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Brian Train
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Introduction

Jerusalem! was published in 1975 by Simulations Design Corporation (SDC). It was designer John Hill's fifth professionally published game, and further served to peg him as a game designer with an impressive bag of tricks. This game is a tactical level game of the struggle for that city in the 1948 War for Independence, with a bucketload of unusual game mechanics and rules to handle the exotic array of units that participated in the battle.

Components

Jerusalem was released as #9 in the Pouch Game series, and later (with, in my opinion, inferior physical components) by Mayfair Games in 1982. The Pouch Series Game components are as follows:

- cover sheet, with an Important Notice on the reverse side about the "restructuring" of SDC and their decision to re-release the games previously published in Conflict magazine in pouch format;
- one big ziploc bag to hold everything;
- three smaller ziploc bags to hold the counters;
- one 151/2" x 30" large-hex map of the area around Jerusalem;
- one 32-page rules booklet;
- two sheets of 5/8" size diecut counters with nicely rounded corners;
- two setup and reinforcement charts;
- one Terrain Effects Chart.

Counter Manifest

There is a total of 271 counters, including three white blanks. All counters are blank and white on the reverse side.

Arab Units (131 units)
Arab Legion (white on brown)
armored cars 4-30 x 6
infantry 12-8 x 9, 8-8 x 3
other leader x 1
artillery (brown on white) 4-4-2 x 3, 3-3-4 x 2, 2-2-4 x 1, (12)2-2-2 x 1
transport (black on light brown) (1)-24 x 6, 4-10 x 3
Arab volunteers (white on red)
tanks 4-4 x 1, 3-3 x 1
infantry 3-4 x 3, 3-3 x 3, 2-4 x 5
other 1-8 HQ x 1
artillery (red on white) 3-4-2 x 2
transport (black on pink) (1)-24 x 2, (1)-12 x 2
Arab irregulars (brown on yellow)
infantry 2-8 x 29
guerrilla 12-0 x 1, 8-0 x 1, 6-0 x 2, 4-0 x 26
dummies 0-18 x 10
leaders 3x-18, 1x-18, 1/2x-18 x1 each; 2x-18 x 2, 2-J x 1
terrorist (black on yellow) KUTUB x 1

Jewish units (106 units)
Jewish Regular Army (white on blue)
armored cars 4-30 x 4, 2-24 x 1, 2-18 x 4
other vehicles (12)2-10 flame-thrower x 1, 2-4-8 armored bulldozer x 3
infantry 12-6 x 6, 8-8 x 1, 8-6 x 6, 6-6 x 5, 4-6 x 21, 4-4 x 1, 2-4 x 6
guerrilla 12-0 x 5, 8-0 x 1, 6-0 x 11
leader SHAL x 1
transport (black on light blue) (1)-24 truck x 4, (1)-24 x 8, 4-10 half-track x 1, 2-10 half-track x 1, 3-12 armored bus x 2, 2-12 armored bus x 1, Jerusalem convoy x 1
artillery (light blue on white) 6-5-2 x 1, 3-3-4 x 3, 3-3-3 x 1, 2-2-3 x 1, 2-2-2 x 2
terrorist 2-2 x 2, 1-2 x 1

Miscellaneous units (34 units)
road sections straight x 15, curved x 15
turn marker x 1 (white)
blank x 3 (white)

Player's value

I think it's unlikely that you could get your hands on an unpunched copy of Jerusalem these days, because it's a game that was meant to be played. It's full of unusual rules for the odd units and difficult terrain that affected the historical battle.

This starts at the most basic level, the sequence of play: there is no combat phase per se - each player has an Overland Movement Phase and a Road Movement Phase. In each such phase, the player will move task forces of units that, when they move adjacent to enemy units, must first suffer "first fire" before attacking. Combat is odds-ratio but you can choose to shoot at selected units within the enemy stack. The hook is that if you eliminate all the units to which you were adjacent, you can keep moving (provided you still have some movement points left) and can engage more units in combat. If you fail, those units stop and you have to go on with another group. This approach makes sense since the most common operation for the Israeli player is road-clearing, as he tries to run convoys through to embattled Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the Arab player tries to grab the best defensive ground from which to engage the units guarding those convoys, but when the powerful units of the British-trained Arab Legion show up, he can put in some sharp counterattacks.

Some of the more colorful units in the game, with rules to match, include: an Arab "mad bomber" terrorist unit; Jewish special weapons and vehicles (homemade armored cars and school buses, a leaky flame-thrower mounted on a half-track, armored bulldozers that can build new roads through to Jerusalem and "Little David", an old Turkish 150mm mortar stolen from a war memorial that might blow up any time you fire it!), the Irgun and Stern terrorist gangs, and leaders (you need the Arab leaders to do anything at all with the masses of Arab irregulars you get at the beginning of the game, while the Jewish leader gives a nice combat bonus). Another nice twist is "Bevingrad", a hex in the middle of Jerusalem that houses a brigade of British paratroops and so is inviolable by both sides until it withdraws 2/3 of the way through the game.

As the designer's notes say, this is a complicated game but not a complex one, and some reviewers have complained about its ultimate play balance and rules loopholes caused by John Hill's casual and humorous rules writing style. But it's still a fun match.

Support Material: Fire and Movement #66 had an analysis piece by Joe Miranda.
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Jason Monroe
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Almost 10 years later....

Quote:
Counter Manifest
There is a total of 271 counters, including three white blanks.


Could anyone please confirm it is 271?

I've looked around on the internet and I could only find any pictures of unpunched counter sheets that were partially covered. It looks like 270 (2 sheets of 120 each + 1 sheet of 30)

Thanks in advance
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Brian Train
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The count was made from my personal punched copy, so I didn't have unpunched sheets to work from either.

Perhaps I have an extra blank or something. 271 is an odd number.

Brian
 
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Jason Monroe
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I appreciate the quick response. I came across a punched copy and was trying to figure out if it was complete. I checked my usual sites for unpunched counter scans, but the best picture I saw had half of a sheet awkwardly covered with other components.

I can confirm there are 3 blank counters (at least that's what my copy had). I agree 271 is an odd number, so I'm thinking 270 is most likely correct, but I'll see if I can't get more solid confirmation.

Thanks again.
 
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Mark Humphries
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The component list on the back of cover sheet says:

2 Four-Color Die-Cut Unit Sheets [237 units].
1 One-Color Die-Cut Road Unit Sheet [30 units].
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Jason Monroe
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Mark_WH wrote:
The component list on the back of cover sheet says:

2 Four-Color Die-Cut Unit Sheets [237 units].
1 One-Color Die-Cut Road Unit Sheet [30 units].


I didn't even think about checking the back cover, but I'm leaning towards the 3 blank counters not being included in that 237
 
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