As a World War II game, Flames of War has had one glaring omission since its inception – it was focused entirely on the European Theater of Operations. This trend is not uncommon in wargames in general, as the European Conflict tends to get more press and have greater awareness in much of the World. However, after forays into the Viet Nam War, the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War, World War I, and even a hypothetical World War III between NATO and the Warsaw Pact in the mid-1980’s, Flames of War is finally entering the Asia-Pacific Theater of Operations. John-Paul gave us a bit of a preview in his update at the first of the year, but that only basically released the names of the two books – Gung Ho for the U.S. Marines and Banzai for the Japanese – with little in the way of details. However, now a couple of the leading wargaming blogs have received and reviewed advanced copies of the first of the two books – Gung Ho.
The guys over at Behind Enemy Lines released their review which provides some more of the juicy details about the book itself. Breakthrough Assault also has a review up of book which covers a lot of the same territory as the Behind Enemy Lines review. At this point you have the option of taking rifle and tank companies, though if you’re using Pacific War points an M4A2 Sherman runs about 500 points! Late War point values are provided as well to make the lists “portable” to play against ETO Flames of War armies. Naval gunfire support has been revised for PTO, and it is now limited to the smaller template – so no more “pizza box” in the words of the guys over at Breakthrough Assault. Some other interesting options are “War Dogs” which prevent ambushing within 10 inches, canister rounds for the 37mm guns, and Corsairs with napalm. BEL mentions flame tanks and Seabees as well.
Both sites were very impressed with their copies of the books and saw it as a solid entry into the Pacific for Flames of War. I proofread an early copy of the book, and it sounds like a lot of the best bits made it through into the final product. I’m now anxiously awaiting a review of the Banzai book, as I’ve always wanted to do a Japanese Pacific Theater Army for Flames of War – honestly it’s probably what’s going onto my painting table once the Black Brigade vacates the space!
Edit – ask and ye shall receive! Behind Enemy Lines now has their review of Banzai, the Japanese forces in the Pacific. They note that while there are similarities in the companies between Banzai and Rising Sun, there are enough differences to give Banzai a much more “Pacific feel.” They go into some detail on the various lists, and also include some photos of the Type 2 Ka Mi amphibious tanks as well as some photos of the Type I Ho-Ni I tank destroyer armed with a 75mm gun (see below).
I really can’t wait to get my hands on the Banzai book as the lists and models appear to be awesome. I also wrote a lot of the history and flavor text for the book, so hopefully everyone enjoys those parts of the book as well!