Friday 10 March 2023

Nimitz: Tokyo Express!

L-R: Bailey, Caesar, Darren and Theo. Stuart is in the Chart-house...

Having been involved in the playtesting of Nimitz for what seems like years, interspersed with a couple of Covid lockdowns, the Wollongong Wargamers were hungry to finally play a game we could share more widely with the club. Having recently changed my WW2 naval minis from 1:2400 to 1:1800, I was caught a little short with available models. 

IJN Heavy Cruiser Furutaka in 'The Slot'

A cruiser and destroyer stoush in 'The Slot' could be cut to suit my available cloth, so I hastily (maybe too hastily) came up with a scenario based on the Tokyo Express destroyer supply runs...




The USN team deployed first, opting to put COMDESRON 1 of 3 Fletcher class DDs out on a limb to intercept the obvious Japanese resupply route. 

Fletcher class DD USS Laffey

The remaining ships remained tight on the mandatory starting square, but from the outset it looked like Stuart's COMCRUSRON 2; the 2 New Orleans class cruisers Indianapolis and New Orleans;  were being tasked as a separate surface action group (SAG)? All six US DDs were Fletchers.

The IJN team, led by Alan as one of our experienced play testers, put the resupply destroyers as far away from the US as possible consistent with the shortest run to the beach...with the big heavy cruisers forming a formidable flank defence!

The IJN had the initial advantage and opted to have the USN move and shoot first. Sam has designed Nimitz so that you get into action quick and soon, and the Japanese team were to rue that decision - concentrated gunfire from the entire USN sunk the Mogami within the first two turns!

Theo, as Rear Admiral Tanaka, lays in a course for glory!

However all that night firing training paid of for the IJN as they in turn sent Indianapolis to the bottom of the sound. However, more important in strategic terms, the USN DDs,  aggressively led by Bailey, closed with the Japanese DDs, just itching to fire their tubes! 

But it was gunfire that mainly sent the first IJN DD to Davy Jone's locker, thus condemning them to a draw at best. (I told you I worked the scenario up too hastily - the scenario should either have more generous IJN victory conditions, or about 6 IJN DDs!)

To the bottom right of the photo below you can see Stuart's COMCRUSRON 2 maintaining a dignified long range bombardment - he got a bit of stick from the rest of the US team for remaining aloof from the fray as Caesar and Bailey looked as if they were at ramming stations!

But in the wider scheme of things, it paid off, allowing Darren's and Bailey's DDs and Caesar's remaining cruiser New Orleans to finish off the second Japanese destroyer, effectively winning the game at turn 4. The scenario definitely requires some tweaking!

The game rattled along nicely once we had gotten into the turn rhythm - its important
to stick to the clearly laid out order of moving by speed, secondary then primary gunnery by formation, then torps by advantaged side. But once we had that squared away, even with this number of newbie players, the actual mechanisms of moving, firing and launching, and damage results were fast and elegant to calculate. 

The newbie players agreed that Nimitz was rich in tactical decision making: speed vs accuracy, range and aspect to maintain, when and what to fire, move and fire first or second. The firing and damage mechanism are straightforward but suspenseful and fun, and deliver credible, historical outcomes.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but with these 1/1800th scale models I think the table size and distances worked well. Looking forward to many more games of Nimitz..     


Nimitz resources may be found here:


  1. Great stuff. I always enjoy your AARs but this one is particularly poignant as I ordered the rules yesterday .

    1. Thanks Lawrence - I know you won't be disappointed!

  2. Nice game report...really interesting set of rules.

    1. Thanks Jim! Yes I think Sam's done a standout job with these!