Monday, March 21, 2016

Storm Over Normandy played

Managed to get a game of newly acquired Storm Over Normandy from MMP Games (a high quality 'insert' in the Special Ops house magazine.
A nice fast playing area style game covering the landings on 6th June 1944 through to 13th June only.
Lacks meat/chrome of Breakout Normandy or Normandy '44 but compensates for this with a nice decision process regarding the useage of the varied tactical cards included.
Usual alternating impulse sequence of these style games makes for exciting and interactive play.
Allies really need to attack relentlessly as the have a fairly tough Victory Point schedule to maintain especially as any VP locations held by Germsns count in the negative.
Essentially the Allies must achieve a sort of early breakout as the capture of a German reinforcement zone yields VP for every Allied unit therein (of course only if a line of communication to a beach zone is maintained)
A key rule is that in order to move an assault an enemy area you must discard a card from your hand thereby losing its tactical event.
Allies start with low hand count and can never exceed 7 (based on 2 plus number of beachheads held) whereas Germans generally have 5 (after initial invasion turn plus extra for holding Caen and Bourgebous areas which are also VP locations)
As the impetus to attack and gain ground is on the Allies this often produces a quandary as to how best to use cards and another caveat is any list Allied units deuce 1 or 2 VP on turn of loss. 
Cards have several types such as Artillery (a 6-8 firepower attack on an area) 88s, Armour Support, Naval Power, Jabos and several other able to be used singly or in combinations to affect attacks or defence.
Couple of single use cards such as Hitler Commits Panzers (all German reserves arrive 1 turn early) or its counter Where Is Patton ? add an abstracted strategic layer.
German beach defenders are represented by variable strength Strongpoints which much be eliminated before Allies can capture and then exit the beach zone. 
The Allies do get Support Points (Naval Gunfire) to supplement attack strengths.
All in all we really enjoyed this being able to set up, learn and play within 5 hours or so.

In our game a horrible invasion turn by my Allies (fully capturing only 1 beach and with US Airbourne units all being Spent) put me on back foot ie -10 VPs.
Thereafter a vicious struggle ensued in Caen area as Yanks failed to get off their invasion beaches with 
Utah not being cleared until turn 6 !!
12th SS are a powerful force in the game as they arrive enmass with best attack and defence strengths in game and need to be contained or they can threaten Briish beaches.
I did manage to open a corridor past Caen to a German reinforcement zone but with Panzers about I could not commit to many units into it (they do yield 1 VP per turn but they cannot return to map)
To win Allies must at least 5 of the 6 beach areas and accumulate 30 VPs however at games end had all 6 beaches but a mere 4 VPs. 
The loss of several Allied units in the bloodbath at Caen was costly as it offsets an VP gains made.

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