One of the most exciting things for players of board games are the counters. They transmit an unique flavor and atmosphere of the battle you are playing. It is quite different feeling if you compare it, for example, with a strategy game played using PC. The game can be played faster, and sometimes it is easy to handle because the PC can play the opponent and you do not need to play both as solitaire. However, even the counters can look nice in the screen, you cannot touch them and look at them from different angles, distance etc. The map is also another issue. You always need to scroll with the mouse to see distant parts. However, with physical maps you always can visualize the action in detail without moving anything.
In this post, I would like to focus on the first part, the counters and the units that are represented in the Empire of the Sun, hereafter EoTS.
The EoTS is a strategy game and it is important to bear that in our minds. We cannot expect to control the entire pacific war moving each of the ship and planes that actually participated in the events. By doing so, we would face a monster game such as Pacific War or War in the Pacific: Admiral Edition (PC) games. They are great games, but need more time to be played. Of course, there are smaller scenarios and campaigns that can be played in realistic time and that enjoyable but here we are addressing the issue of playing the entire campaign of the pacific war and enjoy it using a realistic portion of our hectic life.
So, several units (ships or planes) should be represented by using only one counter. If the game is well balanced, the strategic level mechanics should allow the players allow the flavor to be Nimitz or Yamamoto and lead their respective countries into the battles across the pacific in a realistic fashion.
Let me focus in this occasion with the Japanese Naval Forces, also known as Combined Fleet (Rengo Kantai), Imperial Fleet or Japanese Task Forces (KidoButai).