Codex Gamicus

Gary Grigsby's Pacific War is a 1992 strategy wargame released by Strategic Simulations, Inc.. It covers World War II in the Pacific between the Imperial forces of the Japanese Empire and the Allies, which include the USA, the British Empire, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the Philippines, and China. The main map of the game stretches from north of the Aleutians to southern New Zealand and Australia, and from the eastern coast of India to the West Coast of North America. It includes aircraft carrier operations, amphibious assaults, surface bombardments/engagements, strategic bombing, kamikazes, and the submarine war against naval and merchant shipping.

The most recent version, 3.2 or the "Matrix Version", is currently available as a freeware download from Matrix Games.[1]


Map and units[]

The game uses an approximation map of the overall Pacific theater, with strategic locations being the focal point of action. Units employed are individual ships (down to light cruisers), destroyer/DE/patrol boat squadrons, groups of freighters and transport ships, air squadrons, and ground units down to battalion level. The game also uses historical HQ units and leaders, who can be assigned to different levels and types of command, and who can influence the course of gameplay by their numerical ratings.

Game concepts[]

Logistic simulation consists of "supplies", representing food, fuel, ammunition and spare parts. Supply is an important factor - an infantry division that has no supplies will surrender in short order. The Japanese player needs to also be concerned with delivering oil and resources to the home islands, to keep Japanese industry running. The computer handles most of this automatically, but the game also allows a player to manually move oil, resources, fuel, and supplies by using merchant shipping.

Each side has production every turn of new ships, aircraft, and generic armor/artillery/infantry replacements. This takes place in factories in Japan, the USA, and to a lesser extent in England, Australia, China and India. Over the course of the game, newer ship and aircraft types will become available at approximately the historical date they were produced. The player will sometimes be given the option of upgrading, or may do so manually. The player may also manually change factory types if desired. Strategic bombing can destroy factories or even kill civilians.

The Allies will also automatically conduct research for the atomic bomb each turn.

Damaged ships and aircraft may be repaired each turn.

Air and land formations (including carrier air groups) each have a numerical experience rating, ranging from "green" to "elite". This rating has significant benefits to a units' effectiveness as it increases. Air units may actually be assigned "training" missions to increase this rating.

During the automated supply phase of each players' turn, submarine attacks versus merchant shipping are resolved by the computer, as are ASW operations by escort vessels and aircraft patrols.


The game is a turn-based setup, each turn covering 1 week. It can be played as a solo player against the AI; or by two players, either on the same computer, or by email play. A solo player can choose either the Allied or Japanese commander. Game balance can also be adjusted to give one side or the other 'help' or 'maximum help', resulting in that side getting more replacements, improved production, and faster reinforcements.

There are provisions for fighting shorter campaigns: the Japanese offensive period; Coral Sea - Midway period; Guadalcanal; the Marianas landings; or the Leyte Gulf battles. Alternately, you can select the entire war from December 1941 Pearl Harbor, or a slightly shorter version from 1942 to surrender.

End notes[]

The game AI, playing as the Japanese, will pursue submarine warfare against Allied merchant vessels, which is not historical; the Imperial Japanese Navy almost exclusively used submarines for attacking warships and special missions.[2] It does, however, present a challenge to the Allied player.

Usually, the game ends in an Allied victory, the main consideration being when the fighting will end; as early as 1943 or as late as 1946. There is a possibility for the Allies suing for peace, but it is exceedingly difficult to accomplish. (This may have been a glitch in the earlier versions; getting the Japanese to surrender before the end of 1945 was also exceedingly difficult.)

The game was originally designed and programmed by Gary Grigsby, produced by George MacDonald, and with game development by Joel Billings, David Landrey and James Young.


  1. [1], Pacific War game documentation.
  2. The Pacific War 1941-1945, J. Costello, 1982

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