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Fleet Commander: Nimitz» Forums » Reviews

Subject: General comments and a few suggestions rss

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Ray Tillett
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I recently purchased Fleet Commander Nimitz and am enjoying the game. Before purchasing the game, I went through the written and video reviews...which even when critical of the game were very helpful. The video reviews which walk you through the turn mechanics are especially helpful and give an excellent feel for what playing the game is like.

So far I have been playing the 1942 scenario where the US forces are scrambling to hold on to their objectives against a powerful and unpredictable Japanese AI opponent. As "Nimitz" you are faced with difficult choices...often guesses...about where to place your forces and what the composition of those forces should be. One thing that does not come out of the excellent videos about the game (because it would take too long) is the challenge of having to think through not only how to hang onto your objectives during the current turn, but what forces you will have at your disposal for the next turn and what you will be wanting to achieve.

A couple of comments about the rules (which may show that I have missed something).

1. A common criticism of the game is the mechanic where "destroyed" island airfields (whether in whole or in part) result in the squadrons based at the airfields also being destroyed and permanently removed from the game. The criticism about this has focused both on the historical/real world accuracy of the result and, more importantly, the impact on game play.

My proposal would be that where a side's airfield is destroyed, but air squadrons have not been destroyed by air combat, (1) surviving squadrons with no step damage should be rebased to either Pearl Harbor or Japan, (2) Japanese squadrons with step damage should be sent to the Japanese reinforcements box and be subject to the normal rule about having to be repaired and then put at the bottom of the counter draw stack and (3) US squadrons with step damage should be rebased to Pearl Harbor but with the step damage in place (ie they would need to be repaired to be at 100%).

The modified rule would also be applied where an airfield survives a battle, but has suffered damage with the effect that one or more air squadrons would otherwise have to be permanently eliminated. Now those squadrons which are over the airfield's limit would stay in the game as described above.

2. Battalions (only) that invade or land on an island should be subject to a double step loss (ie eliminated) if they are hit while on the beach.

3. Where a ground unit is on a transport and the transport suffers a hit, then the ground unit should be eliminated...it sinks with the transport (which I believe is eliminated on one hit).

Points 2 and 3 reflect my own experience with the game where weak battalions can conduct/survive a successful invasion in the face of strong opposition mostly because of how the game's targeting priority rules work. Once a battalion is in a foxhole it can have the two step loss, but not before!

4. If at the end of a battle, the US forces control an island, but Japanese ships (and only ships...no Japanese ground units or land based aircraft are on the island) remain in the ocean or coastal areas, then the Japanese ships should be rebased to the nearest island which (1) is not an objective and (2)is under Japanese total control (ie no US ground units or land based squadrons present on the island). Alternatively and more simply, rebase the ships to Japan. This is address what is for me the strange result of the Japanese losing the battle, but their ships still hang around.
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John Di Ponio
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Lake Orion
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Interesting points for sure!
 
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Barry Miller
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rtillett123 wrote:
1. A common criticism of the game is the mechanic where "destroyed" island airfields (whether in whole or in part) result in the squadrons based at the airfields also being destroyed and permanently removed from the game. ...

My proposal would be that where a side's airfield is destroyed, but air squadrons have not been destroyed by air combat, (1) surviving squadrons with no step damage should be rebased to either Pearl Harbor or Japan,...

I think this rule is an abstraction to represent a few things:

1) The incredible distance between the island bases which are represented in the game meant that rebasing fighters required significant logistics. For instance, the distance from Guam to Wake Island is 1500 miles. Yet the normal range of a P-40 for example, is half that.

So to ferry a squadron of P-40s between the island bases required ample fuel at the origin, an intact fueling capability, and a supply of serviceable wing tanks.

2) Thusly I presume that this rule is an abstraction of this ferrying capability being destroyed, or at best severely limited. This of course traps the aircraft at the destroyed base.

3) Also, I presume that the rule is an abstraction of the fuel and weapons supplies being destroyed, or at least not able to be pumped/loaded into/onto the aircraft. Without fuel or weapons, the fighters are worthless and in game terms, are the same value as a destroyed squadron.

Remember that this game, like others, abstractly models capabilities, not individual units.

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Barry Kendall
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Lebanon
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Re relocating aircraft when their airbase is destroyed, I would not want to see it made automatic.

Damage to airbases reflects not only runway damage but also destruction of maintenance facilities, fuel stores, and other support components.

It's not always possible to salvage an island-based air group, certainly not intact, especially given that the level of destruction represented is accruing over a period of time in any given Game-turn--far more likely the result of multiple strikes than just one.

It also depends on whether there are friendly air bases "in range" particularly of single-engine aircraft which could be "flown off" an island airbase and reach another friendly field without running out of fuel, assuming fuel was still available.

Plus, withdrawing the aircraft does not mean that their associated mechanics, tools, parts, etc could also be evacuated.

At best, I'd give such air units a die-roll possibility of rebasing, perhaps 1-2 for single-engine and 1-3 for multi-engine a/c. Even that seems generous.
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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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Torrance
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Don't forget that airplanes flying around in combat or on bombing missions use fuel... Once the battle starts and the airfield or carrier is lost the tanks will run dry fast... I'd rather think a 10-30% chance to make it to the closest friendly airfield or carrier (not currently engaged or under threat) would be rational.

I'd also like to see a rule to pay a full support point to keep ships deployed rather than bringing them back to Pearl Harbor... If the Japanese can keep their ships deployed why can't the US.
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Ray Tillett
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Thanks for the comments.

In reply I would say that the whole game is an abstraction...but one which works. Which means that you can have a lot of fun, but also there is a feeling that what is happening reflects the hard choices that Nimitz faced.

Like some others, I find the mechanic of the destroyed airfield is one abstraction which produces a result that feels wrong. For example, and taking your point about fuel supplies, just because an airfield is "destroyed" should that really mean that the pilots and the plane mechanics from a squadron should be lost for the rest of the scenario?

At any rate, what I am proposing means that land based air units not destroyed in air combat are not lost when their airfield is destroyed or reduced, but at the same time by being rebased back to Pearl Harbor, the US player will have to use supply points to redeploy them in the next turn...so there is a cost for not keeping the airfield intact.
 
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Peter Kossits
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rtillett123 wrote:
the US player will have to use supply points to redeploy them in the next turn...so there is a cost for not keeping the airfield intact.


Make sure to test your variant in a later war scenario as well where the Japanese player is trying to hold ground. A lot of these airfield variants seem to come about solely because US players feel cheated by the rules in 1942. If you make it easier for the US to preserve their AF in 1942-3, then it should also be easier for the Japanese to hold on to their planes later on as well. And that may very well unbalance things.

Again, I'd just like to point out that I have several detailed AARs for 1942-3 up here in the sessions folder and I think I lost something like 2 or 3 air units in each play to airfield destruction. Not a big deal. I have had games where I've lost nothing to airfield destruction.

If you play well, it shouldn't happen very often at all and the current rules are actually quite exciting because having lots of air units on an island with few infantry is very, very risky. You're removing a tension/planning point from the game when you decide that you shouldn't lose all your aircraft when the airfields go.

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Barry Miller
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rtillett123 wrote:
Like some others, I find the mechanic of the destroyed airfield is one abstraction which produces a result that feels wrong. For example, and taking your point about fuel supplies, just because an airfield is "destroyed" should that really mean that the pilots and the plane mechanics from a squadron should be lost for the rest of the scenario?

Keep in mind, as I mentioned in my post above, that this game models capabilities. It doesn't model individual units, despite what the counters say.

You agreed that "the whole game is an abstraction", and you're very correct. So by definition, an abstraction can't model unique elements. Thusly, when an airfield is destroyed, don't think of those individual units as being destroyed, but rather that their capability is neutralized/destroyed, for all the reasons mentioned above.

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Robert Boyens
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Mission Viejo
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In response to your item #3, it is not one transport carrying one battalion, but the requisite number of transports carrying their capacity of the men and materiel required for one battalion. Thus, to destroy the battalion due to one hit means the entire transport fleet (or a significant portion thereof) would be sunk.

A thing to remember, is that the island combat phase does not represent a single day, week, or single battle, but rather the campaign that may be a month or more in length.
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