My understanding is that the Afrika Korps game parameters give the Germans and British about equal chances to win, that is, 50-50. Were the relative chances actually about 50-50 in real life? If not, what adjustments were made to the game to balance it? For instance, was Malta more or less disruptive to Axis supply convoys in the game compared to real life?

Example: Using Midway, which I know better, a number of adjustments were made in favor of the Japanese. That's because the large number of planes on Midway made it a "fourth" carrier, with all the American carriers larger than any of the four Japanese heavy carriers. That is to say that the Americans actually had the advantage historically.

So Midway, in the game, starts with perhaps one third of its historical complement of aircraft. Also, the Japanese carrier Kaga starts with three more toredo squadrons than she had historically (this is critical for game play). "Alternate" rules also prevent the American player from deploying B-17 bombers (which existed, but had no historical impact, but is a "random" factor in favor of the Americans). I believe these changes largely balance the game.

1 Answer 1


Not very well at all, but good enough for a board game.

The impact of Malta is reflected in-game as the difficulty of the Germans getting reinforcements and resupply as the game goes on. (I'd get the rules out and cite a detail if only my brother didn't end up with the game; I got Waterloo and D Day, he got Afrika Korps and Panzer Blitz; the local games club got the rest when we moved out).

Of particular interest is that the air element of the campaign is utterly missing.

Balance with "historical" verisimilitude is a very tricky thing. Afrika Korps is not one of the more complex AH games (I played them all from about 1970 - mid 1980's). A wide variety of decisions made outside of that theater left both Rommel and Monty with constraints on their resources, and how to make that work "in game" can be tricky. The 'trickle in' gamism of reinforcing units is reasonably close to how things played out. The relative ineffectiveness of most Italian Divisions is also "close enough" to work in the game.

I've seen games of Afrika Korps won using zones of control and a Recce Company choaking off supply trains at the left edge of the map when Rommel is near to El Alamein. :-) IRL, that's not gonna work.

I did not study that campaign in detail until after college, and played it mostly in high school and college. With the game as an introduction, it was nice to be familiar with the topic, but as one reads the history one begins to see how a game has to take a lot of short cuts with verisimilitude to arrive at a playable state. (Midway was kind of clunky).

Something you may want to appreciate is that the sales brochures that AH put out back in the 60's and 70's had a "complexity" assessment for each game. Afrika Korps was one of the easier games; 1914 was a nightmare of complexity.

  • I think I know you from another site. Welcome to this one, even though the question is largely in line with the other one.
    – Tom Au
    Jun 5, 2020 at 21:07
  • @TomAu Yeah, I owe you an answer on Napoleon; hopefully, this weekend will allow a bit more digging. Great to "see" you here Tom. :-) Jun 5, 2020 at 21:10

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