Knights of the Desert Hints
Developed by Strategic Simulations, Inc
Review By Mark Bausman
Computer Gaming World Volume 4 Number 1 (February 1984)

Knights of the Desert:
Strategy and Tactics

Name: Knights of the Desert
Type: Wargame
System: Apple, Atari, TSR-80
Format: Diskette or Tape
#Players: 1 or 2
Author: Tactical Design Group
Price: $39.95
Publisher: Strategic Simulations

Knights of the Desert (KOD) recreates the period of the North African Campaign from March 1941 to January 1943. The game is played in turns with each turn divided into phases and each phase divided into player actions. Every action, such as movement or combat, requires expenditure of supply and operation points. The game is won through accumulation of victory points or by taking the opponents home base. If you are not familiar with KOD, then you should read the feature review in our last issue.

A look at the victory points table and the Order of Battle Chart in the rules book will quickly point out an overall strategy. The Axis must push its units as far east as it can and capture the town of Tobruk as well as any other towns it may be able to reach. The allied strategy to counter this, must be to hold the towns and fight as slow a withdrawal action as possible until reinforcements arrive. The rules book suggests that the Axis player should be able to capture Bardia and surround Tobruk on the first turn.

Since the first turn is vital to a winning game, I have chosen the Tobruk 41 scenario to examine the tactics of KOD. As the Axis player you must get 220 points for a strategic victory. The Allies need -130 points for the same. The Allied tactics are fairly simple - consolidate, fortify, and defend. The Allies should attempt to force the Axis to use as many operation and supply points as possible in attacking Allied units. Given the chance, The Allies should withdraw the armor and depot units located near El Angela to Benghazi using the coast road. The Axis players tactics are not so easy to chose. In 1941 Rommel decided to use the desert route in hopes of capturing Bardia and Tobruk and cutting off the retreating Allies on the coast road. In the longer scenarios this is a tactic to consider, as on the second turn you will be able to attack Bardia and Tobruk and squeeze the Allies between arriving reinforcements and your advanced units. In the one turn scenario, as in all scenarios, operations limitations must be taken into consideration. Nonmechanized units receive only 36 operation points per turn, while clear terrain squares cost three operation points each to cross. This means that the nonmechanized units can not reach Tobruk in one turn by going across the desert. By sending the nonmechanized units up the coast road they may not only reach Tobruk, but also have enough operation points left to attack it. The same story is true for the mechanized units. By going up the coast road they will have enough operation points left to attack either Tobruk or Bardia. (Going up the coast road will also get you Benghazi). Of course some must sacrifice for the greater good. There are Allied units on the coast road and someone must deal with them. There is no better division suited to the task of destroying weaker units that the Italian Ariete Armored Division. It starts at nearly 100 percent combat strength and almost completely supplied. It can make short work of the depot units between EI Agheila and Tobruk capturing their unused supply in the process. What of the 2nd British Armor and its supply depot outside E1 Agheila? In the longer scenario I recommend you attack and destroy these units with the Ariete Armor supported by Italian infantry. The attacks should be at low intensity, as you will have favorable odds. In the Tobruk 41 scenario you can ignore these units and save your supply and operations points for the attack on Tobruk and Bardia. Capturing Benghazi, Tobruk, and Bardia along with the destruction of the forces defending those towns and the movement of your forces that far East will guarantee a strategic victory.


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