Calling All Grognards...What are the Best World War II Pacific Theater Games?
Tom Idleman
United States
Unspecified
Unspecified
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My best friend and I have recently got back into wargames with our focus being on WW II. There's a glut of excellent European Theater WW II games out there, but what would you grognards recommend as the top Pacific Theater games? We're out of our element. (In fact, that's why we're so interested...we want to learn about the Pacific Theater by playing wargames based on it.)
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1. Board Game: Blood Reef: Tarawa – ASL Historical Module 5 [Average Rating:8.04 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.04 Unranked]
Ben
United States
From Cincinnati Live in Jacksonville NC
North Carolina
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This is one of the many great Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) Modules out there.
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2. Board Game: Banzai [Average Rating:8.20 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.20 Unranked]
Andrew Faehnle
United States
Euclid
Ohio
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But you also need a copy of Up Front to play.
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3. Board Game: Empire of the Sun [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:634]
United States
Loveland
Colorado
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This one is geting quite a bit of buzz. I can't wait to hear how it plays.
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4. Board Game: Pacific War [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:1230]
Ben
United States
From Cincinnati Live in Jacksonville NC
North Carolina
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Oldie but a good one IMO
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5. Board Game: Axis & Allies: Pacific [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:1174]
Leo Zappa
United States
Aliquippa
Pennsylvania
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Don't be put off by the Axis and Allies approach as some grogs are - this is a good game that provides a solid feel for the factors at play in the Pacific campaign. And hey, it's got cool plastic battleships!
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6. Board Game: Victory in the Pacific [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:875]
Leo Zappa
United States
Aliquippa
Pennsylvania
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This is OOP but readily available on eBay. VITP is a great beer and pretzels treatment of the naval aspects of the Pacific campaign.
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7. Board Game: Empire of the Rising Sun [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:3526]
Matt
United States
Wilton
CT
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I didn't see anyone list this one. I've had this game for years but never got a chance to play it. I really liked the "Rise and Decline of the Third Reich" and figured this would be good. Any opinions on it?
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8. Board Game: Midway [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:2015]
David Seddon
United Kingdom
Congleton
Cheshire
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I would go for this one myself. Oodles of fun, tension and S and T. It's simple yes, but a really good game.
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9. Board Game: Pacific Victory [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:2025]
Robert March
United States
Ventura
California
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A very fun, relatively fast overview of the whole theatre (minus China). The blocks really keep you guessing as to the Japanese and American schwerpunkts.
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10. Board Game: Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945 [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:1215]
James Lowry
United States
Sunnyvale
California
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It looks interesting enough. Sadly, MMP's track record gives me doubts as to whether we'll actually see the English version this year.

Anyway it's apparently considered one of the most popular wargames ever released in Japan. I have no idea what kind of competition that gives it, but I'm certainly a little surprised that a game with this subject matter has done so well over there.
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11. Board Game: Carrier Battles [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked]
Adam Starkweather
United States
New York City
New York
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I will throw a few in - this is the improvement over Flattop - IMO. Just as complex - actually a little more so - but it is the ultimate in oeprational Pacific sims...

However, just as good but much, much simpler is....
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12. Board Game: Solomon Sea [Average Rating:8.84 Unranked]
Adam Starkweather
United States
New York City
New York
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this game. Easy and yet full of depth...

Not really to throw Carrier Battles away for those times that I want complexity for the fun that provides but this is highly recommended.
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13. Board Game: Pacific Fleet [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:4514]
Adam Starkweather
United States
New York City
New York
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My favorite of the longer ones...say about 15-20 hour playtime.

Lots of fun - rules are weak but usable.
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14. Board Game: Carrier [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:1868]
Adam Starkweather
United States
New York City
New York
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If you are lonely and want something to play with when you are alone...this is a terrific game. Actually has probably the best model of carrier ops of all.
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15. Board Game: World War II: Pacific Theater of Operations [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:3812]
 
Eric Miller
United States
Glen Burnie
Maryland
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The sister game to "European Theater of Operations".
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16. Board Game: Second World War at Sea: Midway [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:3645]
Xander Fulton
United States
Lake Oswego
Oregon
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Avalanche Press's take on 'Midway'. Strictly naval combat (no army actions, other than landings that need to be covered by naval forces - if you get lucky!).

Similar to 'Flat Top' in execution and complexity, although it plays faster and has MUCH higher component quality. Plus, if you get into the game, there is a whole series on other theaters and topics using the same rules.
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17. Board Game: Second World War at Sea: SOPAC [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:3747]
Xander Fulton
United States
Lake Oswego
Oregon
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For example, SOPAC, covering the actions around the South Pacific - Guadalcanal, the Solomon Island campaigns, etc.
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18. Board Game: Victory at Midway [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:2972]
Kevin Moody
United States
Edmond
Oklahoma
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If you want something not terribly complex, but a helluva lot of fun, I'd put this in my Top 3, along with VitP and Pacific Victory.

I read it's supposed to become an MMP reprint....but at their current rate of output and rate of adding titles to their production pipeline.....just get this one and enjoy it for a few years until the reprint.

Tune in this summer for some Fire in the Sky feedback. That might make a great step "up" in complexity.
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19. Board Game: War in the Pacific (first edition) [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:6069]
James Hamilton
United Kingdom
Stockport
Cheshire
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3200 counters can't be wrong. Truly a classic monster game. Of course you want to keep maintenance records for all of your ships and know to the nearest 10 how many aircract of each type are at each base.

This is a BIG game and one of my retirement projects.
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20. Board Game: The Eagle and the Sun [Average Rating:3.26 Overall Rank:10951]
Gunnar Richert
Germany
Berlin
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and this is the worst. Shrum and Crane have forget rules for the game to add. However, the play material is realy top.
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21. Board Game: Whistling Death [Average Rating:8.22 Overall Rank:1929]
John Di Ponio
United States
Warren
Michigan
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Currently my favorite of the bunch....while not totally easy....the game is GREAT at letting you learn the system a bit at a time. Flight training is GREAT for learning!!!!! The forum for the game keeps things going.
Check it out!!!!
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22. Board Game: Whistling Death [Average Rating:8.22 Overall Rank:1929]
John Di Ponio
United States
Warren
Michigan
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Currently my favorite of the bunch....while not totally easy....the game is GREAT at letting you learn the system a bit at a time. Flight training is GREAT for learning!!!!! The forum for the game keeps things going.
Check it out!!!!
 
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23. Board Game: Panzer Grenadier: Semper Fi! Guadalcanal [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:4179]
Grant Sharp
United States
York
Pennsylvania
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The Panzer Grenadier system in the Pacific.
 
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24. Board Game: USN Deluxe [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:6548]
Grant Sharp
United States
York
Pennsylvania
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Since somebody mentioned it.
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25. Board Game: Carrier War: the War in the Pacific 1941-1945 [Average Rating:6.85 Unranked]
Grant Sharp
United States
York
Pennsylvania
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I've been thinking of picking this one up. Anyone have any comments on it?
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