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Rommel in the Desert» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Need German advice in '41 scenario rss

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Ted Kostek
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Yesterday I played the '41 scenario with a friend. We are learning the game, and we played this twice swapping sides.

The allies are winning at the start, and the axis has the burden of the attack. They have to at least get Tobruk under siege.

We found this burden was too heavy for the Germans. Both times we played, the allies gave ground, building up supply and forces. Meanwhile the Germans were hard pressed to maintain an offensive, partially due to low supply.

The strategic situation gives the Germans an initial force advantage, but the allies have more space and are winning. Over time the allies get stronger. It seems the axis has to act quickly before the allies build up too much strength.

Here's the problem: the Germans don't seem to have enough supply to really pull this off. If the allies are low on supply, the can withdraw an build up more cards. On the other hand, the allies are not going to chase the axis. If the axis doesn't advance, the allies are content to sit around: waiting plays right into their strength.

Any advice or insight is welcome.
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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I agree that this one seems really tough for the Axis. However, I did manage to lose this one as the Allies the other night.*

I usually like to start someone in one of the oases, but I didn't this time, so early in the game, the Axis drove someone out to Jarabub Oasis. That took two supply cards (the move to Jalo Oasis was part of his initial group move out of El Agheila), but it meant that I had to use a supply card & three or four units from Tobruk to defend the highway back there, which left me pretty thin on the western part of the map, which made it easier for him to tear me up.

He wasn't able to take Benghazi right away; I thought that was funny, so I reinforced it; by the third or fourth month, I was pretty heavily committed at that end of the map--with several guys in the mountains, etc.--and he was able to drive around the south and cut them off.

After that, his superior numbers meant I couldn't concentrate anyone anywhere--I had to stay spread out to keep him from just driving around me--so pretty much every time he played a supply card, he'd vaporize a unit and make a hole; then I'd have to play a supply card to patch things up. Then he'd vaporize another unit, and so on.

I think you're right that the Axis has to hit hard early in the game, and get far enough ahead that the Allies can't recover later in the game. (That's what happened here, but the biggest Axis gain came from cutting guys off, not from battle.)

(Now, you guys are remembering that the Allies start with Benghazi, and the Axis gets two supply cards for capturing it, right? That helps, at least...)

----------
* Well, it "would have been" an Axis victory, but it goes in the record books as two Allied victories, ha ha ha. When the Axis cut off everyone west of Gazala, they left a hole; a supplied Allied unit was able to forced-march around and park on their supply line. It survived the forced march, and the Axis was unable to respond, so a pile of their best units were eliminated, and they conceded.

We decided to keep playing as if I had failed the forced march roll. In the last month of the game, the Axis had a big advantage in numbers, and had completely encircled Tobruk with an impenetrable wall of units. But rather than playing defensively and taking the attrition victory, the Axis attacked Tobruk. As the Axis piled more and more units in to the battle, I began edging around them, and finally used my last two cards for an assault on the unit securing the highway in Gazala. I broke through; he used his last card to try to reestablish supply with his few unengaged units, but failed, so pretty much every Axis unit was eliminated. Phew!
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Ted Kostek
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We included the 2 cards for Benghazi, and those are critical, IMO.

We both ignored the oases. I'll have to take another look at the south side of the map.

My guess is the historical outcome depended on two things:

1. Rommel was a genius
2. Rommel had a better supply situation than the allies.

I assume that in most games, neither of these are true. In the notes it says that Rommel got to Egypt in a "fortnight," in other words, less than a game month. In game terms, I doubt this is possible against any reasonable allied play. It takes like 3 or 4 cards to just move units there, forget about fighting.

IIRC, BattleAxe picks up after Rommel already has Tobruk under siege. Maybe that's the better scenario. Sort of like how many Pacific theater games start post Pearl Harbor.
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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Hey, I almost lost this as the Allies again last night. At the end of the third month, I was down to two units:



We were both pretty sure the game was over, but we kept playing anyway just to see what would happen.

(By the way, to get to this point, all twelve of the supply cards the Axis player had drawn were good! Of course I didn't know that until he threw down #12, dooming almost everyone on the map.)

So, that's my strategy advice for the Axis, ha ha ha:
- draw one more good supply card than the Allied player thinks you did.
- when the Allied player makes a mistake, cut off & eliminate all of his units.
- DO NOT repeat the mistake of throwing all of your units into Tobruk!
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patrick stevens
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We just played twice, switching sides, both of us 15 year veterans. Allied victory both times. When I took Bengahzi, they were blanks, leaving me not enough supply to win. Steve, playing the axis simply did not have the supply to eliminate me or Tobruk. I still think it is a fun scenario, but quite challenging for the axis.
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