Calvin’s Commentaries: El Alamein

A few weeks back I reviewed Barbarossa, a deck builder based on the Second World War battles between the Russians and Germans.

El Alamein is essentially the sister game to Barbarossa.

Historically the battles of El Alamein were pivotal ones.

“The First Battle of El Alamein (1–27 July 1942) was a battle of the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War, fought in Egypt between Axis forces (Germany and Italy) of the Panzer Army Africa (Panzerarmee Afrika, which included the Afrika Korps under Field Marshal (Generalfeldmarschall) Erwin Rommel) and Allied (British Imperial and Commonwealth) forces (Britain, British India, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand) of the Eighth Army (General Claude Auchinleck),” details Wikipedia.

The second battle was in October. Losses in second battle: Axis, 9,000 dead, 15,000 wounded, and 30,000 captured of 110,000 troops; Allied, 4,800 dead, 9,000 wounded of 195,000 troops.

So this game is ripped from a rather significant juncture of the war.

Like Barbarossa, El Alamein is available in two editions, a somewhat irreverent anime good girl art version that some may find off-putting although it is not x-rated, and a much more intriguing version using historical black and white photos.

The Alternate Art Stock Photo Editions was limited to 2,000 copies, for both this and Barbarossa and are the versions which are easily recommended.

“El Alamein takes the established rules of Barbarossa and expands them to include new game mechanics such as the British Counterattack; Right after taking a city when you think it’s safe to rest, beware! The British may launch a counterattack against you,” notes the Kickstarter for the game.

Like Barbaross, El Alamein is a deck building card game for 2-5 players (loosely) based on the battles of the German Afrika Korps during World War II.

“While it is an extension of the game Barbarossa and picks up where Barbarossa left off, El Alamein is a stand-alone game,” noted the Kickstarter. “Each player takes on the role of one of General Rommel’s subordinates and will start with very basic cards representing the main forces you command. During the game, players will add reinforcements to their initial 8-card decks, fight battles, and attempt to complete military objectives such as defeating enemies and capturing cities.”

There are enough differences that El Alamein stands alone, although a bit of tweaking – explained in the rules – the two games can cross over into each other, or at least some of the cards and mechanics.

Solid, and depending on personal preference may be a tad better than its sister, or not – our group was pretty much split on that one.

Check it out at

Thanks to fellow gamers Trevor Lyons and Adam Daniels for their help in running through this game for review.

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