The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Field Command: Rommel

I math traded away some stuff that I haven’t played in years and given my current situation a solitaire wargame seemed like a reasonable trade. So, I picked this up.

There’s a lot to like in the system. Combat is a simple d6 affair, simultaneous fire and if you roll under your units value you score one hit (some units have two numbers, so you can score one or two hits. 5^1 (Superscript) means on a 1 on you score two hits, on a 2-5 you score one, and a six? Well, that’s bad strategy.

On your turn you move and fight. The combat system shows some cleverness. The allies draw battle chits based on their forces (and supply state) and you get to see them. Chits may:

  • Cancel a hit
  • Cost you supplies
  • Provide bonuses to combat (extra shelling, etc)
  • Cancel your chits
  • Have another unit show up
  • Etc

So even though you can see everything on the map, a reasonable fog of war. After you see the enemy chits, you can buy yours (with points based on your units, and then you can buy more with supply). Do that, roll the battle (the AI uses fairly simple rules). Units improve based on killing, and then you can do some non-moves and then its the AI’s turn. Draw an objective chit …. if it’s go time the reinforcements appear, and if not you follow some simple charts for the allies movement and fighting.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

I’ve played five games so far … now here’s the downside.

The first scenario just seems brutal. Like — “Oh, you got some bad luck on T1 so you lose 1/2 your units, and then the Allies kick you again on their T1.” I wasn’t around at the time, but I’m pretty sure the initial blitz into Europe was supposed to be a cakewalk for the Axis, not vice versa. But in reading some other session reports, the first scenario has been decried as “a puzzle to be solved” more than a game.

Apparently I have not solved it yet. I have some ideas.

All of which is to say that I’ll have to try the Africa campaign and the defense of D-Day (where you are expected to lose, but get points for how long you hold out) and see how I like it. There are rules for a linked campaign, and objectives to make each scenario different, but so far I seem to be negotiating a peace on T3 at the latest.

Rating? We’ll see after I try the other scenarios.

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Written by taogaming

October 31, 2016 at 7:37 pm

2 Responses

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  1. I don’t know if the initial blitz is supposed to be a cakewalk in the game, but the France campaign was a narrowly-run thing that could have gone badly south for the Germans at a number of points. Historians have argued that the campaign in France was so extreme in its flukeyness, the Germans didn’t learn some important lessons (like the fact that the PzII’s were actually a very inferior tank, that all their tanks were under-gunned and under-armored, or that blitkrieg was only going to work if the enemy cooperated) and so doomed later campaigns.

    Chris Farrell

    November 1, 2016 at 1:55 am

    • I did not know that. Perhaps that’s what the game is modeling.

      taogaming

      November 1, 2016 at 8:01 pm


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