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 Copyright Eric Pietrocupo

E-Mail: ericp[AT]lariennalibrary.com

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Pacific Storm (the title might change)

Page: GameIdea.GameIdea201003230835AM - Last Modified : Sat, 07 Nov 20 - 3027 Visits
How much do you like this idea?

3.5 stars Rating 6.4/10 from 5 votes
Vote Distribution: 1 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 4 – 0

Very Good (10/10) The game is very interesting, make it as soon as possible.
Good (8/10) Great idea but some modifications are required.
Fair (6/10) Interesting but a lot of things are missing.
Bad (4/10) Would need to completely redesign the idea in order to work.
Very Bad (2/10) It will never be interesting, abandon the idea.
Already Exist (0/10) Do not waste time of this game idea.

Status: CLOSED

  • Have a good idea of the mechanics to use
  • a 2 player game due to hidden information, multiplayer not possible.
  • Got new ideas from Wrath of the Dark Prince which could reopen the game eventualy.

Progress: Prototyped
Priority: High
Number of players: 1 - 3 players
Expected Play time: 120 - 180 minutes, but would prefer 60-90 min


The idea behind this game is to create a simple Pacific World War 2 game that would recreate the feeling of the war's strategy. Perfect simulation is not an objective for this game, playability is more important.


I want to create a WW2 pacific war game that is not too complicated and that really reproduce the strategy of pacific war.


The "Pacific Theater of Operation" video game is my primary source of inspiration. It is the game that give me interest in world war 2. "Victory Pacific" is also a game that triggered this idea. The map design in that game helped me to my own map. I had no clue how to design the map before playing that game. The "Ring of red" video game was also a source of inspiration for the alternate reality scenarios.

Priority Evaluation

Theme vs Mechanics: I have a good mechanic pool from video games that I need to adapt but i could be working.
Video vs Board Game: This game should be playable on both platform.
Single vs Multi player: This game should really be multi player because of the decision making and hidden information. It would be a 2 or 3 player game, but still multiplayer.
Rating = 5/12


? Cartography: Map is required, but it could be represented as a graph.
+ No Scripting: There is no special abilities.


The game would rely on a system of supply routes since the whole war in the pacific consisted in opening and cutting supply routes. I will use bingo chips on the hexes, like shown in the picture below, so that we can easily know city which city is owned by who and how the cities are supplied.

Hidden information is also another aspect of the game. All fleet and troop locations does not appear on the map. I intend to use a system of cards to achieve this. I hope the game would still be playable.

There will be some additional rules/scenario to play alternate reality settings. These includes changes to how in happened in history and fictional technologies like walkers.

Problems that prevent development

Even if I don't want an exact historical replication, it must still be possible to create somethings similar to history. For example, the Japanese conquered all Indonesia in 6 months (which means 2 turns in my game) that must be possible to achieve the same thing in my game.

Game balance is also another problem. I must plan the expansion and compression phase of the Japanese. I also need to force the Americans to invest in Europe, if there is too much investment required, it will be easier for the Japanese. If too few investments are requires the Japanese will have no chance to expand.

I might even need to do some research on available and fictional technologies during world war 2.

December 10th, 2013: Even if the new hidden planing and enemy detection looks awesome, the biggest issue that prevent this game from progressing is the map design. In fact the world map does not change but it's rather how it should be split. First I prefer regular patterns, and I found an amazing hex system that could switch direction giving more flexibility. The first problem to make each hex represent a meaningful location, that is very hard to do. The second problem is to have the right density of hex. Too many hexes requires too many cards, too few hexes creates little strategic options.

News, changes and updates

August 3rd, 2012: The biggest change to this design is that I intend to make a pocket version of the game. This way, it will take much less time to play and will be much more accessible. I made a quick playtest and shrinking the board had a very interesting impact on the game. I was even surprised that I will be able to keep most of the features of the game even with a smaller board.

The next major change will be to remove fleet movement from the game. At the beginning of your turn, players will always have their fleet pooled in their reserve. They will be allowed to rearrange their fleet as they need it and when ready, place a stack of tokens directly on target location card they want to move. This should make fleet management easier, reduce cross referencing and reduce the number of cards placed on the board.

August 20th, 2012: The ideas keep coming in so I have made additional progress. I have almost completed the combat resolution mechanic. That will be the core of the game and will include almost all the details of the war I wanted. The only drawback so far is the time taken to resolve the battle and the use of the division operator in the mechanics which could be a bad thing even if the divider is always the same.

Else the biggest work to do is to define data. I try to base my game first on other PTO video games and second on historical data found on some website. Basing myself on video game is essential because there are some information that cannot be acquired with historical data. Like for example: What are the strengths and weakness of a certain admiral.

The biggest problem is the design of the map. It seems that the map in the picture below has too little hex which gives little strategy considering you can attack anything adjacent to you supply net. But I cannot place too many hexes because it would require a bigger board and it would require much more location cards. So I need to find a balance between these 2 and that is complicated. Right now, I intend to make a 3 panel map instead of 2 since if I want all north America on the map, the proportions force the map to be larger if I want to cover most of the space on the sheet. So in the end, the map would be at most 8x15.75 if I want the game to fit in a 9"x6" box.

October 3rd, 2013: There are not tons of full theater pacific war board games out there, so I decided to take a look at the rules, or play the game when I had a chance to see how they implemented certain concepts of the war. From what I remember, I took a look at the following games:

  • Victory pacific: Read rules, played Game
  • Typhon sur le Pacific: Read the rules, will play soon
  • Victory in the pacific: Read the rules
  • Fire in the sky: Read the rules
  • Empire of the sun: Read the rules

So you might be wondering what will my game look like. My first source of inspiration is the PTO 2 video game. Still, some board game adaptation will be inspired from the board game above, but it general, I think my game will be pretty different. Because the objective is to do a good game based on historical elements, rather than making a simulation of history. Some optional rules could make the game more or less historical according to the taste of the players. Still, the priority will always be put on gameplay first then on history.

Here are a few things that might be different from the games above:

  • Control of Production: Players will be in control of their ship and unit production. Yes, you need to plan your carrier production 6 turns in advance is it can take almost 2 years to build. So there are no planned reinforcement.
  • Control of Technology: Players must make investment in various technology field to gain new technology and equipment. Which makes the technological progress of both side very different that what actually happened in history. It also allow the Japanese to surpass the American if they do well, which is a thing not allowed in historical games.
  • No Movements: There are not really units movements. So there is no logistic planning to do. Instead all the ships are pooled at home each turn and players redeploy each turn.
  • No units on the board: The only thing on the board are control markers. The ship tokens are off board and are used for placement which can be on cards or on the board. Else there are no infantry or plane units. Those units are spawned on the battle board during a battle only. Planes are also included in bases and carriers, no need to manage their movement. The exception might be for long range bombers. We will see.
  • Hidden Information: All fleet movement will be completely hidden. So you will have to guess where your opponent is attacking you with what units. Or use scouting and espionage to reveal some of the information.
  • European Theater: USA must send forces in europe to make sure england does not fall to the German. The US player will have to evaluate the amount of forces required to be sent in europe to make sure germany does not wins. If the Japanese place enough preassure, that could give USA a dilema because bad consequences will occur if england falls.
  • Variable Political Behavior: Certain event in the game will trigger other events. For example, if Germany takes england, the commonwealth countries will retire from the game. If the allies wins in europe, the USSR will enter war in a specific nb of turns. If australia supply lines are cut, it pull off the war.
  • Alternate history scenario: There are also optional rules and scenario to create different stories with different political situation or technology level, or historical units, etc. So the game can be adjusted to player's taste and has a certain level of replayability even if historical.

That's all I can think so far. I think I intend to make a game that will be much more flexible to appeal to various kind of target audience.

April 10th, 2017: I am currently having ideas for another project called "Wrath of the Dark Prince" to realize that I could possibly apply some of the mechanics from that game into this ww2 game. The main feature is that the map would be divided into 8 large areas with possibly 3 base location each. Ships would still use cards for hidden placement, while cubes would be used troops and disk for bases. With only 8 areas, it could be easier to predict the area that are going to be attacked. I might put supply lines between the bases even if they are areas.

Possibly the amount of cubes in each area will be less important than in the other game. Not sure the action/cube system will be the same. Still, fleet cards could unlock dices which would each represent a type of weapon ( Bombs, gun, torpedoes, etc). There would be inner territory attacks and inter territory attack. You possibly need to control all or 2/3 of bases in an area before attacking an adjacent area. Or if you do attack, you will not be able to supply the base.

As for Wrath of the dark prince, I am aiming this game for 1 to 3 players. The solitaire version would be played by switching side in the middle of the war. Else the 2 player game would be the "regular" mode. While the 3 player game would allow the 3rd player to manage the allies of the USA instead of using an AI script.

I will fusion together the mechanics of dark prince with the ideas I had for Pacific Storm. For example, assignment could still exists, but they would represent policies chosen by the country. Its much more easier to adapt a game when you have a working system. I could possibly use the same map size, but the game could end up with lot of cards. Hope it will all fit in the box. The game could probably be manufactured on Game Crafters. I am also not sure if I could keep the game under 60-90 minutes. I also want the player to handle production and tech development to make the game less historical, but not sure if I could handle it. It would also be cool to have a double sided map, not sure if game crafters can handle it.

I'll first try to finish Wrath of the Dark prince, and then see what I can do with this game.


Pocket version of the game, first map prototype

Pocket Pacific Storm 1st prototype map

Play Testing and Changes proposals

Playtest August 2012

Prototype Pictures

I am trying to find the optimal hex grid for game play and for having a good match with the geography. I will now try deformed hexes and even pentagons.
First playtest of the pocket version of the game. Interesting, but there is still some work to simplify the management of the forces. I have the ideas to do it, it will wait for the next playtest.
First playtest when I tested everything at once. It took 1h30 to setup and I could not complete a full turn in 1 hour. The game was really too much fiddly.
Example: Action point - Step 1Example: Action point - Step 2
Close up of the recent playtestRecent mini-playtest I have made
The new paper map unrolledI made a new assembled map in paper

Initial Map setup

Related Threads

Board Game Geek: Meditating on a focus vs spread strategy (may 17,2013)
Board Game Designer Forum: Meditating on a focus vs spread strategy ( may 17, 2013)
Board Game Geek: ww2 pacific Intelligence (sep 23, 2013)
Board Game Designer Forum: ww2 pacific Intelligence (sep 23, 2013)

Development Log

27-aug-2016IdeaI watcheda video Review of Sun Tzu, which have an interesting mechanism of hidden card play with a low amount of regions(5). Feels a bit like Lord of the Rings confrontation. Now, the idea keeping a low amount of regions (like5-8) with maybe bluff cards, and using fleet cards and only cubes for landed troops, could be a solution to make this game work. It will feel more abstract, but it could be possible to put all things in there like building new fleet cards or repairing them once used, developping new technologies to change TN for dice rolls which could work like my LOTR confrontation dice variant. There is something to explore over there.
24-aug-2012ProblemsI have trouble finding the optimal map grid. I need to make sure there is not too few or too much hex and that the pattern match relatively well the geography of the map. When this will be found, I can start designing bases and play the game.
7-Aug-2012IdeaSome people made me realised that placing fleet as bidding looks similar to Vinci/Smallworld's conquest mechanic. Which gave me the idea of using such mechanic probably for army movement.
27-Jul-2012IdeaI am thinking of making a pocket version of the game where the majority of the game fit on a letter size page. Some elements will be simplified and abstracted, but most feature will still be kept even if the game is smaller
24-Sep-2011IdeaThe default setup will be made after the first 3-6 months of Japanese expansion. The problem is that during the first few months, the Japanese conquered half of the pacific, while when the Americans came in, it could take 6 months to capture a single island. My game cannot support a expansion which is so fast, I would need a second set of rules exception to manage the early Japanese expansion. So it would just be easier if the Japanese started with their full empire, because they really need this to survive.
16-May-2011IdeaThe land troops will not move on the board to reduce fiddlyness. Instead, each troop will be assigned to a key base that will defend an area of the board
16-May-2011IdeaTo reduce the number of dice rolled, maybe all rolls will be resolved with 2d12, when scoring only 1 hit, only 1/2 the units will attack.
09-May-2011ProblemThe game is too long and fiddly, intend to use compression of some mechanics to reduce the nub of dice rolls. Idea where you accumulate threat level and roll at the end for the results.
09-May-2011ProblemHaving a 100% hidden information game is not possible with the amount of details I want in the game. So army units and fleet markers will have to be placed directly on the board. It might conflict with bingo chips on the board. Fleet composition will stay hidden
09-May-2011IdeaMaybe the only base cards will be the major base which has repair options. Fleets must return to these bases. Might be easier to manage, since each base is a hand of card, player select cards to deploy and makes it's moves.
09-May-2011IdeaMight try to make a 1 card=1 ship game since there will be less bases cards. There might be a need to compress dice rolls.
26-Apr-2011DoneI designed a warfare resolution system for the war in europe. It consist of a track where the axis is stuck between the allies and the USSR. Many details has been taken into account including landings, winter, burned fields, etc.
24-Apr-2011IdeaShips have been grouped on cards according to their function which reduces the number of cards required and makes each unit type more balanced.
24-Apr-2011IdeaI am thinking to use actions points for fleets. It will allow them to do various kind of actions during a turn. Fleets might also act twice per turn. (once to go and once to return)
24-Apr-2011IdeaI am thinking to use a d12 (with 2D6 option) for combat and tech rolls because the value range is much larger and allow more flexibility. It also make each upgrade only increase slightly the odds.

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