I have always been a fan of Pacific-based games and was really happy when I discovered Empire of The Sun. There is some entrance barrier here, as the rules are rather complex – not that they are difficult, but meticulously prepared and trying to cover various accepts of this game. Still, I had so much fun, especially in my first two attempts to play that title (see here: Struggle over Pacific – EotS for the first time and 1943 over Pacific – EotS for the second time) that whenever possible I am coming back to it. Of course, it is good to have dedicated players, who are willing to familiarize with the system – and I am blessed to have such – but with forced lockdown in place, the only option for me now is solitaire. As I had one thing which was evading me for a long time – as always, lack of time – that forced isolation gave me and excuse to test it. What was it? See below!

The Scenario


South Pacific is an Empire of the Sun C3i Scenario Variant that uses the full scope of its parent design. While South Pacific is a complete stand alone game, all of the tactics that work in EotS work in this set-up. What is unique about South Pacific – and what is really like – is the smaller map region focuses and significantly simplifies the strategic options available to the two sides.

So what do we have here? Each side has a 24 card deck that are like the Empire of the Sun cards except they have been renumbered. The counter mix is also identical, except we have aligned the set up and reinforcement markings to the four-turn scenario. All of the relevant tracks have been redesigned by Mark Simonitch to fit on the tailored C3i Mapsheet surface that shines a spotlight on the turning point in the Pacific War.

As this is a subset of the broader war each player is playing with a four rather than a seven card hand – which speeds up the game significantly. You will also never reshuffle the deck allowing for high replayability.  Definitely, if you learn to how to play South Pacific you will also know how to play its parent game Empire of the Sun.


Not too many pieces for this scenario so all were clipped – they really look much better then!
Japanese Imperial forces also went through clipping – increasing aesthetic aspect of the play enormously.
The situation at the beginning of the scenario. Japan controls 12 ports/resources while Americans only 9. Who will have more at the end of the game – wins! (click to enlarge)

The session report

What follows is a photo-session report – I am of opinion that picture is worth thousand words. Hope you will enjoy it! Now, I was playing that game solitaire – no possibility to meet with friends yet. You may ask how I did that?

Well, with such games there is always a problem how to introduce the bots. What I did I invited my two very eager and willing to play “planes and ships” sons – 5 and 7 year old ones. One of them was leading the US and the other Japan. Both had cards in their respective hands, they know pretty well the colors so I was asking them – “Do you have yellow card to play?”, or after offensive “Do you have blue to counter-attack?” or when playing offensive “These are two good options, which do you choose”? Believe me, they proved to be superb AI, providing so much chaos and needed randomness into the game that I think neither side was favored 🙂 And we had great, quality time in family atmosphere.

Without further delay, let us see what happened!

Turn 1 (May-Aug 1942)

Americans star with a huge offensive, only to be intercepted by Japan Navy. The sea battle goes well for Yankees but the Amphibious Assault of 1st Marine Division is a disaster.
Still, US intelligence is able to pull nasty tricks from their sleeve – Yamamoto is gone.
Japan Navy is executing its own limited offensives – like above very lucky air battle (no American interception)
Without better targets, Japan attacks Port Moresby to soften the US forces there. With some great results!
Situation at the end of Turn 2; US disaster  at Guadalcanal will haunt them for the entire game (click to enlarge)

Turn 2 (Sep-Dec 1942)

The turn starts with very good play by Japan – War in Europe, which will delay US reinforcements. One of the best ways for Empire to limit the strength of American forces in Pacific.
On the other hand, US Army and Navy ends their dispute. They can now combine their forces to attack the enemy.
Small-scale attacks are hard to intercept; one of such successful raids by Japan Navy in Gili Gili.
Another attempt by Americans to land the US Marine Division – this time in Bougainville – unfortunately, another failure.
So US command decided to change tactics – they will target Japan forces in order to destroy them and only at the end of scenario will try to execute a crushing blow.
The loses slowly piles-up (after Turn 2)
Situation at the end of Turn 2; strategically not much happened, but Japan forces start to feel the war of attrition (click to enlarge)

Turn 3 (Jan-Apr 1943)

Another grand-scale Naval battle near Bougainville. All with aim to destroy Japan forces. And it works out – US rolls are much better then Japanese.
At the same time, seeing no other option, US Command decides that land offensive in New Guinea is best way to get the VPs. And they are fully right! First victory here!
Last play of the turn moves the War in Europe to the level allowing the Americans to bring reinforcements.
Situation at the end of Turn 3; progress in New Guinea and war of attrition on the sea (click to enlarge)

Turn 4 (May-Aug 1943)

Beginning of last turn; both sides armed to the teeth.
Inhabitants of Bougainville are witnesses to the third grand naval battle in that region. Still, due to very poor rolls, pretty inconclusive!
The US land offensive is in much better shape – another VP taken from Empire and the score is now only 11-12!
They had it coming. Depleted Japan fleet is being obliterated – not without losses – by the US one.
The town of Wewag is changing the owner couple of time during the turn. Only to be finally held by Imperial army.
Situation at the end of Turn 4; very exciting finish, with both navies engaged in multiple battles and grand US offensives on land; still Japan wins! (click to enlarge)
Both sides had very heavy losses, but the price Japan paid for victory would be detrimental in long run (click to enlarge)


That was fun – both playing EotS and spending time with children. The scenario is a great entry position for all the players who would like to familiarize themselves with Empire of the Sun. And a very balanced and interesting puzzle for both sides – strongly recommended!