Northern Africa WW2 Card Game – development update

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The game in prototype  – scribbled rubbish on laminated blank cards!!!

I’ve spent some more time developing this game – and its beginning to get there. I thought its time to go back to the original scope I gave myself to see how well I was doing in meeting it.

From the first post (current comments in brackets)

Firstly there will be some constraints –

  • It will be a card run game (that’s done)
  • With either a board or card terrain cards (a board has been considered but rejected because of the printing/development implications, furthermore keeping it all card means it can fit in a card deck box)
  • It will be historical but allow non-historical results (i.e the Axis have to be able to win) (the strategic cards allow for chance events as well as player influenced events which should create a different game each time)
  • It will be operational level at least.(Strategic events and fighting up and down the North African coast are abstracted to allow the player to be the theatre C-in-C)

Other factors which need to be taken into account:

Events (or potential events) geographically outside the actual campaign area will need to be taken into account for the effect they make on the battle. Events such as:

  • The British moving troops from the Desert to Greece
  • The Axis capturing Malta
  • The Allies holding Crete
  • The French fleet not being destroyed at Oran
  • The Italian fleet not being badly damaged at Taranto
  • The effect of Barbarossa on reinforcements for the Axis
  • Vichy defending Algeria and Morocco against the Allies
  • The (proposed) German Operation Felix capturing Gibralter
  • The Axis coup in Iran
  • The Allies attack of French Syria
  • Italian East Africa holding out

(all of these events can occur within the game either as chance events or player influenced events – in effect luck and skill affect events – as the theatre C-in C would be able to control all things. As events they then have an ongoing effect on the game)

I’m sure there are more….

Another key element of the North African campaign is its length – June 1940 until May 43 – almost three years with the Germans only becoming involved from February 41. This has two interesting effects:

  • The technical progression of the tanks – the British went from Matilda 1’s through, A9’s, A13’s to Honeys to Grants and then finally Shermans and Churchills. The British Anti tanks guns went from 2pdrs to 25pdrs in the course of the Terrain. The Germans and Italians also likewise upgraded.(I spent a lot of time trying to make this work at a tactical level – but the game is operational – so its actually the tactics that count – and the logistics of getting troops to the front line that matters. the game does not go into equipment upgrades)
  • The change of leadership – especially with the Allies, although the friction of Italian and German adds some different issues.(hadn’t included this – I think I can still do that)
  • The progression of tactics – the British started the campaign charging tanks as though they were cavalry against the German anti tank lines, they finally learnt more effective tactics which were to wear the Africa Corps down. (This is represented in the way the combats are fought)
  • The difference in the sweeping movements of the Desert war, the almost WW1 style battle of El-Alamain and then the slow wet, hilly advance up Tunsia against dug in troops.(Again this is represented in the combats along the North Africa coast)
  • The addition of the Americans (I took a view that the British fought and won the North African campaign and the Americans supported it – the game represents that view)

I’m uncertain so far on:

Whether the cards should stay on the table or return to the discard deck – the balance is not right – perhaps some key cards should not be doubled up? (I’m now sure how the strategic events card work – and the mechanism is clearer for the player – the player can control how the events roll out and what effect they have)

The effects of cards are perhaps out of kilter – affecting the tactical situation (Playtesting has balanced this out)

Convoy success needs to be simplified and the process clarified.(again playtesting has balanced this out – also the events are now viewed in their effect on convoys – as convoys now supply the means to fight)

The combat rules need to be defined.(playtesting has made this a simple calculation)

Should players be able to hold cards for use later on? Could this add to the mechanism allowing influence over the strategic situation? (allowing a larger hand now allows the player to manage their own campaign as they want)

So, having looked through the above I think I have covered most of the spec – with a game that is close to finished!!

North Africa campaign 40-43 in 52 cards!!!!! Anyone interested?

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