Across Suez is a board game simulating operational level ground combat between Egypt and Israel at the Battle of the Chinese Farm during the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. The game is an introductory level product with an emphasis on playability over simulation value.
Simulations Publications (SPI) in 1980 issued Across Suez in a one-inch accordion box with a paper map. Decision Games in 1995 reissued Across Suez with additional counters for new variants and scenarios.
The Israeli player seeks to establish a bridgehead across the Suez Canal while the Egyptian player attempts to block this. Israeli units are generally quicker, stronger, better supported, and able to push Egyptian forces back, but stringent victory conditions maintain game balance. Games are usually concluded in 1–2 hours.
Play is divided into seven turns governed by the standard move-shoot sequence, zones of control, a terrain effects chart, and a differential combat results table (CRT). Artillery fire is abstract. Air and naval power are not simulated. Units begin the game at set locations and both sides later receive reinforcements. Night game-turns (turns one, four, and seven) slow movement and disallow artillery use. Both sides may achieve combined arms effects, which result in a column shift on the CRT, for a specific attack by attacking with armor units and infantry or mechanized infantry.
The Israeli side achieves victory if at the end of the seventh turn the player has installed a bridge over the Suez Canal, has crossed at least six Israeli units over the canal, and maintains a clear line of communication (LOC) back to the Israeli starting point. If not, the Egyptian player wins. There are no ties.
SPI did not include variant scenarios or alternate rules.
Across Suez has limited simulation value and does not describe Egyptian or Israeli military equipment or tactics during the 1973 Arab-Israeli War or provide significant context about the events leading to or resulting from the battle at Chinese Farm.
The introductory paragraph to the rules credits only the Egyptian Third Army with launching the successful October 6 cross-canal surprise attack, when three of the five infantry divisions involved were actually from the Second Army. Order of battle data is generally correct, but unit counters contain only designation and type, not size. The map omits Nahala Road, which ran along the Great Bitter Lake between the Bar Lev Line strongpoints of Lakehan and Matzmed. And the designers appear to have focused on the role of Israel's unique rolling armored bridge, described as a "convoy of bulky bridge sections" and historically laid on October 19 across the canal, rather than a pontoon bridge put down two days prior.
Game play unfolds much along historical lines, but the LOC victory condition tends to lead the Egyptian player to rush the Israeli LOC near game end regardless of the actual military value of such a move, i.e., gaming the rules rather than gaming the scenario. Combat also typically results in substantially greater numbers of units destroyed, on both sides, than the historical record supports.
SPI did not include designer's notes or references.
One hundred die-cut counters (54 of which are blank) representing Egyptian and Israeli units; an 11" by 17" hexagon-patterned abstract scale map, one six-sided die, and a rulebook.
Design: Mark Herman with Jim Dunnigan
Physical Systems and Graphics: Redmond A. Simonsen
Development: Bob Jervis & Brad Hessel
Playtesting: Brad Hessel, Redmond Simonsen, Justin Leites, Philip Marchal
Production: Rosalind Fruchtman, Ted Koller, Manfred F. Milkuhn, Michael Moore, Bob Ryer, Patricia J. Snyder
Decision Games in 1995 released a second edition of Across Suez that closely followed the original SPI version, with the exception of graphics tweaks. Game mechanics did not change. The second edition also included 16 additional Arab and Israeli counters, as first described by James Meldrum in Moves #60, to allow for an airborne landing variant and an amphibious landing variant to the historical scenario, and a further 18 Soviet and US counters, as first published in Moves #82 again by James Meldrum, for five non-historical scenarios.
- Elusive Victory: The Arab-Israeli Wars, 1947-1974, by Trevor N. Dupuy, Harper and Row, New York, 1978
- "Across Suez, The Battle of the Chinese Farm, October 15, 1973", by Trevor N. Dupuy, in Strategy & Tactics #82, September-October 1980
- "Across Suez", by Richard Berg, in Richard Berg's Review of Games #7, December 1980
- "Across Suez: A Game Review", by Henry C. Robinette, in Campaign Magazine #102, March-April 1982
- On the Banks of the Suez, by Avraham Adan, Presido Press, 1991
- "Across Suez/Go to Origins!", by Rich Erwin, in Paper Wars #24, March 1996
- "Across Suez", by Rick D. Stuart, in Zone of Control Magazine #5, Winter 1996
- Arabs at War: Military Effectiveness 1948-1991, by Kenneth M. Pollack, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2002
- Crossing of the Suez, The, by Lt. General Saad El Shazly, American Mideast Research, revised English edition, 2003