David G. Cox Esq.
Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are.
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.
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.
Tactical Wargamer's Journal
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.
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.
- Last edited Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:35 am (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:30 am
That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
Here's where the map discussion starts on CSW http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?14@@.1dd30ce8/412
Win it or bin it
Win it or bin it
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.