In this preview of Axis & Allies Pacific 1940 I will go over some of the changes and unique rules of this game. This new edition of rules includes new units, such as mechanized infantry and tactical bombers, naval bases, air bases, new strategic bombing rules, kamikaze, convoys, major and minor industrial complexes, new unit prices, scrambling air units, national objectives, new China rules, and declarations of war. There is a lot to absorb and many rules that can be easily overlooked.

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Order of Play

The order of play is as follows:

  1. Japan
  2. USA
  3. China
  4. UK
  5. ANZAC

Changes to Units

Depending on the edition to which you are comparing A&A Pacific 1940, the unit prices and attack/defend/movement values may be the same or different. I’ll list some important differences here:

  • Tanks now cost 6 IPCs to produce and defend on a 3.
  • Entry level or minor industrial complex is only 12 IPCs but a major industrial complex is 30 IPCs.
  • Submarines are only 6 IPCs but now defend on a 1 instead of a 2.
  • Submarines as usual, treat hostile sea zones as friendly and they also do not block enemy movement.
    • A transport can load with an enemy submarine in the same sea zone.
    • Sea units ending combat in a sea zone with only submarines can choose to attack or not.
    • Sea units may end non-combat movement in sea zones that contain only subs.
    • If a transport is unaccompanied by surface ships and ends in or passes through a sea zone with only subs (in combat or non-combat), then each sub may choose to attack the transports. The subs roll one die each and hit on a 2. Only one round of rolling is conducted. Transports that survive may continue movement or end their move in that sea zone.
  • Aircraft carriers have no attack value but are only 16 IPCs
  • Aircraft carriers are now capital ships and take two hits to be destroyed.
  • Damaged aircraft carriers cannot carry aircraft. Air units cannot take off nor land on it. Defending aircraft that intended to land on that carrier must land on another carrier or move one space to land or be destroyed.
  • If aircraft are stuck on an damaged aircraft carrier, they cannot take off from the aircraft carrier until the carrier is repaired. In this case, if the carrier is lost the aircraft are lost too.
  • Aircraft can only be “stuck” on an aircraft carrier if it is carrying other Allied aircraft (as cargo) during an attack and the carrier takes a hit.
  • Aircraft carriers and battleships can only be repaired at naval bases. They are repaired for free during the purchase units phase.
  • A new AA gun costs 6 IPCs.
  • AA guns are only used for military battles and are not fired during strategic bombing raids. Separate rules apply for AA gun fire on industrial complexes, naval bases, and airbases.
  • A bomber now costs 12 IPCs.

New Units

A&A Pacific 1940 introduces two new units that will prove to be very useful under various conditions during the game. The new units are mechanized infantry and the tactical bomber.

Mechanized Infantry

  • Cost 4, attack 1, defend 2, move 2
  • Mechanized infantry may blitz a territory if and only if accompanied by a tank. A tank can only be paired with one mechanized infantry for blitzing.
  • Editorial: this unit becomes very useful after Japan starts to take over much of Asia.

Tactical bomber

  • Cost 11, attack 3, defend 3, move 4
  • May land on an aircraft carrier.
  • When paired with a fighter, the tactical bomber attacks at 4. A fighter can only be paired with one tactical bomber.
  • When paired with a tank, the tactical bomber attacks a 4. A tank can only be paired with one tactical bomber.

Industrial Complexes

The rules and prices for industrial complexes have changed in such a way to make them a more interesting aspect of the game. There are two types of industrial complexes: minor and major.

  • No new industrial complex may be placed on an island. The rules list Australia as an island and an exception, according to Krieghund, this is a mistake. Australia is not an island.
  • The pieces are no longer plastic but instead are cardboard counters.
  • Industrial complexes can be repaired during the purchase units phase. The the amount you want to repair and remove that number of chips immediately.
  • Industrial complexes include their own AA guns to protect themselves only during strategic bombing raids.
  • Minor industrial complexes
    • Can only produce 3 units each turn.
    • Can only be placed on territories with an IPC values of 2 or higher.
    • Can be upgraded to a major industrial complex for 20 IPCs but only on a territory worth 3 IPCs or higher.
    • Maximum damage from a strategic bombing is 6.
  • Major industrial complexes
    • Can only produce 10 units each turn.
    • Can only be placed on territories with an IPC values of 3 or higher.
    • Maximum damage from a strategic bombing is 20.

Airbases and Naval Bases

The value of sea bases to repair damaged capital ships is obvious but the movement bonus for both airbases and naval bases is crucial for the naval war, especially for the USA launching aircraft.


  • Cost 15 IPCs.
  • Can be placed on any territory.
  • Can be attacked by a strategic bombing.
  • Take a maximum of 6 damage.
  • Become non-operational when hit with 3 or more points of damage.
  • Both bases can be repaired during the purchase units phase. The the amount you want to repair and remove that number of chips immediately.
  • Include their own AA guns to protect themselves only during strategic bombing raids.


  • Aircraft that launch from a territory with an airbase gain 1 extra movement.
  • Airbases enable aircraft in the territory to scramble to defend an adjacent sea zone when that sea zone is attacked. See Scramble below for more information.

Naval bases

  • Ships in a sea zone adjacent to a territory with a naval base gain 1 extra movement
  • Repair capital ships for free during the Purchase & Repair units phase of the owning player’s turn.
  • Can repair any friendly capital ship.


Airbases provide the ability for fighters and tactical bombers to defend the sea zone surrounding an island that contains the airbase.

  • Only applies to airbases on islands.
    • An island is any single territory surrounded by a single sea zone.
  • Strategic bombers cannot scramble.
  • Scrambled aircraft are considered defending the sea zone.
  • Scrambled aircraft can join other defending units or be alone.
  • Aircraft that scramble cannot participate in another battle.
  • Must move back to the island during after the attacker completes the combat phase and before the attacker starts the non-combat phase.
  • May move up to one space if the island of origin has been captured or else be lost.


Only the Japanese player has the ability to make a special “attack” called a kamikaze. Although it is called an attack, no aircraft are used to complete this special ability.

  • The kamikaze maybe used only 6 times during the game.
  • May only be used after one of the following have been captured or re-captured: Okinawa, Iwo Jima, the Marianas, or the Philippines.
  • May only be conducted in the sea zones with a kamikaze symbol: Japan, Okinawa, Iwo Jima, the Marianas, Formosa, and the Philippines.
  • The kamikaze attacks occur at the beginning of an Allied player’s combat phase.
  • The Japanese player may decide to make one or more kamikaze attack. The player then,
    • How many attacks to use
    • Chooses which sea zones
    • Choose the specific unit to attack
    • Rolls one die for each attack and a roll of 2 or less scores one hit.
  • A kamikaze may target any naval ship except transports and submarines.
  • More than one kamikaze may be assigned to the same ship.

More to Come

In the next preview article, we will review the rules for the declaration of war, China, Convoys, strategic bombing with escorts, and national objectives.