I’m starting 2017 off a bit differently–skipping the usual monthly wrap-up (Hodgepodge) for last month and finally doing a post on this long forgotten and hard-to-find war game. Yaquinto Publications was a short lived (1979-1983) but prolific war game manufacturer that produced a popular series of Album Games which came in a case that looked similar to a thick cardboard record album cover. Some of the popular titles in this series were Fast Attack Boats, Ironclads, and Swashbuckler. The French Foreign Legion was an album game they published in 1982. It’s subtitle is “A Game of Desperate Fighting in a Desert Fort”.
The concept is simple enough: a fold out 12″ X 24″ map board featuring the desert fort (with a square grid overlay instead of hexagons), cardboard counters for Legionnaires, Bedouins, weapons and various game event and status markers, a 14 page rule book and a quick reference two-sided Game Card (2 copies). It calls for two players (maybe a third who can play a faction of the Bedouins or renegade Legion deserters) and is rated at “Level two” difficulty. The basic rules are provided in the first seven pages of the rule book, optional rules are covered in the next four pages followed by two pages of scenarios. The optional rules cover the use of dynamite, tunnels, cannon and machine-gun (for the Legion), wounds, morale, night fighting, mounted Arabs, Le Cafard!, and open/closed doors and windows. The back page of the rules booklet is a character unit sheet that one should make several copies of–you use this sheet to keep track of the KIA and WIA. The game is turn based with each player utilizing all of their men associated with a Legion squad/ Arab tribe that is randomly selected first for movement & melee and again for the fire phase.
The counters depict 33 Legionnaires (three squads and leaders) and 52 enemy (in six squads with leaders who all seem to be a desert dwelling United Nations force composed of Arab, Berber, Kayble, Riff, Tuareg and Bedouin “tribes”. Kind of odd but in this game you just play along with the historical inaccuracies since this is a la Hollywood.)
The map depicts a four-level desert fort (ground level, 1st level, 2nd level parapets, and 3rd level towers). It’s not the prettiest map but it’s stairwells, doors and windows appear functional. Along the margins of the map are interior layouts for fighting inside the buildings and towers. Imaginative gamers will salivate at the idea of creating 3D desert fort to use with painted miniatures like this game shown at the bottom of the page.
Alas, I was not able to play this game over the holidays as planned. This year our dining table was taken over by Cards Against Humanity and Machi Koro. I mentioned these two reviews in a previous post on this blog but here they are again (Review 1, Review 2). Both indicate this game is enjoyable and highly playable. I might try running this game solo and then try to get my kids and their friends to play some other time. Ideally I would love to convert this to a set of miniature rules and try my hand at building another desert fort.
Here are the rules…