Fleet Commander Nimitz by Dan Verssen Games      Once again I have the pleasure of reviewing a Dan Verssen Game,  ...

Fleet Commander Nimitz by Dan Verssen Games Fleet Commander Nimitz by Dan Verssen Games

Fleet Commander Nimitz by Dan Verssen Games

Fleet Commander Nimitz by Dan Verssen Games

Fleet Commander Nimitz


Dan Verssen Games

 Once again I have the pleasure of reviewing a Dan Verssen Game,  hereon known as DVG. This time it is World War II again. It is not just a single force campaign, but the entire Pacific War from an American standpoint. The campaigns come in full years of:

 A campaign can be played by playing all of the years separately and then adding the results. 

 You are playing solitaire against the might of the Japanese empire. After looking at the setup for the 1942 campaign, I wish I had picked 1943 or 1944. The Japanese navy and their stacks of ships look pretty imposing. 

 As usual, the components from DVG are very good. I believe some early games shipped out with some misprinted counters, but these were all fine. There are eight sheets of counters. They are marked by each separate year of the conflict. So there will be a Japanese 1942 and American 1942 pile of counters etc, along with numerous supply and movement and other counters. There are also separate counters for land and naval air forces. Each carrier is represented by its own counter, even CVLs and CVEs. Battleships and Cruisers are shown as two of each class to a counter, as in one counter is listed BB Yamato/Musashi and they have combined attack and defense numbers. Destroyers and submarines have counters that show groups of each warship.

 Sequence of play:

Advance Turn Counter
US Resupply
US Scouting
  US Movement
  Japanese Orders
  Japanese Movement Orders
   US Force Setup
   Japanese Force Setup
   Roll For Battle Turns
   Determine Japanese Battle Plans
   Select US Battle Plans
Post Battle
   Japanese reinforces
   Japanese Repair
   US Supply Check
 Defeat Check

 You play on a strategic map of the Pacific area. Battles are fought out on a generic 'Battle Sheet'.

 The rules are clear and well written. The last two pages of the rule book is an 'Extended Play Example'. This game, like most DVG games, has a player log that needs to be filled out. You can copy the one that comes with the game or download and print ones from their website.

 At the end of each turn is a 'Defeat check'. The player checks his currently held objectives against the campaign evaluation chart. If a player has only three or less objectives held at the end of a turn, he loses. A player can also lose if a Japanese force is in the Hawaiian Islands and the player is unable to destroy all of the Japanese forces on the first turn of battle.

 The counters come out of the sheets so easily and cleanly that most were already loose in the box on arrival. Luckily my daughter shares my OCD, so sorting counters for a game is like a fun family project. At times, the areas on the board get slightly stuffed with counters. This is totally understandable given the amount of counters you are given to play with. I think DVG hit the nail on the head with the right amount of counters. Having every ship from cruiser on up, as some games have, would make the game play unwieldy.

 Because the player is essentially playing both sides of the game (using die rolls to decide Japanese play), there is a lot to do on each turn. However, the flow of the sequence of play is well thought out and it is not hard to get into the swing of things. To me, the battle sheet being generic is not a minus. With land, air, and naval forces to control the game gives you enough variables to keep it fresh. The rule book says to start with the 1942 campaign and I concur, even though the Japanese might looks so imposing. It is much easier to learn the game with the smaller US forces in 1942. 

 The game was nominated for the 2014 'Golden Geek Best Solo Game', and I can see why. Like the other DVG solitaire games I have played it just seems right and plays well. This is coming from a wargamer who never really liked solitaire games before.

 One point that some people were not happy with was the lack of an actual full war campaign. You can play all four separate year campaigns and check your score against a chart in the rule book for a semi-campaign. While I can understand their view, in this day and age I am happy to get any wargaming in let alone game the entire Pacific War. Another point that some players do not like is the complete randomness of the game. Some feel the game is not historical enough because of the randomness, while  there are others who really like the game for this exact same reason. I am in the latter group. Yes, there is some distortion of history; there has to be to make it a solo game that you want to play through more than once. If all I wanted was history I would read a book instead of playing a game.

 There apparently has been some confusion as to when or how often submarines can attack. This is the DVG answer to the question:

 Subs only attack once each turn during the torpedo step.

 Another questionable tactic was that the player could 'pin' a Japanese fleet with a sacrifice cruiser or sub. This was a fix posted on BoardGameGeek:

 Sortie order:
Randomly select 3 ships and 2 infantry to move to the closest objective with at least 1 US force ASHORE. The poster believes this is how the game was played during beta testing and somehow was changed in the rules. The poster is Steve Malczak. Unfortunately I was not able to play using this change to the rules before posting this review.