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Upon opening the box containing the Pacific 1942 board game you will find the following game components inside:
2 Admiral Cards, one for the American admiral and one for the Japanese admiral,
12 board pieces,
12 blue and 12 red prisms (Battle Units)
18 blue and 18 red cylinders bearing the symbols of a bomb, a propeller and a flag,
blue and red counters marked with the letters A-H,
3 blue and 3 red dice,
Your goal in the game is to gain 12 victory points.
You gain victory points by seizing control of islands (three points for each island tile controlled) and/or by damaging (or destroying) enemy ships (one point for each prism representing a Battle Unit destroyed (henceforth "BU").
Game Setup - Game Board
First you must put all 10 two-sided board pieces together to form the game board where your Pacific battle will take place.
Each board piece consists of 6 game tiles. Most of the tiles represent open sea. The tile with a cloud and lightning on it represents a thunderstorm on the sea. The tile with a palm on it represents an island. The tile with a naval mine on it represents a mined area on the sea.
Then connect the two one-sided board pieces to the game board. The tiles with a flag on it represent player bases, they should be placed as far as possible from each other.
For the start we suggest you place the board pieces into a circular shape so that the game condititions are equal for both players. We advise begginers not to use too many mined area and thunderstorm tiles. Island tiles should be placed in a rougly even distance for both players to reach. Later as your game experience advances you can try experimenting with the game board formation.
Game Setup - Weaponry
The players get to decide who of them will be the American admiral and who will be the Japanese admiral. They separate the game components so that the Americal admiral takes the blue counters, prisms, cylinders, and Admiral Card while the Japanese admiral takes the red counters, prisms, cylinders and Admiral Card.
At the beggining of the game the American admiral places one of his infantry batallions (a blue cylinder with the symbol of a flag) onto the game board on an island tile of his choice.
The other prisms and cylinders will be used by the players to arm their fleets.
How shall they do that?
Weapons at your disposal
In Pacific 1942 ships are the key to victory. The strength of a ship is represented by the blue and red prisms we call Battle Units ("BU"). Players try to destroy as many of the enemy's BU as possible, each BU destroyed yields one victory point.
Each player builds their fleet using all 12 BU they have at their disposal. (Or they may agree to use less BU, f.e. seven.)
A ships on the game board is represented by a blue or red counter with a letter on it (A-H). In order to find out what kind of ship it is, how strong it is and what does it carry on board inspect the respective Admiral Card.
Battleships are represented by the letters A-B-C on the Admiral Card.
A battleship may have the strength of up to three BU.
A battleship may sail up to two tiles each turn.
Battleships fire their cannons in combat. Gunfire salvos may be fired upon an adjacent tile or one of the 6 tiles that are adjacent to the adjacent tiles and are in a straight line of fire (see the picture below).
A battleship cannot fire its cannons when it sails in a thunderstorm. Neither it can shoot at a ship over a thunderstorm, over an island nor over another ship (friend or foe). On the contrary it may fire at a ship that is inside a thunderstorm.
Example: In the picture you can see a situation where the American battleship (the blue counter with the letter A) may fire at the Japanese battleship A (despite ithe Japanese ship being in a thunderstorm). It may fire at the battleship B. It may also fire at the troopship H as it is on a tile adjacent to an adjacent tile and is in a straight line of fire.
On the contrary it cannot fire upon the aircraft carrier F which is not in a straight line of fire. It cannot fire at the battleship C, because it is not possible to shoot over another ship (battleship B in this case). It cannot fire at the troopship G that is covered by an island.
If in the depicted situation it were the Japanese admiral´s turn he would have been able to fire at the American ship with his battleship B but not with his battleship C (it is not possible to shoot over a ship) nor with his battleship A (because of it being in a thunderstorm).
See the Combat chapter for rules on gunfire evaluation.
Aircraft carriers are represented by the letters D-E-F on the Admiral Card.
An aircraft carrier may have the strength of up to two BU.
An aircraft carrier may sail up to two tiles each turn except for when planes are taking off from it or are landing on its board in which case it may only sail up to one tile that turn.
An aircraft carrier itself does not fight. It carries bombers on its board which are then used to attack enemy ships. Bombers are represented by cylinders with the symbol of a bomb.
Apart from bombers there are also fighter aircrafts. The purpose of a fighter is to defend player´s ships from enemy bombers. Fighters are represented by cylinders with the symbol of a propeller.
Planes cannot take off from an aircraft carrier that is in a thunderstorm nor they can land on it.
See the Combat chapter for rules on fighting with planes.
Troopships are represented by the letters G-H on the Admiral Card.
A troopship may only have the strength of one BU.
A troopship may sail up to one tile each turn unless its infantry battalions are disembarking onto an adjacent island tile in which case it may not sail any tiles that turn.
A troopship itself does not fight. It only carries infantry battalions whose main purpose is to seize control of islands. Infantry battalions are represented by cylinders with the symbol of a flag.
See the Combat chapter for rules on infantry combat.
At the beggining of the game both admirals build their fleet they will be playing with thoughout the game. Construction of new ships or planes during the game is not possible.
Both admirals build their fleet using all 12 BU they have at their disposal.
It is up to each player to decide which ships will he build and how strong will they be.
The most common question players will have to ask themselves is whether their aim is to seize control of islands and whether they will be using one or two troopships for that purpose. The next question is whether to build as many ships as possible or to make their ships stronger.
Let us demonstrate the construction of a fleet on the following example:
In the picture we can see the American Admiral Card. The admiral decided to build battleships A and B with full strength of three BU, he opted not to build the third battleship. Furthermore the admiral built three aircraft carriers (D-E-F) using two BU for ships D and E while only using one BU for ship F. Then he placed 4 planes of his choice onto each aircraft carrier.
As for troopships the admiral only built troopship G and placed 4 infantry battalions aboard.
Suggestion: It is best if each player builds their fleet separately without knowing what his opponent's plans are. After finishing the construction phase Admiral Cards need to be visible to both players for the rest of the game.
At the beggining of the game both players launch their ships.
The Japanese admiral launches his ships first by placing the red counters (A-H) representing the ships he built onto the game board.
Troopships (G-H) must be placed on the sea tiles adjacent to player base (a tile with the respective flag on it). Battleships (A-B-C) must be placed on the same board piece into second row. See the picture attached. (Player bases are not a part of the game itself and have no further use during the game.)
Aircraft carriers (D-E-F) can be placed onto any other tile of the player's choice (the Japanese admiral still gets to choose first).
Because the Japanese admiral will be attacking first the American admiral can already place his fighters in the air so that he can defend his ships from enemy bombers. See the Movement of Planes chapter for more.
At this point all existing ships should be on the sea. The American admiral should have his fighters in the air and should be controlling one island tile with one of his infantry battalions. The game itself starts with the Japanese admiral's turn.
Playing the Game
The Turn Sequence
The game is played over a series of turns. Each turn is divided into the following steps:
Movement of battleships in the order A-B-C followed by possible battleship gunfire (including gunfire evaluation).
Movement of aircraft carriers in the order D-E-F followed by possible bombers attack step (including take off, combat evaluation and landing back with the bombers used) and/or recharging used bombers to arm them for next turn.
Movement of troopships in the order G-H or disembarkation of infantry battallions onto adjacent island tiles. Possibly also infantry battalion movement and infantry battalion combat (including combat evaluation).
Reduction of the ammount of planes in order to correspond with the player's current aircraft carriers capacity.
Movement of fighters.
Movement of Ships
Ships can only move on open sea tiles and sea with a thunderstorm tiles. They must not move through mined sea area tiles nor island tiles. (Player bases are not a part of the game itself and only serve during the ship launching phase.)
Ship movements are represented by the counters marked with the letters A-H.
There may only be one ship on each tile.
A ship cannot sail through a tile occupied by another ship.
It is important to move with the ships in alphabetical order. Ship A moves first, then ship B moves etc.
The speed limit of each ship is determined by ship type.
Battleships may sail up to two tiles each turn.
The example picture depicts all possible destinations the red battleship A may reach during the Japanese admiral's turn.
Regardless of how far each battleship has sailed it may fire its cannons after all battleships ended their movement. Gunfire range has already been explained above. For rules on gunfire evaluation see the Combat chapter.
An aircraft carrier may sail up to two tiles each turn except for when the player plans for his planes to take off or land aboard in which case the given aircraft carrier may only sail up to one tile that turn.
Planes movement takes place after all aircraft carriers finished their movement. Planes cannot take off from an aircraft carrier that is in a thunderstorm nor they can land on it.
A troopship may sail up to one tile each turn unless infantry battalions are disembarking onto an adjacent island tile in which case it may not sail any tiles that turn.
It is possible to disembark onto multiple island tiles during one turn as long as they are adjacent to the troopship's location. (In the picture you can see which island tiles may the infantry battalions disembark on.)
Historical remark: Under the term "troopship" it is better to imagine a convoy of troopships. This better reflects what the war looked like during 1942.)
Movement of Planes
Planes are much faster than ships. Therefore planes flying range is not limited - any plane can reach any game tile during a turn. Planes movement is only limited by external factors.
Planes must not fly through thunderstorm tiles.
Bombers may not pass a tile occupied by enemy fighters without attacking the enemy ship on that tile.
Planes can move through game tiles occupied by ships and there may be any ammount of planes on a game tile.
Historical remark: Under the term "plane" it is better to imagine an air squadron. This better reflects what the war looked like during 1942.
Further rules on planes differ depending on plane type - bomber or fighter.
Bombers attack enemy ships. They take off after all aircraft carriers finished their movement. After they have attemped an air assault they must return back to land on the board of an aircraft carrier (this doesn't have to be the aircraft carrier they took of from). The bombers return without their bombs so when they land the cylinders are placed upside down on the Admiral Card.
The fact that bombers are currently on board is represented the cylinders being placed on the Admiral Card on the respective aircraft carrier tab.
In case the bombers haven't flown during a turn they may instead be "armed" so that they can be used in combat next turn. Arming the bombers is represented by flipping the upside down cylinders on the Admiral Card face up.
If an aircraft carrier is destroyed all bombers on its board are automatically destroyed with it.
Fighters defend player's own ships. Theoretically speaking they should also be taking off and landing throughout the game but for purposes of game simplification this is not the case. Therefore it is possible for the fighters to be "in the sky" during the whole game regardless of aircraft carrier's position. (Even if one or more aircraft carriers are currently inside a thunderstorm.)
A fighter's only purpose is to provide ships additional defense against enemy bombers (This will be explained in the Combat chapter.) Therefore it only makes sence for them to stay with the player's own ships. At the very end of each turn a player moves his fighters onto any game tile/s where he have his ship/s.
There is one important rule though: a player may only have X fighters in the sky at the end of their turn where X is the ammount of free plane slots on the player's aircraft carriers. Therefore the player has reduce the ammount of his planes either by removing redundant fighters from the sky or by removing redundant bombers from the board of his aircraft carriers (or a combination of both) so that the total ammount of planes he has corresponds with his aircraft carrier's capacity (four planes per aircraft carrier).
Example: If a player only has one aircraft carrier left at the end of his turn and there are three bombers on its board, he may only leave one fighter in the sky (unless he removes up to three bombers from his aircraft carrier allowing him to keep one more fighter for each bomber sacrificed this way.)
Movement of Infantry
Infantry may only move within island tiles. In the vast majority of cases infantry movement will be limited to disembarkation onto an island tile. But in case that island consists of two or more island tiles any ammount of infantry batallions may move onto an adjacent island tile (one tile per turn). Infantry batallions may not move within the island during the same turn they have been disembarked.
Important note: a player gains three victory points for each island tile he controls. If an island consists of two or more island tiles the player only gains victory points for tiles he has his infantry batallions positioned on.
There may be any ammount of infantry batallions on an island tile except both player's cannot have their infantry battalions on the same tile.
See the Combat chapter for rules on infantry combat.
In order to emerge victorious in the Pacific 1942 board game you need to assemble 12 victory points. You gain three victory points for each island tile controlled and you also gain victory points by damaging or destroying enemy ships (one point for each BU destroyed).
Who's fighting whom
Battleships may fire at enemy ships within their range (see above).
Bombers may strike at any enemy ship as long as it is on a tile they can fly over.
Infantry may attack enemy infantry batallions on an adjacent island tile.
All forms of combat within the game are decided with the help of dice.
The attacker and the defender
A player is always the attacker during his own turn. Therefore his opponent takes the role of defender.
In order to determine his attack strength the attacker uses one die for each of his attacking battleship's BU in case of battleship gunfire, one die for each attacking bomber in case of bomber assault and one die for each of his attacking infantry battalions in case of infantry combat. For example: a player attacking an enemy ship by one of his battleships with the strength of three BU uses three dice during that combat.
The defender uses one die for each BU of his ship in case it has been attacked by enemy battleship, one die for each of the attacked ship's BU plus one die for each fighter defending that ship in case of bomber assault and one die for each defending infantry battalion in case of infantry combat.
The defender can never damage the attacker, he can only attemp to prevent or mitigate the damage caused by the attack.
Each player may only count in the results of up to three dice he rolled. Despite this it may be beneficial to employ more than three dice in combat in order to maximise the chance of success.
For each die in excess of three a player may use the excess dice to replace previous rolls.
Beware: by rerolling the player risks rolling less than he previously did. But that is a risk he may have to undertake during the war.
Example: The American admiral sent six of his bombers to attack a fully armed Japanese aircraft carrier (with the strength of two BU) that is being defended by two fighters. The American admiral will be using up to six dice and the Japanese admiral will be using up to four dice (two BU plus two fighters). Firstly the attacker rolls three dice - in our example he rolls: 2+3+5=10. He chooses to reroll the previously rolled 2 this time rolling a 4. Now his roll results are 3+4+5=12. Then he chooses to reroll the previously rolled 3 rolling a 3 again. His roll results still are 3+4+5=12. Then he decides to take a risk and reroll again but this time rolling a 2 instead of a 3. Since he used all six rolls he had these are his final results: 2+4+5=11. After this the Japanese admiral rolls three dice - the numbers being: 3+3+4=10. In order to defend himself fully from the attack he needs to roll at least the same the attacker did. Therefore he rerolls one of the dice he rolled a 3 with but ends up rolling a 2 only. His final rolling results are 2+3+4=9. Read below on what that results in for him.
Rerolling is always optional.
Both the attacker and the defender may decide to reroll (provided they have enough dice at their disposal).
During each combat a player may not roll more than eighteen in total (6+6+6=18).
At the beggining of combat the attacker has to clearly state which means of attack is he using and what his target is. For example he says: "I shoot at your ship G by my battleship A."
Then the attacker rolls (and rerolls if he wishes to and has dice left).
Finally the defender rolls (and rerolls if he wishes to and has dice left).
Resolution of combat
Once both players finished rolling the fight is resolved using the following rules:
If the attacker did not roll a more than the defender did the attack has failed and no BU is lost on either side.
If the attacker rolled at least one higher than the defender did the defending ship loses one BU.
If the attacker rolled at least four higher than the defender did the defending ship loses two BU.
If the attacker rolled at least seven higher than the defender did the defending ship loses three BU.
An aircraft carrier destroyed sinks along with all bombers aboard.
A troopship destroyed sinks along with all infantry batallions aboard.
Multiple combat steps may take place during one turn. Always one at a time.
Battleship gunfire takes place after all battleships finished their movement.
Bomber assault takes place after all aircraft carriers finished their movement.
Infantry combat takes place after all troopships finished their movement.
The attacker places the BU prisms he destroyed on his Admiral Card for easier overview of victory points gained.
Battleship gunfire specifics
As it has already been explained battleship gunfire salvos may be fired upon an adjacent tile or upon one of the six tiles that are adjacent to the adjacent tiles and are in straight line of fire. It is important to note that two or three battleships may join to focus their gunfire at one target therefore increasing the number of rolls (or rather rerolls) the attacker may use. It is NOT possible however to split the fire of one battleship onto multiple targets during a turn.
The attacker has to decide whether or not his ships will be uniting to attack the same target before the combat itself begins.
Bomber assault specifics
During the bomber combat step the defending ship receives additional defense from fighters on the same game tile. Each fighter provides one extra roll (or reroll) for the defender.
Infantry combat specifics
In case of infantry combat the attacker only needs to roll one point higher than the defender did in order to destroy all defending infantry battalions.
The first player to gain 12 victory points during his turn wins the game immediately.
For easier understanding of the game rules
In this section we will provide several examples in order for the players to better understand the mechanics of the game.
Game board construction
Most of the game pieces are two-sided therefore largely facilitating the variability of the game. It may not be obvious to a begginer that the exact layout of islands, thunderstorms and mined areas on the game board crutially influences the strategy a skilled player will employ.
In the picture you can see the ten two-sided game pieces and the two game pieces with player bases on them. They have been formed in a way that provide both players similar game conditions.
None of the players has an island in close proximity to their base. Same with thunderstorm tiles. The mined areas in this scenario do not prevent players from maneuvring their ships freely on the sea.
Upon constructing the game board the American admiral has to decide where to place his first infantry batallion. In other words which island to seize control of...
First island capture
Why did the American admiral choose to gain control of this particular island?
He did choose this island because of it being quite far for his troopships to reach during the game while being far enough from the enemy's reach. Therefore the risk of the Japanese admiral trying to disembark his infantry to seize control of it is very low.
This island secures three victory points for the American admiral with minimum risk of losing those points.
The American admiral in our example decided to achieve victory by taking control of several islands. Now he has to build his fleet with this goal in mind.
Thanks to the fact he already controls one island tile he only needs to capture three more island tiles to win the game (4 x 3 = 12 victory points).
Therefore he decides to build two troopships (G and H). He will try to reach two islands with one one of them (bottom arrow) and one island with the other (upper arrow). In both cases it will take him four turns to do so (including disembarkation).
In order to protect his troopships he decides to build two fully armed battleships to defend the key areas between the islands (purple dots) from enemy battleships.
The main purpose of the aircraft carriers he built is to provide an air defense to his troopships.
Meanwhile the Japanese admiral has correctly anticipated the American's tactic. He knows he needs to hit hard and therefore builds all three battleships he will send forward as fast he can.
His aircraft carriers are lightweight (only using one BU for each).
The one troopship is a supplement and its only goal is to reach one of the islands if any. But still he places four infantry batallions on its board as those are free of charge and one never knows how the game develops.
Aircraft carriers positioning
The Japanese admiral made a smart use of thunderstorms on the sea by hiding his aircraft carriers in them. Naturally the main purpose for that being to prevent his opponent doing the same (the Japanese admiral launches his ships first).
Therefore the American admiral had to consider carefully which of his ships will he defend by his fighters. In the end he chose to prioritise his troopships to protect his game objective of capturing islands but leaving many of his other ships vulnerable to enemy bombers.
Ship G is now defended by three fighters, ship H by two fighters, ship F by one fighter.
Pearl Harbor - the Japanese strike
The first Japanese attack is traditionally called "the Pearl Harbor".
The ability to strike first is the Japanese admiral's key advantage. (While the American admiral has the advantage of three victory points provided by the island he chooses at the beggining of the game.)
The Japanese sends his battleships forward. Battleship A fires at the American aircraft carrier. The fight resolves with the attacker rolling a total of 12 while the defender rolling a total of 5 and therefore losing his aircraft carrier including a bomber aboard.
Then after moving his aircraft carrier F the Japanese admiral sends four bombers at the undefended American ship D. Four dice against two - the Japanese rolls 6+2+2 and decides to reroll this time rolling a 5. Therefore he has a total of 6+5+2=13. The American admiral rolls 6+4=10.
The result 13:10 means one American BU has been destroyed (the Japanese admiral takes one of the ship's BU prisms from the American admiral and places it on the bottom of his Admiral Card). Therefore at the end the Japanese admiral already has got two victory points (one for the destroyed ship E, one for the damaged ship D). The American got lucky to keep his ship D floating and still has three victory points from the island tile he controls.
Note that four of the Japanese bombers are now face down on the Admiral Card, this is because they need to be armed next turn in order to be able to strike again.
At the end of his turn the Japanese admiral has to move his fighters. Because he is content with the results of his first attack he decides to focus his defense on his only troopship so that he can gain control of at least one island tile and he also wants to defend his ship D where he has four of his bombers on board.
Next up it will be the American admiral's turn. Presumably he will stick to his plan. He will move his battleship A two tiles forward and fire at the aircraft carrier E (three dice against one).
The bombers from his damaged ship D will be attacking the enemy ship F (three dice against one). His two remaining bombers will be striking at the battleship C where a favorable result will be essential (two dice against two).
The game has not been decided yet...