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Jay Townsend
United States
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Pacific Fury Guadalcanal, 1942

I love naval games but I am not very good at them compared to land-action battle games but the Guadalcanal Naval Battles is one of my favorite topics and I own several games on this subject. I recently purchased Pacific Fury thinking it was an easy fast playing game on the subject and my first solo play through, I didn’t really grasp all the concepts very well, until I found this (How to Play Video by Jose):

After viewing this, I played solitary a second time and understood everything and actually had no idea who was going to win this two player game even though I was playing both sides. Once you grasp the playing concepts and rules the game seems simple but with all the endless strategies it is far from simple and is a very tense action. I finished play on my second real game last night and the Japanese took initiative on turn two after disrupting Henderson Field and held on to it on turns three and four for the victory. There was a lot of bloody surface and air combat, with the Japanese losing 8 ships and the Americans losing 11 ships, as both sides went out all for control of Guadalcanal and ship losses don’t matter, just control of Henderson Air Field. In my third complete game this morning the Americans won, even though the Japanese Event brought on reinforcements including the Battleship Yamato for the first time, so I am finding this game pretty well balanced.

This game is a blast, no pun intended! Sure it’s meant as a two player game, which will really increase the play value and intensity but don’t let that stop you from getting some solo playing time in, at least a few games. Setting up Operation box sorties is really fun and you never know the outcome of each operational battle, which could actually change how you deploy your next sortie of ships, as to which sea zone to deploy them to, if you have that option, that is. The Events and the Tokyo Express can really mix things up a bit and I love how you try to figure out what type of Task Forces to make: TF-A (Amphibious), TF-B (Bombardment) & TF-C (Carrier Strike).

Combat both ship to ship and air to ship is different at first, so go over those sections of rules twice, once you play it, you get it and it works very well. Certain ships have their strengths and weakness and having Carriers, Light Carries, Battleships, Cruisers, Transports and the Tokyo Express of different values and strengths works very well in this game, with many decisions on how to make up each task force and what operation to preform next. Four sea zones seemed small at first, until you learned the unique game play strategies, then you find they work really well for this small game that can be played in under an hour. Sure there could have been Light Cruisers and Destroyers added to the game but they are abstract and would have cluttered this small game map up too much. If you are looking for a small size game, small rules, fast play, low unit count but a game with much strategy and very tense but fun action, this is it. As you can tell I am recommending it!

Be careful, the Tokyo Express is coming down The Slot!
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