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Subject: Jerusalem! playthrough rss

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Dan Raspler
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Well, just got back from WBC and one of the highlights for me was a great game of Jerusalem! with my friend Lew.

As his new (3rd?) edition of the game was only partially cut and pasted, we used my 1975 first edition, and I'm happy to report that the old large-hex map and superb iconic counters really stand up to the test of time.

That said, the recently published graphics by Todd Davis (of Cool Stuff Unlimited) are outstanding, and he cleverly included a lot of obscure but important information on the counters without any clutter at all. For example, certain units can only move during the Road Movement phase, while others can only move during Overland Movement... and Todd color-coded the movement factors on the counters to designate which.

So while we didn't use Todd's new unit counters, we shamelessly plundered the set for the copious informational markers to help keep track of partly spent movement factors, terror-bombed hexes, and Stopped stacks.

As to the outcome of my game with Lew, he took the Israelis and prepared the powerful Jerusalem Convoy for its first running of the gauntlet. But with Khader (the x3 irregular leader) waiting for them in Bab El Wad, things went badly; his position proved impregnable from the second turn through to the end. On the very first turn of play, however, I think the Jerusalem Convoy has a 1/6 chance to not only clear his hex, but kill Khader himself, which eliminates half the irregular infantry on the map. But fail in that attack, and the convoy is stopped for the turn, only to see Bab El Wad double in defensive strength on the following turn as Khader gathers up local irregular infantry.

On following turns, Lew diverted the convoy to the northern road, and but for a few unlucky die rolls, he'd likely have smashed his way through. Sadly for the Jerusalem garrison, he never did.

One surprising feature of our game was the continued success and annoyance of El Kutub, the mad bomber. He lurked around Jerusalem and nearby villages and never failed to make the necessary rolls to disrupt important stacks -- not only did he twice paralyze Shaltiel's main force in the city, but he also managed to terror bomb both the Irgun and Stern Gang terror units, which was pretty funny, actually. Eventually, of course, El Kutub rolled a 6 while setting his bomb, and his days of terror ended.

Considering the ragged state of the Jerusalem garrison by the final stages of the game, it's no surprise that the elite Arab Legion was able to prevent all further convoy access through to the end. While the Israelis eventually get strong forces, even the mighty Alexandroni units are heavily outnumbered. Once established in strong positions on various hills overlooking the highways to the city, the Arab Legion was there to stay.

We had some hope that the cool bulldozer units which arrive for the Israelis late in the game might have managed to clear an alternate route to Jerusalem, but it was clearly futile since there were massive Arab Legion forces waiting further up the roads to block convoy access. We pulled the plug a few turns before the end since there seemed to be no hope to defeat the Arab blockade.

This is an extremely cool game, and I look forward to playing it again soon.
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Dan Raspler
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Other than adding a ton of informational markers, I don't think there are any real changes. The map, for example, is 100% identical except graphically. Even the rules, which are improved over the original John Hill version, still had large sections that I think were just copied verbatim.

Have you played the game, Charles? If so, please take a look at some questions I posted earlier today.
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