For those of us that like our strategic entertainment martial and historical 2008 wasn’t exactly a stellar year. AGEOD kept their end up well enough, Matrix Games produced the odd semi-precious gem, and Combat Mission: Shock Force finally started looked like the game thousands of CMx1 fans hoped it would be, but overall it was a stale, depressing twelve months. The famine may explain why I’m moderately excited about War Plan Pacific, a pared-down WW2 wargame from new outfit KE Studios.
The 4-turn demo is a wonderfully elegant thing. KES appear to have captured the character of the Pacific war without simulating every marine, maru, and crate of catalina parts. There’s no confusing logistics or annoying taskforce babysitting. You just assign your ships to fleets then send those fleets off to patrol, raid, or attempt invasions. Moves are plotted simultaneously on the main map, with resulting battles conducted through a trim battle screen. Victory conditions are intelligent, the AI seems competent, the action plausible… my only real concern is longevity. Carriers At War, another PTO wargame with a likeable less-is-more design approach, ultimately torpedoed itself with a slim scenario selection. WPP doesn’t look particularly well endowed in that department either.