a) excellent depiction of the geography of the theater. the use of port boxes, islands, and areas (each with its own basing and combat restrictions) does much to add depth to the geographic considerations a player must evaluate.
b) great (and realistic) use of fog of war. Rick Young has commented that one of his gripes with Pacific Victory is that there is too much FOW. (i.e. you should be able to at least tell an air unit from a naval unit). He's right (although Pac Victory is still a great game). AE strikes just the right balance in the FOW department.
c) Excellent depiction of the impact of American submarine power.
d) the game is (as another commentator here has noted) "process heavy". There is a very detailed sequence which must be followed. Fortunately, the game comes with some outstanding player aids, including a Player Turn sequence chart. The process is mildly intricate, but once you've done it a few times, it becomes second nature.
e) The game is (to my thinking, at least) more complicated than EE. However, this is not surprising given that the Pacific is a much more complicated theater to depict. The mix of land, naval, and air units added to the various geographic considerations almost mandates that the game will be more complicated than one covering Europe.
Overall, a very interesting game and one which requires the ability to think through many different considerations -- each of which has an effect on the others.
Very easy to learn (and simple to use) game system. Provides much of the tactical challenge and atmosphere of Squad Leader with a MUCH lower rules overhead. Excellent components. Exciting and very replayable scenarios. Great on-line support. Very enjoyable game.
Expansion set marks a graphics "reboot" for the series, at least as far as the boxes go. Original cover artist Stephen Paschal is retained, which is a good thing, because his exceptionally good cover art has added a tremendous amount of "atmosphere" to the series.
As for the game components, everything inside the box -- just like everything Academy has produced in this series -- speaks "quality". The counters and maps are excellent, and the playbook (which outlines the historical background of the campaign as well as the information for the firefights) is also Grade A.
The firefights themselves are often larger than those in the first two games in the series. If some of the ones in the playbook are too large for your tastes, there are smaller ones as well, but the system is such that players are also free (and encouraged!) to create their own.
All in all, a great addition to the series. Especially recommended for those who own "Awakening the Bear", since the German and Soviet counters in PoH represent an upgrade/replacement for those in AtB. (The series implemented some graphical tweaks to the counters for the second game in the series, Storms of Steel.)
One of the best military-themed games ever produced. Challenging, exciting, and yet very "playable". Much of this courtesy of the blocks. Put this game into a "counter" format and it becomes just another Eastern Front game. The blocks--and Craig Besinque's innovative use of them--make it a work of gaming art.
Addictive game of WWII in Europe. Tremendous support from the Designers (Rick Young and Jesse Evans). Some complain that the rules (especially the nation specific rules) put players into a historical "straight-jacket". I totally disagree. Some may like a WWII "simulation" where the US can join the Axis or Italy joins the Allies in 1940. But for my tastes, games that permit such things are more fantasy than "simulation". The rules need some digesting, but the basic procedure for play is extremely simple. This is a very enjoyable game. It takes a long time, but the time really flies when you are playing. Looking forward to the arrival of its sister game, Asia Engulfed.
Rating based on Jay Richardson's Campaign Game III variant. Otherwise, it's probably a 7. Very quick playing game of WWII in Europe. The system is abstract and may take a little for you to get used to, but it is not at all complicated. Lots of strategic decisions . . . lots of historical flavor . . .
See my review here on BGG. Outstanding game of Napoleon's attempt to defeat the Prussian and Anglo-Allied armies in June of 1815. Chess like in the need to think ahead two moves and visualize how the Main Board might look at that point. Plays very quickly. Very easy to learn, but deep enough that it will challenge you to master the nuances of road movement, force concentration, and deception.
Excellent simulation game of major league baseball. If you are a baseball fan and a gamer, you'll want to get this. The current name of the game is "Dynasty League Baseball". Look on the internet for their website. Both board and computer versions are available.
Picked this up at the WBC. My interest is more toward theater wide games rather than segments of theaters or particular battles, but this game is one that lives up to the buzz. EXCELLENT rulebook with clear wording, abundant and lavish illustrations of examples, and on top of that some very tense and exciting gameplay. Well done MMP and Adam Starkweather for bringing another of Tetsuya's excellent games to the US!