Tank Duel Expansion 1 North Africa Board Game Review. Publisher: GMT Games Designer: Mike Bertucelli Price $70 and Tank Pack 1 $38
Passed Inspection: Beautiful components, new rules for the North African environment, new rules for infantry and anti-tank guns, night combat, open topped vehicles, recon units, multi-gun tanks, updated solo rules
Failed Basic: nothing at all
The crew of the Marder II worked like a finely oiled machine as the driver put the tank hunter in to a hull down position near a depression in the desert. The commander spotted a Crusader moving at cruising speed at the distance. “Probably on a scouting mission or maybe it got separated from its unit after the sandstorm cleared,” thought the commander. He and his crew were green but were trusted enough by his unit to put his Marder on an over watch mission. “Load AP.” he said. “AP loaded answered the loader”. “Target Mk II Crusader”. 900 meters. Fire when ready” he ordered. His gunner fired but the shot fell short. Suddenly the Crusader turned towards them throwing up a dust cloud as the fast cruiser tank zigzagged to avoid being targeted. The Marder’s gun fired again and missed. The Crusader was closing and looked like it would outflank them. If it got a shot into the open, unarmored back of the tank hunter, he and his men were doomed. In the distance, about a mile away, the Marder commander could see a larger dust cloud being thrown up by over a dozen Allied tanks. “Wait for him to get a little closer then destroy him so we can get out of here” said the commander. At 500 meters the Crusader slowed as it tried to get the Marder in sight. “Fire!” ordered the commander. The shot hit true and the Crusader exploded. It’s turret flying into the air. “Good kill, now back up and head back to base full speed.” His green crew had their first battle victory and would celebrate if they made it back to their base alive.
So played out one small skirmish in my play of Tank Duel’s new North Africa expansion.
The base set of Tank Duel was reviewed last year and was one of my favorite games of 2020. It put you right in the action of the Russian Front during World War 2. (See the review of the base game by clicking on this link : http://armchairgeneral.com/tank-duel-puts-you-right-in-to-the-action-gmts-tank-duel-board-game-review.htm ) But North Africa was always my favorite theater of the war probably because I knew an American and a German who served there and they had shared hours of stories with me over the years. Now GMT Games has rolled out the North African expansion and I’m loving it.
“So what in the box” you ask? Let me tell you!
The components include the following British, German and Italian tanks, tank hunters and armored cars:
Cruiser Mk. IV
Crusader Mk. II
Matilda Mk. IV
Sherman Mk. III
Valentine Mk. II
Valentine Mk. III
Semovente da 75/18
Panzer III H
Panzer IV E
Panzer IV F/2
Sd. Kfz. 232 8-rad
Italian and British crew counters.
Tons of status counters.
103 new cards representing North African terrain and conditions
24 page rule and scenario book
Tank Duel’s North Africa Expansion adds in rules for the terrain you encounter in that specific theater and since the view on the cards allows you to see what it may look like from inside your tank, you also get building views from North Africa.
Additionally new rules include expanded rules for infantry and anti-tank guns (yes you can attack them now which was one of my few criticisms of the base game), special ammunition, heat, sandstorms, soft sand, night time battles, blowing dust and Vehicle dust, heat haze, crew fatigue, land mines, recon patrols, multi-gun tanks, rates of fire, open topped vehicles (like the Marder mentioned above), scenario creation and expanded solo rules. There is a lot packed in to those 24 pages!
There are also 11 scenarios which walk you through the new rules.
The components are all first rate and the artwork and graphic design is a work of art! As with the base game, the rules are very understandable and presented in a logical manner.
Now let’s look at the Tank Duel Tank Pack 1 which gives you 8 new tanks usable with both the base game and the North Africa Expansion.. The pack also includes 6 more scenarios and some special rules.
The 8 new tanks are:
M3 Stuart Mk II (“Honey”)
Churchill Mk IV
Panzer IV F/1
Panzer III G
Sd.Kfz. 234/2 “Puma”
What’s not to love? Well maybe they could include a King Tiger?
These two expansions are first rate. If you are a World War 2 tank head as I am, you must give Tank Duel a test drive. I guarantee you won’t regret it!
Armchair General Rating: 100% (1% is bad, 100% is perfect)
Solitaire Rating: 5
(1 is not suitable, 5 is excellent solo play)
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. He designed the games Tiger Leader, The Tiger Leader Expansion and Sherman Leader for DVG and has designed the solo system for Forsage Games’ Age of Dogfights. Currently Rick is designing T34 Leader for DVG. In addition, Rick can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!