Game Title : Combined Fleet
Publisher : Bandai
Game Designer : uncredited
Game Thema : Pacific theatre of WW2
1 game map (separated in 3 pieces), 1 counter sheet, 80 combat cards, rulebook
This game has a very simple engine. Japanese player moves and resolve combat. Then, American player moves and resolve combat.
But, since Bandai would like to sell their game as a board-game not a wargame, the rulebook doesn’t use technical terms of wargame. This brought some ambiguities into the rulebook.
I believe this game uses regular hard-ZOC and must-attack system. But, these are explained in very unusual way with non-technical terms.
Also, this game has strict one unit per hex stacking limit.
Based on these schemes, this game has very similar play-feelings as NAW system.
But, since this game has very small scale map and each unit represents only one vessel, this looks very awkward. Why can only one destroyer cease enemy movement in this very small-scale map?
Also, the game would like to have long front line composed of one unit per hex. I cannot believe this is a strategic Pacific campaign game. This really looks NAW itself.
I can agree Bandai’s idea here and there. The game for board-gamers should have easier rules and shouldn’t have technical terms of wargame. But, the result is awful. This is not a simulation game in any means. Still it has real Pacific map and historical vessels. So, I’m really afraid that this game would teach many non-wargamers very twisted history.
As many wargamers know, the campaign of Pacific war should be determined by carrier battle. But, this game tells you many destroyers can create very effective front line which could not be broken by carriers easily. Though, even in this game carriers are effective due to its ability of attacking enemy vessel with ranged attack. Actually it is represented aircraft bombing. As you can imagine, in NAW system ranged attack is really useful to fulfil the must-attack requirement or to make concentrated attack.
But, the way how carrier is effective is very different from the way they were in real history.
Also, this game doesn’t have any land units and therefore has no value on land bases. So there’s no strategic goal on the map. The victory is determined by solely the damage lost in combat. This fact makes other awkward actions and problems as you imagine.
This game has only one campaign. But, the campaign is composed of 5 separated battles. If one can won the 3 of 5 battles, he win the campaign. And in these battles, there’s no continuous effect. If you lose all of your carriesr in one battle, some of them will reincarnate in the next battle. So, you can have vessels which historically participated the battle no matter how you play the earlier battles. I think this is not a campaign, it is just a series of scenarios.