A follow up to this post, I have now been able to start a solitaire game of Normandy ’44. Here’s the first part of how it went.
Unsurprisingly, the game starts with a special Invasion Phase.
Invasion! Airborne Landings
Note: an S means the unit scatters. It doesn’t move anywhere, but is stuck in its hex and may neither move nor attack. A 1 or a 2 means the unit loses that number of steps. Most of the Airborne units are three steppers. One of the step losses from landing for each such unit is accumulated as replacements – troops temporarily out of action. NE means no effect.
- The three units of the 82nd Airborne land with S2, S, and S2 results.
- The three units of the 101st Airborne land with S1, NE, and S2 results.
- The three units of the British 6th Airborne land with NE, S, and S1 results.
Invasion! Seaborne Landings
Note: the game handles the invasion from the sea (for infantry units) with a simple roll of a six sided die (1d6) on a table, with different columns for Omaha, Utah, and the other beaches. The landings will always succeed and eliminate the strongpoint defenders, except at Omaha. A roll of ‘1’ there causes a step loss and a reroll. If the Allied player keeps rolling a ‘1’ he keeps taking the step loss and does another reroll. In theory, the invasion could be bloodily repulsed at Omaha.
Tank units roll separately with a 50% chance of either result: a step loss or no effect.
- Utah Beach – one infantry step and one tank step lost.
- Pointe du Hoc – 2nd Ranger Battalion loses one step and the 5th Ranger Battalion is diverted to Omaha Beach.
- Omaha Beach – two infantry steps and one tank step lost for the 29th Division
- Omaha Beach – two infantry steps lost for the 1st Division
- Gold Beach (Jig) – one infantry step lost
- Gold Beach (King) – one tank step lost
- Juno Beach (Mike) – one infantry step and one tank step lost.
- Juno Beach (Nan) – two infantry steps are lost
- Sword Beach – no losses
Invasion! German Reaction
Note: the game has a subsystem that allows units that suffer a combat retreat to try and overcome this with a roll on the Determined Defense Table. Units that do retreat are marked as Disrupted, recovering at the end of their own side’s turn. Disruption effectively means the unit cannot attack, but it can defend.
German units scramble to form and hold a line. The 21st Panzer Division has a reduced movement allowance this turn.
The Germans close on and eliminate one Airborne cadre (the last step of a three step unit) near Utah Beach. Parts of the 21st Panzer Division do the same to a smaller British Airborne unit (the last step of a two step unit).
In their Reserve Phase, elements of the 21st Panzer Division exchange step losses with another of the British Airborne units.
Invasion! Allied Follow Up
Utah Beach – aided by the follow up units, the Allies attack creates some space by eliminating one strongpoint and one Ost battalion, and driving back another German defender.
Omaha Beach – despite naval support, the breakout from the beaches runs in to a determined defense. The follow up units have nowhere to land and must wait. It’s not looking good here.
Gold and Juno Beaches – Allied forces pile on to the beaches and try and carve out some space. One retreat and one step loss with a retreat are inflicted on the defenders, but the third attack is stalled by a determined defense built around an 88 (anti-tank gun) unit.
Sword Beach and 6th Airborne – Allied forces make two successful attacks to establish a more secure position, though the Airborne units are still exposed.
End of Game Turn One Pictures
The preceding is a replay of the invasion and first game turn from the example of play in the rulebook. I followed this because I thought it would help me assimilate the rules, and I think it was a good choice.
Mark Simonitch’s games are serious studies, without too high a level of complexity. But, his approach does not always follow more traditional, established gaming routines. For example, as well as zones of control (ZOC) he uses ZOC bonds. And he does not shy away from making exceptions to rules to tweak them into shape. For example, units can stop their retreat early if they enter certain terrain. It’s not difficult, but you do have to remember the exceptions.
Playing through a commented example turn helped me with learning the rules and some of their little trip-you-up details. From here on, I’m on my own…