Review: Rapid Fire – Normandy Battlegames

Rating:  4 stars

Rapid Fire is a World War II set of rules that has been around for some time, but has proven to be enduringly popular, not the least because it remains well supported by the authors.

This latest title follows on from the previous supplement; Normandy Battlegroups, which gave balanced forces for fighting battles in Normandy in June 1944. This new 64 page softback book takes those Battlegroups and then applies them into thirteen scenarios that were fought in the first three weeks after D-Day. Each scenario still gives an outline of the forces present so can be played without the previous book, although the author recommends that both books are used in conjunction with one another.

Each scenario is laid out in a similar format, first giving details of the historical action, and then outlining the various game parameters: Game length, objectives, victory conditions, forces involved, deployment and reinforcements. A full-page, full colour map is then provided of the table, followed by a detailed breakdown of the individual models required.

The thirteen scenarios provided include 10 stand-alone games and a 3-game linked campaign. The details are as follows:

  • Villiers-Le-Sec – June 6th 1944
  • Lebisey – June 7th 1944
  • Norrey and Putot – June 8th 1944
  • La Fiere – June 8/9th 1944
  • Cambes – June 9th 1944
  • Le Bas de Ranville and Herouvillette – June 9th 1944
  • Cristot – June 11th 1944
  • Villers Bocage – June 13th 1944
  • Across the Elle – June 13th/14th 1944
  • Operation Mitten – June 27th/28th 1944
  • Carentan Game 1 – St Come-du-Mont – June 8 1944
  • Carentan Game 2 – Defence of Carentan– June 10th – 12th 1944
  •  Carentan Game 3 – Battle for Carentan – June 13th 1944

As well as all the scenario details, the book is full of primarily colour photos. Many are of games in action, and include a wide range of models and scenery. There are many contemporary photos of the battlefields (primarily iconic buildings such as Cambes Church, Chateau de la Londe or Dead Man’s Corner) plus a few period pictures.

Whilst aimed at Rapid Fire, with a bit of work these scenarios would be easily useable by other rulesets. Rapid Fire is a brigade-level game, with each force being broken down into a number of battalions. However, as forces are not represented 1:1 in models, each battalion roughly equates (in model count) to a platoon, so the scenarios could easily be played using Company Level rules such as I Ain’t Been Shot Mum, Blitzkrieg Commander or Iron Cross. Similarly, the table sizes are a little strange, with the standard table being 7’ x 5’ (rather than 6’ x 4’) – I think this is because the slightly larger size roughly equates to the size of a table-tennis table. Again, these tables can be easily adapted to a slightly smaller size – especially if you are gaming in 15mm rather than Rapid Fire’s usual 20mm.

Overall, this is an excellently put together resource which, whilst best for existing Rapid Fire players, will be of a great deal of use for anyone gaming in Normandy during World War II. It’s well written, colourful and interesting.

Normandy Battlegames can be purchased for £16 from the Rapid Fire website.

Review Disclaimer: The publisher provided a review copy of these rules

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