27 - The Pocket at Falaise
At the end of the Gulf War in ’91, cable TV news was full of horrific photos from the “Highway of Death,” the route back to Iraq from Kuwait that seemed, almost literally, to be “paved” with burnt-out vehicles. Those who study WWII remember similar destruction... on the road out of the Falaise Pocket... where 25 German divisions raced for survival, while the Allied armies aimed to turn Hitler’s delayed counterattack on Normandy from failure to war-ending disaster. In one sense, neither side succeeded. But the devastation was something unprecedented.
Now, you have a chance to do better. The Pocket at Falaise puts each player in the difficult position of trying to overcome the obstacles, both human and mechanical, tactical and operational, that interfered with success in 1944. Award-winning designer Ted Raicer explains:
"The story of the Falaise battle is that of two German armies trying to escape a trap set for them by their own high command, and of the Allied armies trying to close the trap, despite the hesitations and divisions of their own higher commanders."
While we may think of the Allies as having overwhelming forces, at the actual point of contact, there were relatively weak units trying to “plug the leak” against overwhelming numbers of intensely motivated Germans. The situation means that the “retreating” Germans are actually forced to do a lot of attacking, while the “advancing” allies found themselves in a desperate defense.
The Pocket at Falaise uses a chit-pull activation system to capture some of the chaotic and uncoordinated efforts. Players are forced to juggle to make the best out of an increasingly difficult situation, and a combat scale that straddles “tactical” and “operational,” aiming to capture the best of both without adding a lot of fiddly rules. A complete set of solitaire rules for the game completes the package.
Eisenhower called it, “The Great Killing Ground.” What the Germans called it cannot be printed. What you will call it depends on how well you do... Against the Odds.
The Pocket at Falaise and issue #27 of ATO
Map - One full color 22" x 34" hex mapsheet
Counters - 198 full color 9/16" die-cut pieces
Rules length - 10 pages
Charts and tables - 2 pages
Complexity - Medium
Playing time - Up to 4 hours
How challenging is it solitaire? - Good
Design - Ted Raicer
Development - Lembit Tohver
Graphic Design - Craig Grando
Like the topic, designer, or types of challenges in this game?
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See The Pocket at Falaise game map.
Click here to view the contents spread below (in PDF format) for this issue of Against the Odds Magazine!
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Free download here.
Download the rulebook for The Pocket at Falaise (in PDF format).
Download a fast setup play-aid for The Pocket at Falaise (in PDF format).
Read more about this game on Consimworld.
Read more about this game on BGG.
And, the publisher of this game recommends the books below if you would like to learn even more about this battle: