That Scorpion of the Sea: Malta Besieged is a solitaire game covering the pivotal World War II years of the mid-1940 through 1942 period in the often overlooked Battle for the Mediterranean. You are placed in the role of the Commonwealth Commander in the theatre, and must utilize every resource at your disposal to fend off unrelenting Axis attacks in order to ensure the survival of the island of Malta.
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Available on: 20/08/2014
Built upon the same States of Siege engine as the designer's previous 2010 Charles S. Roberts award-winning release (We Must Tell the Emperor), Malta Besieged features both familiar and innovative game play. Supply was the key element in the Mediterranean Campaign, and so it is here as well. Players will have to safely shepherd vulnerable convoys - and their valuable cargoes - in order to effectively wage war. With the ability to trade Supply for extra Actions at the most crucial moments, this places an additional emphasis on that precious resource and also creates extremely tense convoy battles which will resolve as the game progresses.
ULTRA is a crucial asset in the game, but beware of Axis counterintelligence! Spitfires can rule the skies, Gibraltar can block U-Boat advances, Operation Herkules is a constant threat, and Admiral Cunningham himself can intervene on occasion.
North Africa is not treated as a mere sideshow; indeed, the struggle with Rommel, the "Desert Fox", holds the ultimate key to victory... if Malta can hold out against the constant pressure. If a fortified Tobruk manages to stubbornly delay the vaunted Afrika Korps long enough, then General Montgomery and his battle-tested 8th Army can possibly make a final dash from El Alamein to capture Tripoli and secure a glorious triumph.
Raiding Axis supply lines to weaken Rommel's Situation, scrambling Hurricanes to provide Air Support for inbound shipping, attacking the Italians early before the dreaded Luftwaffe arrives, requesting British Fleet escort for your individually named convoys, and maintaining the morale of a battered Malta are just some of the important decisions to be made throughout the game. Numerous theatre-wide events such as The Fall of France, O'Connor's desert offensive, the daring raid on the Italian Fleet at Taranto, the Air Assault on Crete, the evacuation from Greece, the sinking of the aircraft carrier Ark Royal, and the Torch landings are all abstracted via card play, and can have a significant impact on the overall conduct of the war.
With That Scorpion of the Sea: Malta Besieged, it's all here - the only question is will you have the wisdom, leadership, fortitude, and luck to prevail? Play this game and find out!
Complexity: 4 on a 9 scale
Solitaire Suitability: 9 on a 9 scale
Game Length: 75 minutes
Scale: Each unit is one Axis Front, each turn is a variable number of days or weeks.