This campaign is recommend as the best place to start for the novice or the casual user. Even if you are an accomplished Panzer General veteran, North Africa is a great tune-up for the larger, more challenging Western Europe and Russian Campaigns, and if you do well, you are set to play the extended campaign that carries the war to Europe. If you do triumph in North Africa, and don’t want to ‘extend’ your campaign, simply choose ‘No’ when asked if you want to continue.
Novices should play Sidi Barrani (in campaign mode) until they feel comfortable with the game mechanics and have achieved a victory. Please remember to save often. Once Sidi Barrani has been mastered, it’s on to El Agheila, which is a bit more of a challenge to the beginner. If El Agheila is still a little too much for you to absorb, return to Sidi Barrani and play to a Decisive Victory before you move on in the campaign.
The extended campaign allows the winner of the North Africa campaign to continue on with his command (Core units) into the Western Europe campaign, starting with the Mareth Line battle. Though you will have more experienced troops to start the campaign, the prestige you earned in the North Africa Campaign will NOT be transferred with you.
Very important during the North Africa Campaign (especially if you plan to continue with the Western Europe Campaign) is to build up the RAF into an effective, experienced force. This is less than easy, as you start with no aircraft. Keep in mind that, until the Spitfire IX comes available in March of 1942, your best “fighter” is actually the Mosquito IV tactical bomber.
Also important is to build an effective armored force. The Mark I A9 has excellent mobility in the early stages, but lacks a strong punch. Conversely, the Matilda II packs a strong punch both offensively and defensively, but is very slow. A good compromise becomes available in August 1942 with the lend/leased Sherman.
British infantry, supported by the superb British 6” guns, are quite effective, especially with Bren carriers providing a remarkable degree of mobility. However, your core units are few, and your need for armor and air power will limit your usage of core infantry (though at least two 6” guns should be purchased at the earliest convenience). An added punch against soft targets can be gained by using a few ANZAC units (despite their non-historical nature — ANZAC units were a WWI phenomenon, disbanded in 1917).
The foe you face in this campaign is an odd mix of good German units mixed with an assortment of somewhat sub-standard Italian troops and equipment. As speed is imperative in all scenarios of this campaign, bypass the German units wherever feasible, punching through the paper Italians to reach your objectives.