Clash of Lions, Battle of Jiradi Pass: 6th June, 1967




This review has been ongoing for a few months now. Different things keep jumping up and say "hey work on me now", so without any further excuses, on to this review.

the cover
Title:  Clash of Lions, Battle of Jiradi Pass: 6th June, 1967
Price:  $7.95 plus shipping
Designer:  Paul Rohrbaugh
Graphics Designer:  Bruce Yearian
Publisher:  High Flying Dice Games
Published Date:  2011

Subject:  The battle of Jiradi Pass at the beginning of the 6th Day War between Egypt and Israel on 6th June 1967 fought in the Sinai Desert between the remnants of the Egyptian 7th Infantry Division and Israel's Tal Armored Division.

Scale:  Each hex is 500 meters across with each unit representing either a company (Egyptian) or a platoon (Israeli).  Armor units are company in size (both sides).  Note that since the game is on the 3rd battle for the Pass, most of the Egyptians were possible at platoon size due to the attrition from the previous Israeli attacks. I would consider this to be tactical, maybe grand-tactical in scope.

Game Area:  The game map represents the desert terrain of the Jiradi Pass.

Player Supplied Components: The only thing a player needs to supply is 2 dice, one for each player.  That's it. Unlike many of High Flying Dice Games, no cards are used for activating units for movement or combat. It took me a few tries to get use to this, as I like the card activation.

Components and Physical Quality:  Graphics are "old school", however, I like old school. It sure beats this avant garde, new way of using the NATO symbols a lot of game graphic designers are doing these days. Easier to see for one thing.  And for that reason, this game to me from the graphics, to the game map, to the player's aid, and to the counters are top notch.

Everything is printed on stiff 11"x17" paper with the counters and player's aid on one side and the "8.5" x 11") game map on the other. 56 total counters that need to be mounted, cut out and the game map to be separate from the counters. You can leave the player's aid attached or cut it from the game map, your choice (I left mine attached).  And of course if you prefer, when you purchase the game, you can have HFDG mount your counters for a small charge.    

Counters: As mentioned before, I like the way Bruce used tank silhouettes for the armor and NATO symbols for the others - Infantry, Heavy Weapons, AT guns, and Artillery. 

The colors used for the counters are very good with light green for the Egyptians and medium blue for the Israelis.  Each counter except for the Egyptian Artillery (1) and the Israeli Aircraft (3) markers have their unit number on the upper right side of their symbols with an attack factor (aka the "fire combat factor"), range, and movement allowance.  What's nice is the range factor is outline in white.

There are 17 Egyptian units and 19 Israeli units for play. Four infantry units of the 19 Israeli counters are for the "what if" scenario. One game turn counter and 19 "Disrupted" counters are also provided. All of the counters are single sided and .5" square in size.

Game Map: Small at 8.5" x 11", it is compact, but highly functional.  Terrain is composed of sand, level 2 elevations, entrenchments (only Egyptians can use), crest hex-sides and roads.

Each different type of  terrain affects movement, fire combat, close assault combat, and sight if using the advance rules.  

Complexity (1 to 10):  "1-3" introductory rated, but normal for High Flying Dice Games, complexity can be added via the optional advance rules.  These optional rules can also be used to "even out" between the players different abilities. Very nice.

Gamer Versions/Scenarios: Clash of Lions has two scenarios - the historical battle and a "what if" that adds more Israeli units, a different victory point/win and boosting the complexity level up to a "3". 

Setup Time: With such a low density of counters, about 5 mins. Grabbing a beer out of the fridge would take longer.

Playing Time: 30 mins to 60 mins for basic game. With advance rules, add 30 mins. And with the "what if" scenario add about 30 mins to 1 hour. 

Solitaire Playability (Scale 1 to 10):  8. Due to the low amount of counters involve in the game,  no special rules are needed,  just common sense. I also tend to use the Egyptians as the non-player as they don't really need to move (everything was well dug in, including the IS-3M (JS-3M's.).

Rules: 3 freaking pages!  That's right, just 3, not counting the cover. Actually it is 2.5 pages, but hey, who is counting! Well written. Everything is there, maybe not in a crazy bunny order, but they are there... 

Yes, we do have addenda...
just copy to your desktop as this is a .png



Note: Though this is very moot, but to keep history correct the Israeli armor counters should be labled as M-48s, instead of M-60's as
IS-3M captured during Six Day War.
 there were no M-60's used by Israel in the Six Day War.  All, but one company of M-48's, were armed with a 90mm gun. This company was armed with the British 105mm and had a better chance (though not great) at damaging the flank or rear of the IS-3M but not the front (122mm of armor).  For more information, please click on the photo to the right. It will take you to an excellent article written by a tanker, Major Warford, US Army, retired.

Description of Play (a.k.a 4.0 Sequence of Play): There are 10 turns to the game. Each turn is composed of the following- 
  • Random Event Determination (see 4.1) - Both players roll 1D6 and add the numbers together to get the random event (see 9.0) number.  This is where UAR Artillery and Israeli Air Support comes into play (sorry, bad pun).
  • Initiative Determination (see 4.2) - Both players roll 1D6 and add their morale number (see 6.0) to each roll. The player with the highest total wins the initiative and performs the first set of operations for the turn. (Note: On the 1st game turn, the Israeli player gets the initiative).
  • Operations Phase (see 4.3) - Players move and fight their units by performing alternating sets of "impulses".  
    • The player with the initiative rolls 1D6 and that is the number of units that can either move (see 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3) and perform "Close Assault Combat" (CAC) (see 7.2, 7.3, 7.4) since CAC is part of movement or  perform "Fire Combat" (see 7.0, 7.1, 7.3, 7.4) for the first impulse.  
    • After the player has moved or attacked, then the second player rolls 1D6 and performs the same as above. If any player has any remaining units that have not moved or fired, the first player rolls 1D6 for the second impulse or next set of units to move or fire, etc. 
    • The Operations Phase ends when both players have moved or fired their units or both pass.   
    • To recap, a unit can either move or fire, not both unless it is performing a CAC as part of it's movement. 
  • End Phase (see 4.4) - Following the conclusion of the Operations Phase, 
    • all units with a "Disrupted Marker" can attempt to "Rally" to recover to normal status (see 8.0). 
    • If this is not the last turn of the game, advance the Game Turn marker one space and repeat Random Event Determination (see 4.1).
    • If it is the last turn of the game, players calculate the number of Victory Points they have earned to determine who has won the game (see 10.0, 10.1).
Other Parts of the Rules: There are Zones of Control (see 5.2) and stacking (see 5.3) is allowed.  Morale (see 6.0) plays a huge part in the game.  Units can become "Disrupted" (see 7.3) due to combat (highly important). Units can retreat (see 7.4) and don't forget about rally (8.0).

Combat (see 7.0, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 12.1, 12.2): There are two types of combat, Fire Combat and Close Assault Combat that occurs during movement.
  • Fire Combat (FC) (see 7.1 & 12.1): 
    • If a unit is undistrupted, it may fire upon an enemy combat unit when activated. 
    • Fire Combat can only be used by units that do not move. 
    • Enemy units must be within range and have a clear "line of sight" (LOS). 
    • The attacking player rolls 1D6 and modifies the roll for each of the following:
      • +1 modifier if defending unit is on higher elevation.
      • +1 if defending unit is behind a crest hex side.
      • +1 if defending unit is in an entrenchment hex (Egyptian Only).
      • -1 if defending unit is in an adjacent hex.
      • If using optional rule 12.1: +1 if Israeli unit moved and fired (this optional rule supersedes 7.1).
      • If using optional rule 12.2: -1 if firing unit qualifies for a flank shot. 
    • If the modified DR is less than or equal ( < ) to the Attacking units Fire Combat Factor, the defending unit (target) is hit. A non-disrupted unit (i.e. normal status) becomes "Disrupted" and receives a Disruption marker.  A disrupted unit must make a Morale check (see 6.3. See I said that is important  :P  ).
  • Close Assault Combat (CAC)(see 7.2, 7.4): 
    • Friendly undisrupted units may enter an enemy-occupied to engage in Close Assault Combat. 
    • Since this is part of movement, CAC can only be initiated by units that have not engaged in fire combat, earlier in the turn. 
    • Disrupted units may defend in CAC, but at a disadvantage. 
    • To resolve CAC, both players total the combat factor of their units in the hex and each roll 1D6 (note - Egyptian AT have a combat factor of 1 during CAC):
      • The attacker modifies the DR for each of the following: 
        • +1 if ALL of the attackers morale level is higher than the defenders.
        • -1 if any of the attackers morale level is lower than the defender's.
        • -1 if the attacking units moved from a level 1 hex to a level 2 (i.e. attacked uphill).
      • The defender modifies their DR for each of the following:
        • +1 if the defender's units morale level are higher than the attackers.
        • -1 if any of the defender's morale level is lower than the attacker's.
        • +1 if the defender is occupying an entrenchment hex.
    • The player with the highest total wins and
      • the losing side's units are retreated 1 hex (see 7.4) 
      • and once a CAC is resolved, those activated units used for this are finished for the turn.
Whew, that's it for combat! 

Play-Balance: This is a tricky question. Is the game a walk over for the Israeli's or not. In the actual battle, the training, knowledge of the land, knowing one's equipment, and one's belief in what one is doing, allowed the Israelis an edge to win a battle against a foe who had modern equipment, dug in and fortified, but poorly lead.  The game is close. It is not an easy walk over for Israel and a victory can be so easily snatched away.  When a game is like this, I would say that the play balance is spot on. 

Bonus 1: For some real nail biting fun (or for solo play), use the following "?" counters to place on top of the Egyptian units to hide what they are from the Israeli player. After firing, remove the "?" counter.

In the actual battle, the Egyptians were so well dug in that the Israeli's did not know what they were facing until the Egyptians fired.  Of course this will up the complexity a bit.  

These counters are 1/2"x1/2" in size just like the game counters.  Free to use.

Note - you can use the counters for other games for solo play, that's why there are 54 of the critters.< br />
Bonus 2:  To keep track of units either moving or firing, turn them 1/4 of a turn or you can use the "Clash of Lions Movement Markers" I made up for my use.  1/2" square just like the game.  Place one on top of a unit or stack of units that have moved or fired.  Remove them at the end of the current turn.

Summary:  Highly recommended. Great for a fast playing game. I like this game. It isn't perfect, no game is, but it is very, very, good. It has a small game map, low amount of counters, sensible short rules. Graphics are in a style I like.

One will have to pay attention and not play haphazardly as the Israeli. The use of die rolls to see who and how many units can activate is different (for me) from using cards for activation and it did take me a few turns to get use to this new fangled approach to gaming (lol, just joking). The "what if" scenario adds more infantry to the Israeli side to show what would have happened if Israel had delayed their attack to wait for the  infantry.  Optional rules are common sense that can add to the game, while not increasing the time for play and the added complexity is just a little bit more. These optional rules are also good to handicap a veteran player against a less experience player.

Well, that's about it. Grab the game, it is a keeper! For such a small game I find  it is fun, heart stopping and made me think - I had to plan before the game started. As mentioned before, the game is not a snoozer and one has to pay attention to their game play. Otherwise, unlike Israel, you may lose this important battle to open up a supply line and the northern road, which in all likelihood, may lose the whole war.  Yes, that is how important this one battle was.

-ab out

This blog is considered to be a living blog. Changes will be made to it as needed to clarify, correct errors or update with new information.

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