After forty-six years, it would be logical to assume that the rules of few games are as free of controversy or as well understood as those of AFRIKA KORPS. Reams of paper have been devoted in the General to answering rules questions, as well as to analyzing — down to the tiniest detail — virtually every aspect of the play of the game. Thus, I was surprised, in the course of a recent PBeM match with a very accomplished and skilled opponent, to discover that an AFRIKA KORPS tactic that I had thought was generally well-known to seasoned players was, in fact, only vaguely familiar to my adversary. The tactic in question is that of using a captured enemy supply to overrun a second enemy line that would, were it not for the use of the opponent’s own supply unit, be safe from a conventional attack. In the case of this particular tournament match, the use of this offensive tactic brought about the almost total collapse of my opponent’s position; his resignation followed one turn later.

Ignorance may well be bliss in some things, but it is usually a recipe for defeat when sitting across from a knowledgeable opponent at the game table. So it was in the aforementioned match. The sudden, decisive end to this particular PBeM contest did, however, start me thinking. If a player as experienced as my adversary was unprepared for the tactical ploy that beat him in our game, then it is highly likely that more than a few other AFRIKA KORPS aficionados might also be ignorant of both the dangers and the opportunities presented by this type of battlefield situation. That being said, this essay will consider the specific AFRIKA KORPS rules that, when taken together, make this tactical approach possible. It will then conclude with a specific example of just how this type of offensive opportunity might arise in a typical game and, more importantly, how it can be exploited by the attacker.


The play of Charles Roberts’ classic game, AFRIKA KORPS, is largely driven — for those newer players who are unfamiliar with this venerable old title — by two design elements which, when taken together, give this game its unique character and special appeal: mobile supply counters and automatic victory. Of course, the presence of these design features does not seem particularly unorthodox by today’s standards; nonetheless, they were both startling innovations when they first appeared on the gaming scene over four and a half decades ago. Moreover, the critical roles performed by both the supply and automatic victory (AV) rules in controlling the flow and tempo of the game — and not nostalgia for the “good old days” — are, without doubt, the main factors in maintaining this game’s ongoing popularity among long-term players like me, even after all these years.

Beans and Bullets: Supply in AFRIKA KORPS

Interestingly, Avalon Hill took something of a chance when it published the first edition of AFRIKA KORPS in 1964. This is because, although a design that pitted Rommel’s Deutsches Afrika Korps (DAK) against Montgomery’s British Eighth Army was a natural subject for a conflict simulation, the introduction of a much more detailed supply subroutine into an otherwise fairly conventional World War II game — notwithstanding the game publisher's earlier experiment with somewhat more complicated supply rules in the first version of D-DAY (1961) — insured that AFRIKA KORPS still represented a significant break from Avalon Hill’s previous commercial offerings. Nonetheless, the gamble paid off, and Charles Roberts’ decision to incorporate a limited number of mobile supply units — three for the Axis and four for the Commonwealth — into the AFRIKA KORPS counter-mix turned out to be exactly the right choice when it came to giving the game its own distinct simulation feel. In addition, the game’s ground-breaking logistical rules also required supporting supply counters to be within five hexes of all units attacking at 1 to 2 or better odds, and for any supplies used by the attacker to be removed from the map after the combat phase. This set of requirements made the task of the attacking player a lot more interesting and, because of the challenges that it created, proved to be a valuable addition to the design architecture of Avalon Hill’s first game on the North African Campaign.

Another truly clever aspect of Roberts’ approach to the battle in the Western Desert was the imposition of chance — through variable supply tables and die-rolling — on the availability of Axis supplies. In essence, the designer made the arrival of supplies automatic for the Commonwealth, but he made incoming supplies a function of changing probabilities for the Axis. This feature, besides being a persistent source of aggravation to countless Axis players over the years, also added a nice bit of uncertainty and a distinctly historical flavor to the cardboard battle for North Africa. What this intriguing little wrinkle in the supply rules really meant, however, was that — unlike the other Avalon Hill games of the day — AFRIKA KORPS absolutely required the Axis player to stockpile supplies in preparation for each major offensive effort. Moreover, the severe limitations imposed by the game’s logistical rules also obliged the DAK’s commander to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each battle before actually expending any of his precious and often difficult-to-replace supply units. This unavoidable ‘cost-benefit’ calculus inevitably created an offensive 'balancing act' for the Axis player because every time a would-be Rommel launched an attack, he did so with the knowledge that it might be a very long time before a replacement for his newly-expended supply counter made its way back to the front.

The final and, in some ways, most interesting feature that Roberts incorporated into his supply rules for desert warfare was the ability of an opposing player to seize and then use captured enemy supplies. In AFRIKA KORPS, an unaccompanied enemy supply counter can be ‘captured’ and immediately converted to a friendly supply unit anytime that an enemy player’s combat unit moves adjacent to the unprotected friendly supply. Moreover, even when a supply unit is stacked with a friendly unit, it can still be captured by means of a soak-off attack, by conventional combat, or through an automatic victory attack. Still more nerve-racking for a defender: any unaccompanied or AV’d supply counter that is seized by an enemy unit can be moved and used by the phasing player — on any game turn, including that of capture — to support other attacks within the ‘captured’ supply unit’s movement range and supply radius. This section of the AFRIKA KORPS supply rules, as we shall shortly see, can produce some very promising (for the attacker) and equally dangerous (for the defender) game situations. However, before moving on to consider the opportunities for creative play that the AFRIKA KORPS supply rules make possible, a brief look at another critically important feature of the game system is probably in order. And a good place to begin is with a further review of the somewhat unusual history of Avalon Hill’s classic game on the battle for North Africa.

Automatic Victory: The Rule that Revolutionized Wargaming

In the course of finishing his design work on AFRIKA KORPS, Charles Roberts ran into a seemingly intractable problem during the new game’s ‘play-testing’ phase: time after time, one or two weak British brigades would completely block the eastward progress of the Deutsches Afrika Korps. No matter what the Axis player tried — when faced with a competent Commonwealth opponent — Rommel simply could not win. The problem was that there were simply too many British units, too few Axis supplies, and too many map hexes between Tripoli and Alexandria for the DAK to cover in thirty-eight game turns. Something radical needed to be done.

Enter Thomas Shaw. Shaw’s solution to Roberts’ problem was as simple as it was ingenious: unlike the combat rules in previous Avalon Hill titles such as WATERLOO (1962) and STALINGRAD (1963) in which weak units could be sacrificed — whatever the odds against them — to effectively block the advance of much stronger enemy forces for a single game turn, Shaw came up with a radically different approach to combat for AFRIKA KORPS. Shaw’s innovative rules change stipulated that attacks at 7 to 1 or 5 to 1 (surrounded) immediately eliminated the effectiveness of the defending unit and cancelled its zone of control; he decided to dub this special type of combat with the somewhat eponymous title: ‘automatic victory’ (AV).

Tom Shaw’s inspired creation of the ‘automatic victory’ type of battle — basically a form of attack in which the hitherto separate game operations of movement and combat are combined — has to stand as one of the truly great innovations in the history of game design. Moreover, this dramatic change in the combat rules of AFRIKA KORPS completely transformed the play dynamics of Roberts’ creation and, at the same time, also laid the groundwork for virtually all of the many ‘overrun’ movement/combat systems that have become widely-accepted within the hobby, today.

The inclusion of ‘automatic victory’ as a new type of combat went a long way towards opening up the battlefield in AFRIKA KORPS. However, subsequent AV rules interpretations, culminating in the publication by Avalon Hill of the game’s Third Edition rules in 1980, transformed it. The most important 3rd Edition rules clarification pertaining to ‘automatic victory’ was in the realm of establishing supply to units performing AV attacks. What happened was that, in the course of clarifying and expanding the AFRIKA KORPS game rules in 1980, Don Greenwood made explicit a unique characteristic of AV supply that had first emerged in the Q & A section of the Avalon Hill General many years before.

This special AV rule had to do with when and how the mandatory five-hex path between AVing units and their sustaining supply counters was to be traced. On this point, Greenwood was clear: any units performing an ‘automatic victory’ attack were required to be within the legal (five-hex) supply range at the moment that the ‘automatic victory’ was first established; however, the sustaining supply could then move out of range of the AVing units, so long as attack supply was restored before the conclusion of the phasing player’s combat phase. This AV rule, when used in concert with the rules governing the ‘capture’ of enemy supplies, can produce a devastating ‘one-two punch’ for the attacker. Moreover, this combination of AV and supply capture is not just a threat to the unwary novice; more than a few seasoned players — in games both past and present — have also succumbed to this bit of tactical ‘slight of hand’. For this reason, I counsel AFRIKA KORPS players, whatever their level of experience, to always be on the lookout for the battlefield conditions that create these types of opportunities: they may occur infrequently, but when they do, they are almost always ‘game breakers’.


Setting the Scene: A ‘Real World’ Example

To help readers visualize what can happen in the course of play when the special type of AFRIKA KORPS combat situation that permits an 'AV supply capture breakthrough’ arises, a series of game maps have been included to illustrate both this unique battlefield opportunity and its offensive exploitation. These maps are not, by the way, hypothetical examples. Instead, they are the exact records of the moves that occurred in the course of the previously mentioned tournament match between me and the other expert AFRIKA KORPS player who, despite decades of experience, had never personally run across this tactic prior to our game. Also, for brevity’s sake, only map illustrations for the final three moves from the match in question have been included; thus, the locations of the Axis and Commonwealth forces are displayed beginning with the unit positions prior to the British September II ’41 player turn and culminating, two turns later, with the unit positions at the end of the Axis portion of the October II ’41 game turn.

September II ’41 Positions Prior to the British Move

West Map Section September II '41 Game Turn

The September II ’41 game turn finds the British commander in very difficult straights. During the just-concluded Axis player turn, the DAK has eliminated three British units (all 1-1-6s) in hexes Q62, L60, and K59 at a cost of a single supply counter. Moreover, the Axis player has enjoyed fabulous luck with his supply rolls: in fact, he has two more supply units racing towards the front, and an extra captured supply counter already in the battle area; and he has yet to lose a single unit in combat. The Commonwealth commander, on the other hand, has suffered very heavy casualties and finds himself with his back to the wall: he is rapidly running out of both space and units; moreover, desperately needed reinforcements are still three turns away. Rommel is virtually guaranteed to launch three more attacks before the Allied portion of the November I game turn, so, unless the British player does something dramatic, Alexandria is doomed to fall. With his Home Base on the verge of capitulation, the British player asks himself the obvious question: "What can be done to dramatically turn things around?"

East Map Section September II '41 Game Turn

After examining the map at length, the Commonwealth commander hits on an audacious but highly risky plan. With defeat staring him in the face, he decides on an all-or-nothing counterstroke: he will attempt to break the Axis siege of Tobruch and, in so doing, capture and destroy Axis supply #1 on H24. It is a grim choice, but although a 16% chance of success may not be much, the British commander considers it to be infinitely preferable to a 100% chance of defeat. His decision made, the Allied player makes his move (next set of images).

Close Up Tobruk Front Sept II Close Up El Alamein Front Sept II
Additional map detail and unit locations are as follows: Rommel garrisons Tripoli; the Axis stack on K58 consists of 21/3, 21/104, and Bologna; the British garrison in Tobruch consists of 2/3 and 7/4 Tank Brigades, 4I/7 Infantry, and Supply #1; and the Commonwealth can call on 9A/18 and 70/23 which are still in reserve, off-map.

October I ’41 Positions Prior to the British Move

The Commonwealth player begins his September II move by scraping together a barely adequate defense around El Alamein and by sending Supply #2 to sea: a maneuver that would allow the British to have two supply units available at Tobruch if the Commonwealth plan is actually successful. These moves, however, are secondary; the real action is farther west, at Tobruch.

Tobruk Front October I Game Turn

Like the motto of the British Special Air Service — “Those Who Dare, Win” — the Commonwealth player’s gamble at Tobruch yields a spectacular, if unlikely, success: Italian divisions Trenta and Pavia are thrown back with a die roll of ‘1’ on a 1 to 2 attack, and 2/3 Tank advances into H25 to capture and destroy the Axis supply unit in H24. At the same time, the 4I/7 is sent to sea so that 9A/18 can disembark in Tobruch and conduct a 1 to 3 soak-off against Brescia. Allied Supply #1 sustains the victorious assault and is eliminated. The second, soak-off attack, unfortunately, is not so lucky for the Allies, and the Australian heavy infantry brigade is eliminated in combat. Nonetheless, the British counterattack has suddenly turned the tables on Rommel by creating a dangerous threat in the Axis rear. Now the Allied commander’s goal — seemingly impossible only the turn before — is to maintain control of both his Home Base and the fortified port until the powerful Commonwealth November reinforcements can arrive only two game turns hence. The successful armored breakout at Tobruch has transformed the battlefield, and things suddenly look a lot brighter — at least, in the short term — for the Allied player.

El Alamein Front October I Game Turn

For his part, Rommel is left with no choice during his portion of the October I game turn: he redeploys the three Italian divisions in the west to screen Tobruch; more importantly, he must also immediately break off his eastern offensive and move to reestablish the Axis siege of the British fortress before powerful Allied units can land at the port and complete the breakout in his rear. Whatever happens, the soon-to-arrive British reinforcements must not be allowed to cut the DAK off from its Home Base in Tripoli. Nonetheless, always the opportunist, the Desert Fox decides to leave his options open and concentrates the bulk of the Deutsches Afrika Korps in a central position from which it can strike at either Tobruch or Alexandria on his October II player turn. Rommel also decides to lay a subtle trap for the British commander: so, instead of positioning a single reconnaissance battalion on K48 to prevent the establishment of an Allied block on K49, Rommel leaves the hex open to Allied occupation. If the British commander takes the bait, the paucity of surviving Commonwealth units around El Alamein, and the size of the Tobruch garrison, increases the chances that the over-confident Allies may either lose Tobruch or Alexandria. With his October I move completed and his trap now set, the Axis commander waits to see how the British commander will respond.

Additional map detail and unit locations are as follows: Rommel continues to garrison Tripoli; the Axis stack on L45 consists of 21/5, 21/104, and Captured Supply #4; the Axis stack on I45 is composed of 15/115, 15/33, and Bologna; the British 4I/7 infantry and Supply #2 are both at sea.

October II ’41 Positions Prior to the British Move

Tobruk Front October II Game Turn

The German retreat is both welcome and expected by the Allied commander. However, with Rommel now apparently poised to strike at Tobruch, the overly-ambitious British player makes a fatal blunder during his October I player turn. He has become mesmerized by the possibility of holding the fortified port through the Axis portion of the November I ’41 game turn (two more Axis attacks), so he sends the 7/7 Mechanized Brigade out to sea. At the same time, he brings Supply #2 and 4I/7 into Tobruch and swaps the weak infantry brigade for the 2/3 Armored Brigade in H25. Because Rommel only has a single supply unit that can reach the Alexandria battle area, he confidently walks into the Desert Fox’s trap by first moving 5I/29 into the blocking position at K49 and then by establishing a second line anchored on the Alam Halfa Ridge. The Allied player has grown steadily more optimistic about his chances: the dispatch of a powerful unit to reinforce the fortress garrison may yet preserve British control of Tobruch until November, and with his El Alamein line beyond the reach of any Axis supply that is supporting an attack against K49, the Commonwealth player feels that the worst has passed. He is wrong; the weakness of the El Alamein position along with the unprotected supply counter garrisoning Alexandria will be his downfall.

El Alamein Front October II Game Turn
The British move creates just the opportunity that Rommel has been waiting for. The Desert Fox seizes the chance both to restore the Axis position around the Allied-controlled fortress and, at the same time, to crush the British forces defending at El Alamein. Rommel strikes without hesitation. As his first order of business, the Axis commander moves to reestablish his siege of Tobruch by attacking the British outpost unit (4I/7) on H25 at 3 to 1 (surrounded). An exchange is not particularly worrying as Division Savena will reach the fortress perimeter just in time to completely seal in the port’s garrison on November I, even if one of the attacking divisions is lost in combat. The real action, however, is in the east. Here the DAK begins with a 6 to 1 (surrounded) AV attack against 5I/29 on hex K49. This critical first combat is sustained at the moment of the AV by captured Supply #4 which then proceeds past the now ineffective Allied block to its final position on M59. The rest of the DAK surges east through the Matruh Gap right behind Supply #4. The next target on the Axis “hit parade” is 7/3I Motor which is overwhelmed by the two German panzer regiments at 7 to 1. This attack, like the preceding overrun is also sustained at the moment of the AV by the ‘hard-working’ Axis captured Supply #4. This second attack allows 15/115 and 15/33 to advance past the main Commonwealth block at M61. The 15/33 Reconnaissance Battalion continues on to end its move adjacent to the Allied Home Base and British Supply #4. Because the Allied supply unit in Alexandria is unprotected, it is automatically captured, converted to Axis captured Supply #5, and is then promptly dispatched west to restore supply to the original overrunning Italian divisions on hexes L49 and J49. To complete the destruction of the British forces around El Alamein, Rommel posts 15/115 to complete the encirclement of the two Allied brigades covering the Coast Road and, at the same time, orders his last two remaining units to attack 7/7 S.G. at 5 to 1. Rommel’s communiqué to Berlin and Rome is a short one; it reads only: “Alexandria ist gefallen.”

To clarify the October II ’41 game situation, the British units eliminated, and the various supply units captured or expended in the course of the final Axis player turn have been left in their original positions on the game map, but inverted so that readers will have an easier time visualizing the outline and effects of the game-winning German move.

The aftermath of the Axis attacks was fairly predictable: both the 3 to 1 (surrounded) at Tobruch, and the 5 to 1 south of the Alam Halfa Ridge yielded D Elims. During the Allied part of the October II game turn, the British player, realizing that the likelihood of his successfully holding Tobruch against a sustained series of Axis attacks from a full-strength Deutsches Afrika Korps was virtually nonexistent, attempted another desperate low-odds breakout attack. Unfortunately, “lightning” did not strike in the same place twice, and the attacking fortress garrison was wiped out in their second assault against the surrounding Italians.


In retrospect, of course, it is easy to criticize the October I ’41 move of the British player, particularly after his miraculous victory at Tobruch on the September II game turn. However, at this point in the game, Commonwealth options were actually surprisingly few. Early heavy losses due to exceptional Axis luck with supply rolls meant that, whatever course the British player chose, either Tobruch or Alexandria would be in grave peril. Still, although the vulnerable circumstances in which the Commonwealth player found himself are not commonplace, this example is nonetheless useful because it illustrates exactly the sort of game situation in which this tactic is most likely to be applicable.

Of course, it is quite possible, I suppose, that most of my readers are already well-aware of the ‘AV-supply capture’ tactics outlined in this essay; if that is the case, then I apologize for belaboring what must seem like an obvious feature of the game system. However, even if that is the case, it doesn’t matter. This is, more than anything else, a cautionary tale. The real lesson of this discussion and its accompanying example is that small miscalculations in AFRIKA KORPS — unlike many other wargames — can have immediate and decisive consequences; and that an intimate and complete knowledge of the game rules and their possible effects on tactics really do matter when playing this game, far more than with most others.

Over the last four decades, I have played hundreds of AFRIKA KORPS matches and have even been fortunate enough to win a tournament or two; but in every case, and in spite of the innumerable hours that I have spent staring down at the AFRIKA KORPS game map, I have never finished a single match confident that my play had been perfect, or that I had succeeded in completely avoiding mistakes (some of them major) along the way. This is probably why, for old timers like me, the long, almost featureless yellow game board and the baby-blue and ‘frou-frou’ pink counters continue to retain their timeless appeal. AFRIKA KORPS is often compared — by both fans and critics, alike — to chess. This comparison is only partly accurate. In actual fact, the game’s volatile blend of predictability and chance produces a contest that rewards meticulous planning, but, at the same time, never completely removes the possibility of sudden wildly-improbable reversals of fortune. AFRIKA KORPS may not be the best simulation of the campaign in North Africa ever designed, or the most attractive from a graphics standpoint, but it is — in my opinion, at least — still one of the best board games on the subject to have ever seen print. And for a game that is rapidly approaching its fiftieth birthday, that is, I think, no small accomplishment.

Recommended Reading

See my blog post Book Reviews of these titles; both of which are strongly recommended for those readers interested in further historical background.


  • Excellent post. I enjoyed reading about the history of the "overrun" attack. What is a soak-off attack, though!?

  • Greetings 9train:

    Thank you for your kind words; I am delighted that you found the little stroll down Avalon Hill "memory lane" interesting.

    To answer your question as to what a soak-off attack is: this is a bit of very old 'game-speak' that harkens back to the dawn of the board wargaming hobby. In a "nutshell," a 'soak-off' attack is one in which a unit (or units) attacks at poor odds (1 to 3, or worse) in order to permit another, more favorable attack. In the case of 'AFRIKA KORPS', mastery of this tactic is essential, both to effectively attack and to defend, because stacks need not be attacked as a unitary whole.

    Referring to the 'supply capture' soak-off attack mentioned in the above post: this situation might arise, for example, if a German player had stacked a supply unit with a front-line 7-7-10 panzer regiment. The Commonwealth commander, instead of attacking the powerful panzer unit head-on, could instead attack the German armor with a 2-2-6 (actual odds; 1 to 4) and use a second unit to 'attack', capture and convert the Axis supply counter to a British supply unit.

    The beauty of this type of attack is that -- as this example should help to illustrate -- in many cases, no friendly supply need be expended to actually grab the enemy supply unit. For this reason, it is a particularly useful tactic in 'AFRIKA KORPS' for the Axis player who, for virtually the entire game, is always strapped for supply.

    I that hope this description, long as it is, helps to clarify the issue of 'soak-offs' and supply capture in 'AFRIKA KORPS' for you.

    Best Regards, JCB III

  • Thanks, Joseph! I kinda thought it would be something sort of like that... soaking off the strength of your opponent and setting up the main attack to follow. Though your example is *very* helpful in comprehending the tactic.

    I really enjoy your posts - I play mostly newer games, but love to understand the mechanics of the early games as I have a lot of catching up to do.

    Best regards,

  • I quite agree with 9train for the work you do for oldies. Essential to understand today's wargaming !

    Thanks a lot, Joe !

  • Greetings Again 9train:

    I'm glad that my description was helpful.

    Obviously, being just one individual, I cannot hope to cover everything that my readers might hope to see when it comes to describing or analyzing the older board wargames, but I do try to feature as many titles as I can. However, for someone like you who is interested in many of the 'classic' games, you do have a number of options besides this 'blog' for picking up information on these venerable old titles.

    There are, for example, a few new (currently publishing) hobby magazines that can still be found. In addition, older (out of print) copies of magazines like the "General," "Fire & Movement," "Panzerfaust," "Grenadier" and "Moves" (as well as many others) periodically appear in auctions on eBay. And both '' and '' (just to name two sources that I use regularly) often offer downloadable files with rules, variants, game reviews, and 'after action reports' on many of the older games.

    Another useful source of information on older Avalon Hill games -- particularly for someone coming into the hobby in the last few years -- would probably be the series of guidebooks on specific titles that Avalon Hill published years ago. These magazine-style guides repackaged the very best of the many articles and variants that had appeared in the pages of the "General" on a single popular game. These guides can be a little hard to find (there weren't that many printed), but, I do know that the 'boys in Baltimore' published 'Wargamer Guides' on 'PANZERBLITZ', 'THIRD REICH', and 'MIDWAY', and there may well have been others. These guidebooks, I have found, are very useful in tracing the development of strategic and tactical thinking about a title, and also in illustrating overall interest and player opinion about the game, as time went on.

    Finally, there are a number of internet sites (two, I have already mentioned) that can be quite helpful, both for old and for new gamers; some of the sites that I personally find useful or interesting, I have provided links to in the sidebar.

    Thanks Again for you interest and Best Regards, JCBIII

  • Greetings Again Bir Hacheim:

    It is, as always, nice to hear from you.

    By the way, I thought that you might be interested to know that I actually monitor my 'key words' site analysis to identify topics that might be of current interest to my readers.

    This, by the way, explains my recent posts on 'SOLDIER KING' and 'AXIS & ALLIES'. Visitors kept coming to my 'blog' in search of information on these titles, so I decided to change direction, somewhat, and put a few posts up that were of obvious interest to some of my readers.

    Now, if I can just put the finishing touches on the three different essays on Napoleon's campaigns (1812, 1813, and 1815) that I have been festering over, off and on, for the last several months, I finally may be able to get something up on one of the several game titles that deal with these three fascinating military campaigns.

    By the way, as a regular visitor to my blog, do you find the posts offering 'Game Profiles' or those on 'Game Analysis' more interesting or helpful?

    Best Regards, JCBIII

  • fyi 1st edition of D-DAY was '61-i think it had supply rules-otherwise fascinating history of automatic victory!

  • Greetings brian b:

    Yes, I think that you are correct; although the 'D-DAY' rules went through so many versions over the years that it is still hard to keep them all straight. I'm pretty sure that I can remember at least three major revisions in the 'D-DAY' rules, just since 1965. In any case, I have made the suggested correction in the post. Thanks, for the head's-up, I appreciate it.

    Best Regards, JCBIII

  • sure. yea, i keep hearing about a '71 d-day but it may be a myth. but if it's true its-'61-'65-with the crazy allied strategic bombing rules'71?- 77'-modified bombing and supply rules. for some reason i think ppl are combining the 1 from '61 and the 7 from '77 and transposing them! lol p.s. the smithsonian ed. is not to be mentioned! lol

  • Greetings britton66:

    Yes, the 'rules history' of 'D-DAY' is muddled, to say the least. Joel Davis wrote a very nice retrospective on the game years back, right after the '77 rules changes came out. Davis' article, by the way, appears in the 'General', Vol.14, No.6 (March-April 1978).

    The main sources of player confusion about 'D-DAY' were, I think, the repeated changes in rules interpretaions that kept showing up in the Q&A section of the 'General'. For example, between 1965 and 1977, I personally lost track of how many changes to the 'paratrooper' rules found their way onto the pages of the 'General'. And of course, there was also the issue of the two different maps (one with Switzerland - one without) that appeared with different versions of the game ('61 and '65).

    In any case, the '77 rules seem to have rectified almost all of the earlier problems with this classic old title. Thus, it is unfortunate that, because of the game's primitive graphics, newer players tend to pass the game by without so much as a look. The (admittedly odd-looking) game map may leave a lot to be desired, but I still think that 'D-DAY' is a real 'gem' of a game.

    Best Regards, JCBIII

  • Joseph:

    Absolutely splendid! On Saturday, your old friends were playing an Empire variant in my game room -- Andrew, Celia, Kevin, John Powers, and one of my assistants, Chris May -- and the question arose when the concept of automatic elimination (up to Afrika Korps) did not also include bypass. After the game, I checked the web and found this terrific essay.

    You were always our Mushashi -- "practice this a hundred times until you have mastered it." I have told the story of your fifty Bulge games in the coffee shop to many as an example of pristine dedication. Years later I played in a tournament in Ithaca and was amazed to find that there were players who had not memorized all the possible openings.

    And, no, I don't believe that there is any seriosu player who doesn't know that supply is the pivotal issue.

    You were highly missed at the birthday party . . .


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