Sunday, February 15, 2015

SPI Jerusalem '67

Mark's recent interest in the Six Day War had me looking through my board game collection and I found this gem. It is my original copy of The Battle for Jerusalem 1967 from 1977. So after many years in the back of my collection I am looking at giving it another try.

For those not familiar with SPI they were the other guys in the early days of the wargaming industry. Back when there were two, SPI and the larger competitor, Avalon Hill. While Avalon Hill sold their games as "book case" editions, SPI games were sold either as "flats" or in their house magazine Strategy & Tactics.

This game was designed by Mark Herman (now of  Shenandoah Studio fame) and game developer James Dunnigan. These were two of the great for the industry and I have played and still play many of their games.

This is a battle with unit counters being battalions and brigades using the early version of combat generation were a unit is either destroyed or forced to retreat, common in the 70s and 80s. In all a fun playable game.

Now  Jerusalem '67 does have its faults but in general I find it the best game on the subject, that is the conquest of the West Bank in the Six Day War. While there are other games out there I prefer the abstract detail in a game released less than 10 years after the war. In 1977 research dealing with the Middle East is both difficult and costly. Primary sources in English were non-existent.  The secrecy after the Yom Kippur War made military research tough. So there are problems with the units. Not all Shermans were alike in this war and the Jordanians seem to be missing their Chieftains and have Pattons instead. Does this make much of a difference, I do not think so, at least at this scale.

What I find distressing is the fact that the map does not cover much south of Jerusalem. While this does not effect the game or the victory conditions it has me looking to expand the map south for some interesting historical "what ifs".

I look forward to playing this and I am sure it can be used as a generator for Fistfull of TOWs or similar mico armor games.


  1. SDI's game "Jerusalem!" is a good game of the 1948 struggle for the city that saw Israel lose the old city to the Arab Legion. It has some interesting mechanics and has always been a favorite. I never played SPI's "Jerusalem '67" but it sounds interesting. I did play a bit of SPI's "Sinai".

  2. David, if you mean the SDC Jersulem by John Hill, I have that one as well. One of. The best and most original games. My version is from Mayfair. I love the puzzle map.