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Subject: WWII Pacific theater recommendation rss

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Dan Nelson
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I'm looking for a wargame that covers fleet action and airstrikes in the Pacific in WWII.

I'm just getting started in boardgaming, and am looking for a certain type of game.

I really enjoyed the campaigns of an old Microprose game, 1942: The Pacific Air War. Yes, I mostly played it for the flight sims, but I also enjoyed taking control of the fleets and airbases. Setting course/speed of the task forces, sending out search planes, controlling the Combat Air Patrol, building and sending airstrikes, and surface action.

I was kind of hoping to buy one game to cover it all, but I've never been big on grand strategy games, so maybe I'll need to focus on the individual battles. If possible, I'd like a solitaire game, but I know when you're looking for enemy units that are moving and acting, solitaire isn't always possible.

Does anyone know of a game or series that would follow this general idea?

Pacific Victory, Fleet Commander: Nimitz and Carrier have been reccomended, and I'm looking into them.

Thanks!
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Darrell Pavitt
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For surface combat (particularly solo play) then the companion to Carrier is Tokyo Express.

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Kent Reuber
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Holdfast: Pacific 1941-45
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Eric Brosius
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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There's also Pacific War: The Struggle Against Japan 1941-1945, which has a campaign game but is really designed for scenarios.
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Jason Cawley
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Flattop and CV. At the more complex end of the spectrum, but will give you control over all of the systems you mentioned, from search pattern plans the assembling strike packages to strike resolution, with of course all the task force formation and movement and so forth.
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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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Fleet Commander: Nimitz is a good recommendation.

You will need to understand that the game is played out in years.
Each year is a different scenario/setup

Would Axis & Allies: Pacific or Axis & Allies: Guadalcanal be of interest?
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Andrew N
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The Fires of Midway does a great job simulating managing a carrier battle without too much fuss. The search function in the game, and the way it has you manage ships and squadrons of aircraft is really slick. It's not super detailed, but it really captures the feel/decision-making well.
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Daniel Blumentritt
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kentreuber wrote:


Doesn't really look like what the OP was asking for (plus if you're gonna play that one, just play VITP).
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Mike Hoyt

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JasonC wrote:
Flattop and CV. At the more complex end of the spectrum, but will give you control over all of the systems you mentioned, from search pattern plans the assembling strike packages to strike resolution, with of course all the task force formation and movement and so forth.


+1

although I'll say that I don't think they are that complex (it's essentially the same system...see CV and Flat Top Explained_070505.pdf ). There is detail, and it can take a bit to get the hang of it, but you essentially just work through the process a couple of times and it quickly becomes second nature, one of the few wargames I can play without a rulebook.

And for the things you asked about, searching, plane handling, etc. I don't think any of the "simpler" games give you the same reward, while the more strategic level games just subsume the interesting details into their "big picture" look.
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Rich M
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Empire of the Sun Empire of the Sun

Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945 Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945
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Keith Rose
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If you're looking for solitaire, Carrier & Fleet Commander Nimitz are I guess the 2 best recommendations, though Nimitz is a strategy game, & therefore there's very little in the way of detailed carrier operations. It is abstract & ahistorical to a large degree (Jap force movements are "logically random" if I can invent a phrase) though it does cover the whole island war (including land combat) and I enjoy playing it.
Carrier is complex but has a very good solitaire mechanic, producing a gradually increasing level of information on Japanese fleets, producing (IMO) a tense game with plausible outcomes. It has detailed carrier ops but the air attacks are partly abstracted. There's a good 4 page article on the BGG site (files) on the pros & cons of the system.
One that hasn't been mentioned, but which IMO bridges the complexity gap between say Midway & FlatTop/CV is "Scratch One Flat Top" which has good detail in the carrier ops & air ops (for example you assign CAP to differing altitudes to counter torpedo & dive bombers - get it wrong & you can get caught out)and the carrier ops "cycle" is fairly granular.
I've been playing with the idea of a "Carrier" search processs married to a "S.O.F.T." tactical game which for me would be ideal, as it would give the tension of the initial search & discovery combined with a detailed tactical simulation.
Hope that helps.
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Ray Freeman
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Victory in the Pacific: It's still played competitively after 40 years and covers Pearl Harbor to the Battle of the Marianas. It get a lot of criticism, but there's nothing else with its staying power that even comes close.

For a fun, short game, Try Pacific Fury: Guadacanal by Revolution Games. Can be played in 90 minutes. 4 turns of the Guadacanal Campaign. Task forces, invasions, airstrikes and surface action.
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Lance McMillan
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Midway Solitaire

Has some issues with the rules not being as clearly written as they should be, but offers some interesting challenges.

If you're willing to look into a 2-player option, this is (in my opinion as a retired naval officer) the best carrier-on-carrier game out there:

Solomon Sea

It's a bit hard to find, so an alternative which isn't quite as perfect (but nearly so) is:

Victory at Midway
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Geoff C
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Ill suggest Asia Engulfed as it hasnt been suggested yet. I have that, Pacific Victory and Empire of the Sun. Asia Engulfed is somewhere in between the two perhaps.

But if you want solitaire and individual battle, I just got this one;

Kido Butai: Japan's Carriers at Midway
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401k? More like .357
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Statalyzer wrote:
kentreuber wrote:


Doesn't really look like what the OP was asking for (plus if you're gonna play that one, just play VITP).


These threads are never about what the OP is asking for. It's about ignoring the OP and going straight to What I Like, Chapter 12: The Most Difficult OOP Stuff I Can Think Of.
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Marcus
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Copying my earlier post from another thread...

There are solitaire board wargames for the Pacific WW2 Theatre.

Here are a few (haven't played any of the following games, so can't comment in detail):

Probably these two are closest, I think (maybe?) for what you're looking for:
Carrier - a "grail" wargame for many and highly rated. Includes a "Final Countdown" scenario with the USN Nimitz.
Tokyo Express - tactical naval battles, Guadalcanal. Solitaire rules, plus also plays with 2 players.

Other solitaire Pacific WW2 games:
D-Day at Peleliu and D-Day at Tarawa - both games use the same solitaire game system.
Fleet Commander: Nimitz
Silent Victory: U.S. Submarines in the Pacific, 1941-45 - solitaire, submarine operations in the Pacific
Silent War - solitaire, operational level sub ops Pacific WW2, plus the USN Seawolf as a very optional unit.
Islands of the Damned: Wake Island and Peleliu - solitaire system, looks a bit abstract compared to the D-Day at .... games.
Iwo Jima: Valor of Arms, 19 Feb. – 25 March 1945 and Iwo Jima: Rage Against the Marines - one solitaire, and one 2p game, on Iwo Jima.


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M St
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Prodigal Sin wrote:
I don't want to hijack the thread, so if anyone has an answer, maybe PM me?

I'm looking for the opposite focus in the pacific: land operations where someone abstracts the carrier operations for the game.

Probably no such thing. Maybe some of these work for that as well?
Basically I just want to invade a bunch of defended islands.

Actually, those are easy to find - 90% of operational games on the Pacific are land campaigns with very abstract handling of the naval side, and most of them, due to the nature of the war, deal with island landings. About a third of those deal with Guadalcanal. Another third with the Malaya or Burma campaigns. The rest covers the rest.

The best Guadalcanal land campaign game remains "Henderson Field" in Campaign for Guadalcanal: Long Lance & Henderson Field, although the old Avalon Hill Guadalcanal remains surprisingly good. Both are quite elegant and not hard for a relative beginner.

Since the OP was looking for solitaire, I would recommend going for D-Day at Tarawa or D-Day at Peleliu. Butterfield is excellent in general and so is this system. Solitaire is a sound choice for island invasions anyway. The solitaire DG Red Beach One: Tarawa was not bad (but horribly disfigured by errata). Iwo Jima is generally acknowledged to be quite good.

The best Okinawa invasion game is Okinawa from the old wargamer. Very meaty for a magazine game.

The best game on the invasion of Luzon remains Macarthur: The Road to Bataan, even though it is another one that had heavy errata, and a really ugly day-glo map, even by the standards of the day.

For the fighting in the Philippines 1944, the best recommendation is MacArthur's Return: Leyte 1944, on the invasion of Leyte. The chitpull operational system by Avalanche was really interesting, but had a bloody CRT and was usually applied to meeting engagement situations where a few eliminated units early on could sway the outcome. The invasion of Leyte in this game is really suited to the system in terms of size.

Edit to add: strangely, most of the games on the Malaya campaign don't do a very good job. In particular, I exhort people to stay away from anything that Decision Games has done about the Pacific in the last decade except the two Butterfield games mentioned above. Most of these games are a parody rather than having anything to do with the war. For example, one strange effect that many Malaya games have is that they enable the Commonwealth player to spread out units and by blanketing the southern half of the peninsula in the end game, help "run out the clock" of the historical invasion schedule, because their CRTs are not bloody enough. For example, Singapore, a generally very well regarded game, suffers from this. There are two Malaya games that I've found work well, but they have their own problems.

Malaya & Burma is almost impossible to find.

TSWW: Singapore is insanely overcomplicated, insanely expensive, and has problems with the air system. However, it does give a good rendition of the Burma and Malaya campaigns and a player who tries unrealistic "carpet" strategies will be eaten alive as it should be, due to the appropriately bloody CRT. It is also likely the only game you'll ever find that has a decently detailed scenario of the Java landings, or the 1944/45 landings in Borneo.

There is one game on the Malaya campaign I haven't tried that has a good reputation, Doro Nawa: The Struggle for Singapore. Perhaps that hits the sweet spot. I'll have to look for it one time.
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Dan Nelson
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LOL Marcus, I took your advice and cross posted here, and you were right.

Thanks for the recommendations everybody, looks like I have a lot of reviews to read.
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M St
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DannyBoy907 wrote:
I'm looking for a wargame that covers fleet action and airstrikes in the Pacific in WWII.

I'm just getting started in boardgaming, and am looking for a certain type of game.

I really enjoyed the campaigns of an old Microprose game, 1942: The Pacific Air War. Yes, I mostly played it for the flight sims, but I also enjoyed taking control of the fleets and airbases. Setting course/speed of the task forces, sending out search planes, controlling the Combat Air Patrol, building and sending airstrikes, and surface action.

I was kind of hoping to buy one game to cover it all, but I've never been big on grand strategy games, so maybe I'll need to focus on the individual battles. If possible, I'd like a solitaire game, but I know when you're looking for enemy units that are moving and acting, solitaire isn't always possible.

Does anyone know of a game or series that would follow this general idea?

Pacific Victory, Fleet Commander: Nimitz and Carrier have been reccomended, and I'm looking into them.

Thanks!

Theoretically, the two best games for getting what you want have already been mentioned:

Tokyo Express on surface naval battles
Carrier for carrier battles

They are almost unique in that they actually provide you with an inbuilt opponent who moves and fights his units in a way that is uncannily close to the historical doctrine. They are phenomenal games. However, they are both really complex, and some I'm a bit worried about recommending them to someone who's just coming in the door. Both of them use a programmed instruction approach where you read some rules and then play a simplified part of the system to see what they do, and then you read more rules. In both these games, that is really necessary. I have seen experienced gamers turned off because they did not follow the procedure and then falsely claim that the games are too hard to learn. So, if you are not turned off by a 50+ page rulebook, either of these games is really worth it (I've played 70+ games of Tokyo Express in my time, and about 20 games of Carrier, which takes a bit longer). But you should be aware of this.

Another restriction though is that these, like most other games, focus on one angle of the fighting. Carrier does not deal with the actual landing or fighting on the ground. There are some games that have tried to deal with all angles for particular battle but usually it has not worked out too well.

There is one other option, because there is one game that is set at a map and time scale so that you get to control all sides of a battle, and what's more, the game essentially has many of the major battles of th Pacific in one box, playable in a limited amount of time and with a limited amount of rules. That game is Pacific War: The Struggle Against Japan 1941-1945. There are scenarios for all the major carrier battles, but they also include the land forces if those were involved. So if you play the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, you also control the convoy with the Japanese 38th division and if it makes it to Guadalcanal, you get to land it and have it attack. Or in the Philippine Sea - you actually get the Marine divisions who have to land and capture Saipan/Tinian in parallel to the naval engagements.

Some of the detail is taken off (there is CAP vs escort fighter combat, but you do not allocate CAP explicitly and there are no detailed plane types). There is no such thing as a free lunch. But you get individual battles or something like the Guadalcanal campaign all in one package, for essentially 25 pages of rules. The Battle scenarios have 30 pages of rules, but 6 of those pages are a humongous illustrated replay of the Coral Sea scenario as good as any AAR you'll find on BGG, and 5 more are the intro and background. The rulebook is longer because there are extra rules for months-long campaigns and even the whole war, but the game was designed expressly to enable people to play individual operations on limited space. You can look at the Pacific War topic to see AARs of some operations that people have posted.

It was the fourth wargame that I bought, and I'm still here.
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