UNDAUNTED NORTH AFRICA OSPREY GAMES REVIEW

Osprey games have been releasing exciting games for some time. We are very thankful to them for supporting us in exploring their games and allowing us to speak about the games for you to play at home! So, Osprey released UNDAUNTED NORMANDY to great fanfare in 2019. A two player war game, which allowed players to jump straight in to combat. It was everywhere and everyone seemed to be playing it. The reason was very simple, a subtle, relatively simple, nice looking, deck building combat game was a rare thing. One that contained a small number of tokens, cards and had simple, clear scenarios. Almost unheard of. One that immersed the player in WW2 most famous invasion, well that was exceptional. So to the future and last years UNDAUNTED NORTH AFRICA. Ramping up the original with a new setting, series of scenarios and vehicles!

THE GAME

Set in the North African campaign, you can choose to control the British Army’s LRDG (Long Range Desert Group). Think the birth of the SAS, which is what 62 Commando in July 1941 would lead to. Or you could choose to command Italian forces, who are fighting on the Axis side. You open up the box and are faced with a rule book and a scenario book. Next you see there is a set of land tiles, vehicle and structure tiles, player tiles, player cards and a set of dice each. A lot less than I expected in honesty. I open the rulebook. Its heavy. Written to extract fun and excitement but it has some rich detail that you will need. I head to the scenario book and am glad I did so. You have 11 scenarios to campaign through (which can be played in any order) and have these documented in a handy booklet. Each outlines clearly the order of the tiles in the box (which are handily numbered), where each tile goes. Then it outlines the cards required for each round and what your starting deck is and what the supply is.

GAMEPLAY

We are off. You lead your team firstly by defining who has the initiative (this is done by shuffling those starting deck and the drawing four cards and choosing one). The person who chooses the highest number on the top of the card gets the initiative marker and they go first. Both of these cards are discarded to the discard pile. Next each player, plays from the left over 3 cards (which they wish to) to their play area. These define actions. You choose one action and then literally do said action. You have Movement (such as Drive, Move, Scout). These allow you to explore and are well oiled functions in the game. You get what are called Support actions (such as Bolster, where you can remove supply cards to the discard pile or Command, where you can do the opposite and draw cards from the supply deck.) This part is less well oiled due to some of the actions, say Conceal (where players remove fog of war cards from other players supply into their hands) Fog of war is a card that is almost worthless and a pain for anyone holding it. It is hit and miss and seemingly annoyingly irritating if they do not have any. This all leads to combat. Which is a marked strong point in the gameplay and playability of UNDAUNTED NORTH AFRICA.

WHAT DOES THE GAME DO WELL?

Lots. Gameplay is almost perfect. The look, feel and mechanics are smooth and work perfectly in synch and styling. Combat is easy to grasp. The vehicle extra seems to work in tandem with the whole and never becomes bogged down or irritating. The components are few and functional. The tiles have depth and weight. The box is well designed as well!

WHAT DOES IT DO BADLY?

It has too many actions and I cant stand that rulebook! Its heavy in the writing. Seemingly talks at you, without really getting to the point and with play through videos (and some saying the original version was far clearer) it becomes irksome to the point of hostility.

Overall, a mammoth piece of game play for two players to enjoy. This is something you want and we are glad to say, you now have!

https://ospreypublishing.com/undaunted-north-africa

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