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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lebanon '82: Operation Peace for Galilee

It has been a long time since I took a look at a new counter game, so it was time to get back to my roots!  Lebanon '82: Operation Peace for Galilee is one of the Folio Game Series from Decision Games.  This game is along the lines of the many classics from Avalon Hill and GDW.

editor's note: This is likely the last "Somethin' else" posted here.  From now on these game reviews will all appear on

The entire game comes in a folder with a set of Stand Rules for the Folio Series; an Exclusive Rulebook for the specific game purchased; a game board map; counters and even a baggie to store'm.  I skipped it, but I could have been a bit more careful punching the counters -- probably use a hobby knife to make it super clean.

Contents provided in a hard card stock folder.

The rules and unit markers will look familiar to anyone who has played these types of games before.  They are written in a very clear and unexciting manner -- something I like very much!  It is interesting that mobile units basically get to move before or after an attack - not both.  They can even attack after that second movement!  I can see where this would be useful to exploit a breakthrough.

Everything tucked right in and ready for transport.

There are excellent, easy to read diagrams and explanations throughout the short rule book.  A plus here is that the basic system of movement and combat is used for all the games in the Folio series.

Very easy to read diagrams and examples

Very familiar stats on the counters.
The actual scenario involves the invasion of Lebanon by the Israelis, with the PLO and Syrian army defending.  There is an option in the game to play with 3 players with the PLO and Syria divided.  In the basic game, the Israeli player must eliminate all of the enemy forces within the limited turns.  There is even a cool mechanic where the game is shortened due to international pressure based on Israeli casualties, and lengthened (never over the default 30) based on PLO/Syrian casualties.

 I set the game up, and got to work!  Setup was very quick due to the limited units and the very clear instructions.  There were some cosmetic map errors, which were clearly pointed out in the first page of the Exclusive Rule book

The initial setup
I got the Israelis moving, as I realized quickly that the key was going to be to move very quickly and get the enemy surrounded -- easier said that done with the very rough terrain.  I figured that the PLO/Syria would have to play a delaying game, so I headed for choke points and rough terrain.

One thing to note here -- this game is pretty easy to get down to basics with.  Unlike other games I have played, there are no 'Command Point' or 'Supply' mechanics to slow down game play.

Israeli initial advance.
There is another cool mechanic where you add in support tokens to combats.  Each turn, the players get a limited number of support -- air, artillery, rockets, etc.  As the turns go on, less and less support is available to each side.  As one would expect, the Israelis get a ton of support and the PLO/Syria get just a little.  This mechanic adds some pretty in depth strategy to the game, as there are two rounds of placing support -- attacker first, then defender.  I found that the defending player could really make interesting moves here to drain the attacker of support, or unexpectedly support a fight to drive the odds down.

Each element adds to the attack or defense.  Here, the Syrians have really gone in to drain the Israelis.  The +5 plane is redundant, and was not added in tot he combat, as the battle was already +10 -- the highest available.  This attack did cost the Israelis their best support options.
The odds and results are printed right on the map.
Like most games of this type, destruction of units is very difficult. One has to get a very high differential of points and also basically surround a unit to get a chance at destruction.  Units can hold out quite a long time in rough terrain.  I ended up close, but no cigar for the Israelis.  I think with a couple times through, it would be pretty even money.  I am a bit out of practice on these types of games, so I made some mistakes early that cost me.

The Good
- VERY clear rules - I was able to get going in about 20 minutes
- The rules are very familiar to people familiar with this type of game
- Learn these rules and you have learned a whole series of games
- At 19.95 USD the value is very good
- Small number of units and pieces to get started quickly

- Nice options of a 3-player version

The Bad
- This particular scenario is a kind of fighting withdrawal, which may not be that exciting

The Ugly
- The counters were not cut all that well, but this is common on this type of game.  Take your time and it is fine.

Conclusion: 8 or 10 DE results.

Talk about this and other games on our forum!

Review copy provided by Will Stroock

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