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Subject: Review by a regular (but enthusiast) loser rss

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Dampenon Fabien
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Rookies talk about strategy, Grognards about Logistics
I’m a regular player (and loser) of State of Siege Games (SoS) from VPG. I have played more than 60 plays from five of them. You can see my microbadges, I’m fan of these games and particularly of We Must Tell The Emperor (WMTTE).

Let’s go for the review to know why.

I) Components

a) 11"x17" unmounted Map : Very pretty ( I really like this map) and functional (it contains all charts and keys) and you won’t need more playing space, which is a very good thing ;

b) Battle Tables Sheet, which displays all possible outcomes of Tactical Battles, I will describe this elegant and innovative mechanism later ;

c) Counters (3/4 ") and markers (5/8 "). Pretty and functional (bonus/malus round markers are a very smart addition to SoS Serie but these ones are brittle) ;

d) 60 (with Expansion kit, 48 otherwise) Events Cards : Each one depicts an historical background and, of course, all gaming datas needed. They are very readable and I like their back ;

e) Rulebook. Rules will be detailed later but share the same (and useful) color scheme and presentation of SoS games and includes a lot of examples and notes.

II) Rules

Rules are well written, with a lot of examples (in blue police), Designer’s notes (in shaded background) and a 3-Turn Example of Play at the end.

Sequence of Play :

a) Headline Phase
You draw a card from the deck, divided in 3 Epochs (Early war, Mid War and Late War) with croissant difficulty. Cards are randomly shuffled into each epoch but there is an option to play them in historical order.

b) Military Phase
Like other SoS game, your Home Islands are at the center of some tracks (4 in WMTTE, Nimitz, MacArthur, Wavell and Chiang kai-Shek. Vasilevsky is added with expansion Kit but shares China Track) and Allied Armies will advance (often) and retreat (too rarely) in these tracks. These moves depend on historical Event portrayed in the card drawn in Headline Phase. For example, "The Road to Mandalay" Event makes British and China armies advance one space on their tracks.

c) Resource Phase
There are 3 resources to handle in WTTE : Army/Navy, Prestige and Oil. One marker for each one, on a separate track, from 0 to 6 boxes. A resource in 6-box gives you some advantage, each one in 0-box will hamper you some way (example, you can only make 1 attack in a turn with Army/Navy marker in 0-box) all of three in 0-box and you lose. Some events will move these markers, I haven’t to precise effects of US submarines on Oil marker...

d) Orders Phase
This phase is the core of the game (in fact, the core of your decisions). Each card gives you some Actions. Like other SoS games, you won’t have enough actions to make what is needed, don’t think you can make what you wish...Each action can be used in 4 ways : Attack an Allied army to attempt to repulse it one space, fight a Battle when "Battle" Events are drawn in Headline Phase (example, Midway or Leyte Gulf), attempt to fortify an Island (later in the game when fortifications would be available) to attempt to slow Allied advance and attempt to gain resources. Each action will be resolved with one die and some DRM (given mainly by event drawn in Headline Phase). Note that Battles are always optional but fun (and often you will have no choice but risk your fleet).

e) Housekeeping Phase
If an (or more of course) allied Army occupies Japan, you lose the game...If not, you remove DRM markers and can go on.

III) Chrome

Of course, you will have Kamikazes to use. Strength of Allied armies will vary on time. You will build fortifications on Atolls and you will battle with your fleet. You will be bombed by B-29 (too often, 4 times in one of my games, but I have heard about 6 times) and US Submarines will harm your oil and your player’s morale.

IV) Expansion Kit

One word : indispensable ! Unless you want win this game...It contains 12 more cards and an optional"End War" deck with 4 terrific cards (I have never used them, but I’m already losing). One rule in your favour (Withdrawal Action to bring new troops from China to Pacific) and one very nasty (Pre-Invasion Preparation which can let you unarmed when allied armies are at your gates). Game is playable in 1h30 but if you have less time, you can find alternate and shorter scenarios. Expansion Kit adds Vasilevsky army which must be watched very carefully (Russians are responsible of 50% of my losses).

V) Conclusion

Playing Pacific War in 1h30 is possible, with fun and challenge (in fact this game, like other in SoS Serie is too challenging, I have only won twice, 18% of my plays). In back of your counters, you will see Marines on landing beaches, Carriers Battles, B-29 and Submarines,...

Game is tense and even after losing once again, you will need to play one more time to not have to tell the Emperor that you have failed...

Thank you VPG, Steve, Alan and John for this great game !

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