Pacific War Engagement Scenarios – First Impressions & evaluation – The Boardgames Chronicle

Since I already had a pleasure of playing all Pacific War Engagement Scenarios (and actually creating Video playthroughs for them) I thought I will summarize my experiences in this one article. You will always find some interesting information about each set-up, what it teaches, my subjective fun factor from playing it and some additional evaluation and considerations. Hope it will be helpful for you guys!

First things first. What are the Pacific War Engagement Scenarios? As per author, these are essentially solitaire puzzles of a very brief duration, usually taking no more than 15 minutes or so to play to conclusion once the essential rules of the game have been grasped. This second part of the sentence is important, as initially you will be checking the rulebook quite often. So in essence, Engagement Scenarios are intended primarily as introductions to the game system.

Let me now move to the evaluation.

Evaluation

Name Playthrough link What you learn Fun factor
#1 Pearl Harbor – Air Strikes
– Flak procedure
– CAP procedure
★★

Comment on #1 Pearl Harbor: as you may expected, it is like shooting at the sitting duck. You mainly learn how to perform Air Strikes, in second battle cycle you may add Flak and CAP procedures. The victory conditions are tough and not easy to achieve. I suggest returning to that scenario once you played them all – with good grasp of rules it is much easier to achieve a good result.

Name Playthrough link What you learn Fun factor
#2 Savo Island – Naval Combat
★★

Comment on #2 Savo Island: our first contact with Naval Battles! You do not really need the map here, only the Naval display. The game can be pretty tense and good outcome is always possible. Solid learning exercise before larger battles.

Name Playthrough link What you learn Fun factor
#3 First Invasion of Wake Island – Amphibious Assault
Ground Combat
– Air Strikes
– Flak procedure
– CAP procedure
★★

Comment on #3 First Invasion of Wake Island: Very versatile scenario, and the only including both Fortifications and Amphibious Attack. That initial Japanese attack was unsuccessful and you need a lot of luck to take down the Wake Fortifications. If you fail – this is game over. For learning purposes, I suggest that you at least once play as if you removed the fortifications.

Name Playthrough link What you learn Fun factor
#4 Invasion of Burma Ground Combat
– Combined arms attacks
★★★

Comment on #4 Invasion of Burma: I really like that pure land-invasion set-up. You need to properly coordinate your Air Strikes and Ground Units, learning a lot about combined arms attack. It is winnable, needs some combination from you but gives great satisfaction. Also, check errata for small corrections.

Name Playthrough link What you learn Fun factor
#5 Battle for Imphal and Kohima Ground Combat
Terrain importance & restrictions
✩✩

Comment on #5 Battle for Imphal and Kohima: Ok, my least favorite scenario. A pure slaughter of Japanese forces, unwinnable at all if you do not use errata (which says you can enter mountain hex not only via transport route but from adjacent hex with any transport route). A small novelty is usage or Armor Advantage on British side. Still, it plays very fast!

Name Playthrough link What you learn Fun factor
#6 Force Z from Singapore – Air Strikes
– Naval Combat
★★

Comment on #6 Force Z from Singapore: Very interesting historically battle, but do not count on your Air Strikes to repeat the great Japanese success. Be prepared for a Naval Battle – again, some imagination is needed to bring all the forces to the fight from their initial starting positions!

Name Playthrough link What you learn Fun factor
#7 Raid on Darwin – Air Strikes
– Flak procedure
– CAP procedure
✩✩

Comment on #7 Raid on Darwin: Definitely not my favorite scenario – not only that I made some mistakes in the video (making the game much harder for me) but also because it is just pure Air Strike battle. And while reenacting the epic raid on Pearl Harbor is really interesting, that one definitely has much lower fun factor. Also, check errata or you will be scraping your head how that tactical bomber can reach Darwin 🙂

Name Playthrough link What you learn Fun factor
#8 Battle of Java Sea – Naval Combat
★★★

Comment on #8 Battle of Java Sea: Probably my favorite scenario – a colorful, multi-nation battle, which you can play in a couple of set-ups as you have 2 Task Forces on each side which might take part in the battle (I suggest testing definitely when they all are involved ). Just make sure you read Errata (water is open, no surprise in the battle, some hits and ships designations corrections).

Conclusion

I love how Mark Herman leads you in his designs through the learning process. I was very much impressed with Pericles Vignettes and now I see where that great concept comes from – Pacific War. Engagement Scenarios are great way to learn the system – really, do not treat them as games to win, rather to familiarize with mechanics. The next level Battle Scenarios – brings only a few rules more so you will be able to utilize whole your knowledge in very interesting engagements to come!

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