The Battle of Buariki

I’ve received the permission from Mark Walker, Lock ‘n Load Head Honcho, to share with you a playtest scenario AAR from one of his upcoming games currently in the playtest phase, Heroes of the Pacific. This game is currently on pre-order status, and if you’re interested in it you should head over and pre-order it. I previously had the opportunity at a local gaming convention, Game On, to test the game with one of Lock ‘n Load’s leading playtesters, Mike Panikowski. When asked by Mark if I wanted to continue playtesting I quickly agreed. Hopefully, my enthusiasm for this game in this wonderful series will be accurately shared in this illustrated AAR.

Follow this link to head over to Lock ‘n Load’s website and pre-order Heroes of the Pacific.

Note: All components seen are playtest material, and have been poorly constructed and put together by yours truly, so they do not represent what the final game will look like. 

Scenario Deployment/Setup:

Japanese setup first, however are restricted in that they must setup between hex rows E and H as spelled out in the above Order of Battle. I grouped my forces in two groups, supported by the two leaders provided in the scenario. This was to allow for possible Banzai attacks, which I’ll get into great detail about later on in the AAR. I mistakenly gave the 50mm Mortar to a Japanese squad which I incorrectly placed in a heavy jungle, one of the hex types that does not allow it to fire from. The two support weapons were given to those squads to hopefully maximize the field of fire, and foxholes deployed fairly aggressively to put a real stop in the Allied advance.

The Allied deploy second, and don’t have many options. There is a large marsh running diagonally on the map, which costs 2 movement points to cross allowing for two opportunity fire attempts as referenced below:

5.3 Opportunity Fire

A unit entering a hex with a movement point (MP) cost greater than 1 can be subjected to opportunity fire (OP) attacks equaling the MP cost of the hex (thus two OF attacks can be made on a unit entering a Light Woods hex), even if the first attack Shakes the unit, forcing it to stop moving.

I set my Allied forces up in either blocking or degrading hexes, so as to prevent any initial fire being taken from the Japanese. This is directly related to how line of sight (LOS) and spotting.

10.1 Spotting

Even if a unit has LOS to its target, the attacker might not see the enemy. To be able to fire on an enemy hex, it must be spotted. Hexes, rather than units, are spotted, so if one unit in a hex is spotted, the entire hex is spotted.

By deploying my squads in degrading and blocking terrain, I effectively prevent any opening fire without first firing or moving my units. With this in mind I can aggressively deploy without fear of being deployed in the open. The same would not be true if you place your units in open terrain, as your opponent could open up straight out of the gate.

Deployment prior to the start of the game. Japanese deployed in two groups, with support weapons deployed to hopefully maximize field of fire. Allied units deployed in degrading or blocking terrain to conceal their location and prevent taking fire.

So this is where we are left with after deployment. One word of wisdom, take time when deploying as one wrong move can have fairly drastic results. Take into consideration the victory conditions as spelled out in the scenario, as the winner of each scenario is the one who typically plays with those conditions in mind. And this is where we’ll leave off. The next update will cover the opening moves and will highlight the following:

  • Off-Board Artillery
  • Ninjutsu Movement
  • Opportunity Fire

Stay tuned!


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