Part deck builder and part skirmish game, Undaunted: Normandy from Osprey Games has quickly climbed the list to become one of my favorite games. After playing 7 of the games’ 12 missions, it’s time for a hot take.
- Solo Mode – With our group unable to meet up and play, all the missions I’ve played have been using the Seek Out and Play solo rules. Although the game is designed to be an intense head-to-head two player strategy game, with a slight tweak I was able to engage in a rewarding solo variant. Almost every mission has come down to a knife’s edge!
- Escalation – During the course of the games’ 12 missions you are introduced to new units and game mechanics. During the first mission you only command Riflemen and Scouts. But by the seventh you’ve access got Platoon Guides, Snipers, Machine Gunners, Mortars and an entire third squad. And because none of this is thrown at you all at once you never feel overwhelmed.
- The Weight of Command – To put it simply, your choices matter. The units you pick to activate, and how you active them has substantial and often immediate consequences. Being a deck building game, you are simultaneously trying to keep your deck lean and efficient but you also need to keep enough cards in your deck to absorb casualties.
- The Art – The art on the cards, tokens and tiles by Roland MacDonald is fantastic. The graphic design is also top notch and allows for quick and easy reference.
- Opportunity for Expansion – The historical setting of Late War Western Europe was perfect for the first installment of the series. Players even remotely familiar with WWII history will immediately recognize this setting. I am thrilled to see an expansion already in the works – Undaunted: North Africa!
- The Tokens – The art may be fantastic, but the games’ tokens are lacking. They all feel just a bit flimsy. A thicker cardstock or a different material would alleviate this but that would probably drive up the price point of the game. This feels like a bit of nitpick, I really don’t have anything bad to say about this game.
I love this game. And just like their previous release, Warchest, designers David Thompson and Trevor Benjamin have once again knocked it out of the park. I still have five missions to go but I cannot imagine my opinion changing. This game is hot. I cannot wait to bring this one out to the group and introduce more players (and also play the proper two-player version)!