Well, the WW2 Western Desert campaign finally finished last week with an AXIS victory. Possibly not the result I was looking for but an enjoyable campaign nonetheless. I did a quick count back on the campaign turns and games played. In all there were 11 campaign turns and 27 tabletop games played. This all occurred over a period of 15 months between March 2020 and May 2021.
Keeping a campaign going over a long period of time can be problematic, even with a solo campaign where the only dependency is upon myself and my motivation. The linear campaign approach, based upon the KISS Rommel campaign rules, allowed me to easily pick up the campaign after a few weeks break. I would just have to look at the photos of the last blog posting to quickly set up the campaign map and get going. My blogging was essentially my campaign diary and key to tracking progress and for referring back to any rule amendments.
The campaign rules were adjusted a couple of times as the campaign progressed, and finally settled down halfway through the campaign. For those interested they can be found here. There are a couple of areas I would revisit if running the campaign again:
- The supply rules were applied evenly for both sides. I would tweek this if running the campaign again. I would use a set of chance cards for each side with the number of supplies and a brief description explaining why the supplies were lower or higher than expected to help with the campaign narrative. By using cards it would be easier to reflect the AXIS difficulty in obtaining and delivering supplies. Additionally, there could be conditions on the cards such as - “If Tobruk is not held, reduce supplies by 1”.
- Another area I would modify would be in the use of minefields. They were widely used and it was a rare occurrence in my tabletop games. I would allow two of the defending infantry divisions to deploy mines at no supply cost. The divisions would have to be selected prior to placing the defensive division counters face down on the campaign map.
Tabletop Game Set Up
The terrain cards worked well, a carry over from my English Civil War campaign, with additional rules that allowed:
- Defenders to swap two adjacent cards on the first game to make the terrain set up more advantageous for defence.
- In the second game both players had to accept the cards as they were laid out.
- In the third game the attacker was allowed to swap two adjacent cards to their advantage.
|Example of the terrain cards.|
The type of game to be fought (frontal assault, flank attack, or escalating encounter) was influenced by whether it was the first, second, or third game. This worked well and I would have liked to introduce some more types of attack or variations of the existing types of games. The tabletop game setup rules are here.
One of the reasons I like to run campaigns is to test out some new home-brew rules or test variations I have concocted for an existing ruleset. The campaigns force me to work away at the rules (or variations). This can be rewarding, if you get it right, or frustrating when things don’t work out to one’s own expectations. However, the campaign encourages me to be persistent.
|The rules used and only slightly modified by the end of the campaign.|
Tabletop rules started as the Tank on Tank rules (living rules which are downloadable from Lock ‘n’ Load games). I really like these rules and their games, East Front and West Front, which are available as online games through the Steam gaming platform. Both games are geared towards the latter part of WW2. So I began the campaign using these rules with minor modifications to the unit defence and range values.
Gradually as the games progressed I tried out using D10 rather than the 2D6 dice from the rules. This then morphed into using opposing dice mainly because I don't like the way D10 dice roll (a personal quirk). I also tried having units taking two hits before elimination. Eventually, it was a big circle where towards the end of the campaign I returned to the original rules using 2D6, but with a rule that moving units do not get the +1 to their dice score, whereas stationary units do get the +1.
For those who have not come across Tank on Tank rules, to make an attack add all shooting units in range to the 2D6 score and if equal or higher than the target defence value the unit is eliminated. So wonderfully simple, but there was one area of the rules that bothered me. It allowed units to rush up and attack without penalty, the change meant an attack could still be made, but not a coordinated attack with multiple moving units.
|Dust and burn wreck markers in use.|
Other rule modifications which stuck included: having dust from moving units block line of sight, and burning wrecks which were treated as difficult terrain costing an extra movement point to be consumed when moving through.
Settling on the home-brew rules changes was one of the objectives for the campaign, so regardless of the result I was happy with the campaign. Yes, I was hoping the Allies would have a comeback from behind win in the campaign. Anyway I will be writing up the rules either fully or as a quick reference sheet over the next few weeks and will post them.
The games themselves were played on a 4x4 foot tabletop with a homemade hexed gaming mat. I was pleased with how it all turned out, I even added a scenic backdrop. Originally my idea was to use a 6x4 foot tabletop with 17x13 hexes, but ended up playing small sized games, 11x11 hexes. These smaller games proved to be much more enjoyable and no less challenging. Smaller and quicker games can make a campaign less onerous to complete.
|Tabletop set up for a game|
As you can see my tabletop rule variations and campaign rules evolve as the campaign progress. As a solo gamer this adds to the enjoyment of a campaign as you work through ideas and refine the rules. (Although not a good approach if other wargamers are involved.)
Now it is time to start thinking about progressing the Ancients Campaign which will have both sea and land games to play.