Revised In-The-Presence-Of-The-Enemy

In section 11.14.2, under Option 19: (In the presence of the enemy), amend the text as follows:

It costs a surface naval unit 2 points of its movement allowance (not range) to enter a sea area that contains an in-supply port controlled by an unsurprised (see 15.) major power it is at war with. This does not apply (i.e. you pay normal costs) if, at the start of the impulse, the sea area contained a friendly:

  • CV with a carrier plane; or
  • SCS; or
  • aircraft unit.

It also doesn’t apply to a naval unit returning to base.

Rationale

In-the-presence-of-the-enemy (also known as ITPOTE) is a very polarizing optional rule that has its adherents and its detractors. It's adherents argue that ITPOTE models a kind of naval "fog of war" where units entering a sea area where they have not previously established presence would cause them to move cautiously. They also argue that the rule is essential for Japan or it risks losing large numbers of convoy points to long-range CV and surface raids. They also point to the "turtling effect" of RAW where both sides hold their naval assets in reserve until the other side commits.

Its detractors argue that the mechanics of the rule are silly. Why should a crappy little cruiser slow down a much larger fleet from moving, yet when there is nothing present, the task force moves without regard for its safety? They argue that it makes German surface raiding virtually useless and that historical longe-range operations (like the River Plate actions) become effectively impossible. They also argue that the speeds and ranges of the ship counters already account for zigzag maneuvering or the counters would have much longer ranges.

I tend to come down somewhere in the middle. The "fog of war" effect was real and naval planners did spend an awful lot of time obsessing about the presence and disposition of enemy ports. OTOH, open sea areas like the North and Central Atlantic were essentially wide-open wild areas where surface units could hide in the vast emptiness of the ocean.

This variant still rewards a player who acts first to scout areas around enemy ports, by giving them more freedom of action later in the turn. It also ratchets up the importance of ports and gives the Japanese defensive perimeter some real meaning. A Japanese player will do well to keep their perimeter ports in-supply and defended, or risk having their shell punctured. OTOH, this variant also opens up the empty oceans for both sides, making it impossible to establish "presence" in such sea areas. In such sea areas, only strong fleets and good interception rolls will protect you.

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