced.
The transition between the two occurs when, during his/her turn to select an adjustment, a player:
a) bids 0 or more PoC for the side which benefits from the adjustments
b) bids 0 or more PoC for the side which is injured by the adjustments AND his/her opponent responds by increasing the PoC bid or accepting the non-preferred side (instead of selecting another adjustment). This bid is ignored if another adjustment is selected.
a) Alan selects the USN adjustment list (changes that help the USN). His opponent, Joe, selects USN Adjustment #1. Alan thinks that's enough to balance the game but still wants to play the IJN. He bids 1 for the IJN. Joe still thinks the game is unbalanced and adds Adjustment #2. Alan, still preferring the IJN, responds by bidding 0 for the IJN. Joe now figures it's balanced and bids 0.5 for the IJN (at this point the transition has been made). Alan concedes and agrees to play the USN for an 0.5 PoC incentive using USN Adjustments #1 and #2.
b) Mike selects the IJN adjustment list. His opponent, Dan, is not about to help the IJN with an adjustment and bids 0 for the IJN (this completes the transition). Mike is now required to bid in PoC or accept Dan's bid of 0.
c) Dave selects the USN list. Max wants the USN, but wants a fair game; he opens the bid with USN Adjustment #3. Dave thinks this is a good start but not enough and adds Adjustment #2. Max is almost satisfied and adds Adjustment #5. Dave thinks that's enough and bids 0.5 for the USN (completing the transition). Max won't have it and bids 1. Dave decides to go 1.5. Max concedes and takes the IJN.
Retired Tournament Adjustments
[March 2018] 1, 2, and 3 from the above list.
[September 2011] 4 from the above list.
[March 2018] 2a. North Pacific Option: Place a US flag in the Aleutian Islands at the start of the game. On a Location Uncertain roll of 1, the USN player may choose to place the group in either the Central Pacific Ocean or North Pacific Ocean. The Allied player must choose before rolling for any subsequent Location Uncertain Group. All Location Uncertain Groups appear as raiders. The I-Boat may not be placed in the North Pacific Ocean.
[March 2018] 3a. Free Pearl Harbor: The Turn 3 reinforcements which arrive at Pearl Harbor may move through the Hawaiian Islands on Turn 3 as if the area were uncontrolled regardless of the presence of an IJN Control Flag. Other USN forces are restricted normally.
[March 2018] 5. West Coast Bases: USN ship reinforcements arrive as raiders during raider movement in either the Hawaiian Islands or the U.S. Mandate in the event that both Samoa and Pearl Harbor are Japanese-controlled. New Marines arrive during the amphibious unit movement phase but are also limited to the U.S. Mandate and Hawaiian Islands. [This is 10 from the above list.]
[March 2018] 6. Allied Offensive: Beginning on Turn 5, the Allied player determines the order of combat (Step 9) and, in the case where both sides have amphibious units in an area at the end of a round, determines which side has the option to land first.