About game:

The Battle of Peleliu was fought between the United States and Japan during the Mariana and Palau Campaign of World War II, from September 15 to November 27, 1944, on the island of Peleliu. US Marines of the 1st Marine Division fought to capture an airstrip on that small coral island. The battle was part of a larger offensive campaign known as Operation Forager, which ran from June to November 1944 in the Pacific Theater.

We have the historical background so now some explanation about the game itself – which I hope will be useful both to the new fans of D-Day series but also to those who played Omaha Beach and consider the Pacific editions. So Peleliu is based on John Butterfield’s D-Day at Omaha Beach system (also used in Tarawa) and presents fighting at platoon and company scale in solitaire mode. You command the invading American forces against dug-in Japanese defenders, which are controlled by the game system.

D-Day at Peleliu focuses on the landings by the US 1st Marine Division in September 1944, and the bitter two-day struggle to capture the airfield on the southern end of the island. A longer campaign scenario allows the player to extend the action to the rugged terrain of “Bloody Nose Ridge“. Opposed by the reinforced Japanese 14th Infantry Division, the battle resulted in the highest US casualty rate of any in the Pacific war. Like D-Day at Omaha Beach, D-Day at Peleliu features landing hazards, variable enemy positions, fields of fire encoded onto the map, US weapon types versus Japanese defensive preparations, and a random-event-driven narrative. Plus new features unique to the Pacific Theater, such as: US naval and aerial bombardment, flamethrowers, offshore reefs and defensive positions, Japanese tank attacks, tunnel network movement and Banzai charges.

Would you stand-up to the task and manage to prevail against odds, leading the US Marines to victory over the Japanese forces?

Number of players:

Of course this is a pure solo wargame which does that job masterfully. In my humble opinion there is zero chances to play it cooperatively – like in Omaha Beach where potentially each player can lead one division.

Playing time:

Here we have a couple of scenarios, and depending on which we choose, the lenght of the game can span from 4-5 hours (Full Campaign) to about two hours – one day scenarios plus the special “Bloody Nose Ridge“.


On one hand that is definitely not overly complex wargame, pretty procedural and scripted. It also helps tremendously if you know earlier installments in the series. Still you need to remember that there are a lot of nuances and Japanese actions have to be carefully executed. Of course this is completely ok, as the too easy solo wargame might quickly lose all its appeal and replayability.

What I like:
  • The historical topic and game theme – we have here the fighting in the Pacific Theater (plus!), depicting in details the amphibious landing operation (plus!) which is additional explained by numerous materials like Historical Background booklet (plus!). All of this allows you to immerse yourself in the Peleliu battle.
  • You can probably say this about each game in D-Day series: the game is really tough to win. So far, probably most unforgiving installment in the series. Do not even expect to get the good result on initial try – you need to learn the game, the tactical situation, possible axis of advance. And even then the Tanks counter-attack can surprise you!
  • Huge game replayability – each game is completely different thanks to random Japanese set-up. Also, the regular scenarios and special “Bloody Nose Ridge” give a lot of possibilities for enjoyable play!
  • Like with Tarawa, I really enjoyed changes in comparison to the first title in the series (Omaha Beach). The Pacific Theater brings many new concepts like: enemy actions from the onset of the game, close combat which significantly changes the flow of the game, Tanks counter-attack (Peleliu specialty) and many more. This is great to see system such nicely evolving!
What I do not like or would like to see in the game:
  • The main thing I can call-out as possible improvement area is components quality – it is fantastic to see the mounted maps and this is move in the right direction. However, the counters and rulebook / player aids could undergo similar transformation.

  • For some players the unforgiveness of the game can be an issue; for me it is motivator to try once again – still, this is definitely toughest challenge in the system so far.
For whom?

Not surprisingly, first and foremost for John H. Butterfield fans, especially of the D-Day series. But any solo wargamer – seasoned or just starting one – will find that game very appealing. You just need to cope with rulebook which can be more clear sometimes.  

More about the game:

And now let us have a look at the components – all pictures taken during my plays:

All the components presented in a short Unboxing
Beautiful map with – of course – fire dots everywhere 🙂
Close Combat is a hallmark of Pacific battles!
The quantity has its own quality – you really need to concentrate on fortified Japanese positions from all sides to remove them!
But even the best planned attack can go awry when the Japanese tanks counter-attack! – not that we cannot do something similarly surprising!
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I stated it before but will say again: I am devoted fan of John H. Butterfield creations. I had pleasure to play D-Day SeriesSpaceCorp or Enemy Action. Each of those games is of course different but one thing you may find in common – very well designed solo system, pretty procedural but with minimal amount of algorithms and flowcharts, quick to learn and to play.

Playing D-Dat at Peleliu is brutal. I have not won yet. Still, I am not giving up – author create system which gives you satisfaction even if not everything goes as per plan. And that is probably the best feature – at least for me, I never get bored with the challenges set up by D-Day series. Highly recommended!

See you in another game review!