Guadalcanal Campaigne inspired rules

  Guadalcanal Campaign Simple Rules

USS South Dakota


These rules try to simulate an alternate and fictitious Guadalcanal naval campaign taking place between November 1st, 1942 and December 5th.


IJN Kongo

1/ Objectives and Victory Conditions

At the end of each day, each side scores Victory Points (VPs) and decides whether they wish to continue, end the campaign, or surrender. If both sides simultaneously want to end the campaign, the game ends, and each side’s VPs are tallied and victory conditions checked. If a side elects to surrender, the game likewise ends, VPs are tallied and victory conditions checked, but the level of victory of the side that did not surrender is upgraded by one step. In all other instances, the game continues.

Here are the victory levels : 

VP difference between 0 & 50 points :     Draw

VP difference between 51 & 150 points : Minor Victory

VP difference between 151 & 300 points : Major Victory

VP difference more than 300 points            Decisive Victory


VPs are awarded under the following conditions :

Ship destroyed :

Destroyer (DD) : 5 points

Light Cruiser (CL) : 10 points (Juneau, Tenryu, Tatsuta, Sendai)

Bigger Light Cruiser (CL+) 15 points ¨(Boise, Columbia)

Heavy Cruiser (CA) 20 points

Battlecruiser (BC) 40 points (Kongo, Kirishima)

Battleship (BB) 60 points (Mutsu)

Fast Battleship (BB+) 80 points (Washington, South Dakota)

If a ship is forced to withdraw from the theater of operations : 10% of the points awarded for its destruction, rounded up.

Henderson Field & the Cactus Air Force

US Player : roll 5x (D6-1), and add the results for every day HF is operational

IJN Player : 10 VP for every day HF is non-operational.

Japanese Convoy

If convoy is successfull, the IJN player scores 300 VPs. If it fails to get through, his US opponent scores (100 + (1D10x10)) VPs.




USS Juneau

2/ Available forces & reinforcements.

Reinforcements are available on the first day of each week” :11/1, 11/8, 11/15, 11/22, 11/29, and can be immediately committed to a battle.




Kako (CA)

Furutaka (CA)

Aoba (CA)

Kinugasa (CA)

Tenryu (CL)

3 x DD Fubuki


Salt Lake City (CA)

San Francisco (CA)

Columbia (CL+)

Boise (CL+)

6 x DD Benson

IJN Kirishima



Kongo (BC)

Kirishima (BC)

Chokaï (CA)

3 x DD Fubuki


Washington (BB+)

Portland (CA)

Northampton (CA)

Juneau (CL)

3 x DD Mahan



Nachi (CA)

Tatsuta (CL)

Sendaï (CL)


South Dakota (BB+)








Mutsu (BB)



USS Washington

3/ Deployment & tactical rules :

At the start of each day, each side selects which ships (as many as he desires from that that are available and operational) will be involved in the night’s mission. Because of the restrictive nature of the theater of operations’ geography, and of the operational guidelines of each camp, all battles will take place at night, and each side will set their forces in the areas highlighted on the map.

The tactical battle will be played following “Naval Thunder : Battleship Row” rules. The Japanese side will have the benefit of a -1 shooting bonus at all ranges, for its night fighting capacities; he will detect enemy forces at 20″.The US player will have Radar Gunnery Control, and will detect enemy ships at 40″, but will be able to engage them at 20″ only. Only an optically seen enemy can be fired at.

4/  Bombarding Henderson Field

Japanese ships that could break through the US screen may now bombard Henderson Field. The Japanese player breaks through if the US player had no forces deployed that night, if the US player decides to withdraw, or if he has been forced to withdraw if, at any time, at least 50% of his ships have suffered at least 50% damage. the IJN player now considers his surviving and non retreating ships ( a ship above 50% hull points damage will have to retreat).

Furthermore , given the extreme reluctance of Japanese commanders to expose their surface forces to allied daytime airpower, the IJN player will have to withdraw from this pool of ships a ship of his choosing per turn above turn 3 the US player has not had to withdraw.

To conduct the bombardment itself, teh IJN player now totals for each all the damage points all guns eligible to fire in a broadside can inflict, and adds the total for all his ships. For every 100 points inflicted, Henderson Field is non operational for a day. He then rolls a D100 under the leftover points, if any, to check if damage is inflicted for an additional day. At no point can HF be non-operational for more than 7 consecutive days (dirt airstrips and Nissen huts are quickly fixed), but if it falls back under this total, it can be bombarded again to be brought back up to 7 days.

IJN Kongo

5/ Japanese Convoy

One of the main causes of the eventual Japanese defeat was the unability of the Imperial Japanese Navy to supply its forces on the island. Especially, the Cactus Air Force, operating from Henderson Field, drove the japanese to renounce using slow and vulnerable freighters replacing them with fast, but small cargo capacity destroyers to get out of harm’s way before daylight.

If at any time, Henderson is non operational for at least 4 consecutive days, the Japanese player may decide he’ll run a supply convoy with freighters. He must announce it at least 3 days before running it (to simulate the efficiency of Allied intelligence : coast watchers, code breakers etc…). To keep things simple, it won’t be needed to deploy any merchantmen on the board. The convoy will be successfull following the same rules as a mere Henderson Field bombardment raid.

This convoy may happen but once in a game, as it is an all or nothing event : if successful, the IJN will score 300 VPs, if it fails, it will yield the US navy 100 + D10x10 VPs, which may be bring either side’s VPs above 300 and effectively end the game.

 IJN Sendai

6/ Damaged ships.

A ship’s damage level will depend on the percentage of hullpoints it has lost. A repaired ship will see all critical hit destroyed equipment functional once more.

between 0 & 25% :

The ship does not need to be repaired immediatelmy, and may be brought back into play on a following turn, but it will keep its damage. If however its owner wishes to repair it, the ship will be unavailable for 3 days (simulating the efficiency and proximity of the Rabaul yards or Espiritu Santo floating docks).

between 25 & 50%

The ship must be repaired before fighting again, and will be unavailable for 7 days.

between 50 & 75%

The ship must be repaired before fighting again, and will be unavailable for 7 days. However, at the end of this period, its owner will roll a D6. A roll of 4, 5 or6 means the ship is fully repaired and available again. A roll of 1, 2 or 3 means damage is so bad the ship must return for repairs to the United Sattes or Japan, and will be available no more for this game. The opponent scores 10% of the VPs normally awarded for the ship’s destruction, rounded up.

between 75 & 90%

The ship must return for repairs to the United Sattes or Japan, and will be available no more for this game. The opponent scores 10% of the VPs normally awarded for the ship’s destruction, rounded up.


More than 90%

The ship must return for repairs to the United States or Japan, and will be available no more for this game. Its owner also rolls a D10. On a roll of 1, the ship sinks en route, and the opponent scores full VPs for its destruction. The opponent scores 10% of the VPs normally awarded for the ship’s destruction, rounded up, if any other number is rolled.

Destroyers’ special case (DD)

Since they have so few Hull Points, DD follow different rules. As long as it still has more than a single Hull Point, a DD will always be considered to have suffered but between 0 & 25% damage. If it is left but with its last Hull Point, a DD will follow the rules for ships with more than 90% damage.

IJN Mutsu


Some random thoughts about Guadalcanal

En un jour en un lieu, un seul fait accompli

Doit tenir jusqu’au bout le theatre rempli.

A single plot, over the course of a single in a single place shall till the end keep the theater full.

Thus wrote XVIIth century poet Pierre Boileau in his “Art Poetique”. These rules were followed by playwrights such as Racine, Corneille and Moliere for their unending glory… Quoting Boileau about the naval campaign of Guadalcanal may seem far fetched, but, perhaps due to my upbringing, his words were the first that came to my mind when I first read on that subject. For when you come to think of it, over the course of a few weeks spead between August 42 and January 43, in a very small chunk of teh Ocean off the northeast coast of Guadalcanal, the Japanese and american navies deployed similar and limited numbers of equivalent units in a struggle where the objectives are easily identified… Unity of time, unity of place, unity of action, there we have Boileau’s rules…

These make the Guadalnal campaign a wargamer’s dream to design a simple campaign, uing quick and simple rules doing away with most of the book keeping I can less and less stand in a game, while retaining some of the operational decisions made above a tactical commander’s level. Geography, and the Cactus air Force, dictated that surface engagements would take place at night over the same stretch of water, to the point that particular spot got the name of “Ironbottom Sound”.

Be warned, I dropped all pretence of historical accuracy when I designed a system. I wanted to use my GHQ minis, and, even though most saw action in these waters, some would have been sunk by the time I set for the start, while others would not have seen action at the end. And they are way fewer than their historical counterparts too, GHQ is expensive. I haven’t tested it yet, but I’ll post it soon before I do.

Painting IJN ships

Well, here is how you can paint IJN ships. Historically, there were no hard set rules, Japanese warships made use of what paint was available at the harbour they were serviced, and usually, you could find them in 2 shades of grey : light and dark… So, no big issue what paint you are using.

As for me, I used the following paints, from various brands :

Ral Partha : Dark Grey

Citadel : Codex & Fortresss Greys, Snot and Scorpion greens, Boltgun metal.

Coat d’Arm : leather brown

and black and dark brown inks

I also used some matte medium to dilute my paint : the best result is given by one part paint, one part water and a drop of medium. I only used 2 sizes of brushes :#2, for general base, and #0, for details.

Well, let’s suppose the ship has been assembled (in my opinion, the most difficult part. Here is my GHQ Kako miniature. GHQs minis are little wonders in themselves, but you will have to deserve the result : I won’t hide I’m using modellers pincers and magnifying glasses for that…).

It has also been primed (Citadel White Primer spray here) and you get that result :

You first use a diluted Ral Partha Dark Grey to wash over your mini. Let dry. If the result is too light for your taste, apply a second wash :

Now, use a very diluted black wash 3 parts water, 1 part ink and some medium) and spread it lavishly over your mini. Take out pools with a brush before they dry :


A first drybrush using Codex Grey :

A second drybrush using Fortress Grey :

It’s now time to paint the wooden deck. I used a #0 brush, and some Leather Brown :

the deck was washed pover with some rown wash (same mix as for the black wask ) :


Mistakes were then corrected, with the #0 brush :

Details – plane, anchor chains, anchors, funnel tops – were painted :

And after a black wash over the details, the mini is ready to be sealed :

After this, all you need to do is base the ship as you see fit. I’m using Old Dominion Games Works clear etched bases, and will post a pic when I get my order.