Long Range Desert Group – Special Operations Against Rommel 1941 – 1942 Game Review
Publisher: Decision Games Designer: Joseph Miranda, Chris Perello, Eric Harvey and Christopher Cummins Price $12.95
Passed Inspection: Great value for price, high quality components, interesting subject, fun with tons of replay value, great solitaire experience
Failed Basic: Some slight rules clarifications needed
“I was never scared of the Germans,” commented legendary actor Sir Christopher Lee (Dracula in 9 films, Count Dooku in Star Wars, Saruman in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, and an actor in over 200 more films) “but I was scared of other members of the Long Range Desert Patrol…”
During World War II, Sir Christopher Lee was an RAF attaché to the Long Range Desert Group. Their exploits in gathering information and harassing the supply lines of Rommel’s Africa Corp would forever burnish their names in to history. Decision Games release Long Range Desert Group – Special Operations Against Rommel 1941-1942 (LRDG) not only provides a fascinating look at the missions of this special forces group but also provides an extremely satisfying solo play experience. While the Long Range Desert Patrol never numbered over approximately 350 men, they fought as commandos in North Africa from 1940 until the German surrender in 1943. Throughout that time, they were involved in combat or intelligence gathering patrols almost constantly – missing only 15 days during that span of time! After the surrender of the Africa Corp, they were reassigned to the Greek Islands, Italy and the Balkans. They were known for wearing Arab garb and for their beards – in addition, their vehicles of choice were armed trucks, armored cars and later American lend-lease jeeps. The late 1960s American TV series “The Rat Patrol” was very loosely based upon their exploits.
LRDG is a solitaire game based upon Decision’s Commando! Game rules. The game comes in a zip locked bag with a full color 11” x 17” map, 40 double sided, full color die cut counters, 18 cards and the Commando! game rules plus a LRDG supplement rule book. The components are all first rate especially for the low price of the game.
The Commando! rules are only 4 pages long the LRDG supplement is 2 pages long. The rules are well laid out and very easy to learn.
The game is played in phases controlled by the Operations Points the player starts with and/or loses or adds to during the course of the game. When Operations Points are at zero, the game ends. There are 4 missions included in the game which cover examples of LRDG operations from 1941 to 1942. Each unit represents one or two vehicles, anti-tank guns or aircrafts and a squad of men and is rated for movement and firepower. The map represents the North African theater of operations.
The game is set up based upon the time period of the scenario chosen. A number of objectives are put on the map face down – each objective may either be an actual objective such as an airfield, supply convoy, headquarters, etc. or a mine field. A counter represents the main Africa Corp forces which effectively block commando operations in their sector. Remember, this isn’t a game of trying to kill everything but a game of strategically deploying your forces to harass the supply lines or destroy/capture objectives.
The player’s score is determined by objectives completed and number of units destroyed. When the player takes casualties, it subtracts from his victory points.
The rules, short through they are, cover a wide variety of situations – from logistics to air drops, water landings and evacuations, reconnaissance operations, raids, etc. While the rules are over-all very well organized, there was a little rule confusion. A terrain type which was used on the map wasn’t listed in the terrain effects chart by the same name, whether to end the game the moment the Operations Points ran out or finish the turn, etc. all provided some problems. Decision Games website does provided some help with the slight confusion though.
Campaign rules are provided so that you can track your LRDG units from mission to mission.
A turn or “operation” is composed of moving, drawing an event card (which controls the solitaire flow of the game as well as encounters), combat, and finally attempting to complete the objective.
An event may be everything from a sandstorm to a counter attack by a squad of Africa Corp armored units (very bad indeed).
A full game can be played in 1 to 2 hours making it perfect for an afternoon’s gaming session.
The game play is nail biting. At one point, one of my LRDG forces came upon an aggressive force of German heavy armored cars (4 wheeled Sdkfz 222 and 8 wheeled 232) which quickly tore in to our lightly armed forces. Luckily, we had a British heavy armored car near our main group which saved the day.
At the end of one mission, I was about to lose the game because I couldn’t extract a unit from a port town when, right at the very end, I drew an Event Card which allowed me to extract my units and move them by sea back to a British port. I won the day!
Long Range Desert Group – Special Operations Against Rommel 1941-1942 is a great game and very addictive! It is the perfect example of an excellent game with only 6 pages of rules! For the price, you can’t go wrong! I look forward to other Decision Games releases!
For ordering information or information on other Decision Games, go to www.decisiongames.com
Armchair General Rating: 94 %
Solitaire Rating: 5
About the Author
A college film instructor and small business owner, Richard Martin has also worked in the legal and real estate professions, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War I and II gamer who can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!