Tuesday 5 March 2024

‘Allo, Allo’…Revisiting Heroes of Normandie

You can probably guess how this is going to go….

The back of the box - very high production values and a square grid to boot. I can see myself rewatching any number of WW2 war films for inspiration….

I have a diverse range of interests when it comes to gaming WW2. Growing up as part of the ‘Airfix’ generation, supplemented by Commando and Battle comics and umpteen war films I have probably gamed more facets of WW2 than any other period - land, sea and air from man to man skirmishes to entire strategic level campaigns - so I can safely say I have been there, done that and brought the tee shirt! Having said that I do not profess to be an authority on the period, nor do I claim to have tried every possible gaming type - just a whole lot of ‘stuff’.

Way back in 2020 I picked up a copy of Heroes of Normandie by Devil Pig Games (sadly the company has gone but the game designers/owners will be setting up again at some point) which is WW2 gaming based on Hollywood, complete with cartoon looking characters. All very tongue in cheek but the game is surprisingly nuanced in that whilst the action is fast and furious the combat outcomes feel about right.

There are umpteen expansions around although these are getting more expensive as the rarity factor kicks in. At the time I mentioned that I rather fancied the D Day scenario pack and also Civilians Under Fire - the latter for the French Resistance.

Anyways, I have acquired a basketful of Heroes of Normandie stuff from a gaming chum and have the D Day set and Civilians Under Fire currently winging their way to Maison Crook courtesy of eBay.

The rules and scenarios from the core set and the campaign guide from the Carentan expansion

The Operations Folder contains the play sheets and the hardback rulebook. These come togthere in a slipcase.

The newly acquired set consists of the base game, the Carentan campaign pack, Lord Lovat’s Commandoes, a US army box and also one for the Germans. There is also the Heroes Compendium which includes a hardback updated version of the rules including the ‘Shadows over Normandie’ Weird War 2 stuff and a series of quick reference sheets. All in all a great little collection.

There are other bits and pieces I could add but this little lot will be more than sufficient for the time being. There is also a lot of material on a couple of the Facebook groups I belong to in the shape of extra scenarios etc. There is even a set of counter overlays for the rangers from Saving Private Ryan if you wish although the film was far more serious than many.

What does it all mean then?

Well, I have a number of, for want of a better expression, serious tactical WW2 games including Lock and Load Publishing’s Heroes of North Africa, the Motherland (Eastern Front) and in Defiance (the Western European Blitzkrieg era) along with Panzer: North Africa for my desert based tank fix. I also have Combat Infantry and Combat Infantry: Eastern Front by Columbia Games which are pitched at battalion level.

“Listen carefully, I will say this only once….”

Heroes of Normandie is first and foremost a tongue in cheek take on WW2 in the best traditions of Hollywood and the Commando comic books - all of which have given me much pleasure over the years - and so offers me an almost cartoon style WW2 gaming experience. In short, a lot of fun!

Going forwards

As mentioned in my original 2020 blog post there would be scope for using figures with this game if required. The model count would be very low and so would certainly be doable if required. That is something else to think about though and certainly not just yet!


rross said...

Heroes of Normandie and the related games are great - a friend of mine has backed many of their kickstarters and has lots of their box sets. We have played a few games using 15mm figures over the years, although not for quite some time now - here is one example https://1808534.blogspot.com/2017/01/thursday-29-december-heroes-of_1.html

David Crook said...

Hi rross,

I have to say that the game looked pretty darned good with the 15mm! I would lean more towards 20mm myself if I went down the figures route - as a homage to my Airfix days!

Perhaps you and your friend might revisit the game again at some point - if you do be sure to put it on the blog!

All the best,