Simon
United Kingdom
Sheffield
South Yorkshire
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Imported games have the allure of being foreign and expensive, they also often come with the glamorous trappings of bad rules translation. Pacific War is all of these things but first the good;

It’s short. I’m not being factious here, generally Pacific Theatre war games are long and complicated, which is fine but it leaves the shallow end of the dream pool rather empty. The Pacific War clocks in around 2-3 hours and feels engrossing for this life span.

You’ve got a point to point map, pretty and functional but no pageant winner, a deck of cards, and a load of counters representing ships that come in on a historical reinforcement schedule. Each year long turn you get a variable number of cards. Players take action rounds discard a card to win the privilege of doing something and then either play an event card, or move some ships, or resupply some ships (so they can move again). Once out of cards they roll off for priority in taking more actions but if they roll doubles the year ends.

Principally this is a game about crashing big stacks of ship counters into each and fighting battles. Expect about a third of your fleet to be sunk in a typical battle. Yeah, it’s pretty brutal if your name is USS Enterprise, but not so bad if your name is Yamato (because you have a rad armour rating). You win the game but parking a massive amount of ships key locations such as Japan, Hawaii, Philippines, or the prison colony. So sinking your opponent’s fleet makes it very hard for them to capture any key locations. Hence the game drives you towards Leyte Gulf type encounters.

Note Islands like Midway and the Solomons are locations but not worth anything of themselves. This is where an aspect of cleverness in the design comes out. Historically these places were a means to an end, rather than a goal of themselves. It is so in the Pacific War, you might want to put down a speed bump for the US cross Pacific drive, and so waste some lesser ships on a Solomons suicide mission. On the other hand you may play a more fleet in being strategy. The game has simple rules, its one part simple CDG and one part bucket of dice with a twist or two but through a simple logistics system and a well though through map it forces you to deal with many of the historical dilemmas at broad strokes. How is the US going to get a supply chain of ports across the mid pacific? When do you blow your fleet in one big battle? Is the British fleet useful for anything accept sitting in India?


In summation I would say this is a game that fills its hole in the market. I look forward to playing again but I probably won’t remember it in a decade’s time. Some aspects such as the event cards are rather vanilla CDG fair; get 1 vp, discard an opponent’s card, but you can stack any number of combat buffs into one fight which is quite fun. I’ve accused it of being expensive. Wargame prices have gone up quite a bit in the past year in ole Blighty, in part due to questionable economics by fox hunters, but at near £50 it does seem a little steep for a single paper map beer and pretzels game. I’d guess this games main competition is the old Dice in the Pacific or Holdfast Pacific, having never played either I cannot say anything useful but yet I continue to write out words wasting your and my time.

This is reposted from my blog, which has a picture too! https://lestradesgame.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/quick-looks-pac...
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Phil Lewis
United States
Evans
Georgia
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“Whatever you do, He will make good of it. But not the good He had prepared for you if you had obeyed Him.” Perelandra, C.S. Lewis
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"He died not for men, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, He would have done no less.” Perelandra, C.S. Lewis
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Nice review, Simon. I logged my first two games last night. It reminds me a lot of Victory in the Pacific but with contemporary components (love the 1" counters) and some nice chrome. The price isn't as daunting in the States--I got it during the 20% sale from Lock 'n Load for $48 plus shipping.

I didn't mind the event cards and really liked the big swing ones like "Battle of Midway." I also like that Land Based Air is mainly defensive and requires ops cards to strike adjacent sea zones. LBA is a killer in both VitP and Holdfast: Pacific. Another cool mechanic was heavy/older ships with 0 movement points. They can spend 3 movement points to uncontested zones--representing slower ships that could not force an enemy into combat.
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Jim F
United Kingdom
Birmingham
West Midlands
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Where the heck did this interest in WW1 come from?
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Ashwin in front of Tiger 131
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Thanks for the review!

I could get some plays out of this (especially at the club where light and playable in an evening is king) but I wonder if the bang for buck (pound) is there.

I guess it boils down to whether I am willing to pay more than I really want to for a game I might like. Ugh...
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Severus Snape
Canada
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Pascal said, "The eternal silence of these infinite spaces terrifies me."
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Simon, did you have any problems with the rules? If so, what where they, and how did you sort things out?

goo
 
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Simon
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Sheffield
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My opponent James, who might stick a comment in here, taught me the rules. It is a simple game that is apparently harder to learn than it needs to be. He did say he had to look around online to get some questions answered.
 
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James
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Yes, it was I!

The rules are pretty badly translated and much longer than necessary. Along with that, the publisher is staying out of it, so there isn't any 'official' comment.

The big error in the rulebook is that is is not clear whether you have to burn a card to activate units. You do not. Other than that, if you let common sense prevail you won't have any problems.

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