$20.00
$60.00
Recommend
24 
 Thumb up
 Hide
4 Posts

Storm Over Normandy» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Love Among The Landing Craft rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Paul Smith
England
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
I had a great uncle who went ashore at Sword Beach. By his own admission he ‘hid behind things until we were winning’, and I think this refreshingly honest self-appraisal of the June 6th landings is more typical than anyone would care to admit. Interestingly, one of his children – not so shy when it came to beach combat - was later caught up in the mods v rockers Bank Holiday scuffles at Clacton, so there’s a nice bit of continuity there. He was a mod, obviously.

Anyway. I’ve spent the last couple of months tracing lines of command and calculating blockade runner points in GMT’s wonderful The US Civil War, and after so much hex madness, you start to wonder if there is another way things can be done. Yes, as it turns out, there is: with the slick and shiny area impulse system championed by the Storm Over... series, the Stalingrad edition of which is highly rated indeed. Having been under the Shame Could for not having a Normandy game in my collection, I decided to wave combat results tables off at the station, promise to write home to dice differentials and terrain modifiers, and have a fling among the bocage with Storm Over Normandy – so let’s pour the sick out of our helmets and prepare to charge ashore.

Components

Yep, nice enough. Nice map, nice counters, nice printing. All nice. Two sizes – battalions and regiments - NATO symbols, double sided, and so forth. If you’ve seen a wargame counter before I’m sure you’ll cope. In a word: nice.

Game Play

Well this is the thing isn’t it. Storm Over Normandy covers D-Day and the following week as the Allies struggle to push inland, which is a pretty hectic thing to represent in a simple, possibly even beginner’s game. If it had used hexes and combat tables, so many rules and exceptions and special cases and what have you would have been omitted that the result would have been somewhat bland. Area impulsing the unfolding campaign preserves all of the strategic subtlety and depth, and it’s easy. Really easy. A Labrador could play it.

Combat is so straightforward that those of us accustomed to reaching for rule books at every clatter of a die can feel paranoid: is it this easy to squabble over St Mere Elglise or quibble about Caranten? Yep. Obviously you’ll get it wrong the first couple of times (mainly by forgetting to turn attacking units to their ‘spent’ side, post-combat), but I honestly cannot see how combat could be simpler, other than have players throw their counters at each other until one gives up. As stated, none of the strategic subtlety of the Normandy campaign is lost; I would in fact argue that that simplicity of combat actually emphasises it. It’s surprisingly thinky too, with players playing and counter-playing action cards to gain a local advantage here or a breakthrough there. The Allied player in particular can achieve devastating combined arms attacks with the right cards skillfully played, whereas the German can rally his exhausted elite units again and again with similarly deft hand management – in one game, the 12th SS Panzer division smashed through the Canadians at Perierst and ended up on Juno beach in an action that would've seen old Adolf dancing round the Reichstag in his lederhosen. Terrible scenes. Strudel and bratwurst everywhere.

There have been mutterings about whether or not this game is weighted too far in favour of the Germans. I don’t think so, although if the reinforcement schedule can be bought forward at the start of the game (there is an action card allowing this) the Allied player will have an almighty struggle on his hands. Struggle-wise, D-Day and the opening stages of the Normandy campaign were fairly almighty anyway, and all this simulates is Hitler being awake when it kicked off, instead of fast asleep and dreaming about the Bavarian Alps.

One thing Storm Over Normandy really drives home is how important it is for the Allies to get off the beaches and inland quick smart. It is easy, especially in the British and Commonwealth sector, to have traffic jams of powerful units bottled up on the beach because swiftly mobilised German formations have managed to contain the initial invasion. The Allies are on a tight schedule and will certainly lose if the stranglehold cannot be broken. Sort it out, Monty!

Conclusion


Well, it’s marvellous isn’t it. Starts off slowly with an unspectacular landing turn and develops headlong into a desperate tooth and nail fight, with the Wehrmacht always seemingly able to scratch together just enough troops to keep the Allies back. Even when fighting bogs down, it’s the most exciting stalemate I’ve ever bought to my dining room table. Don’t be shy about playing solitaire either – I have several times, and it fares well, although you might want to introduce some kind of mechanism for determining what action cards a side might play, when given a choice. I dunno. Roll a die or something.

Breakout Normandy
is an old Avalon Hill game addressing the same timescale with the same mechanics, and whether Storm Over Normandy is simply a lite version, I couldn’t say. This would in any case be harsh, as the titles are pitched at entirely different markets, and ignores the fact that Storm Over Normandy is an absolutely excellent game. I had a lovely time playing it, and it’s well worth hunting down a copy, if you’re interested in D-Day, wargames, or indeed literally anything at all.




The British and Canadians try to breakout. Keep the SS Panzers at arms length, or at least permanently subdued with heavy fire, or you'll be in all kinds of bother.
23 
 Thumb up
0.10
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martin Smith
New Zealand
Wellington
--------------
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb

Thanks for the helpful review and comments! You've definitely helped me decide to get the game.

Any residual doubt was overcome by "A Labrador could play it." laugh

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Smith
England
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Have fun! I'm sure you'll enjoy it!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Perry Cocke
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
flag msg tools
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb
smithnewz wrote:


Any residual doubt was overcome by "A Labrador could play it." laugh



A smart Labrador, perhaps, and I'd still give him an extra card.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.