Wargame of the Year 2014 Runner-up: Desert Fox16 Dec 2014 0
It’s not overly surprising that Desert Fox didn't generate the excitement that Battle of the Bulge did two years ago. Not only does it take place in a smaller, less exalted theatre of World War II, its slick presentation is something we've now come to expect from Shenandoah Studio’s wargames. It’s a shame, because Desert Fox is a game every bit as cunning as its namesake.
Desert Fox takes a series built around plentiful defensive terrain and lines of supply and drops it into the moonscape sand oceans of Egypt’s Mediterranean coast. Left to scrap over an unforgivingly open landscape with a rag-tag collection of German/Italian or British troops, players end up jealously guarding every point of strength and fretting over where exactly to position their reserves -- and that’s before you face up to the inevitable and chuck those precious troops into a minefield.
Rather than the sensation of wielding vast power that many wargames offer, this is a game of finely balanced desperation, of squeezing every bit of utility out of those scant landmarks and hoping that you can gall your opponent into over-committing to just the wrong part of the map.
Even with its unfamiliar geography and modified campaign rules, Desert Fox still boasts the accessible core mechanics and careful craftsmanship that have made the Crisis in Command games something special. Mastering those ridges and driers and blasting an opponent out of a sodding minefield were among the year’s best gaming highs - don’t pass it up for fear of a little sand.
To see all of the games recognised in the Pocket Tactics Best of 2014 Awards, visit the 2014 Awards Index page.