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Board Game: Victory in Normandy
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David G. Cox Esq.
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Victory in Normandy

Board Game: Victory in Normandy


Two-player Simulation of the D-Day Invasion of Europe, June-August 1944
Command Military Simulation Series
Designed by Ben Knight
Published by the XTR Corporation (1992)



After having previously complained about the ‘sameness’ of many Command magazine games, I have to admit that when the XTR Corporation published Victory in Normandy they came out with something quite new and different.

Board Game: Victory in Normandy


In A Nutshell
Victory in Normandy is a wargame with a relatively small number of units and a fast-moving system that is fun and challenging to play. It comes with optional rules and several scenarios. The full campaign game (80 turns) takes perhaps five hours to play. The smaller scenarios can be knocked over in less than 90 minutes. It has a simple combat system that is unit based and does not rely upon a Combat Results Table. The nature of the game lends itself to a lot of variety so there is no problem with limited replayability.

Board Game: Victory in Normandy


Components
Victory in Normandy comes in a Ziploc bag. It has a small map (17” x 22”) with large hexes and 128 units plus some marker counters. There are 7 pages of rules, 1 page of optional rules, 1 page of scenarios and a page of player and design notes.

The counters are larger than your normal wargame counter (although this comment really shows my age, as more and more games are coming out with counters larger than the ‘old’ half-inch size). They are glossy, double sided and have large numbers which make them easy for me to read (using my glasses – some games such as Assault on Crete and Hell’s Highway are now difficult to read, even with my glasses).

The map is bland but functional. All hexes cost a single movement point to enter, regardless of terrain. Rivers cost an additional point to cross and terrain will have an effect on combat.

There is a Turn Record Sheet that needs to have turns marked off. You are allowed to photocopy it. I think they should have placed a summary of the Terrain Combat Modifiers on the Turn Record Sheet.

The errata for the game appears in issue #21 of Command magazine and the six replacement counters for the errors on some of the units appear in issue #22 (Antietam). The errors are minor but the set up details are missing from the British 50th Infantry division and the US 4th Infantry division.

Board Game: Victory in Normandy


Game Mechanics
As indicated by the title of the review, this game is different. It puts you in the roll of overall Commander-in-Chief. Your decisions relate primarily to large scale decisions regarding allocation of forces and determining where and when you attack.

The key mechanic in the game is ‘Command Points’. The German player receives three CPs every turn/day. The Allied player starts the game receiving two CPs each turn/day. When they capture three major towns in Normandy they will receive three CPs. When they capture a fourth town they will receive four CPs. When they cross the ‘breakout line’ they will receive an additional CP. Spending 1 CP allows you to move a unit/stack. Spending 2 CPs allows a unit/stack to attack an adjacent hex.

The full implication of this mechanic is that the German player can either move three stacks OR move one stack and launch one attack. Because points are used to activate a hex, it is more efficient to have units in stacks (you are allowed to have three divisions plus one artillery unit in a hex). Initially the German forces are spread out and so some effort goes into trying to stack units – the down side of this is, however, that more gaps will appear in your line the more you stack your units.

Initially the Allied player can move two stacks or launch one attack. When reinforcing with units from England each CP will only bring a single allied unit across the English Channel. This gives the Allied player a serious dilemma. How much should you attack to get the towns you need to increase your CP allocation and how much should you reinforce.

Combat is handled in an unusual manner. All units (infantry, armor and artillery) are rated with a combat factor for fighting against armor and another factor which is used against infantry. When a player launches an attack units are removed to a battleboard. There is one round of combat on the battleboard. The attacker’s artillery fires first and inflicts casualties if the die roll is equal or lower to the appropriate combat factor – each player decides which units are being attacked. Then defending units fire at the attackers – double sided units at full strength roll two dice and can inflict two hits. The attack can be called off in which case there will be one fewer hits on the attackers. If the attack proceeds surviving attack units roll dice and score hits when the result is equal or less than their appropriate attack factor. Defending units may retreat in order to reduce their casualties by one.

Victory is determined by the allocation of points. Only the German players scores points. They get a point for each supplied unit in play at the end of the game. There are 40 points of victory hexes on the board and the German play can score bonus points by capturing an invasion site regardless of whether or not they hold it at the end of the game. If the German player has 40+ points they win.

Board Game: Victory in Normandy


Playing the Game
The game has real tension. It is full of difficult choices – do I move, do I reinforce or do I attack? Because the number of moves and attacks is limited each one has a crucial feel. Because each player does only a small number of actions before their opponent responds the game is highly interactive.

The game does give you the feeling of being at Supreme Headquarters rather than being involved in battlefield decisions.

As was the custom of the XTR Corporation, the rules are full of comments for both beginners and “old hands” so it is very quick and easy to get into the game. It is actually one of the most user-friendly wargames that I have encountered.

Board Game: Victory in Normandy


Overall
The game is different – it gives you the Normandy Campaign from a different perspective. It flows quickly and gives lots of replay value. If you are interested in this campaign or if you want a fast-moving wargame you should give this little beauty some consideration.

Board Game: Victory in Normandy
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Re: And Now For Something Completely "N" Different…
What"is" "teh UNfunneh!" is THIS sans "the Funnies!" "79 is "D"~vine!" surprise
 
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David G. Cox Esq.
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GROGnads wrote:
What"is" "teh UNfunneh!" is THIS sans "the Funnies!" "79 is "D"~vine!" surprise
Robert, you are an articulate dude, a colourful character and one hell of a guy...and I have no idea what you mean...shake

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Doug Adams
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One that passed me by, and Ben Knight was doing some great stuff back then (London's Burning, Victory at Midway). Let me know when you're selling it, David

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David G. Cox Esq.
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dougadamsau wrote:
One that passed me by, and Ben Knight was doing some great stuff back then (London's Burning, Victory at Midway). Let me know when you're selling it, David

I have two copies - one is for sale.

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john f stup
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have played this game solo but prefer 'Onslaught' which has some similar mechanics.
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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I have a fond spot for ViN. The game is best before the breakout; after, the command system fails to capture the pace of the race across France. The victory conditions take a beating as well. But those first couple hours are tremendous gaming. It captures well the build-up / offensive cycle for this massive invasion.

There are a number of systemic sequels, such as Second Front Now!, Operation Sea Lion, and curiously Soft Underbelly: Italy 1943, but they are less tightly wound (although SU has a very chesslike feel since one wrong move usually means the end of the game).

dougadamsau wrote:
One that passed me by, and Ben Knight was doing some great stuff back then (London's Burning, Victory at Midway). Let me know when you're selling it, David
Cheap copies are not hard to come by on eBay from time to time.
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M@tthijs
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Thanks for the review. I'm still somewhere in the middle of reading the few pages of rules. But now I know I have to play this one!

Noted your review on the No wargame left behind: Wargames that need reviews 2 geeklist.
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Excellent review. It gave me the push to reopen this game I found in a bundle. Nearly sold it but, after a quick glance at the rules, thought that it might be good.
Thanks.
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da pyrate wrote:
Robert, you are an articulate dude, a colourful character and one hell of a guy...and I have no idea what you mean...shake
THIS "is" what 'moi' 'meant': wiki-79th Armour whistle
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Eric Lai
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Excellent review. Really great summary and you've zoom right into the crux of the game. The decisions needed in this game is immense and the size and low counter density makes it an excellent one evening game. Not a tough game to teach a newbie either.

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This is definitely the one to play about the D-Day Campaign in one evening or so. The CP allocation system is quite genius in simulating the Allied and German supply problem. It looks to be a game much more efficient than nowadays The Battle for Normandy, while at the same time more space than June '44 to dive into beyond the beachhead in one go (rather than dividing a game into two like that in August '44.
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