Pearl Harbor – Pacific War (GMT Games)

The raid on Pearl Harbor is the first Engagement Scenario included in Mark Herman’s magnum opus, Pacific War. These introductory scenarios drip feed the vast ruleset into hearty but digestible bits and Pearl Harbor introduces the battle cycles, air missions and the potential for detection, CAP and flak combat. It’s essentially a solitaire scenario, with very little for the Americans to do, and victory is achieved by scoring 4 or more hits on 6 of the 8 battleships present, and the elimination of 12 steps of air units.

The Japanese automatically attack with surprise on their side and any hits scored on the first battle cycle are doubled, those first runs are crucial to success. Dividing the attack groups and selecting targets judiciously can help mitigate any bad die rolls.

The initial torpedo runs (abstracted with a -5 modifier to the first Japanese attack die roll), scored catastrophic hits on the Arizona, California, Nevada, and Oklahoma, although all four battleships stayed afloat. The subsequent attacks on the airbase inflicted 12 steps right off the bat and denuded the American’s ability to effectively respond.

The second Japanese attack was detected and made for two other battleships, sinking them in the process. The American CAP response that flew to meet the attack was decimated.

An American LRA detected the twin Japanese task forces and what remaining tactical bombers were left were sent to strike. This flight was doomed to fail but by simulating it, the attacks highlighted the multiplied impact of L2 steps present in CAP response to air missions.

I’m sure I did not get all the rules correct, but it was an important learning experience. I have finally dipped my toe into Pacific War and have found the water enticing.

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