OK, after days of trawling the web and fussing with the VM, even recreating one, I have found the problem:
Turn off 3D video acceleration on the main window of VMWare Player, right panel, upper check box.
No idea why this works, but it did.
Thanks for this info, but I wish VMWare would actually fix the problem. I don't want to turn off 3d acceleration.
For me, the issue is with resolution. If I try to start a VM at 4K, the display driver fails to start every time. If the window is somewhat smaller, it works. I've tried updating the settings for max screen resolution, but it doesn't work.
The problem for me started with VMWare 15.5.1, which I just recently upgraded to. This all worked with earlier versions of VMWare 15. When I went back to 15.0.2, removed the new tools and installed the older tools, it worked just fine.