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.

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