Knights of the Desert: The North African Campaign of 1941-1943

Simulation 1983 Dos Tactical Design Group Strategic scope Historical

Tedious historical lesson

The title pretty much gives everything you need to know about this old-school wargame but while it conjures up images of daring raids in one of the most celebrated campaigns of WWII, ultimately it proves to be a tedious and heavy handed affair. The game thrusts players into the chaos of the North African Campaign and charges them with taking back the area from the enemy. You only have twenty four months or so to achieve this, with the playing out in a series of twelve turns, with each turn representing two months of real time. Whichever side you play as, the objective is the same which is a tad disappointing but entirely understandable given the game's age. The only real difference is your ultimate destination with the Germans seeking to take Alexandria and the British aiming to push the enemy back to El Agheila. The game makes use of a now traditional hex-based system with players taking it in turns to move their troops, resupply and launch attacks on towns and enemy units. The game can be played by one or two players but is best played against another human, although the computer does put up a decent fight and should challenge even veterans. One innovation which later became pretty much standard for the genre was introduced here, this being unit stacking, but unfortunately this is basically the only point of interest for the game, even for dedicated wargaming fans. The bland visuals can easily be forgive but it's the slow, ponderous gameplay and awkward interface which really kill the games so unless you enjoy clumsy, boring games, steer well clear of this one.

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