19 December 2008 | Tide of Iron

Storming the Beaches of Normandy Part 2

Read more of Normandy expansion designer Rob Kouba's design notes

by Robert A. Kouba


Man, It’s HotTide of Iron: Normandy brings a lot of compartmentalized rules systems that are independent so that players can choose which ones they like best and utilize those. You can also take sets of these rules and , while not tested, apply them to previously created scenarios to breathe new life into them.

One of the things I am most excited about with the Normandy expansion is the addition of a weather system. We did not want  this new system to detract from the gameplay too much. Having this in mind, I decided to use a small deck that would give small variations on weather that would have been possible during that particular fight to give the players a little “what if” possibility by just requiring a couple of weather checks during the entire scenario. For instance, a particular scenario we were researching ended with a retreat because of a storm. What if that storm came earlier on in the day, or possibly...not at all?

Another interesting note is the inclusion of the “Extreme Heat” card which, if you notice, is not currently used in a Normandy scenario. However, this is perfect for Days of the Fox makeshift weather decks, no?

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Lead the WayAn optional rule that I wanted to include that made the final cut was a choice to use a specific commander to lead your troops. While toying with the possibilities of what commanders could be used for, I had already made a decision to make some decks of cards that could be substituted for normal Strategy card decks since there have been times in Tide of Iron where an assigned deck did not meld with my tactics during the scenario so it was ignored. Naturally, I decided to marry these two ideas into the Commander cards and the Leadership decks.In essence, if both players agree, this option allows each nation to select a commander to lead its forces. Each Commander card allows the player to select from one of two Leadership decks that are customized to that commander’s role in that nation’s battle plan. After selecting a deck, players replace an assigned Strategy card deck with the Leadership deck they chose to use. The decks have the best of the cards associated with the theme of the deck from Tide of Iron and Days of the Fox as well as entirely new cards only available in Normandy.Hmmmm...That’s Point-of-InterestingOne of the new additions to the Operations cards are what we call point-of-interest locations. Certain unique buildings on the map created especially by the artist have functions that are activated when a particular Operations card is in play. For instance, a hospital may be able to heal units or a barracks may be able to bring in reinforcements. The on/off toggle of these special locations allows that many more combinations when creating homebrews. It also allows official scenario designers to create more flavorful content.

How Specialized Are You?When I got to the point of creating specializations for Normandy, I looked at the content I was considering adding and tried to come up with something to complement it. My initial focus was on the destructibility of buildings. I knew that a demolitions expert was the way to go, who could set charges that would be detonated remotely. This also gives you the opportunity to lay traps in potential defensive positions or vehicle paths.


There is only one normal specialization since campaign specializations are used to keep track of squad experience within the campaign. Since I did not want there to be a choice between a normal specialization and a campaign specialization, tokens were included so you can promote all squads, including those with normal specializations.

Move OutThe above sections cover the biggest differences that are present in Normandy. There are still a couple of surprises like the 29th Initiative Card that I will leave you to discover on your own. Hopefully you will enjoy the additions!

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