Every so often a game comes along that is not only a worthwhile past time but has an impact on the wider Hobby. Rommel in the Desert is one of those games because it helped a whole gaming subgenre (in this case block wargames) break out of the box public opinion had placed it.
Rommel in the Desert wasn't the first block game, or course. Quebec 1759 holds that honor. But Rommel in the Desert was the first block wargame to venture out of the black power era and move into the era of mechanized warfare. As any observer of wargames can see, to really hit the big time and Be Serious, a wargame has to have Panzers.
World War II is the single most popular era for wargames and nothing is more popular in World War II wargaming than tanks, particularly German ones.
Rommel in the Desert showed that a block wargame could handle mechanized warfare, combined armes battles, supply and logistics. Rommel in the Desert prepared the way for EastFront, Europe Engulfed and FAB: The Bulge, not to mention every other block game that explored different eras and scales of fighting such as Wizard Kings, Hammer of the Scots, Pacific Victory and Victory.
The game itself still holds up very well, despite the passage of nearly 25 years since the first edition. It was brought back most recently in a 2004 version. It's an intense game and very, very unforgiving of mistakes, making it a little hard for beginners to pick up, but between experienced players it's an excellent contest that also manages good fidelity to the history. That's all one can ask for in a good historical wargame.