Top 10 Strategic WWII PTO Games
Robert Carroll
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Below is my Top 10 list of games covering WWII Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO) on a grand strategic scale. These are games that meet all of the following criteria: (1) focuses on WWII; (2) focuses on the PTO; (3) strategic in scale covering the war as is raged throughout the PTO; (4) primarily a wargame, but can address elements of the political, diplomatic and economic pressures associated with WWII and the PTO; (5) addresses the "theme" in an interesting or compelling manner that leaves the player with a better understanding of the PTO during WWII (and its various aspects); and (6) fun to play (understanding that this can be very subjective, especially for wargames). This is a list of the BEST! As always, your mileage may vary and some entries may be "controversial." As such, please feel free to comment, debate, or just express your own point of view. Feel free to thumbsup this list (to draw attention and more comments) or any pleasing, interesting or thought provoking entries. If I missed one that you feel is essential or I am "insane for not listing" (trust me, it has been said before), then by all means let the comments fly . . . just be civil. FYI - I am a sucker for comments and discussion and usually thumbsup most if not all of them.

I specifically excluded games that cover (or are intended to cover) the entire war--as those are the subject of Top 10 Strategic WWII Games.

I find that these lists sometimes are helpful for others seeking similar games and the more rich the discussion for more useful the list.

For a complete listing of my Top 10 lists, see--MetaList: Nap's Top 10 Lists.

As always, thanks for reading and participating!
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1. Board Game: Empire of the Sun [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:634]
Robert Carroll
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Even in the first playings, this is obviously the very best game on the Pacific War. It is an intense recreation of history with plenty of flavor, and many, many nailbiting decisions to make by both players. Highest rating.

--Mark Perkins (sedecula)

This is one of the best strategic-level treatments of WWII in the Pacific, I've played. What most impresses me after a couple of play-throughs is how players must take into account the same things that the historic leaders had to take into account. Beautiful map, colorful counters, and gorgeous cards make this one one of THE BEST!

--Joel Toppen (joel_m_toppen)
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2. Board Game: Asia Engulfed [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:1263]
Robert Carroll
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I was originally surprised that the designers of Europe Engulfed were trying to use the same system to design a game about the pacific theatre of WWII. I didn't think they would manage to create a very good game. I was very wrong! They managed to give you another great game full of difficult decisions, while retaining a very realistic feel I don't have room to go into all of the great rules they incorporated into this game.

--Benjamin Acker (ColFalkenberg)
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3. Board Game: Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945 [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:1215]
Robert Carroll
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The best Pacific War game i have so far. Not dauntingly complex yet bringing out the flavour of pacific battles.

--Ee Chew (daimyo)

Beautiful and very very playable game. Great design. My favorite PTO game.

--Daniel Alonso (enda)

A fascinating game that can be played from beginning to end in a reasonable amount of time and provides a nice "feel" for the Pacific War. My other experiences with games depicting the entire war in the Pacific have been of the monster(War in the Pacific-SPI) or mini-monster variety(USN, East Wind Rain, Pacific Fleet). Great games, but not nearly as "playable" as Fire in the Sky.

--Rod Bauer (rod3556lhs)
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4. Board Game: Pacific War [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:1230]
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The best of all the Pacific games, and probably its designer's masterpiece. Extraordinarily playable despite apparent size because of its inclusion of interesting scenarios at every level (Guadalcanal makes a great one- or two-evening game). From operational carrier game over month-long campaigns to the full war, this one covers it all, and fantastically well. I read the back-of-box blurb and was completely captivated by it. I bought the game and found that (and this may be unique in wargame history) every claim in that blurb is true.

--M Stumptner (M St)
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5. Board Game: Axis Empires: Dai Senso! [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:2963] [Average Rating:8.03 Unranked]
Robert Carroll
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Brilliant re-focusing of emphasis on the Pacific War with naval and air actions taking their place in the greater scheme of claiming and reclaiming territory. Rather than the Pacific War acting as a backdrop for carrier battles, Dai Senso! demonstrates how they were the means to an end: the wielding of power over the whole region.

--St.John Wright (SommeGrandads)
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6. Board Game: Pacific Victory [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:2025]
Robert Carroll
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Grand Strategic Fog-of-War Block wargame of the Pacific War.
A tense nailbiter that keeps you feeling like you never have enough assets to keep you both on the defense and the offense at the same time. For the Japanese, it's a fight against attrition of their superior starting forces; for the Allies, it's a struggle to hang on to their territory until increased production can beat their enemies.

--(swandive78)
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7. Board Game: Across the Pacific [Average Rating:8.46 Unranked]
Robert Carroll
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Impressive Pacific design. I like the emphasis on variable aviator experience (and the impact of aviator attrition on Japan in particular), fuel constraints, and the concept of logistic chains defined by airpower. Very nice balance between scale and detail to produce a game in which the campaign is actually playable in a realistic amount of time. Aging eyes appreciate the large counters, too.

--Barry Kendall (Barry Kendall)
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8. Board Game: Pacific Fleet [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:4514]
Robert Carroll
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Good game about the pacific campaign. This game is a japanese design and the the designer wanted to show his younger countrymen who gloryfied the japanese effort in the war that they were actually doomed from the outset. Such intents rarely make good games, but Pacific Fleet is an exception. The game system is elegant and the playability and replayability is very high. Recommended!

--Johan Johannesson (Simon_le_Bon)
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9. Board Game: World War II: Pacific Theater of Operations [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:3813]
Robert Carroll
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A very good game that's not too complicated to learn or play. It's nice that there are rules for linking with the ETO version though I have never had the chance to try it. However, there were only two downsides for me. First, the counters are ugly. Second, I wish there were more optional units to experiment with. It keeps the game on a very historical track, IMHO.

--Terry Ferguson (razorback93)

Includes Advanced Pacific Theater of Operations:

I think it is more manageable a game than War in the Pacific. Decision Games has some quite good strategic games releases recently e.g. Storm of Steel, mostly an update to their SPI items. It is good to me who hasn't been exposed to many SPI games back at the time. The graphics are updated significantly and nicely in this edition.

Lawrence Hung (Lawrence Hung)
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10. Board Game: Axis & Allies Pacific 1940 [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:780]
Robert Carroll
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Having pretty much all the A&A games since the original, I have to admit this is an excellent version to own, not just for its own merit but for a smooth interface with the Europe 1940 version. I like the expanded areas of the of the Pacific with more sea zones to contend with. Worth getting if you don't have the original and probably still worth getting if you have the anniversary edition for the huge playing area available.

--Ubergeek (Walt Mulder)
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