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The British 8th Army's attack against the German-Italian forces besieging Tobruk in November of 1941, caught the Axis by surprise. From the morning of November 18th through the afternoon of December 10th, the issue hung in the balance. Several times it seemed as if nothing could stop the German panzers from shattering the 8th Army, but the British repeatedly managed to stave off disaster and eventually wore the Axis forces down, forcing them to break off and withdraw. This battle is the subject of Operation Crusader.
Operation Crusader is played on a map of Libya and Egypt immediately south and east of Tobruk, where the battle was fought. It uses playing pieces that represent the actual military units that participated in this campaign. Each player represents the commander of the Axis or Allied forces. The individual ground units represent battalions of approximately 700 soldiers (50-60 tanks in an armored battalion, 12-24 guns in an artillery battalion), or companies of about 200 soldiers (15-20 tanks or armored cars in an armored company, 4-12 guns in an artillery battery). Each hex represents 2 kilometers or 1.25 miles. Each turn is a third of a day.
Operation Crusader is a two-player game, with team play possible for the full campaign game. One player assumes the role of the Axis and the other player assumes the role of the Allies. Each player moves his units and executes attacks on enemy units in turn, attempting to fulfill the game’s Victory Conditions. To move from one space to another, each unit expends a portion of its Movement Allowance. Combat is resolved through Battles by "firing" at opposing units and then determining the outcome of any hits scored. A die is used to resolve combat.
About this New Designer Signature Edition
Frank Chadwick has made key changes to the game system to emphasize playability while retaining the historical flavor of the battle. The end result is simplified, more fluid design that emphasizes key aspects of the operation without saddling players with cumbersome play mechanics. This design is based on streamlining the system in key areas which also takes player feedback from the original edition under consideration. For example, gone is the concept of pre-plotted, simultaneous movement which was time-consuming and not suitable for solo play. Instead, maneuver units on the map represent the forces and attached companies with limited intelligence playing a key role throughout. The combat system is streamlined with a focus on direct and indirect fire, with the combat values for units represented by these key factors:
The air game is streamlined while retaining key factors such as air operations, air maintenance, bomber strikes, interception, escorts, air combat and anti-aircraft fire and much more. The system also covers logistics, supply, night turns, reorganization and more. All in all, gamers and North African campaign enthusiasts will find this to be a kinder, gentler monster game that captures the key elements of Operation Crusader to the forefront.
Expanding upon the original edition, this game adds many new scenarios, each covering a shorter and smaller part of the historic battle, and a full campaign game which allows players to experience the full sweep of Operation Crusader. Because of its length and size, we recognize that many players will not be able to complete the entire campaign game, so we also include two shorter versions of the full campaign which allow players to experience the particularly exciting early parts of the battle but bring the game to a satisfying conclusion.
Featured scenarios include:
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