Year Published
# of Players
User Suggested # of Players
Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2 players
(3 voters) [poll]
Mfg Suggested Ages
12 and up
Playing Time
180 minutes
User Suggested Ages
14 and up
(1 voter) [poll]
Language Dependence
Moderate in-game text - needs crib sheet or paste ups
(2 voters) [poll]
(10 voters) [vote]
Primary Name
No Retreat! The North African Front
Alternate Names
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Description Edit | History

(from GMT website:)

Following on the success of No Retreat: The Russian Front, where the Russian Front of World War II beckons, Victory Point Games' dynamic duo of game designer Carl Paradis and his trusty developer Alan Emrich have teamed up again to present the second chapter in this game series, No Retreat: The North African Front. This time they take the gaming action to the African Front, from the start of Operation Compass on 8 December 1940, through 1942 to the eviction of the Axis from Libya.

Building on the notion of a card assisted game and death-or-glory victory conditions, No Retreat: The North African Front offers a narrative game rich in the feel for the ebb-and-flow of the campaign, wrapped around an exciting maneuver and combat system that harkens back to the glory days of classic wargaming, but includes all the modern features and plenty of innovations. Unlike other North Africa wargames, there are 5 "mini-maps" located at the various termini of maneuver in the campaign, and where battles are waged as fascinating "mini-games" in their own right. Players try to sweep each map and force the action onto the next one in an effort to push their opponent out of the game.

This Deluxe Edition combines both the original game, featuring Five quick-playing scenarios, a Tournament Game, a Full-Fledged Campaign game, and a Bonus "Invasion of Crete" mini-game, all using deluxe components of "Twillight Struggle Deluxe Edition" quality.

The looming Malta factor is accounted for most assiduously. While abstracted into many aspects of the game, players must always be mindful of Malta being made active (helping the Allies) or inactive (assisting the Axis). The Italian forces have their rightful place in the story unfolding on the game board, and the remarkable paucity of units turns every counter and hex into the kind of wargaming puzzle reminiscent of the glory days of those great contests from the Avalon Hill General magazine.

The use of Supply Point markers, received in a fast, hassle-free way, to seize the initiative, replace losses and recover shattered formations, to light up a map and begin operations there (i.e., conduct player turns on it of maneuver and combat), and then to continue those player turns for another round. Each additional round of player turns must be paid for by another Supply Point, usually spent by the side that feels it is advantageous to press on and keep the opponent hard pressed, recreating simply and effectively the lulls and starts in battlefield operations that were a signature of this campaign.

The desert lies before you and World War II is at stake. You must endure and prevail under the most surprising and grueling of circumstances, for there is No Retreat!

Bonus Game

No Retreat: The Invasion of Crete
This Bonus mini-game will allow you to refight the first airborne invasion in history, during May 1941. Each player will fight to gain or maintain control of the Island's critical 3 airfields. Time is of the essence here as each contestant has to manage his limited ressources in a life-or-death contest where neither has space to Retreat! This is a very intense knife-fight that can be very well be decided in the few first days, while the German Airborne force is most vulnerable, or could turn into a desperate rear-guard action, as the hard-pressed Allied troops try to escape the island. An innovative pre-game set-up planning procedure, and Airborne Landing rules, will insure that no two games play the same.

Scenario Listing:

  • Operation Compass, 1940: The British surprise offensive against the unprepared Italians in Lybia, pushing them back over 300 miles and capturing 115,000 prisoners! This scenario makes an excellent tutorial due to its low unit density. It is essentially a race game, with the Allies rushing to reach Map 2 and win the game there.
  • Operation Sunflower, 1941: Rommel arrives in Africa with the 21st Panzer Division and begins operations to roll back the recent Allied advances, thanks to the withdrawal of their best troops to fight in Greece. Can you capture the important Port/Fortress of Tobruk, or will you to be stopped by the tenacious Australians?
  • Operation Crusader, 1941: The importance of Tobruk and pressure from Malta on the Axis convoy routes to Africa caused both sides to fully commit to winning the war in the western desert during the British all-out attack to relieve the siege of the embattled Fortress. It's a wild free-for all battle, where speed of manoeuvre is all-important.
  • Operation Venezia, 1942: After capturing Tobruk in this operation and routing the Allied forces in the desert (and the cancellation of the Malta Invasion), the German High Command sends resources to help Rommel’s exhausted forces race to Egypt. Can the forces of the Commonwealth hold the line at El-Alamein, or will the Afrika Corps reach Alexandria and the Suez Canal?
  • Operation Lightfoot 1942: The last-ditch defence of Egypt and the resulting stalemate at El Alamein was finally turned to victory for the Allies as Monty’s overwhelming force pushed back the depleted and badly-supplied Axis Divisions. Or maybe Rommel will be able again to outmanoeuvre the British foe, and turn this battle of attrition into another of his famous victories?
  • A Tournament Scenario 1941: For players that have time to play more than a scenario, but not enough for the full-fledged campaign game. Action starts with the first Rommel Attack of Operation Sunflower, and continues until Operation Crusader the end of 1941. Can the British keep Tobruk and Beghazi, or will the scenario end in an historical stalemate around Gazala?


  • One 22x18 Mapboard & two 11x18 Mapboards (all mounted and two-sided)
  • One sheet of 88, 2-sided square units - One sheet of 56, 2-sided round markers.
  • One rule book (24 pages)
  • One Scenario Book (24 pages)
  • 55 Event Cards (36 for NR2!, 19 for Crete)
  • Two 6-sided dice

Number of Players: 2
Ages: 14 and up
Playing Time: approximately 50 minutes for each scenario; 4 to 5 hours for a campaign game; 60 to 90 minutes tor the Crete mini-game.
Scale NR2: German & Allied units are Divisions (8-10,000 men), Italian units are Corps of binary (2 Regiment) Divisions; each hex is 15km across, and each turn is 1-2 months of real time (sometimes split into tactical turns of 3-4 days) .
Scale Crete: Units are Multi-Battalion size battlegroups; each hex is 3km across, and each turn is 8-12 hours.

DESIGNER: Carl Paradis
DEVELOPER: Alan Emrich
COUNTER ART: Mark Simonitch & Charles Kibler
MAP ART: Charles Kibler

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More Information Edit | History


Counter Errata: The British "22nd Tank" should have an "8" turn entry number only on its FRONT side only.

Scenario #A Note: If playing the first Scenario of the Game (Operation Compass), you do get the same reinforcements/withdrawals on Turn #2 and #3 as if playing the regular Campaign game.

Scenario #A Errata: The British 7th Armored unit should be set-up on it's BACK "3-5" side (the one with the "1" Turn Entry number).

Scenario #B Errata: The AXIS have the initiative at the start of the scenario.

Updated .pdf document with clarifications/questions:!enclosure=.1dda6491

Set-up placement for all the counters on the Turn track:!enclosure=.1dda67e2

Page 22, Rule 5b Invasion of Crete correction. Second paragraph should read like this (changes in Caps):

"If the Axis player’s count is greater than the Allied player’s,
the invasion is an axis victory; the Allied "6th Australian" and
"2nd New Zealand" Game Turn 6 Infantry reinforcements are put in
the Surrendered Units Holding box. Put a German Control marker in the
Crete Status box as an outcome reminder"

Page 36, Rule: 15 Housekeeping. Add one sentence at the start of this paragraph.

[C15.3.3] Counterblow Removal: IF THE NEXT TURN IS A NIGHT TURN,
remove any Counterblow markers on the map, and place each in the
Used Markers Holding box front (target) side up.


The defense modifier for an Airfield hex should be one column shifft to the RIGHT (not to the left).
That terrain is bad for the defense.

New Rules to try out:

Some new stuff to try for play-balance and historical purposes...

- Inflexible Italian Command -

In the Turns before Rommel comes into play, when losing or giving up control of a map, the Axis player can only set-up his square units on the half of the map closer to the previous map, indicated by the new map's centerfold (hexes touching the fold included). On map 2 (Benghazi) that means the north part of the map, for the others the east part.

The Italians were not prepared for the kind of mobile warfare of the North African Desert and were slow to move their ponderous armies.

For the 15th and 21st Panzer I did some research last night, and those units were SLOW to get all their heavy material, se the built-up was quite progressive, and they had to replace their troops lost in battle at the same time, so:

- Slower German Panzer deployment -

The 15th and 21st Panzers can only be improved to their second counter on the 6th Turn. The 15th Panzer enters the game on turn 5, but on it's 1-step side only

The 15th Panzer started arriving late April, but was not put on the line, near Bardia, until the middle of March, so the very end of turn 5. And i found out it took quite a long time for Rommel to get a lot of good tanks shipped to the North African Front, thus the change in the turn when the Panzers can be improved.

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No Retreat! The North African Front
GMT Deluxe edition
Publisher: GMT Games
Artist: Rodger B. MacGowan
Year: 2013
Size: GMT standard box
2.20 pounds
Release Date:  
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18 NR2 Living Playbook May 2015
Final Version.
21 NR2 Living Rules May 2015
Final version.
17 Quick Reference Rules - v0.9
This is curated content for my brain - it includes rewording some terms because they make more sense to me. This might not work for you. I will no doubt make changes after some more extensive field testing as it becomes clearer to me what needs to be added or removed. Hopefully the clean layout and the way I curated the rules will be helpful to some.
37 Rules Summary
Rules Summary for The African Front and The Invasion of Crete
32 Flatten the Learning Curve Rules Summary
First pass at getting all the rules in play-through order. Hope it helps in learning the game or serves as a useful refresher. Corrections/comments welcomed.
41 No Retreat: North Africa Front Errata and FAQ
This is a PDF file of the contents of the Errata and Clarifications thread here on BGG. It will be updated periodically, refer to the actual thread for the latest errata and clarifications. Link to the thread:
21 Game Set-up sheet.
This document shows placement of all the counters on the Turn track, as per their turn entry numbers.
36 Game Playbook
Final version of the Playbook. A few inconsistencies corrected.
37 Game rules
Very very last proof of the rules.
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