Monday, 27 September 2021

Undaunted Normandy


My son and I were looking for a game at the weekend and as I hadn't had a chance to brush up on the rules for some of the more complicated games (I'm terrible at remembering game mechanics these days) and I hadn't had a chance to read through Western Legends properly, we went for something a bit simpler... Undaunted Normandy, which I hadn't played for almost 2 years and he hadn't played at all.

It's a card driven game with players moving their cards around from their hand, discard pile and a supply deck which varies depending on the scenario.
Cards represent individual squads of riflemen or scouts.  Both are equally effective at fighting but scouts are more brittle.  Riflemen are able to control tiles and seize objectives, but can only move onto tiles which have been checked out by the scouts first.

Officers aren't represented on the table but can be activated to add in cards from the supply deck.  The final card type is the Fog of War card which does nothing but take up vital space in your hand.  Scouts are able to remove these or, more annoyingly add them to your opponent hand.  My son took great delight in doing this repeatedly!

We played out the opening scenario which a straightforward encounter between 2 equal forces.  We both patrolled out into the centre of the battlefield before settling down for a close range, and surprisingly ineffective firefight.  This showed up one of the limitations of the game, or at least this scenario, where it was a bit too even.  The breakthrough came when I drew 3 cards for one of my rifle squads (out of a hand of 4) which allowed them to run across an open field, seize the final objective and win the game.

I enjoyed the game... my son was less impressed.  As the scenarios progress more elements are added in, including MGs and mortars and mission specific objectives... I think this would make it more interesting.  This was a bit too balanced but for an introductory scenario that's probably fair enough.  The ending also felt a bit too gamey.  It was easy to explain it as the US riflemen grabbing the opportunity when the Germans had their heads down under fire and breaking from cover and cutting them off, forcing them to retreat.  It felt a bit of a cheat though as it was a very flukey combination of cards.

It's a fun little game, not too complicated and playable in an hour or so.  I know there's a N African addition and another one due for release soon... hopefully these won't add in too many extra rules and overcomplicate it.

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

What I've up to...

 No blog posts for a few weeks but that doesn't mean there haven't been any games.

At Eric the Shed's we played a fun Bolt Action game with German paratroopers attempting to cause as much damage as possible ahead of an invasion.  The Home Guard did a good job of holding us up... I failed to achieve my objectives but tied up the opposition, allowing my colleague Mark to merrily destroy or occupy lots of key points in the village (or at least that's my story!)

We also played out a cracking instalment in our Wars of the Roses series of battles.  We've now reached Barnet where fog played a key part in the battle.  The game featured treachery and knife-edge dice throws and there is an excellent write up on the Shed Wars blog here.  

Spoiler alert... I finally won a game of Never Mind the Billhooks!!!

Oh and there were a couple of games of Twilight Struggle against my son but I'll draw a veil over those as they were very short and I was soundly beaten!

I've also been away for a week, back home to Glasgow.  I usually try and post some kind of wargamey/historical link when I've been away but this time it was a bit of a struggle.  I did take the dog for a walk up to Cathkin Braes which look out over Glasgow from the south.  Local lore has it that Mary Queen of Scots watched her army's defeat at the  Battle of Langside from here.  In theory it's possible but, like most things to do with Mary there's a lot of myth confusing the facts.  Practically every castle or large house claims that she slept there at some point!

Anyway here is the spot where she watched the battle (possibly) with Cisco doing his best MQoS impression...

The view looking north to Glasgow.  Langside is somewhere in the bottom left

The Battle was the opening fight in a civil war between Mary and forces acting on behalf of her infant son James VI.  The battle was a huge defeat for Mary... she fled, eventually heading for England and never returned to Scotland although her supporters continued the fight.

The only other interesting local history spot on our walks was in Cambuslang Park.  Cambuslang is a town a couple of miles from my old home and where one side of the family come from.  I hadn't been to this park in 45+ years.. last time would have been with my Granny or on a Sunday School trip.  In the never-ending quest to find somewhere new to walk the dog I ended up here.  It isn't a particularly old park (built in 1913) but, as I learned on this visit, was the site of a strange religious event in the 18th Century, the Cambuslang Wark (or Work).  

This religious revival event happened over 6 months in 1742 at a time when there were similar things happening elsewhere in Britain and in the North American Colonies.  It culminated in up to 30 000 people gathering in this small Lanarkshire town to hear a local preacher's sermons.  The mass hysteria which seems to have been behind it led to people hallucinating and suffering nosebleeds and other injuries.  Inevitably there was a schism with some seeing it as the work of the Lord and others as Satan and a "pamphlet war" broke out between rival believers.

I know it isn't wargame related but I found it fascinating and had never heard of it before.  And let's face it... most things involving religion in Scotland usually end in a fight!!