Game of the Week, March 18 - 24

And it's time for our next sale title... This week we launch out to sea with Naval Campaigns: MidwayThis title is on sale for 25% off now through Sunday, March 24th.

As with so many of our games, the name only gives you a tiny peek into what the game actually has to offer. In fact, what we do have are WWII carrier operations from 1941 - 1944 in the Pacific. Air Power is the focus here... not that other surface ships and even submarines are ignored, but the battles covered by this title are focused on sea and land based aircraft and how they played a role in this important theater of operations.

Midway puts you in the admiral’s seat. The decisions that you need to be focusing most on are the large scale command decisions, rather than the minutiae of shipboard operations. Carrier Operations are certainly a central part of game play as well - staging flights and assigning missions - but fleet direction, search patterns and missions are areas that will command your attention. 

For a further look into the game, it's focus and the design intent behind it read the Design Notes.

Major actions included in the game:

  • Pearl Harbor
  • Coral Sea
  • Midway
  • Eastern Solomons
  • Santa Cruz Islands
  • Philippine Sea

For a complete list of the scenarios included see the Operations guide.

This series, unlike most everything else we offer (with the exception of the Modern Air Power series) is a "pauseable" Real-Time engine. What that means in practice is - when you fire up a scenario and begin to play, everything is moving in real-time. You can pause the game to take stock of your forces, plan carrier ops, etc. You can also issue commands to your air wings while the game is paused. So, for example, you have a couple of flights left on the flight deck that have Patrol missions, so you want to get the next flights coming out of the hanger to be ready for their Strike mission. You can pause the game, go to the carrier in question and issue the "Spotting" command to the desired flights. Once you resume game play the last of the patrolling missions will launch, and when the flight deck is clear Spotting operations will begin as your crews move aircraft onto the flight deck.

Additionally you have the ability to speed the game up to a maximum of 10x real-time. For example, your Patrols are launched and you searching for the enemy battle group. You've got your Strike aircraft being spotted and so you are waiting to receive further information. You can bump the speed up to move things along. Once you receive your first "enemy ship spotted" report you can pause the game and take stock of the situation, or at least reduce it down to 1x speed.

And with the game being a different format - it does not support Play By Email. However it can be played on a LAN or over the Internet using a tool such as Hamachi. 

We've included a further document to go along with the game called "Advanced Tips and Tricks for the Naval Engine" that will help you get comfortable with the things you need to be thinking about and doing during game play.

The game features 40 scenarios + 1 Getting Started tutorial scenario. These range from 10-20 minute scenarios which focus on a key segment of time of a battle - say right before the US flights reach the Japanese carriers, up to 14-hour full scenarios where you conduct searches, move your battle groups and are in complete control of how your forces conduct the battle.

A further feature used in several of the scenarios are "Deployment Boxes". When used in the scenario design process this creates a wide area in which the units can potentially be deployed when the scenario is launched. This adds replayability to these actions as units are no longer in known positions when you fire things up.

A full suite of editors are included with the game as well. There are some limitations to what you can do - i.e. you can't add other nations and time period ships and create a "Mediterranean" game based off the Midway title, but you can create custom actions based on the topic at hand.

It should be noted that you can play from either side in the game, so not just from the US perspective.

One final note before moving on to book recommendations and videos. The "Campaign" front end and editor are included with the game, but there is No campaign(s) built at this time. This feature was added to the series with Wolfpack, so years after Midway was released. It is included so that in the event someone wanted to create their own campaign they could. We are looking into an official campaign addition for future inclusion, but we do not have a projected time in which that will be out.

Ok, on to books...

On to video content. All of these were done several years ago before our enhancements, so for example the on-map ships are radically different than what is shown in the videos, but it still gives you an idea of gameplay.

SmartWargames has a half dozen or more videos on this specific title, so here is one of them. The rest of the videos should populate in the right-hand list as you watch this.

And then we have a variety of screen shots from other scenarios offered in the game:

And finally, here's the Naval Campaigns specific section on the Official WDS forums if you wish to discuss the game, or any games within that series.

Ok, that concludes our preview of the game. You can head on over to the product page for Midway and pick up a copy for yourself when ready!





  • Harry

    By far my favorite of the Naval Battle series. Does a good job of simulating the tension of the search and strike first and strike hard of WWII Pacific battles. This is the one to buy if you want to give the Naval battles a try. To me the air component adds a lot to the series.

  • David Vokins

    I own a fair number of WDS games and I also had bought Midway last time there was a sale. I am still trying to learn the game. The learning curve is longer for me than the turn based other games I own.

  • Jens L

    Well, these games is not really my cup of tea. Nevertheless i own Midway. Bought it after i saw the movie, of course. I like the concept but the game mechanics is to messy. I am not racking down on you here, i own over 50 wds/jts games and i truly love them all, except Midway. Ps. I dont own any air games either. Ds.

  • Dion Ritter

    That’s one fine list of major battles!

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