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Subject: Learning a new one ... VCS Salerno or Normandy 44? rss

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David Janik-Jones
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Waterloo
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Up Front fan, Cats were once worshipped as gods and they haven't forgotten this, Combat Commander series fan, The Raven King (game publisher) ... that's me!, Fields of Fire fan
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Slywester Janik, awarded the Krzyż Walecznych (Polish Cross of Valour), August 1944
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I'll have a copy of Normandy 44 in my hands in two weeks (via trade), and now also have the opportunity to buy a copy of VCS Salerno at a decent price. I've started into the rules for Normandy and am moving some pieces around in solo efforts in the Vassal module, and am just diving into the first pages of VCS Salerno.

I'm curious what other wargamers think ... Of the two games, which would you think is easier to learn for this old grog and why?

Also, which of the two is more suited to solo play?
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Terry Maciw
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Thatcham
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Salerno is just arriving in the UK this week so I haven't played that yet so I'm just going to answer the solo play question for Normandy 44.

I have played the short scenario of Normandy 44 solo a number times and would say it's really well suited to solo play. As the allied player, there is loads to do with the invasion, naval fire, paratroops and air support. As the Axis it's a much quicker turn as you have less units, not so many opportunities for a viable counter attack (except around Caen) and usually it's just a case of plugging holes and picking off the odd Allied unit.
What I do like is the divisional integrity rules, the ZOC bonds, the troop quality and armour support column shifts plus the max attack strength rules which stops combat factor counting. Also for solo play the desperate defense option always adds a degree of uncertainty about your attacks. Many times I've had the Axis stubbornly hold on to a vital hex despite being outnumbered. I'm just on turn 3 of Ardennes 44 solo, short scenario again, but so far I prefer Normandy 44.
Like you I'm keen to see any comparisons with Salerno and how the three map sections and different scales work together.
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Michael
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+1 to Terry.

I used to own N´44 and soloed the campaign a handful of times. I liked it a lot for its beautiful components (stunning map!), the armor rules and the well applied chrome but it tended to play out a bit samey every time. It´s hard for the Germans to win but it´s an interesting challenge to try.

For an old Grog it shouldn´t be hard to learn, most of the concepts are Wargaming 101 material. It soloes well, the limited replayability put aside.

I sold it on because I had too many unplayed games and knew it was unlikely to hit the table in ftf play.
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Jim Daniels
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I agree with Oldsin....N'44 is a pretty package, but it is still the normandy campaign, so once your through with the invasion fun, it turns into a grinding attrition battle that just doesn't do it for me. Can't comment on VCS Salerno.
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Jacob
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VCS Salerno should be fairly simple to learn, just make sure you check the errata/Q&A thread on BGG (designer has been quite proactive about it), because there are a few issues as printed.

Overall though, it's a fairly standard IGOUGO, locking ZOC, move-attack-exploit game in the vein of SCS. The 2 different map scales takes some getting used to (2 different TECs to deal with), but the transit track system is a great solution to save time/map space. Hidden unit strengths in combination with a pretty unpredictable CRT give some uncertainty to solo and PtP play. CRT shifts are crucial though, be sure to make note of them before starting.
 
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Jason Cawley
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Normandy '44. Great system, very playable, lots of fun. Start here.
 
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Joe Kundlak
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You know what would be fun to have?

A system similar to that used in Normandy '44, but less focused on the beach landings (thus necessarily a bit more generic) and utilizing variable mapboards.

Hence you could recreate many different battles with it...
 
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Dean Zadiraka
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Normandy 44
 
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Daniel Kaufman
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VCS Salerno for selfish reasons. I'd like to hear what an old grog thinks about this game to solo so I can see if I should get it.
 
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