Undaunted Normandy is a two player World War II deckbuilding game set in June 1944 after the D-Day landings, where players control either US troops arriving to join the Allies in occupied France or the defending German forces. There are 12 scenarios to play through increasing in complexity and with objectives becoming asymmetrical in nature. Games are played on pre-selected double sided thick card tiles to represent a unique map, each nicely illustrated and with different elements such as farms, woodland, rivers which add varying combat cover for your troops.
Each player has a similar card deck with each card representing a unit of troops such as scout or riflemen, which when drawn in your round hand of four each turn can be given a basic instructions to move, control an area or attack. Alongside these are commander cards which allow you to draw more reinforcements or replay another unit, and in later games new troops enter such as mortar, machine gunners or snipers have special rules. Each round of play involves players initially sacrificing a card to gain the initiative, a pay off of getting in first against losing an important command. Playing cards will issue unit commands on the battlefield during your turn, as you aim to control areas of the map or take the battle to your opponent.
This game condenses a skirmish battle into a meaningful set of decisions with combat a simple yet brilliant ten sided dice difficulty roll, with troop protection adjusted for terrain cover and distance, which just makes sense and works. As you scout further afield, a fog of war mechanism hampers your hand draw representing the difficulties of communication as you spread out. Combat loss is represented by losing a relevant squad card from your deck and as you only have a set number of each type, you need to stay aware of your reinforcement potential.
I have wanted an Allies v Axis game for a long time, but most are overly complex or fiddly for me to bother with, as two player games here are relatively rare events. So up until now Memior 44 was arguably my best bet, however as i owned Battlelore 2nd edition, essentially the same game but a fantasy theme, i have never felt it worth purchasing. Undaunted Normandy has proven a perfect addition, it looks great and artwork is really nice, and the gameplay is smooth, easy to teach and straightforward with a low key deckbuilding that works well for less experienced gamers. It is also great value for a cheaper game, components are good, although card quality is slightly on the thinner side compared to kickstarters, so sleeving may be a reasonable idea. This has been a great new addition to my family list, and i guess it has potential to be expanded too into new locations or factions > family games.