Battles of North Africa 1941 Released

Finally, we can unleash this beast!!

It’s been 2 years and 11 months since our last Panzer Battles title (Normandy) was released. Before you castigate us, keep in mind we have setup Wargame Design Studio, provided this web site and its (irregular) blog posts, released the Panzer Battles Demo, updated eleven of the Panzer Campaigns titles to Gold, released the new Civil War Battles; Campaign Petersburg as well as updated three other Civil War titles AND updated both Panzer Battles Kursk and Normandy to the standard released in the Demo. And that’s just the stuff done to date, we have a lot of work ongoing – some announced and some not…

Battles of North Africa 1941 was probably as challenging as Normandy to complete. We ended up including a lot more detail than originally planned (we wanted to do a new game every 18 months – yeah right!) and was a subject that most of us only had a passing knowledge and interest in.

Once the research was started though, it was obvious that this was a fascinating series of operations and would translate very well into the game system. We tested it out on all of you with the Mersa Brega scenarios in the demo and saw that that style of scenario resonated well. As a small aside, the demo version of Mersa Brega is not the same as the one in this release. We found some much better research and have happily adjusted the original scenario. That may be updated in the demo at the next refresh.

Building a game like this is very much a team effort, Mike Avanzini was researching and building the various order of battles even before Normandy was finished. I started the mapping process and had great assistance from Mike, Rick Bancroft and David Michas. Mapping took somewhere from six months to a year and is done before any scenarios are laid out. After looking over the recently created planning maps, I have realised how little of the master maps we have used. That’s the risk when starting a project, you must do some steps like mapping early on as it is so time intensive and will hold up the rest of the process if not completed. Result is there are some big maps included and all are available to create new scenarios using them.

The actual scenarios included, also went through a couple of distinct phases. Mike had created eight order of battles covering Compass, Sonnenblume, Corinth Canal, Tobruk, Brevity, Crete, Battleaxe and Crusader. Mike then recommended potential scenarios and situations the designers should look at when we got started. Rick Bancroft took responsibility for Crusader and I chipped away at first Crete and then Sonnenblume, followed by the rest. It was evident early on that the order of battles were very complete. For example, Sonnenblume includes all the forces that Rommel used to pursue the Allies back to Egypt. There was four distinct columns that went all the way from Agheila to Sollum on the Egyptian frontier – essentially crossing all of Cyrenaica. That said, creating a map to cover that area with the sporadic fighting that occurred was just not practical – so guess what, you have the full OOB available for any of you that may want to model some of the other engagements during this operation. There are similar ‘extras’ in all the order of battles.

The second big impact on the scenarios was the inclusion of the new variable objective victory points. This enhancement was only coded this year (2018) and meant all new scenarios could potentially use this new feature. This was the case for all the Compass scenarios that were created in the last six months. Older scenarios such as in Crete and Brevity have a second set of scenarios duplicated using variable objective points. We have left the original version there as an option for players who like the older methods of scoring. Though we call out 115 playable scenarios, this does include in some cases the aforementioned duplicate scenarios.

All of this, plus the need to create brand new graphics as there was little to no crossover from Normandy and Kursk added to the time for completion.

So, what do you get for your money?

  • 115 playable scenarios and a further 24 reference scenarios covering the maps and units in each operation
  • 3 variable scenarios (with some linked sub-scenarios)
  • Lots of maps – 8 master and 55 sub maps and the capability to create further sub-maps. The very large North Africa map is over 1.23m hexes. You can download all the planning maps for free from the Battles of North Africa 1941 page at the JTS site.
  • 8 orders of battle. The smallest (Corinth Canal) only has 131 units (a unit is usually a platoon equivalent). The largest (Compass) has 5,412 with duplicates. Crusader is probably close to Compass for unique units at 4,210 units.
  • A heap of documentation, that is free, even if you don’t buy the game. This includes our Player, Design & Scenario notes (159 pages), Mike Avanzini’s Visual Order of Battle covering several of the units that we have modeled (85 pages) as well as the Getting Started guide (70 pages). Additionally, the previously mentioned planning maps are an optional download (527 MB). The other manuals (User and Program) have also been reviewed and adjusted where necessary.

We’re hopeful that you will enjoy the game. I can say that the new variable objective victory points really create dynamic games and we have not fully explored their capabilities. We plan to share more on how to both design and play these scenarios in future blog posts.

The following images can all be clicked for full size and are the same images as shown on the Tiller site;

Australian attempt to capture Tobruk from the Italians;

What was hidden from the German tankers at the beginning of the Easter Monday battle;

The New Zealanders attempt to dislodge the German forces at Maleme, Crete;

The British breakout from Tobruk, during Operation Crusader;

The various game icons/counters, compared;

A 200% size image of the first British attempt to take Halfaya Pass during Operation Brevity;

A sample of the Operation Crusader, Order of Battle;

Half a page of the Visual Order of Battle;

Some example shots from the campaign engine;

NATO symbols, anyone?;

Using the scenario editor to create another Crusader scenario. This is soft ground conditions with pooling water;

Another look at Crete;

Thanks again for your patience and it’s a great day to support poor, struggling game designers!!

Link to the Battles of North Africa 1941 product page; Link to Product Page

Link to the John Tiller store to purchase; Link to John Tiller Shop

Not certain about this game? Download the Panzer Battles Demo for free from here; Link to Panzer Battles Demo

 

17 thoughts on “Battles of North Africa 1941 Released

  • Another outstanding product from WDS, this game release and the extensive work you have completed for the other JTS game series is a true renaissance of JTS computer war games. And the now that SDC has also joined the effort with its excellent release of The Seven Years War title for Musket and Pike series, grognards of the world are dancing in the streets with joy. Your efforts thus far are recognized and appreciated by many of us who enjoy JTS games and you have truly set a benchmark of quality for these detailed historical wargame simulations such as Battles of North Africa 1941.
    Bravo!

    • CJ,

      Thank you, the support and commentary means everything. A ridiculous amount of time by many people goes into building one of these titles. To have the community support is what keeps us going (it’s definitely not the hourly rate!)

      David

  • I am very happy with this product and love the order of battle. Its a massive amount of content for a good price. I wonder why you guys dont do a little more marketing like getting in contact with some of the World War II history
    YouTube Channels like TIK or Military History Visualized. TIK just got done making a detailed series on Operation Crusader which would blend well with this release. I have attempted to bring your games to their attention but all I can do is comment. They have large followings and im sure would love your games seeing as there isnt much in the way to match them. Just an idea, thanks keep it up!!

    Aidan

    • Aidan,

      Very glad you like the game. That’s a good point re. the youtubers. Let me see if there is anything we can do to reach them.

      Thanks again,

      David

  • David,
    Awesome! No scaling issues at all! Bought it at bedtime last night and stayed up an extra 2 hours playing until well after midnight. Early on, I can tell this game is a gem. I agree with Aiden, the price is a steal. The OOB and designer notes alone are probably worth forty bucks. Again, great job by all concerned. Thanks.

    Jon

    • Jon,

      That’s great new re scaling. We have tried to correct issues like that as we go along. Hopefully when we patch the other games in the series, they will be corrected as well.

      I promise you there is some very fun scenarios included. Thanks for the compliments re documentation. We put the effort there as our core customers seem to appreciate the extra insights provided.

      David

  • I will certainly get this PzB … when i get back to more civilized island (with fast internet connection) in Indonesia.
    Hopefully the next PzB would be Bulge 44 ?? instead of east front by pattern … 😀
    Please dont forget those PzC gold .

    Cheers,

  • I really enjoy playing the Panzer Battles and Panzer Campaign series, above all, I admire the realistic units and tanks that are listed in the game.
    I’m looking forward to the Panzer Campaigns Gold (France, Bulge, Tunisia, El Alamein and Arnhem) and wish that Panzer Battles North Africa 1942 be realized I wish continued success for the Strategy Series.

    Yours sincerely
    Heinz

  • HI, I’m just curious why the 11 Hussars are with the Coastal Group in the Brevity Scenario….Everything I’ve seen has them with the 7 Armd Bde Group screening the western flank of that unit’s advance. Thanks in advance

    • Hoyt,

      I’m checking further on this, but on first review, I believe you’re right. I’m going back to Mike who built the OOB to see if he has any source that drove him to include it in the coastal group. More to follow and if confirmed we will decide whether to adjust the scenarios (which is not trivial) or not.

      Thanks,

      David

  • The more I look at the Brevity scenario, the more questions I have…I am not sure that the deployments represent what I know from research I have done…A brief look at the Battleaxe scenario prompts similar questions…I must admit to being somewhat disappointed in what I see…especially in a Tiller game.

    • Hoyt,

      If you can provide examples that can be validated we will adjust accordingly. There is a surprising dearth of detailed information on these battles, particularly Brevity. We were hoping to have additional research from a colleague, Julian Shales, but his latest book covering these battles in detail was delayed beyond our release date. I planned to review these battles using his new work once available. We did the same with Mersa Brega after receiving his first volume.

      We pride ourselves on the research we do and more importantly our responsiveness when an error is called out. Please do not assume that the Tiller standards are slipping, but do know we will correct errors when backed with comprehensive sources.

      David

  • So, I designed the Battalion Combat Series Game; Brazen Chariots, for MMP/The Gamers.

    I found alot of information in https://www.amazon.com/Tank-Combat-North-Africa-Sonnenblume/dp/0764302264
    But it was an ILL and I don’t have it anymore…and my notes are buried on a hard drive somewhere.

    I also got a good bit of information from https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/UK/UK-Med-II/UK-Med-2-8.html which is a reproduction of the British Official Histories. That link is to the chapters specifically covering Brevity.

    It specifically mentions the following:

    7th Armd Bde Group advancing from Bir el Khireigat towards Sidi Azeiz (I believe they crossed the Wire around Hatiyet el Maalik, then were engaged at Pt 2-8)

    22nd Gds and 4RTR advanced to clear the top of Halfaya and Fort Capuzzo

    2nd Rifle advanced along the coast.

    So, In my mind 7th Armd Bde is much too far west…and this throws off the whole timetable of their advance…

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