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South Pacific: Breaking the Bismarck Barrier 1942-1943» Forums » Reviews

Subject: South Pacific first impressions rss

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Ernie Blofeld
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A little birdie from Amazon dropped off my copy of South Pacific yesterday afternoon, but as anxious as I was to play it I took the time to take a shot of the components as they come shipped:



I'm generally a little leery of the component quality of magazine games, but I'm really pleased with South Pacific.

I appreciate that they took the trouble to publish the rulebook as a separate (full color) entity. It's bad enough flipping through rulebooks, but even worse when the rulebook is hidden inside a magazine.

The cards have rounded edges which makes it plausible not to sleeve them, though they are as thin as one would expect from a magazine game. They are slightly bigger than the Plan Orange cards which fit perfectly in 57mm wide sleeves.

The counters are squarely printed and not huge in number. Only slightly less than half the counters on the tree that comes with the magazine are used for South Pacific. This makes for a nice compact game.



I can easily see this becoming the game of choice for my business travels, I've spent too many nights in rural hotels watching basic cable... The 11x17 map can fold inside the rulebook and the cards and counters will fit easily in a small baggie. And so far the game has been very enjoyable solo using the Stuka Joe solitaire CDG method (with a few modifications).

As for gameplay, it's Empire of the Sun, but it's like being served a filet mignon instead of a side of beef. I like being able to concentrate on one theatre and the scenario is very interesting. And if a mistake is made (as can happen in EotS) the short playtime and small size make it easy to set up and start again.

So far my overall impression is darn good, and I got an interesting magazine to boot. I think I read somewhere that the designer is working on an EotS variant focusing on a hypothetical conflict in the Caribbean. If it is to appear in issue #31 of C3I (or anywhere else):


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Matthias Jahr
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Thanks for writing down your thoughts, I'm going to play the game on Friday and really looking forward to it.

Noiseman wrote:

And so far the game has been very enjoyable solo using the Stuka Joe solitaire CDG method (with a few modifications).


Would you mind to tell me a bit more about the modifications you are using?
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Ernie Blofeld
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weteor wrote:
Thanks for writing down your thoughts, I'm going to play the game on Friday and really looking forward to it.

Noiseman wrote:

And so far the game has been very enjoyable solo using the Stuka Joe solitaire CDG method (with a few modifications).


Would you mind to tell me a bit more about the modifications you are using?


Because the cards flow more with the Method I don't use Future Offensives so I begin the game with the allied Operation ? (forgot the card name) in the five (middle) position and the Battle of Savo Island card shuffled randomly in the Japanese player starting display.

Also, as a general rule for the Method I give face down cards a +1 modifier when being used for reactions.

Because the Method uses a lot of cards there will be a reshuffle not in the original design, so I play that using a card for an event or ops removes it from the game.

Hope that helps. I've almost exclusively used the method for playing full EotS, and I love how well it works. It gives just enough randomness to keep the game honest and enjoyable solitaire with almost no rules overhead.
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Matthias Jahr
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Noiseman wrote:
Because the cards flow more with the Method I don't use Future Offensives so I begin the game with the allied Operation ? (forgot the card name) in the five (middle) position and the Battle of Savo Island card shuffled randomly in the Japanese player starting display.

Also, as a general rule for the Method I give face down cards a +1 modifier when being used for reactions.

Because the Method uses a lot of cards there will be a reshuffle not in the original design, so I play that using a card for an event or ops removes it from the game.

Hope that helps. I've almost exclusively used the method for playing full EotS, and I love how well it works. It gives just enough randomness to keep the game honest and enjoyable solitaire with almost no rules overhead.


Thanks a lot, that helped. I will try that when I get the game.

Good to hear it also works for you in EotS. I'm interested in EotS for quite a while but never had someone to play with. So hearing it is is enjoyable to play both sides with this variant is promising.
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Todd Carter
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I've never tried to use Stuka Joe's method before. But your post makes me want to give it a shot. But there one thing I don't get: Do you have any special rules in regard to weather events or other reactions cards? Or do you just use those for Ops even if they should be triggered as an event?

Thanks ahead of time.
 
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Ernie Blofeld
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If the Method 'forces' me to play a reaction card during that faction's turn then I just use the card for ops. The same thing goes for events that cannot be played for whatever reason, i.e. conditions that can't be met etc. Common sense has never let me down with the Method.

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Jonathan Yedidia
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Thank you and I hope you don't mind yet another question because I'm learning South Pacific and EOTS and hope to play solo (and I'm also just learning about the Stuka Joe solitaire method!).

Noiseman wrote:

Also, as a general rule for the Method I give face down cards a +1 modifier when being used for reactions.


I'm still confused; when using the Stuka Joe method, I would imagine that the defender will choose to play reaction cards by first turning up his face-down cards, then nominating one of his reaction cards, and playing it (or another reaction card) if his die roll in fact gives him one of his reaction cards.

So my question is what exactly do you mean by giving face down cards a +1 modifier? Do you mean that after turning your face down cards face up as the defender and seeing that one is a reaction card, you get a better chance of using it than usual (as if it was one spot closer to the middle)?
 
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Ernie Blofeld
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jed2000 wrote:
Thank you and I hope you don't mind yet another question because I'm learning South Pacific and EOTS and hope to play solo (and I'm also just learning about the Stuka Joe solitaire method!).

Noiseman wrote:

Also, as a general rule for the Method I give face down cards a +1 modifier when being used for reactions.


I'm still confused; when using the Stuka Joe method, I would imagine that the defender will choose to play reaction cards by first turning up his face-down cards, then nominating one of his reaction cards, and playing it (or another reaction card) if his die roll in fact gives him one of his reaction cards.

So my question is what exactly do you mean by giving face down cards a +1 modifier? Do you mean that after turning your face down cards face up as the defender and seeing that one is a reaction card, you get a better chance of using it than usual (as if it was one spot closer to the middle)?


You got it in one

The increased probability that a face down reaction card can burn you adds a little needed tension and uncertainty in my opinion. It just feels right to me that an event that comes as a surprise should have greater probability of success (ie getting used). I believe Stuka Joe is experimenting with something similar.
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Jonathan Yedidia
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Noiseman wrote:
jed2000 wrote:
Thank you and I hope you don't mind yet another question because I'm learning South Pacific and EOTS and hope to play solo (and I'm also just learning about the Stuka Joe solitaire method!).

Noiseman wrote:

Also, as a general rule for the Method I give face down cards a +1 modifier when being used for reactions.


I'm still confused; when using the Stuka Joe method, I would imagine that the defender will choose to play reaction cards by first turning up his face-down cards, then nominating one of his reaction cards, and playing it (or another reaction card) if his die roll in fact gives him one of his reaction cards.

So my question is what exactly do you mean by giving face down cards a +1 modifier? Do you mean that after turning your face down cards face up as the defender and seeing that one is a reaction card, you get a better chance of using it than usual (as if it was one spot closer to the middle)?


You got it in one

The increased probability that a face down reaction card can burn you adds a little needed tension and uncertainty in my opinion. It just feels right to me that an event that comes as a surprise should have greater probability of success (ie getting used). I believe Stuka Joe is experimenting with something similar.


Thanks! Now having read about the solitaire method some more I have another question about how you handle reaction cards. I realize now that according to Stuka Joe's version 3.0 solitaire rules, the defending side doesn't actually make any decisions about whether or not it plays the reaction cards; instead the offensive side turns over the face down defender cards, then working from A to E, rolls a die for each reaction card that could be played and the defender plays the first one with a successful die roll, or none if none succeed, with no more than one reaction card being played.

Do you play that way, or do you let the defending side choose whether to nominate reaction card(s) (including maybe attempting to nominate more than one)? There seems to be lots of different ways to deal in detail with the reaction cards, and I'm not sure which would work best, although I'll go with the 3.0 rules unless you tell me that you have a different method that works well for EOTS and South Pacific.
 
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Ernie Blofeld
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jed2000 wrote:
Noiseman wrote:
jed2000 wrote:
Thank you and I hope you don't mind yet another question because I'm learning South Pacific and EOTS and hope to play solo (and I'm also just learning about the Stuka Joe solitaire method!).

Noiseman wrote:

Also, as a general rule for the Method I give face down cards a +1 modifier when being used for reactions.


I'm still confused; when using the Stuka Joe method, I would imagine that the defender will choose to play reaction cards by first turning up his face-down cards, then nominating one of his reaction cards, and playing it (or another reaction card) if his die roll in fact gives him one of his reaction cards.

So my question is what exactly do you mean by giving face down cards a +1 modifier? Do you mean that after turning your face down cards face up as the defender and seeing that one is a reaction card, you get a better chance of using it than usual (as if it was one spot closer to the middle)?


You got it in one

The increased probability that a face down reaction card can burn you adds a little needed tension and uncertainty in my opinion. It just feels right to me that an event that comes as a surprise should have greater probability of success (ie getting used). I believe Stuka Joe is experimenting with something similar.


Thanks! Now having read about the solitaire method some more I have another question about how you handle reaction cards. I realize now that according to Stuka Joe's version 3.0 solitaire rules, the defending side doesn't actually make any decisions about whether or not it plays the reaction cards; instead the offensive side turns over the face down defender cards, then working from A to E, rolls a die for each reaction card that could be played and the defender plays the first one with a successful die roll, or none if none succeed, with no more than one reaction card being played.

Do you play that way, or do you let the defending side choose whether to nominate reaction card(s) (including maybe attempting to nominate more than one)? There seems to be lots of different ways to deal in detail with the reaction cards, and I'm not sure which would work best, although I'll go with the 3.0 rules unless you tell me that you have a different method that works well for EOTS and South Pacific.


I let the reacting nominate their reaction card(s).

Essentially I play both sides to the best of my ability, the method merely provides unpredictability and prevents God-like control.
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Ted Kim
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I don't know that much about SOUTH PACIFIC, but the discussion here mentions using the "Stuka Joe" solitaire method.

Does the Erasmus "bot" of full EMPIRE OF THE SUN game work here?

Or is it some how incompatible given the more limited scope of SOUTH PACIFIC?

 
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Hiroo Onoda
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I'd imagine that Erasmus wouldn't work precisely.

South Pacific takes place in the "Middle Phase" according to Erasmus.

The Axis of Advance determination charts cover a lot more and is much larger in scope than South Pacific, though you might use the specific South Pacific/NG location priorities to help out solo play.

I think the Taskforce Creation charts might be more useful since they just look at force ratios and likely outcomes. Though I've not compared the available forces in SP and these specific charts.

The PBM and Card Determination Chart will largely work, I believe.
 
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