Review: Fury at Midway

When approaching any new game or subject, especially that of a battle or campaign, I try to reinforce and synthesize my understanding as much as possible. A force multiplier you might say.

And of all the studies and readings of the Second World War, my knowledge of the Pacific theater was lacking. Until recently. I picked up a copy of Richard Frank’s Tower of Skulls and plunged straight in. Leaving off right before the events of Coral Sea and Midway, I moved on to Craig Symond’s The Battle of Midway, and excellent work. And for the longest time, I’d been itching to get my hands on some sort of Midway game. And along came Fury at Midway, designed by Yasushi Nakaguro and published by Revolution Games in 2020.

Although I was not able to play with a live opponent, my solitaire experience left a rather favorable impression. The components are excellently produced, the art is clean and the color palette pops. This is a low complexity game where the main game mechanic relies on air operations points which are derived from the relative distance between the Japanese and American fleets. These points allow for the launching and attacking of planes but also the return and landing of aircraft. Management of the carriers decks will be key to anticipating enemy counterattacks.

The variable determination of initiative heightens the tension and abstractly showcases the time it takes for attack planes and their escorts to locate and find the enemy carriers. Additional chrome rules add historical flavor: die modifiers for combinations of Japanese attack planes when targeting carriers, the formation of large Japanese strike groups, and the ability of the Americans to more favorably attack their carrier division of choice, are just some examples.

To win, the sinking of carriers is key. If a certain ratio is not achieved by the end of the first day, a tally is conducted including sunk carriers and possession of Midway.

This is my first Pacific theater war game and I applaud it’s balance of historicity, low complexity and ease of play. This will be a title I return to in the future whenever I have an carrier battle itch that can be scratched in an hour or two.

More in depth thoughts below.

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