You will probably notice a poor English language. Sorry for that. I am French.
Nimitz is a solitaire strategy game covering the world war II in the Pacific Ocean. The human player is commanding the US forces. The game was published by Dan Versen Games (DVG) in 2015
The box cover was designed by Paul Hoefener. But the main picture was painted by Adrian Lamb in 1960. You can simply see it in wikipedia but it comes from the Naval History and Heritage Command web site, a very famous web site preserving and giving access to a huge amount of historical material related to the US Navy.
On the box, DVG wrote "Time of play: 3 hours per Campaign". This is very optimistic. In reality, it's something like 6-8 hours. So it's rather quick for a strategic wargame.
Opening the box
It's a nice biiiiiiig box. But opening it is the bad part of the story.
On the topic, there is a famous video on youtube called Fleet Commander Nimitz Unboxing Video and published by marcowargamer: "Some loose counters here. Oh Gosh !" "It's raining counters, hallelujah !"
There are many counters and many of them are not attached to the counter sheet anymore. So you will lose some time to sort everything and store them in a set of ziplock bags - not included. It's not very complicated because most of the counters are specific to one campaign and it's clearly indicated: one year 42 43 44 or 45. And for each year, there are only three main categories: naval units, infantry and aircrafts.
I used myself 4 GMT counter trays - well filled :-)
The strategic map represents the pacific ocean. The battles only take place around islands areas. The different counters are placed around the island. The movement lines are only used by Japanese forces. Each turn, the US forces can move where they want except in Japan and China.
The battle sheet is a map used during battles.
Both maps are very nice and of high quality.
There are 1104 counters in the game. Here again, they are very nice and of high quality.
DVG took the surprising decision to build a set of counters for each campaign (42 43 44 45). This explains the amount of counters, the game price and the time requested to sort everything. As a positive point, each campaign set-up is rather quick. For the 1942 campaign, there are around 75 ships, 35 infantry, 40 aircrafts (+ generic aircrafts on Carrier Air Groups). This makes a manageable amount of counters.
The rulebook is 24 pages long. On the game box, you can read "Complexity: Moderate". I agree. The rules are simple to understand but the game strategy is not obvious: there is no battlefront in the pacific and winning a major battle is almost impossible for the US player. So the player has to be prepared to lose battles and many strong units like fleet carriers or US Marines infantries. For somebody like me who saw the Midway movie in a vibrating seat during the in 1976 ;-), it's a bit frustrating to see how it's hard to fight for Midway and other islands in this game.
For the US player, the level of victory is based on the number of objectives hold. Objectives are some islands identified by a blue/red star marker. The US player has also to clear the Hawaiian Islands from any Japanese force before the end of each turn.
The game system for one game turn is simple. Strategic movements on the map followed by battles on each island with both Japanese and US forces. The game was well tested and tuned: so there are many little details around this simple game system. Most of the details are only indicated in game examples so the rules are not very easy to master. I made many little mistakes during the first game turns. Outside this small issue, the game system is excellent.
Some feedback after playing the game: 1942 campaign
The Japanese strategic movements looks a bit random. It's first surprising. As a basic rule, the US player moves first and the Japanese fleet moves second a large amount of ships following different kind of objectives (Hawaii, Australia, scenario objectives, existing battles). However, this movement engine is the main aspect of the game ambiance: the US player knows there are many Japanese forces and there will be big battles but he doesn't know where these battles will take place. For the US player, the key tactic is to use well US scouting aircrafts able to anticipate a small part of the Japanese movements.
So there is no historical simulation scenario. For instance, due to the random event "Closest Objective with US present", there will be probably a battle in Midway but it will be probably a small battle. However, the US player especially needs to survive with Infantry or Airfield on Midway because it's the last Island before Hawaii - a sudden death objective (reachable by the "Closest US force" Japanese Order). The game doesn't reflect the history but it reflects well the "blind commander" ambiance of the Pacific War. It also reflects well the stress of US navy commanders facing a huge Japanese Navy after the Pearl Harbor disaster.
Half of the rulebook is describing the tactical battle system. So it takes some time to perfectly understand it. But then it works well. Battles are quick and interesting for the US player. The main difficulty is to balance attack against Aircraft carriers - the most efficient force - and Island forces - to win the battle. It's not easy to win an Island by destroying all the Japanese forces. It's already a very good result to survive with Infantry or Land Based Aircrafts in one Island
The random system is very simple but it's working well. The US player is sometime facing an idiot pushing hard with a huge amount of forces but most of the time, there are logical priorities. For instance, your aircraft carriers are high probable targets.
Do you want more ?
Here you have a page with the 1942 campaign I played
Fleet Commander Nimitz on DVG web site
Fleet Commander Nimitz on boardgamegeek
Fleet Commander Nimitz - First Look! on grogheads.com
A review of Fleet Commander Nimitz on theboardgameshow.com
A book ?
"Some Thoughts to Live By" is a collector - very expensive.
A movie ?
Midway, because I saw it when I was 12 years old - and it probably altered my understanding of the World War II pacific war.