Favourite WWII North Africa Games (2022)

My very first Avalon Hill game was Tobruk, and I've been fascinated by the desert war ever since. Here's a list of my favourite games on the subject, plus a few from the as-yet-unplayed shelf. No shame.

 Here's my favourites along with a few more. Leave your thoughts in the comments or in the forums ( Discussion forum )

rommel
Rommel in the Desert
- Despite having a partner that continually kicks my butt in this game, I keep coming back to it. Blocks give it great fog of war. Supply is front and center. Maybe not the most detailed sim, but a great game.

LegendBegins
The Legend Begins
- An early Mark Simoitch design that's well worth seeking out. Yup, the counters are small and blck text on red is hard to read, but the gameplay is great. Gives me high hopes for when Simonitch gives us his North Africa game in his zoc-bond series (though rumour is there will be no zoc bonds in the desert)

shifty
Shifting Sands
- A CDG in the manner of Paths of Glory, this game has a bit of a more scripted feel. But it also includes the largest amount of the desert theatre that I've seen including East Africa and the Near East, and then all the way to the American showing up in the West. 

DarkSands
The Dark Sands
- Chit pull with an interesting map twist. The board is divided into three sections. In the middle section (which includes Tobruk IIRC), the map scale is half of what it is in the two edge sections. At first glance you think it's going to be a brutal mess, but it ends up working seamlessly.

panzerArmeeAfrika
PanzerArmee Afrika
- An early innovation from Jim Dunnigan, later republished by Avalon Hill. Movement ranges here are in the 40 hex range. It drove some players crazy, but I found it incredibly fun. Really puts maneuver in the spotlight. Add in supply depots and it's a game of cutting and protecting supply lines.

AfrikaKorps
Afrika Korps (AH)
- I have less experience with this than the rest on the list as I didn't acquire it until after 2015 sometime. But it still holds up, probably better than many of the Avalon Hill classics. Not my first choice but I'd play if asked.

 

Unplayed:

 

Beda Fomm - A Frank Chadwick design, so worth looking at for the designer alone. From ConSIm Press, who also published The Legend Begins, I think.

Brazen Chariots - Smaller scale than most of the others on this list. Battalion Combat Series (BCS) is a bit daunting to dive into, so I may find a smaller BCS game to cut my teeth with first.

No Retreat: The North African Front - I had a good time with No Retreat on the East Front, so this is a no brainer. Carl Paradis's big innovation here is dividing the map into 5 sections. Playing the full game, you move from section to section, never playing on more than one map at once. I've only played with it a bit so I don't know how well it works, but I think I read Carl saying that this is his favourite of his No Retreat games.

North Africa: Afrika Korps vs Desert Rats, 1940-42 - A baby brother to DAK, I suppose. This is The Gamer's Standard Combat Series game on the desert war. As SCS is their entry level system, theoretically this should be easy to get started with.

 

Operational or tactical, but worth a mention:

 

Race For Tunis

The Road to Cheren - A new, completely reworked version of this is coming from Kim Kangar

Operation Battleaxe: Wavell vs. Rommel, 1941 - Area Impulse game from Mike Rinella. Fairly quick to play.

Operation Theseus: Gazala 1942

Tobruk (AH)

Gazala: The Cauldron - Chit pull in the desert.

Ariete: The Battle of Bir el Gubi

 

What's your favourite one or two games from the desert? Just big campaigns, not battle games.

Do you have a favourite game on the North African front in WWII?

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