Strategy amid the shifting sands of the desert in this WWII wargame
Death in the desert is the theme of PSS's Tobruk strategic tank wargame that also includes an arcade sequence. The game can be played either against human or computer opposition in which you play the Germans and their attempt to take Tobruk. At the time of the attack, the allies had only half-finished laying a huge minefield. The line, although incomplete, gave the Germans an imposing barrier that they must either go round or get their engineers to find a way through. On the other side lay their target, six oases that supplied the allied forces.
As with most wargames Tobruk is played in a series of turns in which the opposing armies move their forces and attack the enemy. Positioning a joystick or keyboard controlled cursor, the identity and strengths of a unit can be displayed which includes a measure of its infantry, artillery, armoured vehicle and support strengths and its mobility factor which determines how many squares it can move through in a single turn. Obviously this is affected by terrain and whether the unit is well supplied. All units on both sides need supplies that provide ammo and reinforcements ofterwise they will rapidly weaken. Consequently, Tobruk is as much a battle of support as it is for ground.The Allies gain their support from the six target oases and will retreat as these are taken. The Germans have two mobile supply units that can service any unit within six squares. So if you keep our troops together you stand a better chance but be sure you protect the supply trucks or your game will be lost.
Tobruk differs from most wargames with the addition of a vital command phase. This phase allows you to assign your air support and engineers to six different missions. The air support can be assigned to maintaining air superiority, and support ground attacks. Similarly the engineers can be ordered to recover damaged armoured vehicles for repair, sabotaging enemy tanks and mine clearing. Each mission is represented by a coloured box which changes colour as you and the enemy assign support. Red means the enemy's ahead in that mission, yellow indicates that no-one has got any advantage but green means you're ahead: If you get a green in ground support then you have an airstrike or free attack against any enemy unit. Clear enough and you might catch the allies with a surprise attack.
As with previous PSS Warmaster games, Tobruk also contains an arcade sequence that tests your abilities as a tank commander.
By pushing the joystick you can select between four tank stations in an attempt to blast as many enemy tanks as possible with your alloted ammunition. This system works quite well but it will take some practice before you can swap between the map, machine gun, main turret and driving screens quickly enough to stop your forces taking a beating. Since your perfomance affects the result of all your battles it's best to avoid this arcade sequence until you've had a chance to practice.
Even without the arcade sequence, Tobruk is still one of the best wargames I have ever played and is highly recommended for both gaming rookies and wargaming veterans.
A Monster Hit