At the beginning of April 1941, General Kurt Student of the XI Fliegerkorps considered the possibility of employing not only one regiment but the whole of the existing German airborne units, in an operation greater than any so far provided by the Luftwaffe. Within the framework of Operation Marita, he suggested taking the island of Crete by airborne attack.
It's this daring attack- and the defence by the exhausted allied troops- that's covered by CCS's new hex-based wargame, Crete 1941. Designed for one or two players, Crete 1941 allows you to take either side, with the addition of many useful menu options to give a variety of 'what if' scenarios.
For example, after the German troops had landed, their essential supply convoy was destroyed by allied ships. A menu option allows the convoy to arrive or sail under 'variable' survival, which is a random affair giving a 50-50 chance of survival.
In addition, you can enable/disable wind drift during para drops which, when enabled, gives a good chance of German troops missing their drop point or drowning in the sea. You can also alter initial deployment. Movement, across the map (that covers many screens) is hidden and visibility is restricted during night moves.
Among the many orders available are the following: Road, a time-saving order instructing a unit to move via the road only; Transport, for German convoys; Evac -evacuation - which affects victory conditions of Allied players; and Status, divided up into name, order, strength, movement points, cohesion (how well organised the unit is), morale and tactics (training/experience of the troops).
The graphics are usable, with relatively clear counter type units and terrain symbols. One slight gripe is that it would've been nice to have had the option of a strategic map that shrank the large tactical map into one screen, giving the player a more general viewpoint of the battle.
A more serious criticism lies with the combat. An attacking unit has no choice but to attack all adjacent ones, a silly rule, especially as some of the adjacent units may lie in vastly different terrain (mountainous, flat, etc).
I would've liked to have seen selective attacks made possible. As it is, the tactical battles are more of a lottery, while unit movement is akin to playing draughts rather than commanding military units. This combat irregularity spoiled an otherwise enjoyable wargame.
A good game, only marred by it simplistic strategies.
Heraklion harbour in Crete 1941 (better keep an eye out for Minotaurs, eh myth lovers?)