Saturday, June 28, 2008

WW2, Take 2: Rommel the in Desert

While Carlos and Jose were recreating the Pacific Theater of WWII near Helotes, Mark and I were busy with the North African campaign near Sea World. We made a day of it, and we manged to review the rules and play parts of three scenarios.

This game is a definite step up in complexity from the games I've been playing recently, but I think it's worth the investment of effort.

The first one we picked was a short one with a theoretical play time of 1-2 hrs. As always, this play time refers to after you know the rules. Playing through this, Mark and I were reminded that the supply rules are brutal and unforgiving. Mark drew some troops away from his siege of Tobruk to defend the front, and we realized I could put his entire army out of supply and there was no way for him to prevent it. Since we were focusing on mechanics, this would have defeated our purpose, so we both made a mental note and continued play w/o the game winning move. Here's a pic from the middle of the scenario, before the troops were drawn away from Tobruk.

After lunch, we played the 1941 scenario, which starts about 9 months prior to the pic on the left. In this scenario, the axis has to get to Tobruk, whereas the previous scenario has them starting there.

Mark tried his hand as the Axis. He got close, but then he left too much room in his supply lines and I split them wide open, wiping away most of his offensive punch in the process. We decided to call the game at this point even though there were lots of turns left.

The afternoon was waning at this point, but we decided to swap sides and repeat the scenario. I took the Axis and tried to get to Tobruk. After quickly grabbing the fortress at Benghazi, I focused heavily on the inland route. Unfortunately, Mark had deeply studied this line of attack in the previous scenario, and he caught me in brilliant trap and crushed (crushed, I say!) my offensive as I neared the coast again. If you're going to lose, I think it's sort of nice to lose to a brilliancy rather than your own screw-up. Once again, we decided to call the game with many turns left to play.

By the end I think we had both pretty much internalized the rules, and we were beginning to focus mostly on the strategy and tactics. Whereas the first two scenarios were lost based on not understanding the rules completely, Mark won the last scenario through superior strategic insight. By understanding where the choke points are, Mark knew where to defend and where to retreat.

We both agreed the Axis seems harder to play in this scenario. Don't know about the other scenarios.

This game has about 6 scenarios with various durations from 1-2 hrs up to 8 hrs for the full 41-42 campaign. Now that I'm getting the rules sorted out, I hope to get this to the table often in the future. I hear there's a Vassal module for it, too.



At 10:26 PM, June 28, 2008, Blogger Mark said...

Nice report. It could be that the scenario isn't meant to be balanced.

I would live to try this again. I think it would be a good game to play on Vassal.

At 2:59 PM, June 29, 2008, Blogger Carlos said...

Look like it was a weekend of block-games. I know that EE will support three players, but I cannot think of a 4 player one. I just picked up ToI and this could be a cool thing to try in a week or two. I would be glad to host.


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