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Tide of Iron: Normandy» Forums » General

Subject: Bloody Omaha: Flawed design, or flawed playing? rss

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Rätsel Haft
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Freiburg
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After our first session of Normandy, my opponent and me were heavily dissapointed of Normandy. We had decided to immediately try the first scenario for the 29th. It was over after 5 rounds, and we came to the conclusion, that the scenario was terribly imbalanced.

In favour of the Americans.



Yes, you got me right.

Yes, of course, I realize that the public opinion on BGG is just the opposite. Everybody says it's a hard ride for the Americans! That's why I kept asking myself: What were we doing differently? Did I, the American player, really discover a game breaking (actually scenario breaking) tactic for Omaha beach?! Or maybe (which is much more likely, given the ToI experience lots of people on BGG share) - didn't we play by the rules? I hope to find some answers...

1.) The map
First, let's examine the layout a little bit closer. We've got map 5B on the right flank. When I write "left" or "right", I am always referring to the American point of view.

(You might want to turn to page 7 in the scenario guide for the 29th. Take your time.)

All right.

I understand there are ONLY level-2 hills on map 5B. Cliffs. Right? The rules disallow any direct movement from level-2 to level-0 and vice versa, unless you have the "scaling cliffs" operation card. The logical conclusion: Any of the German units, which are mandatorily placed on these hills, are unable to leave level 2 in this scenario (at least without crossing own mine fields).

And that's a very crucial aspect. Following the rules for deployment, at least 4 of the German units are thus bound to their starting position!

2.) Vulnerable bunkers
Having that in mind, the obvious American tactic was to concentrate the advancement on the left flank, ignoring the right flank. I didn't face any serious problems with that. Though, I must admit that my opponent made a crucial mistake by setting almost all of his units in OP fire mode prior to the first round; but however, I don't believe that was a game breaking decision. Because, on the other hand, we agreed to limit the American attempt to call for naval bombardment to once per round (instead of once per turn), which is why it did not happen at all. Taking this into consideration, it may have weight out my opponent's mistake from the first round.

The first objective was to switch off the left bunker, which immediately succeeded (there's enough firepower to get 15 or 20 dice). I didn't move my units, just tried to fire upon the Germans.

Then, on my opponent's first turns, we realized that the bunkers were not only vulnerable, but also not exactly terrifying. If you activate a heavy machine gun, the unit in the bunker becomes immediately fatigued. Is that correct? So, in other words: Either, the ordinary machine guns must stay outside (where they are pretty vulnerable and quickly destroyed), or they are taken inside the bunker, but with the only options of normal fire (OP fire), making the heavy MG useless, OR a shot with the heavy MG, making the ordinary MG useless. Well I thinks it's imperative to protect the normal MGs, since the constant OP fire is so valuable for a defender. And of course, their logical place for the MGs must be the inside of a bunker!

Assuming what I wrote is right so far: What's the point of heaving an heavy MG then? Shouldn't it better be treated as equipment, just like the AT gun in Days of the Fox? ARE the heavy MGs treated as equipment? Didn't I read the rule book properly...?

To make it short: During the following 3 rounds, I was able to pin or eliminate most of my opponent's units in range (by the way, my opponent is anything but tactically unskilled!), I put one of my MGs into the left bunker and managed to secure my advancement that way. The German units on the right flank couldn't leave their hills and had to watch the Am's occupy the hex containing the victory marker at the end of round 5. My opponent managed to kill only 5 units from the 29th.

Soooo - what went wrong in our session? Please give me some hints. My opponent doesn't want to play Normandy anymore, saying it's broken. I tend to agree with him...
 
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James
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Personally, I think the rules need revamping. You are not the only one who seems disappointed with TOI. I know there is a great game in TOI somewhere, but I'm afraid it would need some work to flesh it out.
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Rätsel Haft
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Well, I am not dissapointed of ToI in general. I just can't believe how imbalanced some of the scenarios apparently are. I'd say balance issues concern 2 out of 3 scenarios.
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Peter
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Quote:
I understand there are ONLY level-2 hills on map 5B. Cliffs. Right? The rules disallow any direct movement from level-2 to level-0 and vice versa, unless you have the "scaling cliffs" operation card. The logical conclusion: Any of the German units, which are mandatorily placed on these hills, are unable to leave level 2 in this scenario (at least without crossing own mine fields).

And that's a very crucial aspect. Following the rules for deployment, at least 4 of the German units are thus bound to their starting position!


There is a misprint in the setup for this scenario. This has been corrected in the official FAQ and Errata on the FFG website as follows:

In the “Bloody Omaha” campaign scenario, the minefield between map boards 5B and 22A should be ignored.

Try again with the minefield removed and see how the Americans get on this time.
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Barry Doyle
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Panzerknacker wrote:
ARE the heavy MGs treated as equipment?


I may be wrong, but that's the way I interpreted the card -- the key being a "fresh" unit can fire the heavy MG. If you have an MG unit in a bunker it can be in Op Fire mode, fire its MG (only), and remain fresh. Then, during an action, the German player can choose to fire the heavy MG, fatiguing the unit.

Our game was a bit closer, but the 29th still won -- I wouldn't give up on it just yet.

I think this one should be tougher for the Germans, since it's the first in a series of linked games for the 29th, even though historically the Americans had a really rough go of it on Omaha.

If you want a more historically accurate outcome I'd try it with the Germans having initiative -- that may be fairly ugly for the 29th, as it was in real life.
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