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The Dark Sands takes the game system from Ted S. Raicer's sold-out and critically acclaimed The Dark Valley: The East Front Campaign to the legendary battles of North Africa in WWII. From the most successful British armoured operation of the war, Operation Compass, to the climactic battle two years later at El Alamein, The Dark Sands breaks new ground in portraying the campaigns of the British 8th Army and Rommel's Afrika Korps.
The Dark Sands comes with two large-hex maps, which are subdivided into three map sections: West (El Aghelia to Derna), Center (Tmimi to Sidi Barrani) and East (Matruh to Alamein). The West and East maps are scaled at 9 miles to the hex (which is pretty standard for games on this subject) but the Center Map is scaled at 4.5 miles to the hex . This allows the area where most of the campaigning took place to be treated in much greater detail: the Gazala line, only 4 or 5 hexes in most games, is twice that in The Dark Sands. But the different maps and scales are handled simply, through different terrain costs and limits on units in combat, without the need for complicated rules. The time scale is one to two months per turn. The campaign game is 17 turns long, but there are four short scenarios (Compass, Rommel Arrives, Crusader, and Gazala) that can also be used as starting points for a shorter campaign.
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