Heroes of Normandie: Observations

Unless I’m writing about a monster game or something similarly complex and time-consuming, it always seems a bad idea to post a gaming AAR based on information gleaned from only a single playing. I thought about this quite a bit since my last blog post, so I’m altering my plan a little bit toward more of an overview approach.

Single scenarios from a ‘system’ game, learning scenarios and other small set-pieces seldom provide all of the experience and understanding I like to have when I sit down to write. Such is the case here with Heroes of Normandie. The focus of my previous written examples was the first offering in the game’s scenario book (which I think was also included in the print-n-play version), but I have played several other scenarios in the box before firing up my keyboard again.

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Hedgerow Heroes

About 15 months ago I lost my mind for a while and plunked down a significant chunk of change (in adjusted game budget dollars) as a Kickstarter campaign pledge for a game titled “Heroes of Normandie”. Offered up by Devil Pig Games (essentially a French design and art team), I was impressed by the game’s potential to become a colorful addition to my array of tactical-scale wargames. The game system was based on a game I was already familiar with — “Frontiers”, designed by the same team and published by Asmodee Editions — so I figured the chances of a good result were fairly high.

Heroes of Normandie content

Inside Heroes of Normandie Base Set box.

Thanks to general wargame design craziness and the vagaries of gentlemen in France trying to superintend manufacturers in China, the project neatly spiraled away from its original production schedule (“Estimated Delivery Sep 2013″). That said, the whole oversized Kickstarter package landed at the Swamp Bunker — finally — at the end of May 2014. Continue reading

Short Take on the Bulge

What the wargaming world really needs is another game on the Battle of the Bulge.

Over the last half-century of commercial wargame production, the Nazis’ winter offensive into the Ardennes has been the subject of enough games to fill an entire closet. But somebody’s always out to design a better mousetrap, thus the continuing need for Bulge games.

I’ve got my fair share of Bulge-oid games, and I’ve bought, played and sold off an even fairer share. The Bulge-centric portion of my game collection includes older titles like SPI’s Ardennes quad, newer stuff like the recent 2nd Edition of GMT’s Ardennes ’44 and modules for tactical game systems like ATS Darkest December. Because no old wargamer can ever have enough Bulge games, during my recent binge of “off brand” game purchases I decided to pick up a copy of “Battles of the Bulge: Celles”, published by Revolution Games. Continue reading

Sergeants on the Table

During a brief fit of insanity a few weeks back, I decided that beyond a doubt I needed to take yet another miniatures game for a test drive. I don’t know what it is about “figure gaming” that appeals to me, but sometimes I see a game or read about it and I realize that I’m not going to get it out of my head until I give it a whirl.

So I sucked up my retail courage and bought “Day of Days”, the starter box set for the Sergeants Miniatures Game published by Lost Battalion.

When I ordered it, I understood that it wasn’t your normal miniatures game. It’s part of a gaming sub-genre that’s a cross between a miniatures game and a board wargame. Some of the elements of the game are familiar to every miniatures gamer: 20mm figures, pre-fabricated bases and a ruler for measuring distance. In place of a large tabletop strewn with model terrain, however, the game is played on a highly stylized board and uses cards — no dice — to drive the action and resolve combat. Continue reading

Guns Along the Narva

In between assorted adventures in reality, lately I’ve been on a small binge of experimenting with off-brand wargames. By “off brand” I mean games produced by companies other than the usual alphabetical suspects like GMT, MMP, LNL, ATO or DG. It’s taken a while to get these new games onto the table, but I’m finally starting to make some progress.

And I haven’t even needed therapy.

The first of the batch to get seriously de-boxed and deployed beneath the plexiglass is a short-run production from Three Crowns Games in Sweden called “Army Group Narwa” — or “Narva” as I learned it in my distant and misspent youth.

Army Group Narva setup

AG Narwa - setup around the city.

It’s not one of the better known campaigns on the East Front, but it’s pretty interesting. What’s a Narva? It’s a city — located on the Narva River — on the border between Estonia and (nowadays) Russia. After the Leningrad-Novgorod offensive of January 1944, Stalin wanted the Red Army to overrun Estonia as quickly as possible. Unfortunately for the Soviet Leningrad Front, the Germans were pretty good at defending marshy, mucky rivers and “as quickly as possible” turned out to be more on the order of seven months. Continue reading

Warhammer 40k 6th Edition: Dark Vengeance

OK. Well…

Two months later, 40k stuff is still on the front burner — such as it is around here in slackerland. No real reason for the hiatus. Just one thing led to another and there was a nice, long break in the blog.

It’s true: Warhammer 40k 6th Edition has me moderately inspired to fiddle with the plastic crack again. I’ve been working on a batch of fresh figures and some vehicles that will finish off a hefty Space Marine roster I started in the wayback. Once I’ve gotten them all painted up, it will be just about time to move along to building some Chaos Space Marines.

I started collecting CSM quite a few years ago, right about the time the 4th Edition rules came out, I think. I’ve never built a single one of them. Oh, there are all kinds of excuses between the collecting and the table top. Different job, marriage, new house, smaller game space, bigger yard, kid, kid’s school, another different job, then back to the original different job. My goodness a lot has changed in the last 8 years or so… Continue reading