Rommel is a wargame on his last battle in Afrika, around Kasserine, short before his come back in Germany.
This game is about a fight mainly between the US and German army, but there are also some French, Italian and English units.
The illustration, signed by Enea Riboldi is for me the most beautiful of all. There are many details: The Panzer IV of course, but also Rommel himself with his uniform and famous goggles. These goggles were in fact a spoils of war of English origin.
Rommel was respected by the Allies, due to his military genius and his sense of honour, including enemy respect. He was not involved in war crime and his memory were published under title "Krieg ohne Hass" (war without hate, published in English as "The Rommel papers"). There are many information sources on Rommel. See for instance his biography on achtungpanzer site, including a picture with his Africa Corps uniform in the end. A beautiful picture with the officer's cap, the goggles and the scarf is also available on the site hsgm.free.fr (histoire de la seconde guerre mondiale).
On the illustration are 2 Panzers IV with the blue palm tree logo "Afrika Korps". the crossed out triangle on the turret is the logo of the 15th Panzerdivision. These are Panzer IV Ausführung F1 and F2 (or G). See for instance the page Panzer IV on the Panzertruppen site or on the hsgm.free.fr site or ont the panzer IV page from the site Tanks on the prowl.
Opening of the box
The box contains the rulebook, the example book, the map elements, 1 die, the counters, a combat result sheet and a calendar sheet.
The map is in 3D and represents the central Tunisia, around Kasserine. The area is hilly.
The counters represent the units, generally battalions, which took part in Rommel's German offensive with their Italian allies of the Centauro division, and their enemies, the American, the English and the French. Each piece bears its specific attack value, defence value and movement value.
Special thanks to Pedro for the counter scans.
The rulebook includes 34 pages in 4 languages (Italian, English, German, French).
The final victory is calculated in proportion to the fulfilment of the German plans: a total german victory is achieved by removing from the map at least 20 combat points passing over the North-East roads. A partial German victory is achieved if the allies remains east from the North/south railroad that pass through Kasserine.
Every turn starts with a meteorological check followed by 4 phases for each player:
- Possible request for air support
- Artillery fire
The calendar is used to track and manage the battle steps. Every three turn is a night turn (in grey). The night turns limit the attack possibilities.
The game also take into account the meteorogical conditions, Von Arnim stop during 6 turns (with great limitations on his army), the logistic supply, the air support, the artillery and the strategic bombers, the use of explorer units, and a special unit of Panzer VI "Tiger". In reality, Von Arnim did not use this Tiger division because he preferred to keep a strategic reserve.
Strategically, the Axe has to play very fast:
- get all the possible enemy provisions in the beginning of the game
- launch separate attacks in order to disperse the allied forces.
A player comments:
"What If" from Nantes made the following comments ( in a French topic of Strategikon ):
Rommel is still playable even today. The main negative points are the following :
- The different players have the same combat factors. Some recent games like Kasserine - GMT or Bloody Kasserine - GDW are more realistic. In Kasserine, an Afrika Korps battalion did not have the same value that a blue (or Green) from the 34e US Division.
- The artillery is to much efficient: it should not be able to eliminate... Bang! you're dead
- The anti-tank is not well managed (1 point as defense). If a Sherman battalion with 5 attacks, the anti tank has no chance. And we all know that 1 or 2 "88" well placed can themself stop several tank groups.
However, several good ides are still valuable today:
- The choice of attack or defense type as "disengage normal" or "no retreat" may be applied depending of the command.
- The possibility to leave the trucks and use the self movement of the infantry (no need to have fuel). This is very useful for the french troops in the area of Pichon that may slow the 10th Pz in the passes.
- The leader chain that may give an aircraft support and combat bonus: it simulates the artillery support and other similar units linked to the corps.
- I also enjoyed the logistic system: the train may do only one of the following actions: provide with fresh supplies or progress strategically
This game should clearly be revamped compared to the last market standards but it is still a nice game.
Some price (2004-2006):
This game is uncommon, but it was put on Ebay France one time for 45 euros without being sold.
Game for 2/3/4 players from 15 years on
Time of game: 4 to 8 hours
Size of each hexagon at scale: 3 kilometres
Time of each turn at scale: 8 hours
Difficulty: 5 (very hard)
An article on Rommel in Casus Belli N° 4
The article in French
Rommel in La caverne
Rommel in Boardgamegeek
Rommel in Isimulacrum
Rommel in Trictrac
The Rommel papers : After death published Rommel's notebook.
There is also a large military analysis on this battle available on line in the US Army site.
A similar game:
Kasserine by GMT Games.
TIME SCALE: Half day per turn
MAP SCALE: 2 miles per hex
UNIT SCALE: Battalion & Company
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: One or two
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