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David G. Cox Esq.
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Paul Koenig’s D-Day: The Canadian Beach
D-Day Battle Game – June 6th to 8th, 1944



Designed by Paul Koenig
Published by Victory Point Games (2008)



I was quite interested when I heard of Victory Point Games – I felt the concept of small, quick-playing wargames was a good idea. I looked at several of the games and decided that one of the D-Day series sounded like a good option – I am certainly interested in the topic – and chose the Canadian Beach simply as it had the highest BGG rating of the three games in the series.


Inventory


1 x 17”x11’ Map with tables and charts printed on the map.

20 x double-sided hit markers


40 x combat units and markers.

General System Rules PLUS Exclusive Rules just for Juno Beach.


How Does It Work


The game system is remarkably simple and straight-forward.

Both players have colour-coded counters that are broken into ‘commands’. Each set of coloured combat units has a command chit which is placed into a cup. When each command chit is drawn the combat units with matching colour are activated. In this way all units will become active at some time each turn but you don’t know when the units will become active.

When a ‘command’ is activated all the units have a choice regarding what they do. They can do Movement (this includes entering a hex occupied by a single enemy unit and having close combat), Full Fire (not moving and shooting an adjacent enemy unit) or Combined (move using half movement factors and then firing, at half strength, at an adjacent enemy unit).
The terrain effects chart is printed on the map and shows both the movement cost and the combat modifier for each of the different types of terrain.


Impressions of the Game

Despite the primitive DTP-type components, the game actually looks quite good. The rules are clearly written and well laid out.

The game is highly interactive and moves along quickly and simply. The activation, movement and combat systems all work like a charm.

The only problem with the game is that due to the small number of counters the random effect of luck can be quite disproportionate.

Both players have only 12 units. Each unit will be destroyed when it takes three hits during combat. Because of the impact of the initial landing rolls (yes, each allied unit must make a die roll as it enters the game to see if something nasty happens to it) and the nature of the combat system it is very easy for luck to play an overly large part in the game.

During the game players have the choice of using fire combat (where you shoot at adjacent units) or using close combat (where the defender gets a chance to shoot at the attacker first, and if they score a hit the attacker must retreat without having fired). As the allied units tend to be higher in quality it is much safer for the Germans to concentrate on firing. As the allied units need to take ground they really have to resort to close combat even with its greater intrinsic danger.



As a quick and easy game that is suitable as an introductory game Juno is fine. It’s only real problem is that it is too prone to randomness but that is part and parcel of having a small game with no more than 24 combat units on the map. To put it in perspective, I rather like the Quatre Bras scenario of Napoleon’s Last Battles but it has the same complaint that due to the small number of combat units the dice can destroy good play. But this sort of randomness certainly makes for an exciting game.




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Michael Dorosh
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The design of the map seems a little odd - the historical objectives for JUNO were in a straight line away from the beach; three phase lines code named YEW, ELM and OAK. YEW extended tightly around the invasion site and I expect encompass the victory conditions of this game - but very much include St. Aubin-sur-Mer, which NAN RED Beach landed directly in front of. The map on the game board has St. Aubin well to the east. In fact, all the landing beaches seem clustered in a corner of the map out of relation to reality. MIKE was divided into GREEN and RED in actuality, with GREEN opposite the town of Vaux and RED on the western portion of Courseulles-sur-Mer.

The second objective line, ELM, about three miles inland, included the radar station at Douvres-la-Delivrande, a pesky outpost which had to be taken by deliberate assault with tank support long after June 6th. I see it is included on the map, or at least presume that is the objective hex. The final objective, OAK, was the Caen-Bayeux railway line, which only a handful of tanks of the 6th Armoured Regiment managed to reach. I can understand leaving this off the map and concentrating on the attainable goals as a realistic victory condition.

Pedantry aside, looks like a fun little game and the artwork is first rate. Just curious about the map design; the rationale for these decisions is not always apparent just by looking, hence the question. I actually walked the real Juno Beach this summer and have acquired a bit of an interest in the subject.

A look at a map of operations on D-Day shows a fairly straight approach march from the beaches to the final positions attained. So the placement of the entry hexes seems quite unusual at first glance. Would be interested in hearing from the developer or a reviewer in hearing some more on why these choices were made. At first glance it would seem any "invasion" on this map would be crowded into the top corner and have to make a left hook down and into the towns, when in reality the North Shores, QOR and Chaudiere came straight on into Bernières and St. Aubin and roared south into Tailleville and Bény-sur-Mer, with the North Novies going as far as Villons-les-Buissons and the QOR making it to Anisy, all in a fairly straight-south course from the landing beaches on NAN WHITE and NAN RED.
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Brad Malet-Veale
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Michael, Paul Koenig addresses these points you made over on the ConsimWorld Forms for Juno beach. He's making an Expanded Edition that will connect all five beaches together, plus, he will make all these corrections for Juno beach in that version. He states he will even add the code names for every beach zone not landed on for historical interest as well.
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Mark Johnson
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Here's where the map discussion starts on CSW http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?14@@.1dd30ce8/412
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J. Emmett
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I wonder if this was the book Paul Koenig used? D-Day: The First 24 Hours, by Will Fowler (2003, though this pic is from the 2006 edition). Found it (2003 and 2006) in a used bookstore over the weekend. This map doesn't look anything like the maps in Mark Zuehlke's Juno Beach (2004) or Tim Cook's Fight to the Finish (2015):



I'm thinking about redesigning PKDD:TCB (in lieu of a new edition), not that I've ever designed a game before. But I started re-reading Zuehlke's book and Terry Copp's Fields of Fire with the game in mind; plus I have Cook's book and Antony Beevor's D-Day. Any other recommendations? Could be interesting.
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Joe Osentoski
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On the topic, and for a Juno Beach game I put together using the old Armchair General/Lock n Load "Omaha Beach" system, I used these for references on Juno:

1. Anderson, Richard C. Cracking Hitler’s Atlantic Wall. London, Stackpole Books, 2009. 288 pages. ISBN 0811705897. Excellent content on development of Funnies, training, and new material on actions during D-Day at all British/Canadian beaches. Even has section on US beaches. Detailed content on defenses, action on each beach, and multiple maps and diagrams to show situations.

2. Anon. St. Aubin, Sword & Juno Beaches 1944 (map). Leadgate, Consett, UK, Alan Godfrey Maps, 2004. ISBN 1-84151-692-9. Reprint of the BIGOT map. Only covers east half of Juno Beach.

3. Bernage, Georges. The D.Day Landing Beaches. Bayeux, France, Heimdal, 2001. 96 pages. ISBN 2-84048-137-5. General text, goes through each beach with current photos, some “then and now.” Maps are general and text of the operations is general.

4. Blandford, Edmund. Two Sides of the Beach: The Invasion and Defense of Europe in 1944. Edison, New Jersey, Castle Books, 1999. 266 pages. ISBN 0-7858-1367-5. Mostly personal quotes of participants. Despite title very little information on D-Day but addresses Normandy Campaign. Takes great pains to mention Canadian killings of German prisoners in defense of the recorded SS killings of Canadians. Little value.

5. Bousel, Patrice. D-Day Beaches: pocket guide. Paris, Presses de la Cite, 1964. 224 pages. ISBN 2-258-01375-5. General travel guide for the Normandy beaches. Minimal hard information, few maps.

6. Chant, Christopher. Order of Battle: Gold and Juno Beaches. Braceborough, UK, Ravelin. 32 pages. ISBN 1-898994-01-03. Detailed information listing units but incomplete regarding “Funnies” and organization. Minimal history provides overview of D-Day for these beaches and overview of units involved. Many units listed in order of battle, but not how they were used or involved in the landings. Gives general British/Canadian infantry company organization numbers.

7. Delaforce, Patrick. Churchill’s Secret Weapons: The Story of Hobart’s Funnies. Barnsley, England, Pen & Sword, 2007. 256 pages. 1-84415-464-5. Covers development of the Funnies and the employment of the 79th Armoured Division beyond Normandy. Short section on D-Day covering each beach.

8. Ellis, L.F., Victory in the West, Battery Press, Nashville, TN (reprint of 1962), 1993. 640 pages. ISBN 0-8939-193-8. British official history, with landings taking up a small portion (20 or so pages). Good for overview of landings.

9. Ford, Ken. Juno Beach: Battlezone Normandy. Sparkford, England, Sutton Publishing, 2004. 192 pages. ISBN 0-7509-3007-1. Combination history and travel guide. Overlays information onto copies of BIGOT maps. Gives tour information to see sights. History section is concise version of the flow of the battle.

10. Ford, Ken. Juno & Gold Beaches. Oxford, United Kingdom, Osprey, 2002. 96 pages. ISBN 1-84176-368-3. Uneven presentation of graphic material for each beach, and surprisingly no photos of actual landings. Nice map of German defenses and strongpoints along with strength, although maps have errors between defenses listed in text and defenses on the maps. Good starting reference.

11. Fowler, Will. D-Day: The First 24 Hours. London, Amber Books, 2003. 192 pages. ISBN 1-930983-22-0. Maps are of little use, being edited versions found in other sources. Text stays general, repeated anecdotes of where paratroopers landed, number of British landing craft damaged by mines, etc.

12. Goddard, Lance. Juno Beach: Canada’s 24 Hours of Destiny. Toronto, Dundurn Press, 2004. 256 pages. ISBN 1-55002-492-2. Companion book for Juno Beach Centre, full of errors, strong on reminiscences, not on data or maps.

13. Hall, Tony (ed.). D-Day: The Strategy, The Men, The Equipment. Osceola, WI, MBI Publishing, 2001. 224 pages. ISBN 0-7603-1192-7. Photos of equipment used by both sides, some (unfortunately tiny) copies of actual D-Day Allied maps of each beach and their areas, some then and now photos, general history of each beach, not broken down to unit level.

14. Holderfeld, Randy, and Varhola, Michael J. D-Day: The Invasion of Normandy. Conshohocken, PA, Savas Publishing Company. 220 pages. ISBN-1-8828-1046-5. Facts lite. Inconsistent presentation, no useful maps, but little snippets of information on all aspects of D-Day.

15. Kemp, Anthony. D-Day and the Invasion of Normandy. New York, Harry N. Abrams, 1994. 194 pages. ISBN 0-8109-2826-4. Generic content for the casual reader on the topic. Little hard data except what is repeated in multiple sources. Lots of uniforms and photo collages of D-Day equipment, but general information only.

16. Macksey, Kenneth. Armoured Crusader: The Biography of Major-General Sir Percy Hobart. London, Grub Street, 2004. 348 pages. ISBN 1-904010-64-4. Biography of Hobart and less on D-Day that covers only one abbreviated chapter. Some technical information on Funnies development (mostly DD tanks) but not much on application.

17. Man, John. The D-Day Atlas. New York, Swanston Publishing, 1994. 144 pages. ISBN 0-8160-3137-1. Juno section given short shrift. Maps are simplified, text is simplified. Inconsistent presentation of information for each beach and little order of battle information.

18. Martin, Maj. J.R. Report No. 147 Historical Section Canadian Military Headquarters, Part One: The Assault and Subsequent Operations of 3 Cdn Inf Div and 2 Cdn Armd Bde, 6-30 June 44-N.W. Europe. Directorate of History, Department of National Defence, 3 December 1945. Prepared by Canadian official historians. Gives both chronology and opinion on multiple aspects of D-Day operations and immediate follow-up.

19. McElfresh, Earl. Le Havre to Cherbourg: Normandy at D-Day 1944. Olean, NY, McElfrish Map Co., 2004. Map. ISBN 1-885294-29-8. Large scale map of entire Normandy coastline not detailed on the beaches, some interesting commentary on how the Allies mapped the areas, but not enough detail for use on any individual beach except Omaha inset.

20. Saunders, Tim. Juno Beach: 3rd Canadian & 79th Armoured Divisions. Montreal, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2004. 192 pages. ISBN 0-7735-2792-3. Excellent material, especially referencing Funnies and their assault teams. Overlays information onto blown up copies of the BIGOT maps to show unit movements versus German defenses. Maps have some irritating errors regarding defenses and unit placements.

21. Stacey, Col. CP. The Victory Campaign: The Operations in North-West Europe, 1944-1945. Ottawa, Queen’s Printer, 1961. 821 pages. Canadian official history devotes one chapter on Overlord planning and one chapter to D-Day events.

22. Thompson, RW. D-Day: Spearhead of Invasion. New York, Ballantine, 1968. 160 pages. Juno given minimal coverage and lumped in with Gold and Sword. Basic overview only.

23. Zaloga, Steven. D-Day: D-Day Fortifications in Normandy. Oxford, Osprey, 2005. 64 pages. ISBN 1841768766. Composition of fortresses in Normandy including all beaches. Charts and comparative tables of interest. Reused maps from other Osprey books on topic.

24. Zuehlke, Ken. Juno Beach: Canada’s D-Day Victory. Vancouver, Canada, Douglas & McIntyre, 2004. 416 pages. ISBN 978-1-55365-091-1. Canadian version of Cornelius Ryan’s work. Extensively uses personal reminiscences. Difficult to follow specific sections in the larger battle due to lack of detailed maps. Does excellent job in highlighting extent of loss and giving mental picture of what it was like to land on D-Day. Also covers Canadian paratroops.
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Joe Osentoski
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And I found this website to be useful as well:

www.forces.gc/ca/dhh/collections/books/engraph/home_e.asp. Canadian Department of Defence, History section.


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J. Emmett
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Amazing! Thanks for the annotated bibliography. I'm reading Stacey's book, or at least the first 150 pages (beginning of the planning, up to end of June), and it's really useful.

Is your Juno game shareable? I would love to try it out.
 
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