Let’s start here, I’m a huge fan of Heroes of Normandie and may be somewhat biased, but That said I’m going to be as honest as possible.
Quick Score for those who don’t want to read.
Graphics and Art: 10
Rules and Mechanics: 10
Manual Clarity: 6
Game Play: 10
Setup time: 6
And now the full Review:
First the good:
Starting with the art: Alex, Clem, and Yann, have done a great job creating a unique and pleasing to look at art style. From the caricature heroes to the hand drawn style token art, all of the art comes together to form a very unified style. That when you see it if says that’s “Heroes of Normandie.”
Next up is one of the most important things for a game to have: good, easy to learn rules. The rules for HoN are fantastic, quick, and simple. Once you learn the somewhat arcane language of the symbols you can quickly determine anything from short-range line of sight, to combat strength. The only draw back of the system is there are symbols and icons everywhere, from the terrain to the unit, to equipment tokens. It can fee a bit busy at times.
Second the Mixed:
The rule manual, wile the majority of rules are very easy to learn, some of the minutia can be a bit obscure. The manual is laid out in turn order which is good, although seems to throw some folks off. But if you know what phase of the game your in it pretty easy to find what you need. Also the improved version 1.1 rules clarify some of the murkier points. Download it here: http://www.devil-pig-games.com/en/downloads/
Another point of confusion and possible table arguments is Line of Sight at long-range. While the Devil Pig guys did there best to make things as clear as possible, there are still times when it can get quite confusing. This is really a problem at ranges greater then 7 which is likely why long-range shots get an automatic penalty (to discourage you from making them). The problem is at long-ranges a shot could appear to be crossing between to different squares. In that case players have to decide which square the shot passes through. If one would create a substantial advantage for either player, you can see where an argument could arise.
Finally the Bad:
Setup time, this is a common complaint with large war games and it’s pretty much unavoidable if you want customizable units, and maps. On average it takes 20 minutes to set up a medium sized game approximately 300 points. So HoN may not be your lunch break game of choice. On the bright side play time once you set it up is less than an hour for that size of game.
As a fan of the game since the Kickstarter launched its hard for me to find fault in it, and while it has minors flaws here and there overall it’s a great game. I cannot recommend it to war-game fans enough. Let me finish by saying to the hardcore historical fans, don’t be turned off by the cartoon heroes, you don’t have to play with them. The scenario generation rules allow you to play “historically accurate” engagements. That are just as fun as those with over the top heroes.
Now there were some misprinted items, but these will be corrected for the retail version, so I’m not letting that effect my review. Also a major compliant of US backers of the Kickstarter was the packing and shipping was not up to par, and there some damage. But this was beyond the control of the creators, and will not likely be repeated.
That is all.
If you have any specific questions or concerns, please comment, and I’ll do my best to address them.