Firestorm: Operation Crusader – Draft Rules

Hello All,

Ben here with something I have been working on for a month or so now. One thing about wargaming I have always had an interest in but never really done more than dabbled in is writing rules. From making up new units to campaign rules sets to whole new house rules I have enjoyed coming up with ideas or rules with word of mouth but never anything solid. Well I’m now hoping to get that changed!

Being inspired by the great work Jokull has done with the Greece, Lorraine and Caen Firestorm campaigns (if you have not checked these out I highly recommend having a look) I have decided to have a go at one based on Operation Crusader. I decided on Crusader for a few reasons. The most important reason to me is I have an interest in the EW Desert era which I see as a big important part of the process (I would like it would be quite hard to do a campaign based on a battle you weren’t interested in). Secondly it’s about the first none one sided battle of the war, both sides launched attacks and counter attack which should mean both players get to attack in the campaign instead of one player defending most of the time. The last reason is it links in nicely with the Just Deserts challenge myself and Alex are currently taking part in.

The first step I choose to do was make a draft copy of the map, Jokull was great with advice at this stage and gave me some great tips. The core of the map was easy to work out, the main focus of the campaign was the British trying to break the siege of Tobruk, so that had to be included. The Germans also had a load of strong point defenses on the British right flank and there weren’t main roads so the supply routes were a simple to include. The hardest part was working out the lesser objective points. I’m not 100% sure if I have got them right but I think they mean the focus of the campaign will be the main battlefield areas of the battle.

This is the first draft of the map, I’m sure play testing will change it a bit soon. The Black areas are fortified areas and will give the defender an in game boost. 

The next stage was working out all the units I needed for the Firestorm Troops, for this I found a great order of battle, with this info I was to make these briefings for the Axis and Allied forces. I’m still trying to work out if I have included enough Armoured Units, but on the whole I’m happy with this as a start.

One of the things I really want to do with this campaign over the other Firestorm campaigns is to give it it’s own flavour. With that in mind I’m playing around with a special rule that would allow armoured Firestorm troops to move into an adjacent area to join in an attack or defence. I feel this would help represent the swirling tank battle that I imagine Operation Crusader to be. It will need playtesting but I would love to hear some ideas on the subject.

With the map and units in place it’s now down to play testing and checking historical accuracy. My main concern at the moment is how many turns and games in include in the campaign and I would love some ideas. I can’t decide between a 3 turn or 4 turn campaign. I’m leaning towards 4 turns but I’d again love some input. I see the breakdown of a 4 turn campaign as follows:-

Turn 1 – Allies attack – D3+3 Games – Allies get +2 to initiative and Allies win draws
Turn 2 – Rommels counter attack – D3+3 Games – Germans get +1 to initiative and win draws
Turn 3 – The Struggle for the middle ground – 2D3+3 Games – Allies win draws for initiative
Turn 4 – Link up with Tobruk – D3+2 Games – Allies get +1 to initiative and win draws.

This would mean at most 24 games and at least 16 which I think would be a good amount for the size of the map.

Well thats a rough overview of what I have been planning, I’d love some feedback on either here or on the FOW Forum post I have created on the subject. The next stage for me is to play lots of games using the General’s Wargames rules to see how the campaign flows and to make sure there is enough Firestorm troops   or it’s not a walkover for one side because of the map or victory conditions.

Well thanks for reading and I’d love to hear any and all feedback or ideas.

Thanks Ben

Category: CampaignEarly WarFlames of War


  1. Hi Ben, when you are ready (and if you want the help), drop me an email – chris.townley at and we will get Sean (who has done the graphic design for Jokull's other Firestorms) to lay it all up.


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Article by: Mark Goddard