Fleet Commander Nimitz
Designed by Dan Verssen
Background (Taken from Wikipedia)
Ten days after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Chester William Nimitz (February 24, 1885 – February 20, 1966) was selected as commander in chief, United States Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT), with the rank of admiral, effective December 31, 1941. He took command in a ceremony on the top deck of the submarine USS Grayling (SS-209). The change of command ceremony would normally have taken place aboard a battleship, but every battleship in Pearl Harbor had been either sunk or damaged during the attack. Assuming command at the most critical period of the war in the Pacific, Admiral Nimitz successfully organized his forces to halt the Japanese advance despite the losses from the attack on Pearl Harbor and the shortage of ships, planes, and supplies.
By Act of Congress, approved December 14, 1944, the grade of Fleet Admiral — the highest grade in the Navy — was established and the next day President Franklin Roosevelt appointed Admiral Nimitz to that rank. Nimitz took the oath of that office on December 19, 1944.
In this game you take on the role of Admiral Nimitz and command the American forces and their Allies in each Campaign. Game mechanics and die rolls have been designed into the game to control the Japanese forces.
Each Campaign Set-Up sheet not only tells the player where forces are set-up but also details your objectives for that Campaign. To secure these Objectives, you must move your Forces to the Objective Areas and Hold them. Finally, at the end of the Campaign your level of Victory is based on the number of Objectives you Hold.
Fleet Commander Nimitz is the latest release from Dan Verssen Games. It is the latest game in the “Field Commander Series” of Games all of which are Solitaire Games. I want to say right from the start that Fleet Commander Nimitz is an excellent game that is intellectually satisfying, presents unique and challenging strategic situations and is just bunches of fun to play as a Solitaire Game.
In this game you make all of the decisions needed to command the US Forces. The game rules, charts, and die rolls dictate the actions of the Japanese forces. There may be times during a game when you are required to make game decisions for the Enemy Forces. The rules provide the player with procedures to guide them in making decisions. If the rules leave the player with more than one equally valid option, they are free to choose from the available options they will play.
The game Components included in Fleet Commander Nimitz’s box are up to the normal High Quality items that are expected from Dan Verssen Games. The components that are in the oversized box are;
- 1 Full Color Mounted Map (25.5” x 22”) – 6 panels!
- 8 Full Color Counter sheets
- 1 Full Color Battle Map Board (11” x 17”)
- 1 Full Color Player Log Sheet
- 1 Rulebook
- 1 10-sided die
With the 8 Counter Sheets and a Mounted Map you can see why Fleet Commander Nimitz required a “large box”.
Campaign Map and Scenarios
The Campaign Map is where all of the maneuver decisions are made. It is on this map where all of the Ship, Aircraft, and Infantry are placed. Fleet Commander Nimitz arrives with 4 Scenario cards. Each Scenario Card contains the set-up for different years. The Scenario set-up covers the years 1942, 1943, 1944, and 1945. To play a Campaign game with all of the Scenarios linked you would start with the 1942 setup and play all the way through to 1945. When you have completed all 4 scenarios, you will need to tally the objectives held. Then you would look at the Campaign Victory conditions to see how well you performed. The Campaign Victory Objectives are shown below;
|50 to 51||Great|
|45 to 49||Good|
|35 to 44||Historical|
|26 to 34||Poor|
|25 or less||Dismal|
The Campaign Map as well as the counter start positions for 1942 are shown below.
Sequence of Play
The Campaign Map Sequence of Play (SOP) for Nimitz is
Advance Turn Counter
Japanese Scouted Orders
US Return to Port
US Supply Check
US Defeat Check
The first thing the Player needs to do is to move the US Forces from the map over to the Battle Map and place the Battle Location counter on the Campaign Map where the battle is taking place. Moving the units to the Battle Map from the Campaign Map is done with specific guidelines. Some of these guidelines are;
Land Based Japanese Aircraft are placed on the Japanese Island Airfield
If Japanese Infantry are already on the Island place them in Japanese Foxholes
Place Japanese Transport Ships carrying Japanese Infantry in Coastal Area
Place Japanese Carriers in the Japanese Ocean Area
Place Japanese Carrier Aircraft next to their Carrier
Many additional Japanese guidelines and combinations of Japanese Ship placement can occur
US Aircraft Carriers are placed in the US Ocean
Other US Ships are placed either in the US Ocean or Coastal Area
US Submarines can be placed in any area with Japanese Ships
Land Base Aircraft are placed on US Airfields
Place Transport Ships carrying US Infantry in Coastal Area
Place Carrier-Based-Aircraft counters next to their Carrier
Finally, once the ships are placed on the Battle Map, they cannot be moved during the Battle.
The Battle Map is divided into 4 areas which are;
Combat Sequence of Play
Let’s not forget that we also have combat. This Combat Sequence is played on the “Battle Map” which is where Combat is resolved.
Once you setup your units on the battle map Combat begins. For the Combat to begin you must follow the Combat Sequence as shown below.
Combat Sequence of Play
- Draw Japanese Battle Plans
- Move US Aircraft
- Move Japanese Bombers
- Move Japanese Fighters
- Bomb Runs
- Depth Charges
- Naval Guns
- Infantry Advance
- Return Aircraft
- Inflict Airfield Losses
- Battle Plans
First thing you need to do is roll for the number of Battle Turns that will be played. You do this by rolling a 10 sided die, consulting the Battle Turns Track and you will find the duration of the battle. Next you need to determine the numbers of Japanese Battle Plans that are selected. Some of the Japanese and US Battle Plans cover things like;
- Carrier Attack – All Bombers roll a 10 for Area
- Barrel Roll which stops 1 hit on an Aircraft
- Ship Combat – +3/+2 on AAA and Naval Gun rolls
- While the US Battle Plans are similar and they are;
- First Light – 7+ Pre-Attack for 1 Carrier Group. Save
- Anti-Aircraft – Roll an extra AAA for a ship
- Charge – Roll an extra attack for Infantry
Combat is simple and straightforward in Fleet Commander Nimitz. First you look at your counter and its values. Looking at the Colorado / Maryland Battleship Counter below you can see that a Surface Attack has a value of 4. You must roll this value or less to score a hit on a Japanese Ship.
If you look at a Japanese target counter example that is shown below, you will see it has two sides. On the first hit, you flip the counter to its back side. On a second hit, the unit is destroyed. A sample Japanese Battleship counter is shown below to illustrate how the ships values are changed with hits.
Fleet Commander Nimitz follows in the grand tradition of the Field Commander games. The other titles in this series are;
- Fleet Commander Nimitz
- Field Commander Napoleon
- Field Commander Alexander
- Field Commander Rommel
They can all be viewed at http://www.dvg.com.
I have played a number of these titles and all that I can say is that every one of them is excellent and they have gotten better over time. Field Commander Nimitz is the latest Field Commander game. The game can be played with the provided Scenarios with the starting point at the beginning of a year for 42, 43, 44, and 45. Or, there is a Campaign game included that starts in 1942 and goes to the end of the war.
Overall Fleet Commander Nimitz is a great game. What sends it over the top is Dan Verssen’s solitaire system. World War 2 is one of the most popular bordgaming subjects. Dan Verssen’s approach to the subject makes it enjoyable and a game that can be played solitaire at any time. So, enjoy the game and see if you can command the fleet and successfully capture all of your Objectives.
For additional information on Fleet Commander Nimitz click here and tell them you read this review on MATAKA.ORG.