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Walter Melnyk
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As a veteran tabletop wargamer, I find Kampfgruppe Normandy to be one of the most satisfying and playable WWII rule sets that I have ever encountered - perhaps the best.

Reflecting the title, literally Battlegroup Normandy, the massive 300-plus page volume focuses exclusively on the campaign in northwest France after the D-Day landings. Lavishly illustrated with both real battle pictures and excellent tabletop photos, it includes tons of stats and organziational information on the British, Canadian, American and Wehrmacht forces in the theatre.

The game itself is played at levels from squad to battalion levels, with 1-to-1 scale represetation of both men and vehicles.

The book is written for 20mm gamers but our group finds it plays almost better at 15mm - some 28mm games also use it.

You can play specific scenerios based on actual engagements or devise points-based games.

Highlights of game play:
1. Largely a you-go, I-go system with some interruptions for covering or overwatch fire.
2. At the start of each players' turn, 1,2 or 3 dice are rolled to determine how many game units can be activated that turn (depending on the scale of the scenario). You also activate one additional game unit for each Command unit that is in play. Eg. - USA player in a small platoon-sized game has 3 active Command Units. He rolls 4 on the d6, then adds 3 more for all his Command units - allowing him to activate 7 Units that turn.
3. A unit is an individual squad (5-10 men), special weapons team, one tank or vehicle, etc.
4. Activated units get 2 action points, so they can move-move, move-shoot or shoot-shoot. Covering fire mode requires both activations.

Morale system
The core of the game is a great morale system that secretly monitors your losses and "will to fight".
It's a simple and effective chit system. Each "unit" has a Morale Value and at the start of the game you total the Morale Value for your force - generally between 15-40 points.
Each time something bad happens - a unit is destroyed, you lose an objective or you are forced to kick butt to unsuppress units - you secretly draw a Morale chit.
Most chits are numbered 1-4, so you secretly keep and total them up. Once you reach your force's morale total, your force breaks and the game is lost.
Some chits actually are good, allowing heroic actions or possible air strikes. Conveniently, you can edit the Chit bag to make the game either tough and shorter (remove many 1-2 chits) or forgiving and longer (include more good-result chits).

Suppression and direct fire
Units usually also have the choice of either suppressing or direct fire when picking on the enemy.
Suppressing fire is a bit easier and simply freezes enemy units - forcing their commander to draw more Morale chits to get them active again.
Direct fire requires spotting rolls for each round - and then a roll to hit. Thing is, with 88s and 17 pounders, when hits are scored in 1944 the result is often a kill.

Game devices
KGN is a great game but it is not a "simulation". Different guns will penetrate very differently depending on range - but in the core rules all tanks and anti-tank guns fire a maximum of 48". In other words, an 88 and a 6 lber both have the same max range (albeit with very different damage packages).
Also, KGN is a d6 game system, with 6 always being a hit if an enemy is in line of sight. Tank duels often come down to the first team being able to roll a 6 to hit.

Aside from those quibbles, KGN combines very elegant game mechanics with very meaty data for an excellent game experience. And yes, you will be able to use this rule set to run Battle of the Bulge scenarios quite effectively, even though they are not a focus of this book.

The game was published by Warhammer Historical which may not be supporting/printing the expansions under development for North African and the Eastern Front.

Bottom line, if you already have a Flames of War or other wargame collection based on the 1944 Western Front and looking for a more historically engaging rule set, Kampfgruppe Normandy is a great way to go.
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Mark Stricker
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Walter,

Can you comment on basing ... is it individual figures?

Mark
 
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Walter Melnyk
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Mark,
The rule set is very flexible. Think of the squad as a "blob" or "bubble" of troops that basically fight as one shooting unit - not a group of individuals. The only restriction is that figures within a squad must be within one-inch of another figure in the same squad. And keeping it simple, if shooting out of a house or cover, everybody in the unit gets to shoot.

For example, a 10-man British infantry squad can only target a single enemy unit when it fires. Each shooter adds one dice (Bren gun adds 2), so a typical fresh Brit squad would throw 11 dice in a round of direct fire.

So, the figures can be mounted either as individuals or multiple figs. Most of my 15mm collection is two to a stand (I have a few single figures to "make change"). I've noted that many newer rule sets such as KGN or Black Powder do not impose new basing requirements since most gamers already have fully based armies.
Hopes this helps.
- Walt

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Mark Stricker
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Walt,

That was very helpful. Now I just need to figure out where to get these rules in the USA.

Thanks, Mark
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Walter Melnyk
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A number of us ordered them directly online from Warhammer Historical - which had them on for half price around Christmas. At full price it is a hefty sum although you are getting a very dense book. It is easily the heaviest rule book I own - the rules are covered in the first 65 pages but there are a lot of scenarios, equipment info and organizational data.
Good luck getting it.
- Walt
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