There is a lot of WW2 games out there, these cover almost any type of action you can think of. Large scale games, to games with only a squad or so of figures, you name it and there is a rules set for it. Normandy Firefight looks at the smaller scale of this when it comes to the amount of figures you need, the rules are wrote for the larger scale of 54mm but not exclusively.
Sadly we only had our 28mm stuff to use but that didn’t cause a problem even as we played the rules straight, no slimming down the ranges and even had a slightly bigger board than required. But the main premise of the game is detailed skirmish combat, it says so on the front of the book, small scale games with a small amount of figures. You are looking at about 3-6 a side.
There are no points costs for each man, you just have to roll them up before each game to see if they get any skills or different weapon types from the standard rifle. Also you should name as them as well because this gives them more character. You will also have to make up some squad lists or so on, as each round will have to be recorded when fired as well as how many magazines they have and other details like wounds.
The rules are written in a logical order and are quite easy to pick up whilst just using the quick reference sheet at the back of the book. Of course, a read through will be needed but it didn’t take much to get us up and running. There was one thing that we thought were missing from the rules and that was interrupt fire. The rules allow you to aim to gain bonuses for the next round but someone will have to stop within 3″ of where you are aiming, and you have to declare this. So you could be aiming at the end of an alleyway and if someone runs across it and back out of view you can’t do anything. As in this game you look closer at the actions of each man more, we felt this would be a good inclusion to the game.
We struggled with grenades a lot, at first we thought we had it down, and they seemed quite devastating if caught in the open. But after a bit more of a look in the book we found that the part we had problems with, the damage, was still done on a dice roll. The throw was good, over a wall and a panther tank, then the grenade even screwed back like a Tiger Woods approach shot, right next to the German solider. Grenades are done last in the turn to give you a chance to get out of the way if that character hasn’t been yet.
Sadly this guy had gone, but was flat on his belly taking pot shots at the yanks. We rolled his blast damage about five times but couldn’t get it at a level where we thought it was right for someone who had just had a grenade go off next to him. Each time it was really low for someone so close, and this made us think we had done it wrong. In the end we just concluded he was lucky as the blast and shrapnel damage came to less then 20%.
We rolled up mission three from the book to play out, an officers scout car had been hit by a mine and both sides were out to recover what they could from the crash site. This played out very well and turned into a tense firefight for the objective that changed hands a couple of times. A lot of people went down with shots to arms and legs but I guess that’s war.
One aspect of this game I like is that if you have teams, you aren’t allowed to talk between your team mates about your actions. A turn can be spent to try and relay some info to each other, this makes it more tense as your troopers are trying to work things out for themselves and don’t have the big eye in the sky to help them as much.
Overall this game was good, we at the end wanted to play it again and get our heads around the grenade part of the rules better and try some different table lay outs. Also we want to have a battle with more figures on one side and see if we can do a stout defense type game. I feel this rule set fits in with quite a lot of the different types of ww2 games I’m looking to play, and feel it would bring out the creative side in building and table design. Normandy Firefight is well worth a look in my opinion.