Tuesday, 12 January 2021

WW2 Western Desert - Turn 10 Game 1

As the campaign moves into its 10th turn. I thought I would take the opportunity to write up my notes on the game setup rules as the setup approach has morphed somewhat from when I originally drafted the rules.

There are 3 steps to determining a game setup. These are:
  1. Decide what type of engagement will be fought (e.g. flanking attack, escalating encounter, or frontal assault.)
  2. Decide tabletop layout, adjustments, and defender's position
  3. Allocate objectives

1. Type of Engagement

The game number within a campaign turn will influence the type of engagement to be played on the tabletop. Roll a D6 dice and consult the list below.

Game 1
1 = Flanking attack
2,3 = Escalating encounter
4,5,6 = Frontal assault

Game 2
1 = Escalating encounter
2,3 = Frontal assault
4,5,6 = Flanking attack

Game 3
1 = Frontal assault
2,3 = Flank attack
4,5,6 = Escalating encounter

Encounter Engagement

Both sides deploy a third of their units on their tabletop edge with remaining units coming on as reserves.
1-3 Objectives determined by D3 dice are positioned on terrain features equidistant between the opposing tabletop home edges (or as close as possible depending on terrain features).

Frontal Attack

Defender deploys two thirds of their units on their half of the tabletop with remaining units arriving as reserves. The attacker deploys all units on their table edge.
1-3 objectives determined by D3 dice are positioned on terrain features in the defenders half of the tabletop.

Surprise Attack

Defender deploys all units on their half of the tabletop. The attacker deploys half of their units on their edge with the remaining half arriving as reserves on one tabletop edge. The edge must be decided before defending units are deployed.
1-3 objectives determined by D3 dice and positioned on the defenders half of the tabletop.

2. Tabletop Layout

The terrain is decided by placing nine terrain cards from a deck of terrain cards. Before shuffling the cards I remove some terrain cards which do not apply or reduce the number of a certain type of terrain. Essentially, I stack the deck to better reflect the type of terrain being fought over.

Example - If there are no salt marshes in the zone being contested, then all salt marsh cards are removed from the deck.

Example - If the engagement is between divisions close to the coast, then I have all the escarpment cards in the deck.

Example - If the engagement is between divisions more inland, then I reduce the number of escarpment cards.

In the first game layout the cards in a 3 by 3 square. The defender chooses the side to defend and is allowed to switch any 2 terrain cards which are side by side to their benefit their defensive position. Then setup the tabletop using the terrain cards as a guide.

In the second game layout the cards in a 3 by 3 square. The defender chooses the side to defend, the cards are not adjusted in this game, and the tabletop setup using the terrain cards as a guide.

In the third game layout the cards in a 3 by 3 square. The attacker chooses the side to attack from and is allowed to switch any 2 terrain squares which are side by side to their benefit their attack. Then setup the tabletop using the terrain cards as a guide.

Example of the terrain cards laid out and two adjacent cards being swapped,

3. Allocate Objectives

The defending player always places the first objective on a terrain feature, then players take turns to allocate any remaining objectives. Objectives must be placed on terrain features such as hills, escarpments, broken terrain, buildings, and wadis. However, where roads (or tracks) cross or join they also can be considered features when allocating objectives. In a very featureless desert all features can be useful as a point of reference and objective.

Campaign turn 10 game 1 report

Both forces involved, 21st Panzer division and 7th Armoured division, are at full strength so 15 units from representing elements of these divisions may be available. However, they will be subject to wear and tear losses which are decided by a D3 dice, and the owning player selecting which units are removed. The only constraint is none of the units can be of the same type (e.g. only infantry units) and must be a mix.

In game 1 of campaign turn 10, Axis forces roll 3 and Allied forces 2 for wear and tear.

Selected units (HQ markers not shown)

21st Panzer Division Force
  • 1 x Wespe
  • 1 x 88mm Towed Gun
  • 1 x Marder
  • 1 x Armoured Car
  • 1 x Pz IV
  • 4 x Pz III
  • 1 x Pz II
  • 2 x Armoured Infantry
7th Armoured Division
  • 1 x Honey
  • 1 x Bren Gun Carriers
  • 3 x Crusader 2 Pdr.
  • 3 x Sherman
  • 2 x 25 Pdr. Towed Gun
  • 1 x 2 Pdr. Portee
  • 2 x Motorised Infantry
This rather brief action report is of an escalating encounter between forces. Both are aiming to control a single objective, the oasis in the centre of the tabletop.

With a single objective the plans were similar for both forces. Get to the objective quickly and with the most units.

The 7th Armoured force was able to occupy the oasis early and supporting reserves were moved up quickly. Axis forces pushed along the road while they struggled to bring up reserve units.

The action escalated and both sides were taking casualties with reserves being thrown into the action as quickly as possible. The new Shermans moved along the road and soon joined the action with their longer weapon ranges.

The battle began to turn in the Allies favour with the Shermans proving very useful.

A victory to the 7th Armoured division forces

A good start for the campaign turn with the Allies achieving an early victory.


  1. Super looking table, as always. The allies are off to a good (and quick) start.

    1. It was a quick enjoyable game and the Sherman units acquitted themselves well in the engagement.

  2. Souds great Peter, lovely units, terrain and terrain cards!

    1. Thanks, I spent a bit of time on these terrain cards.

  3. Even thought it was brief Peter, I enjoyed the AAR and the look of the table as always. Your overview of how you have gone about this campaign is very interesting and useful. Keep up the good work:)

    1. I am glad you found the setup interesting. It has taken a campaign turns for the setup to get close to being finalised.

  4. Peter, just found a gamer posting on TMP about his conversions of Tank on Tank to an open table - thought is might interest you. I can only link the page, so you will need to scroll for his mods, post dated today. LINK

    1. Thanks Norm for the link I will go and have a look.

  5. Thanks a bunch for the explanation of the pre-game machinations, I appreciate you sharing that, and another great fight, glad the Commonwealth forces emerged victorious.


    1. My pleasure, it is quite useful for me to get them written down rather remaining a series of notes.

  6. Very interesting Peter.
    As I read, I had a natural inclination to develop a cold war 198X variant.
    Thought provoking as ever sir.

    1. Thank you. I hope one or two of the ideas may prove useful.