Empire of the Sun Rage Quit:

 Recently posted by Al Owen:

A pretty epic rant. I’ve played a few scenarios now. I cant agree with much here, as in fact at the time this game brought a lot of innovative ideas to the table.

While the dude falls off the cliff, I thought that it was both interesting and amusing write up, it goes off on tagents…assumes authority and generally gets all pissy without too much back up, with you know…facts..

***A Deconstruction of EOTS***

On the virtual table: “Floored By The Sun” – or simply Is M. Herman a Fakir?

I had a strong suspicion – at the olefactory-level that a CDG-driven EOTS couldn’t mirror the Pacific/CBI/ Theare – and I was right. Just didn’t know how twisted the whole thing would be:

Battleships sinking Aircraft Carriers?
– It’s here!
Air units pinning ground units in the jungle?
– It’s here!
No search or avoid rolls?
– It’s here!
A faux CRT that combines Air & Naval combat?
– It’s here! (and this is the smoking gun that causes the first laughable problem)
“HQ”‘s like carrier pigeons on steroids with arbitrary “zones”?
– They’re here!

[IE you move several aircraft carriers to bombard a coastal airfield, the enemy reacts and “packs” the battle hex with BB’s etc which with their massive offensive/defensive potential “do the magic orca” on those CV’s which obviously die of embarrassment after losing all their air..]

And it goes on, completely failing to mirror the triadic intensity of modern conflict, where air, naval and land assets fought in a complex – but unified fashion.

There is an arbitrary way of handling “Inter-Service Rivalry”, however all units and their “HQ”s are always pumped and raring to go – units could be activated time and again.

Why no Offensive/Defensive mode for HQ’s? And they should be operational not pseudo-strategic?

Task Forces are not formed in any way shape or form. Ships can activated react without a by-your-leave into a “battle hex” then mosey back to “anywhere” like drunks sleeping in alleyways.

Originally introduced by the United States Navy, the term has now caught on for general usage and is a standard part of NATO terminology.

These are temporary organizations composed of particular ships, aircraft, submarines, military land forces, or shore service units, assigned to fulfill certain missions.


TF 11 for example has had a lengthy history. At the very least players should have to organize their forces at this sort of level ahead of time.

At some point Herman needs to question/come clean why he is putting all this amateurish stuff out.

Absurd OOB’s and set ups. Non-existent British carriers available for use in the Indian ocean


The WARSPITE left in March 43 and the ILLUSTRIOUS January 43. The INDOMITABLE itself had left in April 42. The FORMIDABLE too around that time. the other ILLUSTRIOUS class vessel didn’t appear in-theatre until July 44.

Is Stephen Newberg – the Developer – responsible for this? Giving the allies such a capability is quite obviously a game-breaker.

In actual fact the air, naval & ground aspects of EOTS are all generic. Why have faux numbers on them as if they are air wings and armies & capital ships? The Japanese have about 4 heavy cruisers. three of them named after classes and one a member of a class but not its actual true name. The Australian CA “KENT” is named after a class but never existed it’s ratings also seem false as it is the equal of a japanese CA.

There are two reduced but functional US carriers at the start of the 43 scenario – for balancing issues maybe as the system isn’t realistic? These carriers should set up in ESPIRITU SANTO not NOUMEA.


And the CBI theatre!

A worse representaion than War of The Suns – which incidentally ripped off the CRT from The Russian campaign

But at least it has one!! (a CRT that is)

AKYAB is actually an island and access to this area was extremely tough. It is also a deep water port…

[Technically an “estuarial island”]

It should at least be treated in a manner similar to BIAK as an island that disallows ground movement but as part of its nearest land mass – this is at best dinky – if not lazy.

By the way my grandfather fought in this theatre and i can tell you the Japanese had *zero* chance of successfully conquering any significant land areas of India – zero – nada -nichts.
[The “Free Indian Army was just another Indian con to get free food and they were essentially official porters for Japanese assault units.]

And by the way by zero i *mean* zero. India was chock-a-block with soldiers. (The Muslim soldiery was squarely on side – even if that infamous Indian Con-artist/Fakir wasn’t.)

There is intrinsic defence of Japanese homeland hexes, why not India?

As for the China it seems partially abstracted, like a tame hamster on an exercise wheel.

Failing to get Chinese soldiers to synchronize their actions with Western soldiers was one of the reasons my Grandfather’s brigade fought down the road to Mandalay. Not to mention Merril’s Marauders.

Does Herman have unresolved psychological issues with using tried & tested modes? Was he desperate not to have to mention other designers like Ted Raicer for example? That well-know hermit who used armies and mandatory offensives to mirror WW1 combat. Also the Forward offensive is similar to the Headline card in TS by Mathews & Gupta. Let alone the best CDG of all Wilderness War by Volkho Ruehnkewith the streamlining of militia but keeping other units quite acurately. The most intuitive and well-thought out *CRT* of any CDG – among those I am aware.

Why not use his raid mechanic to allow for low-level combat?

Missed opportunities in order to appear “original”.
[IE reclaim the “CDG space” as his own after the first “spark of originality” gave the community “We The People/WW]

Why not use a proper CRT instead of some goofy/clunky roll with no granularity?
[Aren’t “Critical Hits” for drug addicts buying food in the middle of the night??]

Why even bother to declare battle hexes – it places superfluous limits – although reaction is excessive, especially non-naval.

This is not a conflict simulation, but a series of dumbed-down, counter-intuitive & ad hoc mechanics mimicking a wargame.

Ben Hull has broken contact with the war game community over the wave of criticism associated with Won By the Sword which had far less issues than this one but “Floored by the Sun” is still strutting around?

Has the WBC warped the demands on the wargaming community, where there must be a tournament scenario playable in three hours, otherwise pack your bongos and POQ?

This ultra-faux wargame was knocked up artificially to fill a tournament niche and the CDG mechanic was imposed upon it – a mechanic that mirrors the 16th-18th centuries well when strategy, tactics and operations were as unified as ever, go further back and you have no seperate operations staff, go forward and in fact strategy becomes a slave of operations. That is why the ideologically motivated nations were initially so successful.

“Empire of the Sun” is a Euro ( “cappuccino & marshmallows” rather than “beer & pretzels” ) definitely *not* a wargame –

Get this card-driven rubbish out of my sight now!!

[ Should CDG’s be declared the wargaming equivalent of a greenhouse gas? ]

14 thoughts on “Empire of the Sun Rage Quit:

  1. He’s looking tactical part in the strategic game…this condition is treatable…maybe Flat Top would be more appropriate game for him…speaking about Flat Top looking forward your next update!

  2. There are so many things wrong with this review it’s hard to know where to begin. It appears you have gotten a large number of rules wrong, the major of which is battleships cannot sink aircraft carriers.

    Failure to even get basic rules correct invalidates the entire review, which I suspect was a hatchet job from someone who had already formed their opinion before moving the first counter.

  3. What he misses out is that is not a bomber, CV, or BB. You ever wonder why there are no counters for the Yorktown, Hornet, Saratoga, Wasp, etc, etc?
    He’s trying to make a very high level strategic game into an operational game. I had that problem when I was learning. Once I got over that and understood it, I gazed upon the awesome.
    He probably needs to play Asia Engulfed.

  4. I am very disappointed that a site I have followed and respected would re-publish a character attack, which any adult would dismiss and puerile. I have no issue with negative reviews of my designs, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but this angry personal stuff is just so grammar school and diminishes what I thought this site was about; Intelligent commentary on the wargamer experience.

    It is hard to respond to the rest as it has so many basic facts wrong. One simple example is, Empire of the Sun was published in February of 2005 and Twilight Struggle (awesome design) was published in the same year, although I cannot find the month. So, why didn’t I use stuff that I was unaware of speaks for itself. Another example is why doesn’t EotS have a mandatory offensive akin to another brilliant design (Paths of Glory), it does (progress of the war), so I see no evidence that this rant is based on playing the game correctly or at all.

    I ignored the CSW posting as I became aware of it long after it was posted, but to see it reposted by a site I use to respect seemed to require some response.

    I understand not liking the game, but the rest of it is just regrettable behavior that the people I deal with stopped when they entered middle school.


    • All Good points Mark, I posted this for several reasons. None of which are intend to hurt your feelings or disparage you. I’m sorry if you felt impinged upon.
      Thanks for taking the time to post a note here.


  5. Thanks for your reply. I appreciate your concerns, but I would have to respect someone before they could hurt my feelings, so such was not the case. What I am starting to reject as a basic premise is that we should tolerate and promote any childish behavior within our community. If someone has courage come say it to my face. I was recently at GMT West and there were individuals in the room who could not look me in the eye or talk to me because at their core they are cowards. Easy to say all sorts of ‘in your face stuff’ from the safety of your home. Where I grew up in Brooklyn we had a saying, “don’t write a check with your mouth that your a** can’t cash”.

    That said, I encourage all reviews and comments on my designs. That’s how I learn. I am following your Pacific War commentary and I conclude that you are not a fan, which I am fine with, but at its core there is something in your remarks that I can learn from so useful and constructive. I read the negative posts far more carefully than the positive ones as I learn more. I just don’t understand all of the infant drama. I read the rant carefully for anything that I could learn from and I concluded that he had not played the game and if he did it was done incorrectly, so not sure what it was about.


  6. I was comfortable with the re-post because the tone was clearly that of a cautionary tale about how one grognard could look like a complete douche in front of his peers. For me, wargaming is about having fun with military history. But what do I know? I’m just an Advance After Combat Young Turk and we have a big tournament devoted to EotS. We must all be idiots.

  7. Whoa Mark, Just saw your 2nd post.. Dont care for Pacific War? That is a leap. I dont know enough yet to NOT like it. I do see however how the high level of rolling and searching would wear on players and slow the game down [ I’m assessing a way to speed up the low probability aspects]. We currently have the Coral Sea scenario set up as a prep play for something larger. The Jury has to be out on a game like this until you more deeply understand the game. I put a lot of effort into summarizing the rules in play sequence order basic and Advanced combined. That said it is going to be a while before we finish much of anything with my current travel schedule.

  8. I just saw your most recent Pacific War video. It looks like you have it down. I will be interested in seeing how you fare in the Battle of Coral Sea.


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