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Blood and Sand. Board-game. Game Designer: Richard H. Berg.

Artist: Brandon
Pennington. Published by Worthington Games: Pre-order: $60.00
Passed Inspection: Original gaming system; excellent piece design; good replay value.
Failed Basic: Map hexes too small for game pieces, needs better placement of charts and unit
status boxes.
Blood and Sand is an inventive and highly playable light simulation of World War Twos North
African Campaign. Blood and Sand is the second in Bitter Victory game series, the first game in
the series was MedWar Sicily. Players who enjoyed the first game would certainly enjoy this one
as well.
The game has three scenarios: Tobruk which takes about 3 hours to play and is a good
introduction to the game system. Operation: Crusader which is a very short scenario great for
solo play and then the full campaign game which takes about 6 hours to complete.
Historical Context
The North African campaign was fought from June 1940, when the Italians declared war on the
British until May 1943 when Axis forces in North Africa surrendered to the British and
American Allies. The game focuses on the campaign from April 1941, four months after the
arrival of Rommels vaunted Afrika Korps to December 1942, just one month after the British
victory at the Second Battle of El Alamein. The fighting in the desert in this time frame
consisted of a number of see-saw offensives that saw the Germans and Italians advance to the
end of their supply lines and then be driven back by the British and Commonwealth forces.
These battles saw both sides armored and mechanized units take the lead in the fights, many
times making wide moves into the desert to flank their enemys defenses along the coast. Given
the general inhospitality of the terrain and the limited road network; supplies and logistics were
serious issues for the Allies and even more so for the Axis.
Game Components
The 113 nicely thick game counters (46 Axis and 67 Allies) are colorful, with uncluttered and
easy to read printing.
There are two decks of Opportunity Cards (Op Cards); 27 cards for each side. The Op Cards are
also nice and sturdy. In the game the cards represent different abstracted factors of the war. For
example, the Allied player has cards that add artillery support, or allows him to motorize an
infantry unit, or conduct naval gunfire support, and so on. The Axis deck is similar, but has
some differences as well, such as the Rommel card, which lets the Axis player seize the
initiative at the start of a turn. Further, the Axis has some cards have two possible uses, for
example conduct an emergency re-supply which could be used to save units from sure
destruction or could be used to force an ALLIED withdrawal. This card replicates the Allies
requirements to move units to other theaters of war. All together the cards add a great deal to the
game-play, by preventing an Allied walk-over, and are an enhancement to the replay value. One

note on the cards, it would have been better for the two decks of cards to have to different back
designs to easily distinguish between the Allied and the Axis sets.
The map is gorgeous; bright and colorful. The hexes being marked only at their corners is a nice
design and makes the map look all that much better. Unfortunately, the hexes are about a quarter
inch smaller on a side than the game pieces. This makes the map somewhat hard to read during
play and when many counters are close together the map feels crowded as well. Further all the
charts, placeholders for the cards, reinforcement and other unit status boxes are on the south side
of the map. It would have been better had the north side been setup for the Allies and south side
been similarly setup for the Axis (or vice versa).
The rulebook is well written, easy to understand and a mere 12 pages, including reinforcement
schedules. Anyone who has played hex-based war games before could read the rules once and
go straight to playing. One minor issue; both side receive extensive reinforcement during the
game, two reinforcement charts separate from the rulebook would have been nice.
Sequence of Play
A. Initiative Determination Phase: Players roll to see who moves first
B. First Player Resource and Reinforcement Phase: The player receives three Resource
points, with which he may refit units, build fortifications or draw op cards. Player also
receives reinforcements.
C. First Player Activation Phase:
1. Supply Segment: Checks supply status of units and roll for supply points.
2. Movement Segment: Player may move any eligible units, including reinforcements.
3. Combat Segment: Conduct attacks as restricted by the supply rules.
4. Marker and Card Segment: Remove enemy interdiction markers and discard
unwanted cards.
D. Second Players Resource and Reinforcement Phase.
E. Second Players Activation Phase is the same as the first players.
F. End of Turn: Reshuffle Op Card deck and go on to next turn, or determine victory.

The Game System


The old saw is that Amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics. Of course the reverse
is true in board games, few worry about logistics and the games are usually all about the strategy
and tactics. Blood and Sand has found a way to make the logistics important without bogging
down the games action. The game uses a system of supply zones and supply points along with
die rolls to determine available supplies. Also by placing the supply segment at the start of the
players activation phase and restricting movement and combat to available points, the game

designer has forced the players to deal with the logistical situation in a realistic way, without a
load of detailed book keeping.
The Dark Victory system does not use die rolls indexed on a Combat Results Table (CRT) to
resolve combat. Instead the player, depending on the type of units involved in the combat, roll a
certain number of die to determine the outcome. The terrain modifies the combat by removing
some number of dice from the attacker. While it sounds slightly cumbersome, it is not, and is, in
fact, far easier than cross referencing a CRT chart with multiple modifiers.
Bottom Line
The card play and the supply rules added to the bucket of dice combat resolution scheme gives
the player a game that is, in the best way, both new and familiar at the same time. Blood and
Sand is a good game to introduce a newcomer to the world of board war gaming, but would still
hold the interest of an experienced player.
Armchair General Score: 90%
Solitaire Rating (1 is low, 5 is high): 4