Friday 1 July 2022

Solo WW1 Palestine Campaign Rules

So far this year I have completed some Samurai 1550-1600 armies and just recently finished the WW1 Palestine Campaign forces. Normally after completing an army I would run a campaign to:

  • test and become familiar with some rules, either written or purchased, and 
  • use and enjoy the completed armies. 

I finished my samurai armies a while ago, but I have struggled to come up with a campaign idea or approach that I like. There have been a couple of failed efforts. Anyway, this is not the case with my World War I Palestine campaign which is described below.

Solo Sinai-Palestine Campaign

The campaign is very much a solo campaign and begins after the raids by Turkish forces on the Suez canal, and covers the period April 1916 through to October 1918 and the capture of Damascus. The solo player commands the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) and has objective to get to Damascus by or before October 1918.

The campaign map - showing the six steps to the campaign. The original map before my annotations over it can be found at A useful source of information.

In each campaign turn the EEF progress one step on the map, then fights one or more battles on the tabletop. Once the EEF win a tabletop game, they can progress one step on the map. The harsh environment meant the campaign was fought for a series of territory gains. After each gain by the EEF they had to build their supply infrastructure (light train tracks and water pipelines) and prepare their supplies and resources for the next advance.

Each tabletop battle fought will use randomly selected One-Hour Wargames (OHW) scenarios and chance cards to add different elements of this period (e.g. tanks, aircraft, armoured cars).

Campaign Timeline

Time is the other element to this campaign and this is tracked on a simple calendar showing each month. The first battle in each turn progresses the calendar three months, and any additional battles fought during the turn until an EEF win progress the calendar by one month. The three months for the first battle reflect the preparation time to the offensive.

The Campaign Timeline - starts in April 1916 and ends in October 1918. The EEF player's objective is to reach and capture Damascus before October 1918. The months are ticked off after each battle.

A couple of examples using the timeline:

  1. The EEF in step 1 fight one battle and win. Three months (April, May, and June) are ticked off the calendar.
  2. The EEF in the next turn move into step two. The EEF fail to win the first battle and second battle, but finally win the third battle. Five months (July, August, September, October, November) are ticked off the calendar.

Tabletop Battles

The battle will use a One-Hour Wargames (OHW) scenario and dicing for the units involved. Each campaign step has three scenarios selected from OHW which try to reflect the nature of the battles which occurred at that stage of the campaign. Additionally one chance card is drawn by each force for every battle. The EEF player has the option to draw a second chance card for the first battle at the cost of month. 

The process for setting up a battles is:
  1. Randomly select one of the three OHW scenarios allocated to the campaign step using dice or made up cards with the scenarios written on them. When selecting for a second battle select from the scenarios not used, and in the case of a fourth battle introduce all three scenarios again.
  2. The EEF player will be the attacker in the scenario unless there are encounter scenarios and no specific attacker, then the EEF player chooses the side to play in the scenario.
  3. Dice for the force unit makeup using OHW and the scenario guidelines.
  4. Randomly select a chance card, or cards, for the battle (see section below for events and their effects).
The tabletop battles are then played using whatever rules that suit.

Early stage of a game

Scenarios and Campaign Steps

There are 30 scenarios in OHW to choose from for the battles. I have tried to select ones that suite the campaign step. For example:

Campaign steps 1 and 2 - For these I have tried to select OHW scenarios that are open with the objective of eliminating the opposition, or are trying to capture an objective hill, or are encounter battles.

Campaign step 3 - The Turks established strong defensive lines between Gaza and Beersheba. There were three Gaza battles fought by the EEF before they finally broke through at Beersheba. For these battles I have selected OHW scenarios with a defensive nature or with towns as objectives. The Turks will always have one unit with trenches in these battles. The campaign map indicates this with zig-zag lines on the map as a reminder.

Campaign step 4 - The battles to capture Jerusalem were fought over rugged terrain with hills and wadis. The OHW scenarios selected are ones with rivers (I use wadis terrain features which are impassible) and bottleneck situations.

Campaign step 5 and 6 - At this stage Turkish forces are very much on the defensive and Arab raids were drawing away troops. The OHW scenarios selected are ones involving raids and infiltration. For the EEF the first battle will always use an Arab Rebellion force. The campaign map indicates this with a camel on the map as a reminder.

The following table lists the campaign steps and their associated scenarios which are randomly selected. No scenario can be selected twice unless 3 battles have been lost.

Campaign Steps and Scenarios

Campaign Chance Cards

The campaign uses chance cards to add some of the interesting elements of the Sinai-Palestine campaign. These include the use of tanks and armoured cars, aircraft which would bomb and strafe enemy positions, and EEF forces were always worried Turkish cavalry reserves were nearby and appear.

When setting up a game both sides pick up one chance card from their chance deck. The EEF player for the first battle can pick up a second card, in doing so the first battle will consume 4 months on the campaign timeline rather than 3 months for the first battle.

EEF Cards:

  1. Tank - Add a tank to the force (if Arab Rebellion add an armoured car)
  2. Armoured Car - Add an armoured car to the force
  3. Bombardment - Bombard 1-3 positions with artillery before the game.
  4. Mobile Reserves - A mounted unit or cavalry can arrive on turn 8 with a 4+ dice roll.
  5. Aircraft - Make 1-3 attacks in a sortie.
  6. Aircraft - Make 1-3 attacks in a sortie.

Turkish Cards:

  1. Trenches - 1 units can have trenches
  2. Trenches - 1 units can have trenches
  3. Armoured Car/Train - Add an armoured car to the force. If the scenario is suitable add an armoured train as an alternative.
  4. Mobile Reserves - A mounted unit or cavalry can arrive on turn 8 with a 4+ dice roll.
  5. Aircraft - Make 1-3 attacks in a sortie.
  6. Aircraft - Make 1-3 attacks in a sortie
Some of the scratch built models I want to introduce into the games

Next Steps

While I am sure to have missed some rules for the campaign, it will begin soon and will post any changes and updates as the campaign progresses.


  1. The scratchbuilds look very effective.

    Regards, Chris.

    1. Thanks Chris. They were fun to make and I am looking forward to using them in the games.

  2. You clearly enjoy putting all these campaign rules together - I look forward to enjoying the ensuing mayhem.

    1. I like simple campaigns which help provide a context to the tabletop games.

  3. A lot of excellent ideas there. I love the simplicity of your campaign rules, yet they lend themselves to dramatic and epic war-stories Peter. The table which aligns campaign step with OHW scenario is inspired, and could be lifted for almost any period. Love this stuff. Your posts are always a joy to read sir.

    1. I am hoping the campaign will get me playing a variety of OHW scenarios. As you mention, the campaign approach could be repurposed for other periods where a force has a timeline to achieve an objective. Thanks.

  4. Thanks for publishing your rules and campaign ideas! These are a really interesting use of OHW for an unusual campaign, I can't wait to see how it unfolds.

    1. Having finally got the ideas written down, I am looking froward to starting and posting about the campaign.

  5. Your scratch built models are very impressive and the painting very effective.

    1. Thank you. They were enjoyable and interesting to make.

  6. A nice logical campaign system without a lot of paperwork.

    1. I like to keep the paper work to a minimum. Thanks.

  7. Very elegant campaign system Peter. Simple but with good variation in battles. I am going to buy the OHW book as obviously it can be put to great use. Thanks for posting all this!

    1. The scenarios are very useful. This book and the simple approach to rules got me back into wargaming after a 20 plus year hiatus.

  8. Totally agree with the comments above. Another winner!

    1. Thanks. I am hoping to get 12 to 15 games from this campaign.

  9. Wow, superb...and so tempting!!

  10. Great campaign idea…loving the ladder-map with its progress towards Damascus and the way you’ve picked appropriate scenario types from OHW to replicate the differing styles of battles fought in the original. Excellent combination of systems. Should be a really good campaign!

    1. Thanks, I am looking froward to starting the campaign and will be posting its progress.

  11. How are you amending the OHW rules? I'm just using them for Russian Civil War so would love to know how you are integrating thearmoured Cars and trains into the Machine Age rules.

    1. Hi Pete. For the rules they are covered here -

    2. With Armoured Trains they don't take activation tests to move, just to shoot.

    3. Nice Rule. So do you add a track to the map when theres an Armoured train or do you just replace a road?

    4. As you suggested I will be replacing a road when gaming in steps 5 and 6 of the campaign and using Arab rebellion forces in the first game of those stages. It is not laid out specifically in the rules.