22" x 34" color map
Playing pieces from A&A.
Conquest of the Pacific
a game by Kyle Battle
It is early morning December 7, 1941. While most of the people of Hawaii are still in bed, Admiral Yamamoto orders his six carriers to turn into the wind. Within one hour, 350 torpedo bombers, dive bombers, and fighters are on their way to attack the American pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor. If the attack is a success, it will eliminate America's ability to oppose the expanding Japanese empire long enough for them to capture and fortify their objectives.
As the force begins its attack, they realize that they have achieved total surprise. However, they also realize that the main objective of their attack, the U. S. carriers are not present. By a stroke of luck, the Lexington and Enterprise had left Pearl Harbor on an aircraft ferrying mission. Now the attack, though devastating, would not be the crippling blow that was desired. As a result, America will be able to resist Japanese expansion much sooner than anticipated.
While Yamamoto's brilliantly conceived attack on Pearl Harbor was a tactical victory, it turned out to be a drastic strategic mistake. As Yamamoto would later state, "I fear that we have awakened a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve."
You will command either the forces of the Japanese Empire, or the forces of the United States. The tasks of both are daunting.
As Japan, can you complete your conquest of the Pacific before America can build up enough strength to oppose you? Will you be able to fortify your new empire quickly enough to fend off the inevitable American counter attack?
As the United States, can you rebuild your navy, and raise an army quickly enough to stop Japan from dominating the entire Pacific? You must use your monetary advantage wisely while you still have it because the more territory Japan conquers, the stronger it becomes.
Q. What's the map like?
A. It is professionally printed on thick stock as one large page that folds, but it has slits so it folds nicely (you should be able to fold it back on itself a couple of times so it will lay flat).
Q. What kind of pieces do I need to provide?
A. Any of the Axis&Allies games will have pieces that work well: Infantry, Armor, Artillery, Fighters, Bombers, Battleships, Carriers, Destroyers, Submarines, Transports, Territory Control Tokens, and Money. If your A&A has no Artillery or Destroyers, use Anti-Aircraft Guns for Artillery and German/British subs for Japanese/American destroyers.
Q. Why only two players? Why does Australia=US instead of UK?
A. At the scale of the theater that this game portrays, it seemed to make the most sense for the game we wanted to make. There just isn't enough for a separate UK to do in this game, and if we gave them enough to do, it would create too much of a 2v1 imbalance. We have heard that some folks substitute the UK pieces for the Australian units for aesthetics.
Q. If the US conquers Tokyo, is the game over?
A. Technically the US has to have a successful industrial bombing run on Tokyo to end the game (i.e. they have to be based nearby and survive the scrambling fighters and AA, thereby simulating the nuclear strikes that ended the actual war). We did this for the same reason the US chose nuclear strikes instead of a land invasion: though Japan may be soundly beaten, a stubborn Japan could pointlessly extend the conflict for a long time. So it is possible (though unlikely) for the US to conquer Tokyo and not be able to bomb it and for Japan to retake it on the next turn before the US can get a bomber into position (i.e. build one on Tokyo or fly one over from elsewhere).
Q. Do you have to own every territory in an island chain to get the IPCs? What about the little grey Philippine islands?
A. Yes. You have to own every green colored landing zone and silver-chiseled mountain zone in an island chain to get the IPCs (page 8). You can deny the opponent ownership by taking just 1 zone (in that case, neither of you gets the IPCs). The tiny dull-grey un-named islands in the Philippines are not playable zones.
Q. Do ports give you free Infantry?
A. No. Ports give you a location closer to the front in which you can place 1 purchased Infantry per turn. Ports give you a location to build a Shipyard which can then place 1 purchased Transport per turn in addition to the 1 Infantry. The only exception to this is Australia which allows you to place an air unit instead of a land unit. (See page 8 of the rulebook.)
Q. Can you tell me more about actual gameplay?
A. Sure. Conquest of the Pacific is just that, a naval contest between unit rich, production poor Japan and unit poor, production rich America. The game does not include Asia. It is strictly a series of naval and island hopping maneuvering and battles fought in the Pacific. We always wanted to play with the boats more in A&A, but we also wanted to win. The boats and planes are so expensive that no one can really afford to wage much sea war after the first turn or two in A&A. Enter Conquest of the Pacific. Both sides face daunting tasks. Japan has a huge fleet, but has a lot of islands it needs to conquer to win, and ends up being so far away from its supply lines that it usually can't defend everything while still being able to challenge the growing American fleet. America starts the war far from a state of readiness, but its huge economic advantage helps make up for it. The front is close to the US, so supply lines are short, but the Japanese fleet is much larger if it can consolidate. This makes for some interesting cat and mouse maneuvering and epic sea battles.
Planes take a large roll in Conquest of the Pacific as they are able to:
- land and take off from islands without spending a movement point because the island and the sea zone(s) surrounding/adjacent to the island are considered the same zone. (This is commonly known as the Island=Carrier rule.)
- project their defensive power one sea zone away from their island base zone during the opponent's combat phase.
- scramble to attack anything entering their zones of projected power during the opponent's turn on the combat movement and non-combat movement phases.
- escort other units movement to protect them from scrambling fighters.
Battleships and Destroyers may bombard every round during an invasion, or once per turn without a land invasion. Battleships and Carriers take two hits to kill and can be repaired at several ports on the map. Also, be on the lookout for the Japanese SuperBattleship, the Yamato. It attacks, defends, and bombards at a 5 and takes 3 hits to kill, ouch! It really is fun to play with all the expensive units!
Q. Can I scramble on my turn?
A. No. Fighters can escort your units during your turn. But Fighters "scramble" only when it is not your turn, only when the enemy moves to 1 zone away. So it is possible an enemy could start 1 zone away and escape your scramble by moving out of range or by not moving at all.
Land based Fighters scramble to attack enemy units moving into the zone 1 movement point away. They can also defend 1 zone away or defend their own zone. So Fighters (if they live long enough) can be used to:
- attack one incoming force 1 zone away (except for non-combative submerged subs)
- defend in one adjacent battle OR defend their own sea/land zone (or both in the case of an amphibious attack on their land zone)
- attack one group of non-combating units that move into their range (except for submerged subs)
Fighters cannot scramble to defend against industrial bombing except by intercepting the bombers 1 zone away (so you cannot combine fighters and AA against the entire enemy bomber/fighter air force). (See Turn Sequence and Scramble Fighters on pages 5-6.) When you consider Fighter's scrambling ability with carrier=islands, certain islands that span multiple sea zones are very strategic airbase locations.
Carrier based fighters do not scramble. Fighters on a carrier sharing a zone with an air base are considered to be on the air base unless the player states otherwise (page 13).
Q. Does the first hit on the Yamato decrease its power?
A. No, the first hit does nothing except bring it closer to destruction. Place a control marker under it to indicate the first hit, then turn the ship sideways to indicate the second hit (where it does go down by 2 power).
Q. Can submerged subs move during the Combat Movement Phase if it does not involve combat?
A. If they move during the Combat Movement Phase, they become un-submerged. However, page 11 of the rulebook should read "Submerged submarines remain submerged until after their next non-combat movement phase unless they initiate combat or Escort (page 18). Therefore, they may not be attacked by scrambling fighters during their next turn if they are non-combative." Only defending subs can submerge.