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Tobruk: Tank Battles in North Africa 1942» Forums » Reviews

Subject: More of a review of Tobruk rss

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Chris Salander
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The counters in Tobruk are very simple, just an overhead view of a vehicle, a counter number, and the unit's movement factor. All of the detail of Tobruk happens on charts. The vehicles are specifically those that fought in the battle of Gazala. Each player has a set of tables for each of his tank types and the enemy gun types. Players alternate firing one vehicle or unit at a time.

a. Roll to see if you hit your target. This is a function of gun type and distance. Smaller guns can fire two or three times in one turn.

b. If you hit your target, roll two d6 to find out what part of the tank you hit. (6 places and the magic "turret ring"). The only hope many small guns have of doing damage to well-armored tanks is to hit them in the turret ring or knock off a track.

c. Check the armor of your tank in that location versus the gun shooting at you. Depending on the distance, you may get an immediate kill, the death of a crewman, take out a track, or nothing.

The first scenario is all tanks. How will the Germans deal with the Grant and its 75mm gun? The second scenario introduces infantry. The game comes with a big pad of infantry unit rosters. You mark off casualties one man at a time! Unit capabilities decline as men die.

The third scenario introduces crew served weapons and Bren carriers. Gun crews are also listed on the rosters. The fourth - indirect artillery fire. It goes on from there - mortars, transports, artillery observers, fieldworks, Stuka attacks. Then, after you have learned how to use all of these weapons, you are given information on how to go back and play the earlier scenarios using ALL of the rules. Each scenario is taken from an event at Gazala.

If you really lust for tactical detail, there are even more rules that you can bring in - turret facing, vehicle reliability, vehicle towing, incidental AFV damage, hitting a movement target.

And, besides choosing between AP and HE ammo (just the Axis and the Grants and Stuarts), the Germans get a few rounds of advanced APCR shells, which the German players all use up immediately.

With all of this potential overhead, impatient or busy or married players will give up after the first few scenarios. All of the scenarios limit the size of the formations involved to make the game manageable. This is a game for patient players who like North Africa and love detail.

The one big flaw in the game is the board. It is absolutely, completely blank. No even one bush or hill. True, much of the battlefield was like this, but your first reaction is WTF? Fortunately, there are counters you can add to the map: gun pits, hedgehogs, AT trenches, minefields and bunkers. Someone is also selling after-market counters for this game that include terrain features such as sand dunes. We could use a few palm trees too.

The game plays very much like a miniature battle. You get to try out Italian infantry and tanks. The trick to this game is finding a second North African detail fanatic. The game can be played solitaire, but that takes most of the interest out of the game. I have given up the game since I joined Tobruk-anon. Let me know if you need a sponsor.

Oh, so you think they still left some things out? Well, they have optional rules for surrendering, and smoke, and variable minimum gun crews, and close assaults, and ammunition limits, and, and, and . . .

Well, at least they don't have a rule for Italian water consumption!

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Davido
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I grew up on "the Rat Patrol" and Tobruk was my first wargame. I also did a lot of microarmor, so the miniatures approach worked for me. The cool thing was you had to 'fire for acquire' and then once you hit, 'fire for effect'. And yeah, rolling all those dice was cool

Hal Hock (designer) used to work for the army and the details and realism were spot on, as the charts accounted for not only armor thickness, but angle/deflection, etc.
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Kevin Collins
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Tobruk was also my first wargame. I was 10 or 11 when I bought it and I chose it becasue I liked the box (especially the back). $12 back then was a pretty big investment. I had no idea how many people absolutely hated this game until much later. What I find interesting though is that nobody ever mentions how simple the game is to get into. Other than rolling a lot of dice the game/charts do the work for you. I was a kid and even I could figure it out. I found Panzerblitz much harder to understand at about the same time.
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Allen Dickerson
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@terrain: no wadis? No escarpments? There WAS terrain in North Africa, just not a LOT of it.
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John Stafford
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Plenty of undulation in North Africa. It only takes about 10 feet of elevation change to hide a tank, except from that wandering Storch....
 
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