There are several main protaganists, the UK, the US, the Free French, the Vichy French, the Italians, the Germans, Spain and the Turks. It seems the campaign starts after the German invasion of Crete.
The land possessions at the start of the game are;
- Germany: Greece, Macedonia and Crete.
- Italy: Italy and Libya.
- Vichy France: Algeria and Morocco.
- Free France: Syria and Lebanon.
- UK: Egypt, Sinai, Saudi Arabia, Malta and Salonika.
- US: Gibraltar and Cairo.
Turkey and Spain were as their name suggests. I take exception to the Free French being in the game. They were not active in the theatre until Operation Torch, and even then in pretty small numbers. The Commonwealth contingent was much larger. The North African campaign could not have gone ahead in 1941 without Australia, it was the only country with troops that weren't tied up. Though that changed with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
It would probably be best to keep the UK as a force, and replace the Free French with Commonwealth or Australia. It was the Australian Imperial Force which liberated Syria and Lebanon from the Vichy French.
I chose to fight as Germany. First thing I noticed was how little culture and research play in the game. Research items are expensive and take a long time get. Germany also had the issue with Operation Barbarossa imposing upkeep penalties on maintaining forces. That was expensive - an extra 50% IIRC. So I was always running out of research money. Once I got a foothold on the African continent I had my most northern Macedonian cities pump out research and wealth.
The units are interesting, even if the tiles don't always match them. Germany gets aviation assets like the Ju87 Stuka, the Ju88 and the Bf109. The UK has the Hurricane and Wellington, while the US has the Tomahawk and B17. They have F16 and Stealth bomber icons though.
The cities have a couple of improvements, but not many. Fortifications lead to Operation Centers which helped lower the administrative cost of a city, bit like the Courthouse does in normal Civ4. There was a broadcast tower and hospital improvements. The important one was the bunker. This mod is very aviation and tank centric. In fact once the advanced combustion research item becomes available the German tanks get better, while the allied aviation assets get better.
The pick in this game is Italy. It start with a large number of cities, and a huge navy. Germany starts with no naval assets, thankfully the Italians took care of the Royal Navy and I didn't have to worry too hard about protecting my transport ships after the initial stages. Italy also moved quickly on the UK and invaded Alexandria.
The Axis targets were Suez, Damascus and Gibraltar - basically the home cities of the UK, Free French and US "nations". The Allies had similar goals with the German, Italian and Vichy cities.
After getting some sea transportation together, I started shuffling tanks across to Egypt. Slowly I started chewing up the British cities. Suez swapped hands back and forth several times as I was unable to secure it from raiding French stacks, but after I managed to move sufficient air-power to Cairo no raiding unit got close without being bombed to ineffectiveness first.
The Vichy French took the US city of Cairo while I was fighting back and forth with the French for Suez. The Italians roamed through Egypt but despite some more attacks they were unable to take any more cities. I started moving the tanks and bombers up into Syria. Damascus fell as did the other cities up to Beirut.
By this stage I had a tonne of tanks and a massive air force. It took time to muster everything to invade Salonika and then Malta. Invading Gibraltar took ages. It was faster to move tanks up the North African coastline than transport them by sea there.
In the end I had twelve bombers hitting Gibraltar daily and managed to put twelve tanks in the next square to the city. The US beat itself to ineffectiveness against my invasion force. The next wave of landing ships dumped the tanks that took the city.
The Italian Navy was now free to roam the Atlantic and apparently Operation Sealion was put back on the table. Who knew.
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