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Pocket General World War II by Pacific Rim Publishing  This game is definitely new territory for me. I have...

Pocket General World War II by Pacific Rim Publishing Pocket General World War II by Pacific Rim Publishing

Pocket General World War II by Pacific Rim Publishing

Pocket General World War II by Pacific Rim Publishing

Pocket General World War II


Pacific Rim Publishing

 This game is definitely new territory for me. I have been used to at least playing on a 11"x17" map for some tactical games. This game map is even smaller than that. I am also used to cutting and popping out counters by the page-full; again, not with this game. So, what exactly do we have here? Is this a 'wargame light' version of World War II, and do I need to buy some pretzels and beer, or is this actually a deep wargame hidden in a small box?

 This is what comes with the game:

Players' Cards
11 Axis units
11 Allied Units
18 Location Hexes
5 War and Initiative Tokens
2 Ops Dice
Rule Booklet
Small Box

 The last listing is right on the money. The box is 6" by a little more than 4", and about 1 1/2" deep. The components are nowhere near what you would expect in a game that comes with a $20 retail tag. The Map/Game Board is made of the same material as most mounted Maps, and is durable and well designed. It is made up of four pieces that fold up nicely. The Game Board is cut into two pieces. The first is a map of the world sans the two Americas. The other half is the actual Battle Board and the country you choose to play Recruitment Box. In this game you can play either Russia/US or Japan/Germany. You can actually play the United Kingdom or Italy also, but the rules are not in the rulebook and are found on the Pacific Rim Publishing webpage. The main difference is the Italians use a Mussolini counter and the United Kingdom uses an RAF one. The two Player Cards are the only thing that resemble something from a game of this price. They are both well done and easy to read, however, they are are made on pretty flimsy, almost see through paper. What I did was to copy both of mine before playing in case of any accidents. The Player Cards have the Recruitment info on one side, and the Combat Chart on the other. The three sheets of counters are, just like the Game Board, made of thick cardboard stock. Every counter is just a picture of the unit it represents, or one of the terrain in each hex you will be fighting over. The Rule booklet is eleven pages long. The rules are clear and concise. The printing is small (naturally), but not a problem if your prescription is up to date. The die are both eight-sided and the numbers are colored either red or blue. The die have anywhere form +3 to -2 on each of their sides. All in all, a very nicely done package for a wargame that is so small. This is the sequence of play:

"1. Move Location Markers forward to fill the 3
Combat Hexes
 2. Recruit Units
 a. Move the 6 Core Units to the Recruit box
 b. Players may Recruit an additional unit
 3. Place the Threat Markers
 4. Players take turns placing all Recruited Units
 5. Resolve Combat starting with the first Location
 6. Place captured Locations on an available
Theater Marker or back in the Location Pool
 7. Check for Victory or Capitulation
 a. The first player to capture the enemy Capitol
wins a Total Victory, or
 b. The player who captures 9 Locations forces
Capitulation and wins
 8. If there is no winner, rotate the Initiative Marker
to alternate players, repeat the steps above.
Players alternate going first each turn. Rotate the Initiative marker to point at player going first each turn.
To win the war, players battle for vast locations. The
16 Locations represent the terrain the global powers
fought to control. Locations are color coded. These
colors match the Theater Marker edges players must
control to win.
Fast Play Option: Play without Step 2, Recruit Units. Follow these
two rules instead, then skip to Step 3, Place the Threat Markers.
• All 11 units are recruited and must be played every turn.
• Place up to 4 units on any of the three combat Locations."

 So, now the big question. Does it play like a small wargame or does it have more in common with its larger brethren? The game designer describes the game as a mixture of Chess and a Wargame. I believe he has hit the nail on the head. At first glance you might be tempted to think that the units and play is just glorified 'Paper, Rock, Scissors'. In this you would be sadly mistaken. This is not Stratego put into a smaller box. This is a thinking man's wargame that is something that most wargames are not. That one big difference is portability. The game takes up a smaller area than most paperback books. So, you can take it anywhere. The footprint of the game takes up roughly one person's place at a dining room table. The quickness of play, not simplicity, and the size of the game gives the wargame the ability to place this almost anywhere and anytime. Once again, I have been deceived by my prejudices for a lot of years. Bigger is Better, and the more weight a rulebook has, was always my mantra. I have seen the error of my ways with area movement maps, block games, and now small is also good if not great. If this keeps up I might actually buy some Rogaine next month, who knows (although bald is infinitely easier).

 This is how Combat is resolved:

"After all units are placed, start from the first Combat
Hex and resolve combat in this order:
1. The first player uses their Spy (if present) to remove
an enemy unit. Move both units to their Depleted
2. The other player uses their Spy, if present, the same
3. Both players calculate the Combat Values of their
remaining units. Include negatives for Weather,
Anti-Aircraft values and all other combat affects.
4. Both players roll their Operations Die, and add or
subtract it to their Combat Value. This generates a
Combat Roll;
• If one player’s Combat Roll is greater than the
other, and that player has a MILITARY unit present, the higher roll wins. The winner must place the Location on their Theater Marker.
• If a player’s Combat Roll is greater, but they have
no MILITARY unit present, or no Theater Marker
edge available to place the Location, the player
cannot take the Location. Instead, place it at the
end of the Location Pool. The player may then
choose a different Location Marker in the Pool
and move it to the front of the Pool.
• If both players Combat Rolls are the same value, count the number of MILITARY units in the location. If one player has more MILITARY units, that player wins the Location."

 As I said, simple but deep and effective. Thank you Pacific Rim Publishing for letting me review this odd (at least for me), but good wargame. 

Pacific Rim Publishing:

Pocket General World War II:

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