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Subject: Pacific WWII Game Recommendations rss

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Michael Sosa
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Asia Engulfed, Fire in the Sky, Empire of the Sun. I've been reading about these, can't make up my mind! I cannot buy all three. I'm looking for a serious game, more challenging than A&A Pacific. Although I enjoy block games like C&C:A, I did not enjoy Hammer of the Scots as much. Playing time is not a problem as long as there are scenarios that can be played in a few hours. I'm leaning towards buying Empire of the Sun, just because it seems to have better coverage of land / air / naval units.

Are there suggestions on these or other Pacfic war games?
 
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Peter L
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Empire of the Sun would probably be a pretty big jump up from A&A Pacific/C&C, so I'd say you might be better off with Fire in the Sky.* Regardless, grand strategic Pacific games will tend to gloss over a lot of detail with regards to units, so any of the three might disappoint you if you're looking for small details. EotS also can play out a little strangely due to the cards; you'd have to be willing to give it a few tries since one side can really be hampered by bad card luck. (At least, this is my feeling. I've played the game several times, but someone who's played it more might have a different idea.) FitS is supposed to give you all of the interesting decisions without the nasty bookkeeping that comes with the monster games; it's a little easier to pick up than EotS, too.

Both have scenarios that can be played in a few hours, after you get familiar with the system.

I don't know much about Asia Engulfed, except that it's not out yet.

*I own & have played EotS. I own & have read the rules for Fire in the Sky, but never got it out. Hoping to...
 
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Bill the Pill
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I agree FitS might be the best choice. But Pacific Victory, like HotS also by Columbia Games, might also scratch the block itch without adding the complexity of Asia Engulfed.
 
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Isaac Citrom
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The mother of all WWII PTO games is War in the Pacific (second edition). It comes with over 9000 counters, about 50 sq. ft. of maps, and the rules are phenomenal. This is definitely a grognard's wet dream. It also goes for $400 USD. As far as I can tell, there is not a more detailed or well researched simulation of the PTO.

I am anxiously awaiting "Advanced Pacific Theatre of Operations (APTO)" from Decision Games. It is however only due out in 2008. It is the sister game to Advanced European Theater of Operations (AETO). AETO is my favourite detailed startegic WWII game for the ETO. The two together will make up my grognard WWII master game. Both games are updates of Boggle and World War II: Pacific Theater of Operations which are excellent WWII grognardian games.

Asia Engulfed (AE) is due out shortly. I can hardly wait as it will compliment one of my favourite games, Europe Engulfed (EE). However, AE engulfed is in a different class just as EE engulfed is a simpler more abstracted game of the ETO.

Your choice depends on what you want. Do you want the ultimate grognard supergame or something lighter. I think you want something lighter as you want to be able to finish in a few hours. That criteria will also exclude AE, as I suspect it will be similar to EE which is a 10-20 hour game.

I have not played Empire of the Sun. It is a card driven game (CDG) and that is a big red flag for me. I play CDGs such as Memoir '44 and have a great time. But, they are the devil to simulations as far as I am concerned. The best that one can say with a CDG, in my opinion, is "yeah, the wargaming was all screwy, but I had a lot of fun anyway."

Based on your post, I would choose Asia Engulfed. Like Europe Engulfed it promises to represent its WWII theatre really well while minimizing game complexity.

If you decide in the end for for a super grognard game, I would wait for APTO. And, if you want the ultimate in realism and the ability to really take the roles of MacArthur and Nimitz, over the course of a year, I would go with War in the Pacific.

 
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Steven Johnson
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The old Victory in the Pacific by Avalon Hill is readily available on eBay.
I haven't played it yet - it is on the way to me as a delayed Christmas present.

However, check the reviews and discussion on BGG. This VitP has a cult following. Since it will be so cheap on eBay, you can afford another game!

I'm saving up for Fire in the Sky myself.
 
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Jeffrey D Myers
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Another vote for FITS.
 
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Troy Mullineaux
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I vote for Victory in the Pacific too, then maybe go for the others.
ViTP is a definite step up from A&A, cheap on eBay, and will help you test the waters of bigger wargaming.
If you like it and think you want more of a challenge, then by that time you will have been able to think more about how and what to acquire next.
In the interim, you will have a fun game (playable) and a better handle on what next to pursue.
 
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Michael Sosa
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Wow, it is so difficult to choose with so many good choices! I do not want a super grognard game, mostly because I will not find anyone to play with. I'm also not interested in "old" games, I'd much rather get one of the new ones. I've been thinking, perhaps I should finish reading the rules to both Fire in the Sky and EotS and see if that helps me decide!

I wonder if the rules to AE will be released soon?

Ultimately, I probably won't go wrong with any of these choices, but I'm faced with the quagmire of having to pick one game out of three and trying to decide between possible incremental benefits. I might as well roll the dice right? Anyway, thanks for your view points!
 
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Brad Wagnon
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You can download the rules for Fire in the Sky off the MMP website, as well as the rules for Emire of the Sun off the GMT website.

I'd recommend reading the rules and see which set you like best.

I have FitS, and based on the rules, I think the game will play extremely well. Now, just need to find the time and an opponent!

 
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Steve Hope
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I have FitS (the only one of the games mentioned which I own) and am in the middle of my first game at the moment. I think it's really, really interesting--but take that for what it's worth given my lack of perspective or experience!
 
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Aaron Silverman
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Belisarius88 wrote:
Although I enjoy block games like C&C:A, I did not enjoy Hammer of the Scots as much.


C&C:A uses blocks, but it isn't a "block game" per se. The distinguishing features of "block games" are that you can't see the details of your opponent's units until you enter combat and that the pieces rotate to represent step losses.

HotS is a "block game" -- sounds to me like you should probably avoid them, which rules out Asia Engulfed and Pacific Victory.

Empire of the Sun may be a bit more involved than you're looking for. Victory In The Pacific is an excellent game (and L2 are putting out a new edition next year), but if you're not interested in an old game, then Fire In The Sky is probably your best bet. (I haven't played it yet myself, but I know a lot of people who enjoy it.)
 
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Michael Sosa
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That is a good point Aaron. What I didn't like about HotS is that it didn't quite feel like a wargame to me, at least not in the sense of C&CA. It felt more like I was moving letters around, trying to destroy other letters! Almost like that Lord of the Rings game. Asia Engulfed blocks would hopefully be different. I'm intrigued by the idea of hiding your carriers and trying to find your opponent's carriers before he discovers yours. This was a important part of several battles in the Pacific.

 
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Gary Krockover
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Background: avid wargamer for 30+ years. I like detail and don't mind big, thick rulebooks.

Comments: though leery at first of the abstraction that FITS obviously has, this has been one of the most enjoyable wargames that I have ever played. Each move is of consequence, so weigh your options carefully - especially if you're playing the Japanese.

I don't know about the pbem playability of EOTS, but can vouch that FITS plays perfectly via pbem using either Cyberboard or the VASSAL module that I did for it.

If you're coming from an A&A background, you'll have zero problems picking up and learning this game, and Adam Starkweather is prompt to answer any questions either here or at CSW. As a long time wargamer, the rules were a bit confusing to me at first (because I was used to 'conventional' wargame styles) but once learned, the game is very simple really.

Fun, fun game, I'm enjoying it greatly.
 
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Robert March
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I've played several of the strategic level WWII Pacific Theatre games. Here are my brief impressions. Playtimes are for the entire war (or at least a just post-Pearl Harbor start).

Empire of the Sun (guessing 16+ hours to play to completion) - I think Mark Herman is a brilliant designer, and this game takes the whole CDG thing in a fresh direction. However, the few times that I've started this game, I haven't found the fun factor to be high enough for me.

Pacific Victory (6 hours to complete) - I have played this once, and love the block system in general. I don't think the victory conditions are very good, and should really try this again, but I really like how the next game I discuss deals with the whole logistics thing. Still, it was pretty fun. It probably gives the players too much control over how they can allocate their production points (the other 2 games keep you on a historical reinforcement track, while this one lets you pick and choose your builds), but that may be what you want.

Which brings us to Fire in the Sky (my recommendation - took about 10-11 hours to play to completion last week between 2 relatively inexperienced players, if longtime wargamers) - I picked this up at WBC, after learning it in the informal tournament. The way the oil points and the transport points limit each sides ability to move and react is brilliant, IMO. The logistics balancing act is a challenge, so it takes some time to learn how to use your forces, but overall the game isn't too complicated (but is closer to EotS than PV). However, some kind grognard (ahem) posted a detailed sequence of play and a combat sequence to BGG a few weeks back with the intention of eliminating the need to excessively flip through the rulebook. Plus, the Vassal module for this is great (and necessary, IMO, given the back and forth nature of combat).

Let us know what you end up choosing.
 
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Isaac Citrom
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Based on the recommendations here from longtime grognards, now I juts have to check out FitS. Sounds really good. Thanks all.
 
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Michael Sosa
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Rob March wrote:

Let us know what you end up choosing.


Fire in the Sky it is for me. Not to say that I would not be interested in the other two games, but this will be my purchase for now. The combination of shorter playing time and less complex rules means it will be easier to get others to play with me. Also, I have some doubts about block games and CDGs and think I may prefer a hex and counter games instead.
 
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