This is a reference to the Avalon HIll Board game.

One of the possibilities offered to the American player in the game is one or two B-17 attacks a day. A die roll of five inflicts three hits on a target ship and a die roll of six inflicts five hits. (This possibility did not play a role in the historical version of the battle.)

I'm going to begin by assuming that the B-17s could identify the main Japanese ship types - battleship, aircraft carrier and cruiser - and that they would target the carriers. Even so, there were two types of heavy carriers on the first day, the two larger ones (the Akagi and the Kaga) that required five hits to sink, and the two smaller ones (Hiryu and Soryu) that required three hits to sink.

Given the opportunity, an aggressive player might target the two heavier carriers and hope to roll sixes, while a conservative player might target the two smaller ones, succeeding with either a 5 or 6.

The Q &A of the (1960) rules of the game state that ship ID from search planes (and by implication B-17s) was not sufficiently accurate in 1942 for a long range bomber to make this kind of identification, "even identification of ship types was often erroneous. " But planes attacking at close range could (usually) identify individual ships. Which is why the defending player places his ships face up.

Should the rules allow the targeting described in the previous paragraph, as they seem to?

Or does it make sense to institute a rule change/house rule so that the Japanese player would turn over his four carrier counters face down and force the American player to choose his targets at random when using B-17s? Would such a rule change reconcile the game play with the Q&A text?

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is a question about real life tactical information and sensor systems. It's inspired by a board game, but the question isn't about the board game. – Samthere Oct 5 '17 at 10:45
  • This question is better asked on a site such as history or aviation and once you have the needed information about the planes and technology at the time then you might be able to ask for the rule help here. As it stands users of this site are very unlikely to know that information without researching it which is not our job. – Joe W Oct 5 '17 at 11:41
  • But that is not the focus of this site which makes this question off topic. . – Joe W Oct 5 '17 at 11:47
  • I am having trouble finding the rules online so can you provide some information about how combat works in this game? – Joe W Oct 5 '17 at 21:39
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    In Battle of the Bismark Sea, B-17's attacked at an altitude of only 7,000 ft. This clearly allows some targeting, but is nothing like a dive bomber or torpedo bomber. The process of attacking in a defendable box formation further constrains the attack. I would perhaps double-weight the most desired targets, and increase hits by the square-root of the total vessels (effectively proportional to the diameter of the target formation, approximating time over target.. – Forget I was ever here Oct 7 '17 at 23:40

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