Games Reviews

Review: Tigers on the Hunt: Normandy

Tigers on the Hunt: Normandy is the newest DLC addition to the Tigers on the Hunt base game. The original game is required to run the addon, and it comes with two campaign scenarios and six additional battle scenarios. The game itself remains the same, meaning that this DLC is a pure content package similar to the Kursk expansion released a year back.

Tigers on the Hunt is based on the famous Advanced Squad Leaders board game. This, for those not in the know, is one of the hallmarks of tactical wargaming from the early 1970s. The roots of the game series are therefore over half a century old and the mechanics well tested and established.

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Like with most grognard games the learning curve is steep and is aimed at a specific type of player. Though I would usually gripe about lack of intuitive user interface it is not very fitting for this title given that it is more of a computerized board game than a computer simulation. This is also the strength of the game and the major reason players keep coming back to the series. Whereas modern wargames tend to run everything by the mathematics and thus have become complex calculators rather than wargames, Tigers on the Hunt concentrates on simply running the calculations with simple and time-tested rules which, in the end, give the same results as your modern warhead angle and armour thickness calculations.

Squad level segmented action leads the way

The first thing you need to do with the game is to open up the manual and fire up the tutorial scenarios. There really is no other way to learn the ropes. The units in the game are half-squads, squads, leaders, or single vehicles and guns. You can have over two hundred units on any scenario, though with that many units you will tire yourself out sooner or later. The smaller the action the better the game handles it.

Each scenario comes with a set of turns, and each turn is divided into segments. When playing campaign battles these turns represent a longer time-frame(adding day and night cycle), but do not affect the gameplay in any significant way. Each scenario starts with a deployment segment to place the units. After this each turn runs the same fashion: administer your forces, fire if possible, move if necessary, suffer from defensive fire, lay advancing fire, advance if possible, move your routed units to safety, and resolve any close combat. Once the turn ends the sides switch and the same segments are gone through again.

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The one disadvantage of this system is that you can only play multiplayer on hot seat mode: That is to say, on the same computer. Though there are ways around this you will most likely have to settle for playing against the AI.

The game comes with four tutorial scenarios and a walkthrough for these in the manual. These are all necessary and should not be skipped before jumping into the actual action.

What’s new for Normandy?

As said, this game only includes scenarios and campaign content. There doesn’t seem to be anything else added, with even the graphics mostly borrowed from the earlier installations. Whether fighting on the Eastern or the Western front the terrain and the buildings look all the same. Well, there seems to be some sand on a couple of the scenarios.

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The action in the new scenarios is concentrated on the initial battles for the beaches, with two scenarios covering the landing at the Pegasus bridge. The campaigns that come with the add-on are concentrated on the 82nd Airborne. The first one around Amfreville, and the second one at the La Fierce Causeway. Both of the campaigns cover four days of action and can last up to 44 turns. The campaigns are quite well planned, and your flame for action is not smothered away by size or multitude of units. There is a certain flow that keeps the action fresh, at least for a time.

Other than this the addon doesn’t really add anything of substance. If you are interested in professional work then this all might be worth the price, otherwise, you can simply download scenarios from the mod database for free.

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