DESCRIPTIONEL ALAMEIN is a two-player operational (regiment/brigade/division) level simulation of the two North African battles in 1942 that first stopped Rommel in front of El Alamein, and that then decisively broke the offensive power of Erwin Rommel’s Deutsches Afrika Korps. These engagements, particularly the final, Second Battle of El Alamein, signaled both the high-water mark of Rommel’s campaign in North Africa, and an end to any further Axis designs on the Suez Canal. EL ALAMEIN is played in game turns divided into symmetrical (identical) player turns. Each player turn follows a set sequence: the Initial Movement Phase; the Combat Phase; the Mechanized Movement Phase; and the Supply Movement Phase. Because of the game scale and the unique characteristics of the North African battle area, EL ALAMEIN plays a little differently than most of SPI’s KURSK style games. The game system, for example, uses “sticky” zones of control that have the effect of locking opposing units in combat until one or the other is retreated or destroyed. This can be a real problem — as anyone who has ever played PANZERGRÜPPE GUDERIAN can attest — if one player runs out of unengaged units, while his opponent still has uncommitted units that are free to maneuver. The second unusual and very noticeable thing about EL ALAMEIN is the presence on the map of minefield counters — LOTS of minefield counters — particularly in the September and October scenarios. While some players may find the game’s inclusion of these extensive German and British mine belts a little cumbersome, their presence really helps to explain many of Rommel’s and Montgomery’s actions during these several months, and why the Second Battle of El Alamein developed the way that it did. This game certainly isn’t for everybody, but I personally found the problems that it presented, particularly in the October Scenario, very interesting and quite challenging.
EL ALAMEIN offers three scenarios: the July (the First Battle of El Alamein) Scenario; the September Scenario; and the October (Second Battle of El Alamein) Scenario. In addition, the game offers four British and eight Axis optional OOB/Reinforcement variants for the players to try.
- Time Scale: 1 day (24 hours) per game turn
- Map Scale: 5 kilometers per hex
- Unit Size: regiment/brigade/division
- Unit Types: armor/panzer, mechanized infantry/panzer grenadier, reconnaissance, infantry, parachute infantry, anti-aircraft (German 88’s), engineer, supply, supply vanguard, mines, and information counters
- Number of Players: two
- Complexity: average
- Solitaire Suitability: high
- Average Playing Time: 2–3 + hours (depending on scenario)
- One 22’’ x 28” hexagonal grid Map Sheet (with Turn Record Track and Scenario OOB Set Up Locations incorporated)
- 255 ½” cardboard Counters
- One 9” x 11½ ” map-fold Rules Booklet
- One 7¼” x 10” combined Combat Results Table and Terrain Effects Chart
- One 7¼” x 12” Scenario Variation Chart
- Two 8½” x 11” Errata Sheets (as 31 July 1973)
- One small six-sided Die
- One SPI 12” x 15” x 1” flat 24 compartment plastic Game Box (with clear compartment tray covers) and clear plastic game cover with Title Sheet
See my blog post Book Reviews of these titles which I strongly recommend for those visitors looking for additional historical background information.