Bar-Lev Take 2: Conclusion

It may have been a near run thing, but once the tables turned in my favor, they turned hard.

Had I lost one or two more tanks in Syria, the Jordanians would’ve been able to punch through to my artillery and force me off the map. Things were a bit better in Egypt by sheer virtue of the fact that I simply could NOT be dislodged from El Shatt which gave me both the village and the Bar-Lev defensive bonus. Still, I only had a few troops screening for three or four times as much artillery.

The Israeli double fire rules combined with Arab morale break made all of the difference. I had nearly 100 strength points of artillery fire on both sides of the board and was able to distribute it effectively against the heavy tanks that I couldn’t get ground odds on. Any tanks that weren’t destroyed by the first barrage would easily be insta-killed by the second.

With the ground situation in Egypt slightly more under control, I made sure that I had enough bombers in Syria to keep the Jordanians from giving the Syrians any meaningful advantage. So while my tanks and planes dealt with the Jordanians to the south, my artillery blew away what was left of the Syrian center.

The Egyptians finally lost their last best bet to beat me when the armored corps bearing down from the north and wearing away at my defenders in the hills were annihilated by boatloads of artillery fire. I even freed up enough that I was able to start taking out the short range artillery that had been shelling me from Suez. With the last southern bridge blown, I was able to start pressing north again, extending my forces out in strength and numbers I hadn’t had at all until this final point.

My dad surrendered, when we assessed the situation in Syria. Though Egypt would probably be kept to a draw (I don’t know that I could actually push across the canal with anything but heli-troopers, since the Egyptians were going to start blowing their own bridges), almost all of the units left in Syria were artillery. I could’ve spent the next two turns picking apart the remains of the Syrian army with bombers and self-propelled artillery. The only reinforcements Syria had left were militia that would only activate if I came within two hexes of any Syrian village, and eliminating all units on either map grants an instant victory, we decided it was just a matter of time.

My original air strategy changed by early mid-game. Once one side had shown a bit of weakness, it really did just make sense to keep flying against it. I split my forces some, but ultimately I spent way more time pounding the Syrians than the Egyptians. The Egyptian bombers couldn’t do much because I was concentrated in such a small area that I was fully covered by AA missiles until late game. With the Syrians so easily broken, air combat turned into a snowballing massacre with each turn.

The biggest difference in how our two games turned out was that I kept my artillery alive. As the Arabs, I would not suffer the presence of any Israeli artillery and would blitz past any other targets to make sure that the long range self-propelled artillery was taken out ASAP. MOST of the Israeli strength points are out there as Artillery, so keeping mine alive also meant that my Morale didn’t break as quickly, because I was able to recycle enough light troops to keep the churn going.

Anyway, I can’t recommend Bar-Lev enough if you’re into hex-and-chit style war gaming.

But speaking of wargaming, I’ve decided to make a go at doing a retroclone of Chainmail tweaked for use with Basic D&D. While D&D updated and incorporated stuff from Chainmail, I don’t know that there’s been an attempt to update Chainmail to incorporate stuff from D&D. I mean, I’m sure there has been, but I kind of want to rewrite Chainmail as a supplement to Basic. I hope it’s a good idea, because I’ve already sunk some money into a sweet cover.

The problem I’ve had with OD&D has always been that whatever rules are there are presented in a lousy format and are kind of confusing because of that more than anything wrong with the system itself.  I don’t think I can do the bangup job that Eric Holmes did with OD&D in his Basic edition, but I want to at least try to see if I can make something out of Chainmail that folks can pick up and use in their Basic games without a lot of headache.

7 responses to “Bar-Lev Take 2: Conclusion

    • Yeah. My idea is that I’ll take the base rules for chainmail, incorporate the idea of PCs as Captains (like Chr for Init instead of Dex), work in some of the fantasy elements into the framework. And because it’ll mechanically be Chainmail, it won’t conflict with (m)any rules of the various editions, because it’s just for “Have a really big battle you want to resolve with less crunch? Use this system instead.” I want to see if I can make it to where it works for both multiple minis (the way it’s written) and for representative minis, wherein each player’s mini on the map represents himself and the troops he’s leading.

      • Using Charisma in place of Dexterity for troops sounds like a really good idea. (I might just have to borrow it…)

        Pfft. Now I’m off reading mass combat rules. That’s what I get for checking your blog first thing in the morning. I don’t even remember what I was going to do today. 😉


      • I’m already finding spots where I’m adding my own personal touches. Since Chainmail is mostly designed for 2P games, I’m adding optional rules for multiple player commanders. One of those is initiative based turn-order, but a more significant bit is change of command. I’m assuming that every unit has a hireling/retainer/henchman or a PC leading it; the unit is controlled by whomever controls the character/follower. If a leader is killed or incapacitated, if the unit doesn’t break, it’s assumed that a field corporal takes over and the player continues controlling that unit. Unless, of course, another player sends one of their characters to rally the unit and take charge. So, there’s a built in incentive to keep a reserve officer corp.

        I’ve also added rules to handle large units represented by individual pieces or by less pieces than the unit’s actual strength, including ZOC options and a few formation diagrams. like “Here, you can still use Chainmail even if you’ve only got your own character mini and a couple of d4s to represent the dimensions of your formation”.

  1. By all means enlighten us. While I’m wedded to Domains at War at the moment, I don’t mind knowing what I’ve missed out on by not doing the necessary archaeological work to get Chainmail onto the table.

    • I’m in phase one right now, stripping out the Gygaxian prose and copying tables, play orders and basic rules. Fortunately, it appears to be pretty light-weight once you toss out the pages and pages on how great minis are and how to build a playing field. The tricky part is going to be working the monstrous and fantasy elements back in.

      If anything, I think you’ll appreciate the Martian princess in a gold chainmail something-or-other with a poleaxe I found for the cover.

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