Lion of Ethiopia: Replay and Commentary.

Date sent: Mon, 9 Sep 1996 09:48:41 -0600 From: Doug Murphy

Solitaired this early Command game this past weekend. It was much fun. Through a series of lucky die rolls and stupidity in my "Italian" side of the brain (underestimating the Ethiopians in defense, I initially split my invading forces allowing both to be defeated in detail), the Ethiopians actually completely destroyed the invaders from It Somalialand, taking and holding the To Mogadishu box in the south while holding the Italian invasion force from the north just before Addis Adaba (sp) by game end. This is a classic example of a game I just literally picked up and played, the relatively low number of counters were cleanly designed, the rules were clear and relatively familiar with some fun chrome that was clearly designated as such. From picking up the rules through set up and play of turn 1 took 30 minutes and I played for about 2 and ? hours. I understand there is another game that sims the Allied counterinvasion. Anybody play that and care to comment on it?

Date sent: Mon, 9 Sep 1996 13:10:32 CDT From: Rob Lindsay

I understand there is another game that sims the Allied counterinvasion. Anybody play that and care to comment on it?

Bloody Keren, a Vance von Borries design. Pretty good, no erratta that I remember, published in the Wargamer

Date sent: Mon, 9 Sep 1996 11:55:41 -0400 From: "David A. Vandenbroucke"

On Mon, 9 Sep 1996, Doug Murphy wrote:

of turn 1 took 30 minutes and I played for about 2 and ? hours. I understand there is another game that sims the Allied counterinvasion. Anybody play that and care to comment on it?

Actually, Doug, I have that game too. I was tempted to trade it to you in a package with LE, but my copy is rather sticky. I used it in my experiments with plas-tac for vertical gaming, and I used _way_ too much of the goop at first. The counters show accelerated wear. My memory shows the same, as I can't remember the name of the darned thing. It was published in Wargamer and named after the main battle of the campaign. (No, not Africa Oriental--the other one.) It's a nice beer-and-pretzels sort of game.

Date sent: Mon, 9 Sep 1996 22:11:33 +0200 From: Marcus Mülbüsch

Actually, Doug, I have that game too. I was tempted to trade it to you in a package with LE, but my copy is rather sticky. I used it in my experiments with plas-tac for vertical gaming, and I used _way_ too much of the goop at first. The counters show accelerated wear. My memory shows the same, as I can't remember the name of the darned thing. It was published in Wargamer and named after the main battle of the campaign. (No, not Africa Oriental--the other one.) It's a nice beer-and-pretzels sort of game.

Oops, there is something wrong. The Command Expansion is called "Tiger of Ethiopia", and is Alternate History: In a TTW environment, Japanese troops under command of General Yamashita (Tiger of Burma, wasn't he?) invade Ethiopia.

It was in the issue featuring "Krim". (#5? #6? Hell, I can't find my Commands right now. Did I lock them up? ;-) It has just 50 counters and three and a half pages of additional rules.

I played it only for two turns, since I found the LoE/ToE system a bit tedious, but it is no big difference from LoE...

Date sent: Mon, 9 Sep 1996 15:23:19 -0500 From: John Best

Doug Murphy asked this question:

I understand there is another game that sims the Allied counterinvasion. Anybody play that and care to comment on it?

and Robert Lindsay responded:

Bloody Keren, a Vance von Borries design. Pretty good, no erratta that I remember, published in the Wargamer

I never played this, but I was struck by the designer's name: Did this game use the same "Battles for North Africa" system as some of the other VvB designs appearing the Wargamer (Decision at Kasserine, Hellfire Pass, et al.--there are like 6 of them counting the ones in the Wargamer, the 3W boxed game, and the 2 in S&T). If it is the same system, then this would make game #7 to use it.

Date sent: Tue, 10 Sep 1996 09:21:53 CDT From: Rob Lindsay

I never played this, but I was struck by the designer's name: Did this game use the same "Battles for North Africa" system as some of the other VvB designs appearing the Wargamer (Decision at Kasserine, Hellfire Pass, et al.--there are like 6 of them counting the ones in the Wargamer, the 3W boxed game, and the 2 in S&T). If it is the same system, then this would make game #7 to use it.

It was not exactly the same system, but a close derivative, I think they dropped the reserve rules and the armor/AT rules. I believe somewhere Vance had a way for you to play out all the actions of 40-41 with his system (syria, ethopia, egypt)

Date sent: Tue, 10 Sep 1996 08:26:37 -0600 From: Doug Murphy

The Command Expansion is called "Tiger of Ethiopia", and is Alternate History...

Thanks Marcus. So Bloody Keren is a separate game entirely...and ToE is the expansion but in the Tommorrow the World "universe."

Date sent: Tue, 10 Sep 1996 22:26:36 MDT From: Eric Pass

Yes, John, that's the same Vance von Borries 'Battle for North Africa' series. Bloody Keren was part of the series as were the other s you mentioned and O'Connor's Offensive which also appeared in the Wargamer V1.

The 3W boxed game was 'Rommel at Bay' and one of the S&T games was #112 Patton Goes to War (formerly known as 'Blood and Guts').

What was the other S&T? It wasn't #105 Ruweisat Ridge was it? I thought that used a different system.

Date sent: Wed, 11 Sep 1996 00:51:25 -0700 From: Danny Holte

What was the other S&T? It wasn't #105 Ruweisat Ridge was it? I thought that used a different system.

#140, OBJECTIVE: TUNIS

Date sent: Wed, 11 Sep 1996 09:22:10 -0500 From: John Best

What was the other S&T? It wasn't #105 Ruweisat Ridge was it? I thought that used a different system.

The other S&T game? How could we forget S&T 140 (I think): Objective Tunis? And the answer is, because OT was a pretty forgettable game. And I'm not looking to get into a fight with anybody--I think I could say my opinion to VvB himself, if I were to meet him. It's not really that the BNA system is bad or anything. Actually, I kind of like the system. The problem for me, is that the system, which is basically not very complicated was unnecessarily burdened up with detail to cover the peculiarities of the early part of this particular campaign. The result is that OT actually tries to duplicate the "race" for Tunis in terms of the Axis build-up by air and sea (and that means *a lot* of stuff like airfield capacity rules, and port destruction and repair). It's just too much. Then you get into the French, and there are *a lot* of rules (at least, that's how I remember it) to deal with them.

Last year, I tried modifying the system to make it play as an SCS game in The Gamers' series. I wrote an article about my attempts, and submitted it their magazine, Operations, so we may get to read about it sometime. In a nutshell what I tried to do was simplify the system, and "cut to the chase", by starting the game later than OT does, and just conceding two facts: The Axis would win the build-up effort, and the French would throw in their lot with the Allies. For me, the interesting part of the early campaign was seeing the Amis try to deal with Axis forces on the ground; it became clear early on (way before Kasserine) that the Americans would have a lot to learn. By the way, even the official history (or the closest we have to one) of the campaign makes it clear that American leadership and tactical skills were in need of improvement (I'm referring to the volume entitled, "Seizing the initiative in Northwest Africa" (or something like that). It is one of the "green books" that we've talked about on this list. Just a couple of other points: Bloody Keren is one of 7 games (that we know of) to use that system; and that's a lot. Off the top of my head, I think that only The Gamers' CWB system, and the La Bataille system have had more titles published using the same system (now watch you guys start to name a dozen other systems with more titles ;-). Here's another question: Did the VvB designed game, "Drive on Syria" (not sure about that title) *also* use the BNA system"? Jeez, then that would be 8 games using that system. All right, I'll stop gassin' here, and let somebody else have a turn.

Date sent: Wed, 11 Sep 1996 18:41:02 +0000 From: Jonathan Arnold

Yes, John, that's the same Vance von Borries 'Battle for North Africa' series. Bloody Keren was part of the series as were the other s you mentioned and O'Connor's Offensive which also appeared in the Wargamer V1. The 3W boxed game was 'Rommel at Bay' and one of the S&T games was #112 Patton Goes to War (formerly known as 'Blood and Guts').

They also boxed Decision At Kasserine, one of my favorite wargames of all time. It is the one that got me hooked on the North African Campaign.

O'Conner's Offsensive was in Number 41, while Hellfire Pass was in issue #39.

Date sent: Fri, 13 Sep 1996 10:16:41 PDT From: Colin Dunnigan

S&T, while under the aegis of Bomba and Co, produced Africa Orientale, which also covered the Alied invasion of Ethiopia, using the Europa System.