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Afrika (second edition)» Forums » Sessions

Subject: First time playing the game rss

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Michel Boucher
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NOTE: Also posted to OWO discussion group

Bill and I played Afrika II yesterday. It was his copy and as we were at his place, he had done the setup for the full game scenario before I got there.

As the game is part of the Gamers'/MMP's SCS series, the basic set of rules were fairly simple and the game specific rules not overly complex. As this is a North African campaign game, it had a large portion of what all of them have in common, from Afrika Korps to DAK2 by way of Rommel in the Desert, which is to say Supply! Yes, things work in this game on supply and for the Axis there is not much of it on the map for the first 7 turns. It isn't that there is not enough supply, really, but it's the logistics of getting it to where it has to be to be used effectively. Transport is the big issue, either coastal or by road.

Supply supports 14 battalion or smaller sized units (divisions count as two). At first, the Italians have little problem maintaining their supply and even when they are forced to withdraw, they are in small enough numbers that as long as Bardia holds 1 point of supply, no units will be adversely affected. The trouble starts for the Axis (I played the Axis) when the Germans arrive and supply is, at first, clearly in short supply (as it were). One good roll on the supply table and the Coastal shipping table ensured their survival. A bad roll would have resulted in the death of quite a few units.

Essentially, the game starts with a number of units having to hold to the end of Axis turn 5 to the east of the Libyan border. A good roll which stunned O'Connor properly allowed them to achieve Mussolini Orders although the losses were tragic, especially among the young men of Verona...

As it turned out, the race for Tobruk resulted in the city being invested by the Germans, with a few Italian units on the assist. Reinforcement poured in but the limits imposed by stacking made it nearly impossible to move more troops in to hexes that were invaded by the bandit British hordes and their colonial running dogs.

At one point, near to turn 10, the entire Australian contingent was eliminated to the rejoicing of Italian units (who thought it was a soccer match). But we also knew those Australians were breeding like rabbits, if not actually breeding rabbits :-) At the end of turn 10, when we suspended the game, the Germans were still holding Tobruk, and the Allies were pouring in to the area but finding resistance was costly to their side as well. They were learning the meaning of the expression "deutsch treat".

In restrospect, the game was fought almost entirely along the shore, although there were small incursions by units to suppress the LRDG commando unit (twice...one should get bonus points for that) which was sent through the desert to harass Benghazi (da noive!).

There were some mechanisms that made the game move along at a good pace (ZoCs not being completely sticky, rounding for odds, trucking and coastal shipping points, 5 MP marks on the map for the main coastal road--makes moving a lot easier, the use of multiple column shifts for all involved arty, divisional integrity, combined arms and leaders) but really it came down to some rather bloody battles in which fortune smiled on one side as much as another. The CRT is set up in such a way that a roll of 2 on a 5:1 attack fails...so there can be some nasty surprises for the attacker...I should know.

It was a very good game and we got farther than we would have in a more complex game, or one that required endless die rolling. We are investigating playing it online using ADC2, so we could get through the whole game.

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Michel Boucher
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One thing I forgot to mention is that the commander of the German AT unit 605 scored a major repulse on British forces (it was the Indians) and earned himself the Cross of Iron First Class with double clusters, two weeks in Dalmatia and a visit from the Boot Girls.

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