Monday, 25 May 2015

Playing 'Heroes of Normandie'

It seems that weekends are lately becoming quite productive in terms of gaming :)

This time we've tried 'Heroes of Normandie':

Quite self-explanatory, I guess
Nothing like FoW, Bolt Action or whatever. This is more likely a board game using tokens and with a kinda cartoony style and some humour (I mean, for example, one of the scenarios is 'Saving Private Rex' and it's all about rescuing the General's dog, :P). So expect a lot of tributes to movies, nonsense and stuff.

Today I'll show you just the introductory scenario. Two small forces clash as they both try to get the important secret files that are being dropped by parachute on the field. This time I'll play the Americans and my pal will play the Germans.

The field and the deployment
As you can see, some tiles have special profiles. They represent trees or bushes and make it difficult for infantry to go through (and impossible for vehicles), but it gives them some cover instead. That is represented by modifiers on cover or assault.

What about the troops? At the beginning of the battle you have some points to spend, depending on the scenario. You have a core troops formation and then you can add more troops or equipment until you get the max points. Troops have their own profile, as depicted on their tokens:

Each token tells you how many tiles you can move, your basic cover roll and any modifiers you can apply when attacking infantry (yellow), medium vehices (purple) or heavy vehicles (grey). The knife up right means they can perform close assault. What's that skull down right? Well, when your unit gets hit once, it doesn't get immediately killed, you just flip the token and...

...Ooops, new profile for the decimated unit. Well, as you can see it's this simple. Every unit has these two profiles and the token has all the info required to play.

The turn sequence is nice. Each turn the initiative is for one side. Both players set their command tokens on their units, but the enemy doesn't know who is gonna be activated first, second, etc. Once the turn begins, the activation is alternative, i.e., one player activates his first unit, then the other player does so, etc

In a small game such as this one it doesn't add too much pressure; but just imagine a board three times the size of this and the ability to give ten commands to different units. Then your tactical options are something to think about!
The activation phase consists of moving the unit and giving them a command (shoot, charge or whatever you can do).

End of turn 1
 Prior to the battle, you have to choose some special cards, giving you particular actions or abilities that can be played during the game to achieve some useful performances.

Germans scrambled my comms! They forced me to take back the order token for my tank
The parachute with the fies landed just in the center of the field, both platoons forced the march to get to it. The first close combats took place!

Americans got the papers and Germans push hard to get'em
But they are forced to fall back
The Recon Team hits the tank with grenades
Their dice roll is spectacular! Wooo!
For the third turn, Germans got the initiative, but Americans played their cards well (I mean literally) and made the Support Squad flee with the files

Fly, you fools!
They also tried to make an extra move:

Ride like the wind, Bullseye!
But Germans prevented them from that!

So the rest of the guys engaged the enemy, inflicting (and receiving) casualties:

Add cinematic action here
At the beginning of turn four, both sides got reenforcements. Germans received a SKDF and Americans a halftrack.

The Sherman is not a new unit; as its path on the left flank was blocked, I made it go back to give support on the road
Initiative was for the Americans. So the Support Team with the files would most certainly get out of reach...

...Unless Germans cunningly used their cards to avoid them receive any order!
(This was my never performed plan; this card would have made them flee the board and make me win!)
OK, battle still went on then...

All the effort put on covering the team with the files
This is how it all looked like
Germans made a last effort...
...but the Support Team gets out of the board!
So victory for the Americans! In this case Germans had little thing to do since the point when the Americans got the documents. From that point on, I played with the initiative and tried to make it sure for the Support Team to get out ASAP.

Cards play a huge role in this game, and I like the system a lot. It brings in a tactical aspect which is quite fresh to me. The fact of not drawing random cards from a deck, but actually building your own deck prior to battle (and then selecting just a few cards for each turn) makes you develop some kind of strategic sense wich I have found terribly fun.

We made it all in less than an hour, which once again makes perfect sense for me, and we laughed and kept the tension with the situations that were appearing. Cannot ask for more. Now I wanna play a full battle and see what happens!


  1. Interesting! Looks good.


    1. The game is nice! I've been told that we made some mistakes using the cards, but anyway I found it quite a refreshing experience :D

  2. Looks a laugh, must admit, I've been looking at this for a while; definitely something appealing about it.

    1. The game is fun. It's something about the aesthetics, the humour, the dynamics... don't know for sure, but it's totally worth a try!!