This is a review of the "Monty's Desert Battles" Rapid Fire book by Richard Marsh that was published on the 5th September 2011.
So what do you get for your money ? The book is softcover, full colour, A4, 80 pages and full of gaming "goodness".
To quote the back cover of the book:
"Monty's Desert Battles contains all the information you need to build and play with the forces that Rommel and Montgomery commanded in late 1942, including the momentous battle of El Alamein: the first major British victory of World War II"
The layout of the book will be familiar for those who have purchased any of the recent RF titles. The book consists of 8 sections: Introduction, Orders of Battle, Alamein rules, Tactics and formations, Scenarios (8 of them), Game Guide and Useful Reading.
The introduction gives a brief overview of the 1942 Desert campaign.
Orders of Battle
The next section 30 pages of histrical ORBATs for Commonwealth, German and Italian forces. This link to the Rapid Fire website gives you an idea of what to expect:
There are 2 pages of "Alamein Rules" which give a real flavour to Desert War battles using RF. EAch rule has a brief explanation of the new rule and what it represents
e.g. 4.2(A) A score of only 3, 4, 5 or 6 (anything but a 1 if elite) is required if an AFV without infantry support wishes to advance within 6" of observed enemy infantry.
This reflects the vulnerabiltiy of infantry in the open desert and the lack of effective hand-held anti-tank weapons.
Tactics and Formations (6 pages)
This is an interesting section as it details tactical formations illustrated in game terms.
Scenarios (30 pages)
Rapid Fire has always been scenario driven and this is arguably the greatest strength of the rules. In this section a range of small to large scenarios covering various aspects of the battle are included:
Himeimat - Delaying Rommel (31st August 1942) - small size British vs German / Italian
Alam Halfa - The Turning Point (31st August 1942) - medium size British vs German
Lightfoot - Desert D-Day (23rd October 1942) - large size British / Commonwealth vs German / Italian
Naqb Rala - Foreign Legion v Folgore (23rd October 1942) - medium size Free French vs Italian
Snipe - Anti-Tank Epic (27th October 1942) - large size British vs German / Italian
The Saucer - Holding the Thumb (31st October 1942) - small size British vs German
Bir el abd - Ariete's Last Stand (5th November 1942) - small size British vs Italian
Nofilia - Rommel at Bay (17th December 1942) - small size British vs German
Game Guide and Useful Reading (6 pages)
While only 6 pages long Richard Marsh has detailed how he constructed his terrain and painting guides for figures and vehicles for all the armies including specific paints used etc. This is a nice touch which finishes off the book and confirms the statement on the back cover that it "contains all the information you need to build and play...."
The Desert War has always held a certain allure for wargamers and has had a resurgence of popularity in recent years. This book is an excellent supplement for any Rapid Fire enthusiast who wishes to reproduce the Alamein battles on the table. For those who use other game systems it would serve as an excellent reference that could easily be converted.