Solomon Sea

Winner of 2000 Charles S. Roberts Award for Best DTP-Produced Boardgame

"The best of the naval/carrier game lot."
- Steve Carey, designer of We Must Tell the Emperor, on

"Some very nice mechanics, and the graphics are first rate. If you think the best carrier battle game is yet to be made, check this one out. You won't be sorry."
- Pat Collins, on

"Definitely the best game out there for modeling CV-on-CV engagements"
- Lance McMillan, LCDR, USN

Solomon Sea, published by Simulations Workshop, simulates the World War II carrier battles for control of the sea lanes around the Solomon islands, from May to November 1942. One player commands the Allied (US and Australian) forces and the other the Japanese. Victory is obtained by destroying the opposing fleet, landing invasion forces, or bringing supplies to beleaguered beachheads.

Game Description

Solomon Sea is a double blind game, which means each player moves his own task forces, air strikes, and search planes on his own map, and is only told about enemy ships which are in those hexes which he has successfully searched (typically with his own aircraft). The game system is similar to that of Victory at Midway from Command Magazine. Each map hex has a diameter of 100 nautical miles. Each turn in the game represents about three and a half hours. One plane step represents three to five aircraft. One ship counter represents a carrier, one or two battleships or several smaller vessels. For reasonably experienced players, playing time is about 3 to 6 hours depending on the scenario length chosen.

Scenarios include the historical Battles of the Coral Sea, Eastern Solomons, Santa Cruz, and the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Variant counters and a variant order of battle table are included to provide literally hundreds of possible variations and give the players the same uncertainty about the enemy goals and capability that bedeviled the historical commanders.

Map sample (same as displayed below).

Additional Material

Errata as of 01-10-21. (Last changes: rule 6.3, submarine stacking, 8.15, transfer range.)

Sketchmap for PBM/PBEM play. (125K)

Campaign Sequences Draft

Campaign Sequences are linked scenarios that permit players to play the battles in sequence, thus allowing their success in one scenario to affect future battles in the campaign. More scenarios and campaign sequences are planned. Feedback will be appreciated.

Automated Referee - alpha release

The file below contains a simple referee program that will automatically conduct searches and post reports for a FTF 2-player game. The program distinguishes between day and night turns and includes the correct coastwatcher and base hexes for each Solomon Sea scenario. (Bay of Bengal playtesters will find that it also contains the Bay of Bengal scenarios.)

Searches are specified by typing in your task force hex locations, air searches, and submarine search locations. After searches have been conducted and reports displayed, the previous searches are displayed again and players can edit them (since presumably some of the searched coordinates and TF positoins have changed) before searching again.

Note 1: this has only been tested by myself, on Windows XP. I'm sure some issues will crop up, so if you find anything, please let me know.

Note 1: This version was done for Windows XP. Mac or Linux versions are no problem, so if you want one, send me an email.

I have written a very short manual.

Zipped .EXE file.

Reviews and Opinions

Review from Perfidious Albion.

Another Review.

Solomon Sea game report from Consimworld (press the "Guest Access" button on the page that comes up after you click on the link)

... and another one, continued here

... and another one

... and another comment


Replay of the Eastern Solomons scenario (02/2004).

A replay of a refereed Santa Cruz game (12/2003).

A replay of an Eastern Solomons game (09/2000; also available on consimworld).

Campaign Sequence Replays

Playthrough of the "Great Battles of 1942" Campaign Sequence, by Brian McCue's group (07/2002-05/2003):

Playthrough of a solitaire "South Pacific Campaign" Sequence:

Playthrough of a Campaign Sequence (played PBEM) designed by Lance McMillan based on Solomon Sea:

(Click on map for larger image. Note: Colors somewhat different from actual map.)


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Last modified 13.9.2005