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Subject: Best games capturing Rommel's career/command? rss

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Robert Carroll
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What games best capture the military career of Erwin Rommel? Which ones give you a "feel" for his command? Surely, Field Commander: Rommel, Rommel in the Desert and even Shifting Sands should be on the list, rights? What others?

Thanks in advance for your input.
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At the risk of being hounded off the forum:

The Campaign for North Africa

Not only does the game have a great photo of Rommel on the box, it also shows a key element that brought him down, supplies, supplies, supplies...

Also, other games are two player, Rommel against somebody else. But CNA involves so much work, especially logistics work, over such a large map, that the game is best played with command teams. It's Rommel managing other commanders in his team. Don't know of any other game that allows a wargamer to capture that element of Rommel leading other human players.
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For me, it was tactics at which Rommel most excelled. Reading some accounts of this WWI successes, he appears to have had a keen tactical mind. Let's also not forget that he was the first to use the "88" as an anti-tank weapon. On the other hand, I have read several accounts of his limitations in a strategic forum. For example, his demands for supplies ended up wasted at the bottom of the Meditarranean, when they could have been used elsewhere. In any event, I will always admire the man for his decent treatment of prisoners and overall respect for his opponents.

With this in mind, I think it is tactical games that show his best abilities, using his force mix to best advantage. My personal favorite is "88" by Yaquinto, though Rommel is not modeled in any way, other than being able to see the 88mm gun to devastating effect. John Hill's Tank Leader game in the desert provides both force mix inter-actions in addition to a stellar command/control system.

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I think a wargamer with Rommel-like abilities would thrive playing Rommel in the Desert. It's a game that rewards audacity and the ability to bluff, or read a bluff for what it is. A keen ability to assess when and where to commit is absolutely necessary. Clean actions, bold strokes, Rommel's strengths in a nutshell.
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Hmm ... probably not The Plot to Assassinate Hitler.
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Afrika Korps and Afrika (second edition) both do well. Decision At Kasserine has a nice feel to it as well.
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
Hmm ... probably not The Plot to Assassinate Hitler.


That was my first choice.

An interesting (though flawed) choice:

Rommel & Tunisia

And, still the best (hoping to replace with DAK) NA game I've seen:

The Desert Fox
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Andrew Walters
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Don't forget that Rommel virtually built the Atlantic Wall and commanded the Normandy defenses nearly until their collapse. (He was injured in mid-July, the allies had broken out of Normandy by the end of July, so he designed the defenses and ran that show for five and a half of its seven week duration.)

So we have to add...

Atlantic Wall

Breakout: Normandy

...plus probably some other good D-Day games. Is there a good one on Caen? Rommel supervised that personally.

On the one hand this is the flip side of Rommel, not the cunning, mobile Rommel, but Rommel on the defense. On the other hand, Hitler flat out prevented Rommel from using the Panzer divisions as he would have wished, so the allies faced a hobbled Rommel defense, not the defense Rommel could have presented. So you could argue that the Normandy campaign wasn't truly Rommellian, but you could also argue that a game of the Normandy where the Germans have Panzer divisions right front would be an exciting what-if.
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larsk7 wrote:
For me, it was tactics at which Rommel most excelled. Reading some accounts of this WWI successes, he appears to have had a keen tactical mind. Let's also not forget that he was the first to use the "88" as an anti-tank weapon. On the other hand, I have read several accounts of his limitations in a strategic forum. For example, his demands for supplies ended up wasted at the bottom of the Meditarranean, when they could have been used elsewhere. In any event, I will always admire the man for his decent treatment of prisoners and overall respect for his opponents.

With this in mind, I think it is tactical games that show his best abilities, using his force mix to best advantage. My personal favorite is "88" by Yaquinto, though Rommel is not modeled in any way, other than being able to see the 88mm gun to devastating effect. John Hill's Tank Leader game in the desert provides both force mix inter-actions in addition to a stellar command/control system.



Prior to Battleaxe, realizing the weakness of his forces, Rommel set up defenses in a string from Halfaya Pass through Hafid Ridge, with a reserve force positioned south of Tobruk. It was these skillfully placed defensive positions which repulsed the British (well, two out of the three assaults) and enabled Rommel to win Battleaxe.

This was in June, 1941, and the first time in the War that "a significant German force fought on the defensive."

Two games simulate Halfaya Pass and Hafid Ridge, respectively, on the tactical (platoon) level:

Death Ride: Halfaya Pass,

Death Ride: Hafid Ridge.

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xlhrider wrote:
Afrika Korps and Afrika (second edition) both do well. Decision At Kasserine has a nice feel to it as well.


Not to mention von Borries' two updates, Kasserine and The Battle of Kasserine Pass.

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Sphere wrote:
I think a wargamer with Rommel-like abilities would thrive playing Rommel in the Desert. It's a game that rewards audacity and the ability to bluff, or read a bluff for what it is. A keen ability to assess when and where to commit is absolutely necessary. Clean actions, bold strokes, Rommel's strengths in a nutshell.


In my view, the very best of the North African games, for just the reasons given by Sphere. If the Germans get caught in slugfests, they will lose. On the other hand, if they don't use judicious engagement of forces to 'pin' the British, they will also lose. And, like in Poker, both sides, in order to win, have to include bluff with regard to both supplies and unit strengths in their arsenal of tactics.
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Pelle Nilsson
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The introductory scenario in Landships! Tactical Weapons Innovations 1914-1918. Early ww1 trench attack.

Know I am not first to say this, but it would be awesome with a game based on battles described in Rommel's Infantry Attack book, from his days as company and battalion commander.
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Robert Carroll
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Great suggestions and comments--what else? What's missing?

Thanks.
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Robert Carroll
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Thanks all for the comments! Keep them (and the discussion) coming . . .

I finally put together my list, so feel free to check it out--Top 10 Erwin Rommel Games . . .

Thank again!
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