1940 Battle of Moyale, Kenya

1940 Battle of Moyale, Kenya

Set up: quick
Game time: quick
Solo play: very suitable

Historical Background:
In late June 1940, Italian forces based in the south of Ethiopia launched an offensive against British troops in Kenya. On 15 July, colonial troops of General Gustavo Pesenti attacked the border city of Moyale defended by a Rhodesian garrison of 1st King’s African Rifles. After a fierce battle, British troops, overwhelmed by the enemy, evacuated Fort Harrington and let Moyale in Italian hands.
Axis 6, move first. Allies 5 cards.
Conditions of Victory:
6 medals
Special Rules:
British Commonwealth Forces Command (Nations 5)
Royal Italian Army (Nations 6).
Special Weapon Asset rules (SWAs 1) for Allied units with Mortar (SWAs 3) and Machine-guns (SWAs 8).
Scenario link

Set up time 11 minutes, playing time 51 minutes.

Another quick and easy game, and something a bit different from the Mediterranean. We don’t see or hear a lot about the East African campaign, so really happy to try this scenario. I have Italian figures but not Rhodesians, so used Aussies instead!
The Allies basically had to sit and wait for the Italian advance, which was rapid and initially successful; Behind Enemy Lines and Barrage were particularly effective. But then they started to lose momentum and their tank unit was destroyed.
The Italians also suffered from bad cards. With most of the action happening in the centre, most of their cards were for the left flank, which the Allies had retreated from (see second photo, below). The Allies did have the cards they needed and kept taking medals in the centre.
At 5-5, this exciting game could have gone either way. Then the Allies drew Behind Enemy Lines and that was the decisive move.
Another great little scenario from jdrommel, but I have to say that (unlike the real battle) it is really difficult for the Italians to win – they have to eliminate 6 out of 8 Rhodesian units, 4 of which are in field bunkers. The Italian artillery is too far back and needs to move 3 or 4 times to get within good range of the bunkers.
But it was exciting and definitely one to recommend, especially for solo play.


With everything in the middle, the Italians don’t have the best cards - they have lost their tank unit, but the Artillery Bombard did some limited damage. The 4 remaining Allied units are in field bunkers (red circle):

The final blow was Behind Enemy Lines; the unit in the field bunker would attack the weakend Axis unit in the woodland:

But they only just succeeded!

Discussion - how useful is Medics and Mechanics?
Very often, Medics and Mechanics is one of those annoying cards (like Dig-in) that you don’t really want, especially if you are focussing on attacking the enemy.
But sometimes it can prove useful even when you are advancing.
Here, an Italian unit is caught in the open and loses 3 figures in crossfire from two Allied units in the towns. Do I sacrifice them, or us M&M?!

Two figures and a star - back to full strength!

I had not read the card properly previously, and it was only in this scenario that I noticed the final sentence - the renewed unit can fight immediately! Which it did, and had 2 hits on the Allies in the town (and eliminated it in the next move).
The question is, how realistic is that? A very depleted unit completely reinforced in the middle of a battlefield, and then able to immediatley attack and destroy the enemy…


M&M is a great card because it can lead to an interesting turn of fortunes. The dice favor a recovery of at least a couple of troops, which means there will be some kind of counter-attack in more cases than not.
I’ve been using the STUKA Joe solo rules recently and to some extent the system forces you to be less conservative with some of the powerful cards. I therefore tend to use it quite a lot.


I found your comment on this scenario being particularly suitable for solo, play interesting, and wonder if you might elaborate further what differentiates this from other scenarios that might be less suitable for solo play. :thinking:

is there a scenario in East Africa with the Nigerians? I have bought some Italian toy soldier, model kits (call me a sprue imp now.) i’m planning to go with the more basic coloring scheme for these and the French. I don’t really have a solution for all these commonwealth, soldiers, and frankly, I’m not sure properly painted up I could tell the difference between some of them, though I think the Indians might possibly stand out. If a whole scenario, let’s say like for Tobruk is all Australians well then I’ve just used the British troops. I definitely plan on sharing some colors like China and France will both be kind of a blue. But I’ve not wrapped my head around doing that for the commonwealth forces. i’ve got a bunch of surplus badges and I suppose I could just kind of make things like a rhodesian badge. or would mixing in one of what will be by seven colors be a good choice? I seriously doubt I’m going to find a Nigerian toy soldier Kit, so perhaps, for many of these custom badges are the right choice. some shiny badges I made:

I am toying with these rather basic stands which really aren’t that expensive (4 for one euro). of course, none of the badges in the game have the same image on each side so knowing me, I’ll probably print and play a bunch of backsides or maybe it’ll be front since the beveled edges are a little bit easier to work with.

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I’ll give my answer to your first question first and come back to Commonwealth figures at a later time. And it is a good question…

I think the most important thing with solo play is for the scenario to be relatively straightforward. By that I mean, firstly, not too much terrain and not too many units – if it takes too long for one person to set up (and put away!) then it will be off-putting; secondly, not too many complex rules – it is really easy to overlook them (a couple of times I completely forgot to throw the dice for Night Rules); thirdly, relatively quick to play – it can be quite mentally tiring playing solo, so if it goes on too long you can get frustrated.

Having said all that, I guess that the more experienced you are at playing MM44 then the easier it is to play solo – you remember the rules and tactics. After a long period of not playing at all, I found solo very slow at first and a bit frustrating, but after a few games I was back up to speed.

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I was intrigued by your question about Nigerians. I know that many Commonwealth/Empire forces joined in with the war effort, and for Nigeria it was actually a real concern (rather than a duty to Empire) because the Italians had pushed so far south into Africa. So, I have spent an interesting hour roaming around Wikipedia…

Nigerian troops were part of the 2nd (African) Division in 1940, which later became the 11th and 12th African Divisions. Nigerians formed the 1st (West Africa) Brigade of the 11th, with the 12th being Ghanaian (Gold Coast).

The Nigerians took part in the Battle of Gondar in November 1941. This is seen in the scenario Gondar (Last Stand in East Africa), although it refers to the 12th Division being involved (Wiki is a bit unclear on all of this…).

British officers reported being impressed with the capabilities of the Nigerian soldiers, of which their participation in the capture of Mogadishu and the rapid advance towards Degehabur can be highlighted. Unfortunately I cannot see a scenario for either.

Then things changes, with the 81st Division (formed from West African brigades) and the 82nd (West African) Division sent to fight in Burma, specifically the third Arakan campaign. Again the Nigerians are reported as excelling in their role. There are a few scenarios from Arakan, but none mention West African units. The largest engagement of the campaign fought by Nigerian forces was the Battle of Myohaung, but I cannot find any scenarios for this crucial battle. Sadly, despite praise from their British officers, it seems that the Nigerians were not given the credit they deserved when they went home to Africa. This is maybe reflected in the lack of scenarios specifically mentioning them – they were there in the action, but we have not remembered it appropriately.

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Good answer and I’ll add that perhaps picking scenarios where the odds for each side are more 50/50 might be another good starting point.

As someone new to the game my plays have been mainly two-handed solo, but with all the big scenarios from Overlord up to triple overthrough. I did however print and play versions of all the reference cards and I was looking for some longer games which many new to the game are not. I saw it as a stress test of my organization system as well. Tripleoverthrough took at least 45 minutes to setup alone, but since I was taking the role of six different players I figured well I was getting six games worth of experience. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Nobody normal is going to do that, but I can recommend for those looking to learn or brush up the very soon to be defunct memoir 44 steam solo play on the app which does not mess up any rules. I thought it very good training and a very fast way to play and you just pick a side with a lower chance of winning to adjust difficulty. You can’t buy it anymore and it is dead I believe around April 23, 2023 (being removed from steam and no solo bots on the Board Game Arena implementation.) What I did not like about it as an intro is it is pretty easy to get divorced from the theme of the scenarios:

  1. I never read the intros
  2. Setting up while readying the intro allows you to digest it and get the lay of the land.
  3. No army men or miniatures. The game is pretty bland without it.

So if you know what you’re getting into its not a bad way to go plus my table had another hog on it, so it allowed me to play when I wasn’t wanting to tear down the game in place and just wanted a refresher plus some “competitive” play.

I generally don’t like getting in over my head, but with all the cards it worked surprisingly well. (And it has to be said just dealing the cards and getting them on both sides of the table with my two sets takes a lot of time so when I’m more experienced I’ll definitely just put out the ones I feel are needed.) If just playing a regular size scenario one set of reference cards is more than enough, but with the bigger maps I definitely liked two of everything so I didn’t have to move around the table even more.

I have to say as a novice with a lot of the toys available I’m actually looking for the more diverse scenarios that stretch a collection and in doing so I’m finding quite a few very interesting battles that I’m greatly looking forward to playing. Everyone sez play the official scenarios, but I’m much more likely (for right or for wrong) to try to field something with all the toys and rules in play. I can’t lose playing solo? :upside_down_face:

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You beat me to the research PragueImp! My go to youtube viewing of late has been the World War Two channel which has been in the process of doing a weekly show recapping what happened (80 years ago) trying to give a week by week feel to the war. They are on week 237 of the war and I’m catching up and around episode 165. I think this is where I heard of the Nigerians:

8 minutes in or so, but this was just the start…ah and this is the one haha

Its a great show to get very interesting tidbits and I suppose scenario ideas for those with such aspirations. I’m interested in the tank bling. :heart_eyes: I like how the show has been divided as well with the tandem series called the war against humanity which focuses on the many war crimes and atrocities keeping the above series more compact for those interested in the battles and background.

I just love getting into the details and how they relate to scenarios. Memoir 44’s flexibility and vast number of scenarios make it hard to beat on this front.

I’ve been expanding my miniatures for the game and really need help on that front especially for more infantry like figures. Right now I’ve been on an armor binge with a lot of oversize minis with some cheap light tanks from Axis and Aliies miniatures game and model kits for 1/144 scale minis. There are some very easy, roughly sprayed ones on AliExpress for about a $1 per miniature (and may be assembled quickly without glue). I’m in the midst of a Miniature Tanks Company order and they’ve proven a lot more work. Buying soldiers is much more easier and I have gotten some Italian mountian troops and Russian cossacks for cavalry, also got Siberian rifleman for ski/mountain troops as well which I want to work into some regular scenarios as they have a mythology that is quite thematic. So very interested on your commonwealth forces minis etc. and approaches. I’ve got a ton of the regular Memoir 44 stuff so this is more bling for me.

I’m off to lunch and some more World War Two viewing.

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