In December 1941, Japanese troops landed in northern Malaya as part of their rapid advance into the resource-rich British and Dutch colonies of the South Seas. For the next two months they fought their way down the Malayan peninsula, steadily pushing back the British, Indian, Australian and Malay troops who opposed them.
The heaviest fighting of the campaign began in January, as the Allied defense stiffened in the Sultanate of Johore at the southern end of the peninsula. The Japanese overcame the Allied defenses, aided by some weak generalship on the British/Australian side, and in February launched an attack on “Fortress Singapore.” By Valentine's Day, the “impregnable” island was in Japanese hands and Britain's influence East of Suez was shattered forever.
Tiger of Malaya re-creates this campaign, with a major twist. While the battle raged for Johore, troop convoys steamed across the Indian Ocean bringing the 7th Australian Infantry Division, one of the best fighting units of the war, and the 7th Armoured Brigade, part of the crack “Desert Rats” division. They eventually landed in Burma when Singapore seemed lost, but if the Allied player can mount a strong enough defense these fresh forces will arrive to defend Malaya. With them, the Allies stand an excellent chance of not only stopping the Japanese but turning the tables against them.
Like Winter Fury, Tiger of Malaya uses a “variable impulse” game system to model the two armies’ very different capabilities. Each turn, each player puts a number of markers into a common container. These are then drawn one by one, the number drawn varying with the current weather condition.
The Japanese player is on the attack with weaker forces, but will usually draw more markers and these allow the Japanese to conduct more operations. The Japanese are usually more mobile in the jungles than the Allies, particularly some of the poorly trained British and Indian battalions.
Units are rated for attack and defense strength, and movement. Both sides have artillery units, which can support both attacks and defenses. Unless the 7th Armoured Brigade arrives, the Japanese have an edge in tanks (there's just one other armored unit) and superiority in the air. Their artillery is better as well. The Allies have a few tricks of their own, including flaming oil barriers.
One 34"x22" operational map
560 half inch game pieces
16-page rulebook (12 scenarios)
4 Kilometres per hex
Complexity Low to Medium
Solitaire Suitability Excellent