Monday, May 23, 2011

Desert War Top Trumps

The desert war is set to begin shortly, as my second army for it goes into the final stages of painting and basing. In the meantime, I've turned my attention to cards for selecting the sides. For those who have been following this blog but perhaps haven't looked up the 'KISS Rommel' rules I'm using, I should explain - each side has a hand of eight cards and they draw five for each battle, which is a nice way of adding a bit of 'randomness' to it all. Most cards equate to a division for whatever country you're playing, possibly armoured, or motorised, or infantry. Some are only smaller Brigades which can be attached to other divisions, or may even just be a 'blank' with nothing at all!

I decided to make up some proper cards for this, properly printed out from a Word doc with nicely printed text and a symbol thrown in for a bit of colour. Here's an example of what I made up with a little bit of bashing around:

I found most divisions' symbols with a simple dig around on Wikipedia and typing the name into Google Images. Then, for easy reference, I listed the bases that each division consisted of on the card as well. With that, I printed them off, glued them to some thin card, then laminated them. Job done!

Here's the full British/Commonwealth/Multinational hand for the Eighth Army:

The Brits get 2 Armoured Divisions, 3 Infantry Divisions, a Free French Infantry Brigade, an Armoured Brigade, and one Blank Card (troops diverted to Greece or Malaya!)

Here's the German/Italian line-up:
There's actually nine here, as I wound up including an extra card for the optional Tiger Tank battalion I might use at some stage in the future. The basic hand of cards is 2 Panzer Divisions, 1 Motorized Infantry Division (the 90th Light,) An Italian Armoured Division, an Italian Motorized Infantry Division, 2 Infantry Divisions and 1 Blank Card (Planes from Malta sink a convoy!)

So, not long until the off! The Campaign begins at Tobruk, which is the midpoint on a track running from Tripoli to Cairo - victories move you up it, defeats move you back down, until one side loses their 'HQ Space' for total defeat. No timescale is given, but I'm taking things as set around the time of Operation Battleaxe, just after Rommel has arrived and when he and Wavell were first battling around the besieged Tobruk. In fact, with the cards ready, I couldn't resist at least drawing a hand for each side to see who'll fight in the first game. One card can be chosen, but the rest are randomly drawn. The results:

7th Armoured Division (the Desert Rats)
4th (Indian) British Infantry Division
1st (South African) British Infantry Division
(Free French) British Infantry Brigade
Two British Armoured Brigades

German 21st Panzer Division
Italian 132nd 'Ariete' Tank Division
German 90th Light Division
German 15th Panzer Division
Blank! - Planes From Malta Sink Convoy!

Well, quite the decent force for the British - Infantry & Armour divisions, although two cards are smaller brigades. The Axis are really looking for trouble, however - every German card turns up, plus the only Italian unit to show is an armoured one! Shame the other card was a blank, but it does mean that the Axis side, although small, is made up of highly mobile & armoured units. Now I really need to finish the painting and get them onto a tabletop - which I also don't quite have sorted, yet. One light-brown throw-rug or bed-sheet, coming up!


  1. Hi, I'm hoping to try out KISS Rommel and would love a copy of your excellent cards. Is there any way of getting hold of them?

  2. Inspired by this I created card sets in this style. See freewargamesrules wikia under the KISS Rommel rules. Only took me 16 years for this update... NM 2018.

    1. Hi - apologies for not seeing your comment for a few months! I hope all has gone well?