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 in the U.S. Mandate using 3b are restricted to basing in Samoa or Pearl Harbor; they may invade New Hebrides if IJN-controlled.
  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San Diego Repair Yards: During the basing phase, any USN ship with damage less than or equal to its armor factor may be withdrawn from the map (i.e., based in San Diego).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):  Bid after the air raid and location uncertain dice:

A player is selected (randomly or by mutual agreement) to run the IJN and makes all of its moves (patrols, LBA, NLF, and raiders) and then conducts two rounds of air raids in Indonesia and Pearl Harbor.  The IJN player must meet the following minimum placements: Japanese Islands (patrollers: 2 BB or 3 CA), Aleutians (1 patroller), Central Pacific (10 patrollers/15 ships/1 CVL), Marianas (3 patrollers), Indonesia (4 LBA), South Pacific (1 LBA), Marshalls (1 LBA), Hawaiians (11 ships/6 CV).  The second player must agree the targetting selections for the air raids are "reasonable." The second player then rolls the location uncertain dice, places groups accordingly, and withdraws all CPO groups.  Then, beginning with the second player, players bid for sides.  Whomever takes the USN then completes all of its movement (patrols and raiders) and begins the normal sequence of play with the Hawaiian pursuit decision.

 

Analysis of Air Raid Differences

To compare the Menzel 6-carrier air raid to the normal 8-carrier air raid, I used the vwroller and dice@finberg facilities to roll 100 air raids of each type (50 with each die server).  I counted any ship bottomed as sunk.  Raid methodology targeted 553s, 443s, 453s, 117s, and the 7th Air Force in that order, one carrier each provided sufficient targets were available (to maximize damage).  Targets were assigned an attacking carrier based on the remaining defense factor (with the LBA treated as if its defense was 3).  The summary of results appears below -- together with a normal distribution with the same mean and standard deviation.

The key take-aways are:

  • The mean ships sunk is 1.52 less with the Menzel options.  However, approximately one of those ships is a cruiser (but 17% of the time, it includes the 7th AF).
  • Both types of air raids can see results from 0 to 11 sunk.  However, even though all 11 units were sunk once in the Menzel tests, the distribution suggest that's a 1 in 5,000 occurrence.  It's even less likely that zero ships will be sunk (and neither test saw such a result).
  • The Menzel options reduce the likelihood that the 7th Air Force will be destroyed from 19% to 2%.
  • The potential for spectacular results increases dramatically when 3+ ships are bottomed on the first wave -- since that allows every unit in Pearl Harbor to be targeted on the second wave.

 

Historical Information

As of May 15th, 2019, the results of all PBEM games using the Menzel options are as follows:

Bid USN Wins IJN Wins
-3.5   1
-2.5 1  
-1.5 4 3
-1 8 11
-0.5 2 4
0 15 13
0.5 5 2
1 8 3
1.5 7 3
2 2  
2.5  

1

3 1  
3.5 2  
Total 55 41
Total 34 33

 

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.


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