Colin Raitt
United Kingdom
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Lincolnshire
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A traditional hex & counter game with CRT, ZOCs and maintenance supply points.

10 miles across a hex. Terrain types include wadi, ridge, salt marsh, delta marsh, rough, mountains, small and large cities. Escarpments and sandy desert are impassable. Bardia and Tobruk are forts. Boxes are all round earthworks and minefields. The primary road follows the coastline. Benghazi is a death trap once Tobruk has fallen as it is easily bypassed. Southern flanks are wide open except for choke points at El Agheila and El Alamein.The marble arch marked on the map is a monument to the Philaenus brothers of Carthage.


Monthly turns in campaigns and 2 week turns in short scenarios. Sequence of play. Axis draws reinforcements, replacements, resets air, truck, shipping and supply points. Move ground units. Barrage then attack. Exploitation move with motorised units not in ZOC. Overruns by single stacks during normal and exploitation movement. Check supply. Allies follow the same steps.

Most units are brigades but some battalions and Italian infantry divisions. No air or naval units but shipping and airstrike points. Ground units have attack and defence strength, hit capacity, movement allowance, stacking value and supply cost. German 12-6-20 panzer regiments are the best. One of them could advance from El Benghazi to Alexandria in a month if the road was open. Some units take 4 hits to kill, toughies like Italian infantry divisions and British armour brigades. Air strikes can ease passage of supply past Malta, damage ports, barrage or aid ground attacks and overruns. Artillery brigades barrage with a range of 2 hexes.

Supply points are received at Tripoli and Alexandria. They move forward by truck and coastal shipping and remain till used up. 1 supply point maintains 14 brigades for a month. Unsupplied units lose a step and their combat strength is reduced. A supply point can also build a box.
Italy has reduced supply range and dies from lack of supply before turn 7. This seems a little artificial. Some explanation would be in order. I.E. the Germans bring extra transport and stiffen their allies resolve which was shaky after disasters in Greece.

The axis has supply and transport problems. They get 151 supply points over 28 turns but need 162 to keep all their units supplied. That's only if you maximise your supply by devoting almost all air strikes to suppressing Malta.Late in the game with 7 truck points and 2 coastal shipping they can maintain 42 brigades at Mersa Matruh. The Commonwealth can feed 70 there. Both sides can support 56 brigades at Tobruk. Losing lots of Italian infantry divisions early on is a blessing in disguise because each has little combat power and many mouths to feed. I would always de-motorize Trento division to increase truck points.

In the designer notes Mr Essig says he allowed extra truck points to the allies because of the single track railway between Mersa Matruh and Alexandria. Water pipes ran alongside the track. Rails ran both sides of the Nile between Cairo and Alexandria as well. I think all of these should be printed on the map and supply trace at 1/3 rather than 1/2 a movement point per hex.

Combat is by odds ratio CRT. Round to nearest whole number so 3:2 is on the 2:1 column. Divisional integrity, multi counter divisions stacked in a hex get a 1 column shift. Combined arms, each hex with infantry and armour/recon gets a 1 column shift. Anti-tank guns can substitute for armour when defending. The Axis has several 88mm antitank battalions. Combined arms can be up to 4 columns. This favours the attacker especially when assaulting an isolated fort.

Egypt set up.

The wire set up

Benghazi set up


The reinforcements track is fairly bulging. Axis attack strength triples from 82 to 252 whilst commonwealth forces increase six fold from 40 to 266.


Replacements can rebuild weakened units, resurrect the dead or return withdrawn units in campaign games. Not in ZOCs. The allies average 57 to the axis’ 39 so their armoured units will be in better shape at the end of the game.

ZOCs block supply, attrite retreaters and increase movement cost by 2.

Unique counters. Rommel appears in February 1941. He gives a column shift and allows units in ZOC to exploit. Periodically he has to go back to Berlin. Kampfgroup Hecker arrives late in the game. It can make an amphibious landing adding, another reason to garrison your rear. The British get the LRDG which needs no supply.

Scenarios for Crusader, Gazala, 1st El Alamein, Alma Halfa and 3rd El Alamein. Campaigns starting in October 1940 or April 1941 both ending in December 1942.

Allied withdrawals. An average of 14 brigades will be called away to Greece and India. Manage this by keeping a few weak brigades down at their last step if replacements can possibly go elsewhere.

Leg infantry tend to stick to the coast road. Movement values as high as 25 for motorised troops, wide open flanks, overruns and the exploitation phase leave rear areas vulnerable. Guarding supply dumps is essential. A failed envelopment often leaves the attacker trapped. Supply problems and the choke points means a defeated army will have a chance to recover.

A good game that naturally simulates the see-saw flavour of this campaign. The supply rules are complex but highlight the extra difficulties in this region.
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Enrico Viglino
United States
Eugene
OR
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Slowed - BGG's moderation policies have driven me partially from here
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Watch it play out:

Afrika playthrough
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