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Undaunted: North Africa

Undaunted: North Africa

Game Information

Publisher
Players
2 - 2
Osprey Games

The Undaunted series is set to continue with Undaunted: North Africa, a new two-player deck-building game of tactical combat designed by David Thompson and Trevor Benjamin, with illustrations by Roland MacDonald.

The game puts players in command of either the Long Range Desert Group, a reconnaissance and covert operations unit of the British Army, or a unit of the conventional Italian army. Each player will have to use their forces and the landscape to their advantage as they strive to claim, hold, or destroy key objectives over a series of missions.

Building upon the critically-acclaimed Undaunted system, Undaunted: North Africa is sure to test players leadership skills to their limit. Fortunately they’ll have some extra tools at their disposal, with the introduction of new actions, soldier types, vehicles, structures, and more!

The North African Campaign has begun. Take control of the British Army’s Long Range Desert Group and operate behind enemy lines or command the formidable Italian forces opposing them. In this sequel to Undaunted: Normandy, players will once again lead their sides through a varied series of missions. As casualties mount, wounded units leave the players’ decks, forcing them to adapt in the face of changing tactical circumstances. Use your cards to strengthen your forces, deploy vehicles to advance rapidly across the battlefield, and seize the initiative as you determine the outcome of the North African Theatre.


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southernman's Avatar
southernman replied the topic: #305096 13 Dec 2019 14:35
Yay !!!! - Kiwis.
Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #305097 13 Dec 2019 14:49
This is a GREAT design. That I absolutely wish was not WWII. I’m not into role playing as the Wehrmacht and there is no subject more played out than WWII. But the first game is amazing, and this one likes will be too.
southernman's Avatar
southernman replied the topic: #305098 13 Dec 2019 16:07

Michael Barnes wrote: This is a GREAT design. That I absolutely wish was not WWII. I’m not into role playing as the Wehrmacht and there is no subject more played out than WWII. But the first game is amazing, and this one likes will be too.


Italians, not the Wehrmacht.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #305099 13 Dec 2019 17:10
He’s talking about the first game. And I agree, HUGE strike against it.
southernman's Avatar
southernman replied the topic: #305108 14 Dec 2019 09:34
Unless I have to explicitly murder prisoners or execute civilians I have no problem playing games based in WW2 theatres, or any other conflict in human history. It's not as if games like this are never discussed or played by people here, didn't Matt review the first one (or was that another Normandy one) ?
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #305110 14 Dec 2019 13:46

southernman wrote: Unless I have to explicitly murder prisoners or execute civilians I have no problem playing games based in WW2 theatres, or any other conflict in human history. It's not as if games like this are never discussed or played by people here, didn't Matt review the first one (or was that another Normandy one) ?


Undaunted Normandy been getting nothing but raves here. Matt reviewed it. Josh and Al discussed it on the podcast. Everytime it comes up, people say good things about it.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #305111 14 Dec 2019 13:46
There's a wide variance on the site vis a vis this subject, southernman, we have lots of straight wargame content. It's just how Josh and Michael feel.

Edit: beaten by ubarose
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #305125 15 Dec 2019 11:04
This may be the only game I purchase for Christmas this year. I have nothing on my list and I've been holding off because Combat Commander keeps getting offered up in trade. But it's fallen through twice.

I only have one unplayed game at the moment.
Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #305126 15 Dec 2019 11:12
I’m going to write an article about this subject but at a high level, this is a situation much like Lovecraft- it’s a personal decision and I don’t judge anyone politically for choosing to play WWII games, but maybe with the current rise of nationalism and extreme right politics it’s time to rethink the value of playing as the Wehrmacht.

Thing is, there is absolutely zero historical or educational value in playing most games where you can be the Nazis and historical verisimilitude I could give a fuck about. The lingering popularity of WWII as a game subject has more to do with boomer white men gaming and fantasizing about being Nazis and trainspotting Panzers in the 1970s and 1980s than it does any actual attempt at analyzing or evaluating the more interesting and culturally relevant aspects of WWII.

I -love- Undaunted. But I sit down to play it with my son, he asks why he’s fighting the Germans, I explain it to him at the very highest level, and he looks at me and says “why would you want to play as the Nazis”? That’s not the kind of conversation I want to have playing games- I am all for games taking on challenging and difficult subject matter, but after years and years of hand-waving the notion of refighting WWII and representing Nazis...I’m done with it.
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #305132 15 Dec 2019 13:40
Here's an idea: hotseat does an article on making a game where everything historic wise, such as weapons, are filled in for you versus creating an entirely new planet/ universe and the weapons found to avoid backlash.
hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #305133 15 Dec 2019 14:14
I could and should do that... we are taking a LOT of steps in Phantom Division to avoid the complaints we got from SEAL Team Flix.

Ditching the real world is incredibly freeing.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #305134 15 Dec 2019 19:29

Michael Barnes wrote: I’m going to write an article about this subject but at a high level, this is a situation much like Lovecraft- it’s a personal decision and I don’t judge anyone politically for choosing to play WWII games, but maybe with the current rise of nationalism and extreme right politics it’s time to rethink the value of playing as the Wehrmacht.

Thing is, there is absolutely zero historical or educational value in playing most games where you can be the Nazis and historical verisimilitude I could give a fuck about. The lingering popularity of WWII as a game subject has more to do with boomer white men gaming and fantasizing about being Nazis and trainspotting Panzers in the 1970s and 1980s than it does any actual attempt at analyzing or evaluating the more interesting and culturally relevant aspects of WWII.

I -love- Undaunted. But I sit down to play it with my son, he asks why he’s fighting the Germans, I explain it to him at the very highest level, and he looks at me and says “why would you want to play as the Nazis”? That’s not the kind of conversation I want to have playing games- I am all for games taking on challenging and difficult subject matter, but after years and years of hand-waving the notion of refighting WWII and representing Nazis...I’m done with it.


Quite the unburdening, but you just ruled out playing every war in world history.

Let's make a pretend world where everyone is the good guys instead.

Now I sort of have to buy it.
seanmac31's Avatar
seanmac31 replied the topic: #305142 15 Dec 2019 22:44
Easily the best game of 2019. I would have preferred an Eastern Front expansion, but will be happy to take what is on offer.
marcnelsonjr's Avatar
marcnelsonjr replied the topic: #305211 17 Dec 2019 16:53
It's pretty silly to need to be the "good" guys in a wargame, or any other game involving violence...

"Oh, it's OK - I have a GOOD reason to rip people's bodies apart with high explosives."

Either accept that games aren't real, or stick to Candy Land. Or does that send a problematic message about obesity? ;)
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #305212 17 Dec 2019 20:15
Lord Licorice is a jackass. It's out.
ModelVillain's Avatar
ModelVillain replied the topic: #305237 18 Dec 2019 17:35

Michael Barnes wrote: I’m going to write an article about this subject but at a high level, this is a situation much like Lovecraft- it’s a personal decision and I don’t judge anyone politically for choosing to play WWII games, but maybe with the current rise of nationalism and extreme right politics it’s time to rethink the value of playing as the Wehrmacht.

Thing is, there is absolutely zero historical or educational value in playing most games where you can be the Nazis and historical verisimilitude I could give a fuck about. The lingering popularity of WWII as a game subject has more to do with boomer white men gaming and fantasizing about being Nazis and trainspotting Panzers in the 1970s and 1980s than it does any actual attempt at analyzing or evaluating the more interesting and culturally relevant aspects of WWII.

I -love- Undaunted. But I sit down to play it with my son, he asks why he’s fighting the Germans, I explain it to him at the very highest level, and he looks at me and says “why would you want to play as the Nazis”? That’s not the kind of conversation I want to have playing games- I am all for games taking on challenging and difficult subject matter, but after years and years of hand-waving the notion of refighting WWII and representing Nazis...I’m done with it.


Interesting.

Warhammer 40k: "Purge the Unclean!"
Galactic Empire: "Set Target for Alderaan"
Khorne: Kill 'em All
Ancient Rome: Slavery & Genocide
Klingons: "Wo’ batlhvaD !"
Mordor: Because Dark Lords...

Who'd want to play them?

I get that for some, certain settings or themes are a turn off.

But this does come off as an oddly selective rationalization in attempting to justify the socio-political or ethical undercurrent of one game setting. But it applies to any setting where ostensibly good is pitted against evil.

But hey, I guess there's always pushing around meeples in service to his innocuous, sour-faced lordship in pursuit of ducats and prestige, in a contest of glorious multiplayer solitaire.

Nothing in my view is as fun-killing as the idea that stepping into the magic circle of a game as the villain, as being some kind of ethical failure. We play the villain not as moral advocate, but as antagonist and agent of resistance in whatever conflict or narrative the game presents.
ModelVillain's Avatar
ModelVillain replied the topic: #305238 18 Dec 2019 17:40
As a footnote, I still have immediate family that survived the war in Europe.

It's a chilling thought, that our youngest generation have absolutely no idea who/what the Wehrmacht was. Not addressing this subject risks the same kind of topical self-censorship that would make holocaust deniers ecstatic.

Here is a case study in true evil, perpetrated by otherwise "good people" in pursuit of what they saw as positive purpose.

Knowing some survivors stories, I can't imagine anything more terrifying than it all falling out of our collective memory
Frohike's Avatar
Frohike replied the topic: #305240 18 Dec 2019 17:59
@ModelVillain & @marcnelsonjr, I just wonder why you or anyone would care about this decision, to be honest.

The usual response I see is an ample list of fantasy or science fiction settings that are supposed to hold up some sort of damning mirror in the face of this decision and the intended point is usually that the thematic setting is so agnostic to the modeled atrocity that it shouldn't matter.

And yet... people seem to get really miffed about this decision when it comes to models of WW conflict and I find that equally puzzling... and frankly quite telling. You obviously care that this decision is being made in the context of this specific genre, which sort of deflates the "it's all just genre fantasy & roleplay, grow a pair" attitude. So, the setting either has potency in the context of what actually historically happened or it doesn't. Which one is it? In answering this, could you perhaps perceive a situation where someone would be uneasy with inhabiting such a model because of this potency and, in some situations, perhaps a reinforcement of ideological noise that some people just really don't need in their lives at this point in our socio-political reality?
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #305241 18 Dec 2019 18:42
Yeah, I don’t see why there’s a need to go on the offensive or throw insults towards someone who does not like to be faced with having to play the role of real world monsters in their preferred outlet for escapism. I’m entirely aware that setting the same conflict in a fictitious arena doesn’t actually make it any more agreeable, but for me personally, it does give me enough of a separation to better enjoy the game itself. It may strike you as hypocritical, but I am more comfortable playing as the Galactic Empire than I am the Nazis. In that case I am sitting there thinking about my love of Star Wars and not distressed over the rise and visibility of actual-honest-to-goodness-I’m-not-just-calling-them-this-because-I-disagree-with-them-fascists-I-mean-it-ACTUAL-FASCISTS. This is the choice that I’ve made, I can typically just avoid games that handle the subject (historical-melting-pot Civilization style games also fall into the same category), but I played this one and it’s a game I REALLY enjoy. I’m still going to be bummed that I have to sit there and try to get my Nazi troops to win because I’m sure as fuck not going to have my Jewish friend and opponent for this game be forced to play as them.
ModelVillain's Avatar
ModelVillain replied the topic: #305242 18 Dec 2019 18:56

Frohike wrote: @ModelVillain & @marcnelsonjr, I just wonder why you or anyone would care about this decision, to be honest.

The usual response I see is an ample list of fantasy or science fiction settings that are supposed to hold up some sort of damning mirror in the face of this decision and the intended point is usually that the thematic setting is so agnostic to the modeled atrocity that it shouldn't matter.

And yet... people seem to get really miffed about this decision when it comes to models of WW conflict and I find that equally puzzling... and frankly quite telling. You obviously care that this decision is being made in the context of this specific genre, which sort of deflates the "it's all just genre fantasy & roleplay, grow a pair" attitude. So, the setting either has potency in the context of what actually historically happened or it doesn't. Which one is it? In answering this, could you perhaps perceive a situation where someone would be uneasy with inhabiting such a model because of this potency and, in some situations, perhaps a reinforcement of ideological noise that some people just really don't need in their lives at this point in our socio-political reality?


I'm not entirely sure what your question is, but I will attempt to clarify my comments.

The first, more academic point was that: I reject outright the notation that playing a faction in any game, is some form advocacy or virtue signaling in support of that faction, for better or for worse. I think it's an unfortunate and ultimately absurd road to go down, especially extended into the context of many popular media, or story "worlds"

The second, more subjective and directed point re: WW2 was: I feel strongly that it's a setting worth visiting, exactly because of the rise of European nationalism, et. al, largely because of my connection to family that fought and/or survived the war as soldiers, prisoners, and civilians prior to immigration to the US. This was a conflict that saw, within human lifetimes, what we consider today to be modern, "civilized" democracies killing each other to the tune of 85 million dead.

Everyone knows their various likes and dislikes, and that's fine. Nobody is obligated to any level of interest in something they find unappealing. But I reject the notion that the topic is inappropriate or due to some kind of unhealthy fixation, as was explicitly suggested. And in fact I feel that keeping the setting alive and useful as an opportunity for learning in an era of resurgent fascism, is in fact something to be supported.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #305243 18 Dec 2019 19:23
A few years back I was invited into the house that my great great great grandfather built in Canada, by its current owner. My family stopped by just to peek, he and his wife invited us in for lunch. 90 years old, really a great guy.

His war photos were on the wall, a portrait in a German Navy officer uniform and a couple of shots of he and his buddies on a German u-boat. If you want to call him a Nazi or a patsy for the Nazis so be it, but he sure seemed to me like a regular Joe. He retired from Chrysler Motors 35 years after the war with a full pension.

The guys on the German pieces of Undaunted came to America and Canada after the war and their children live among you. They were just guys, misled and lied to by their leaders just like conscripted soldiers in every other country in history.

If you don't want to play the game that's fine and I'll admit WW2 isn't a personal favorite either. But I play Germans and Italians and Japanese, Confederates, Romans, British, French, Macedonians, Russians, Muslims, Christians, Jews, etc.

Students of history need to stand in other people's shoes regardless of their odor.
Frohike's Avatar
Frohike replied the topic: #305244 18 Dec 2019 19:49
@ModelVillain, thanks for clarifying, and I think I get where you're coming from, but I also think you're coming in hot about a representational topic that, while certainly "worth visiting", some may feel to be better served in... frankly less facile and simplified game portrayals. I'm not personally bothered by this stance because history hits us from so many other vectors in our personal lives that it can be an acceptable loss to sometimes pass on a particular approach in a board game that doesn't sit well with us.

Looking into a crunchy war game and refusing to play an Axis force would be a bit more inscrutable for me. But bowing out of a medium-light deckbuilder because the trope just may not fit that particular niche in someone's gaming habits seems very far from hypocritical to me. And it certainly doesn't come attached to a whole set of assumptions you seem to be making about someone refusing to process historical reality.

There are other places to process it, certainly, and deeper more effective ways of doing so. Should we feel obligated to inhabit a normalized version of it in a light game in the same facile, tropey way that say... "cowboys & Indians" would be (I mean do we need, say, a Flick' em Up: Normandy. Does this really add anything substantial to our historical awareness)? What does that abstraction contribute to anyone's understanding of anything significant beyond some modeled tactical maneuvers & that so-and-so was the enemy of so-and-so, at best? I have my doubts.

On the topic of "unhealthy fixation," I'll broach an uncomfortable statement here: there does indeed seem to be a fixation, in games specifically, on tactical, technological, and combat prowess when it comes to Nazism, seemingly at the expense of everything else that surrounded that phenomenon.

These martial facets have been captured in obsessive modeling in war games, admittedly out of convenience & genre conventions, but maybe its time for games to actually model some of the more difficult and unsettling (& uncomfortably resonant) things that fueled Nazism and fascism. This War of Mine went into that experiential territory & opened up a space for more exploration of this approach. But that war was fictional, resonant at a remove. Is there space for something like a Kristallnacht game, rather than yet another grid for military maneuvers? Maybe something closer to home in the vein of Papers, Please that would deal with some of the unflattering realities of US immigration policy in the 30’s. I mean if we want to really inhabit some shoes & explore "decision spaces" & do more than spectate from above a battlefield, let's do it.

I understand that tactical games can be and have been framed as acts of respect for sacrifices made & the horrors of the battlefield, but at a certain point it seems this respect extends merely to the stage of battle and fails to engage any of the other contexts and theaters that would, as you say, give us some vantage to process the current resurgence of fascism.

Sometimes this boundary seems a little conspicuous and convenient to me, like fantasy wrapped in historical stats, draping itself in an "awareness" that's very specific and confined to the point of avoidance. So we may be keeping the setting "alive" in some ways, but I have misgivings about how "useful" the continued laser focus of some of these portrayals & obsessions really are when so much else seems to be left on the table.

Anyway, sorry for the rant, & thanks again for your respectful & well stated response. This vein of discussion about history & player identification in games always interests me.
marcnelsonjr's Avatar
marcnelsonjr replied the topic: #305261 19 Dec 2019 00:04
@Frohike I care because the mob rules these days.

I want to play games about WWII and the Crusades and Afghanistan, and any number of conflicts involving people murdering other people. And I don't want those games shut down by people who aren't capable of separating games from reality, who think that picking up a piece of cardboard makes you a Nazi or a Talib.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #305263 19 Dec 2019 01:12
I think everyone in the thread who has any issues has pretty much expressed that they have personal lines and aren't trying to "shut down" your games, even Michael's more forceful take in which he talks about what he finds uncomfortable about it.

On a personal note, after a number of years I finally sent away Labyrinth last week because the content in it was feeling like I had a piece of pro-war propaganda on my shelf, particularly since it had the first expansion in it. I've talked about that stuff at great length (and mostly to myself) in the old thread on Labyrinth here on the forums. For me, the Washington Post expose on Afghanistan brought up a lot of those issues again and I decided I didn't want it around.
southernman's Avatar
southernman replied the topic: #305293 19 Dec 2019 15:17

Michael Barnes wrote: ... The lingering popularity of WWII as a game subject has more to do with boomer white men gaming and fantasizing about being Nazis ...


Really ?? Anyone on this site that you regard as a wannabe Nazi because they enjoy WW2 wargames ?
:dry:

Frohike wrote: …
On the topic of "unhealthy fixation," I'll broach an uncomfortable statement here: there does indeed seem to be a fixation, in games specifically, on tactical, technological, and combat prowess when it comes to Nazism, seemingly at the expense of everything else that surrounded that phenomenon. .


What is so strange about gamers, especially guys, being attached to the technology of weapons of war over the reasons behind the war and why should WW2 be an exception to any other period for a wargame ?

If people have a moral issue or think maybe they have some guilt for whatever reason then they absolutely have the right to follow their own path (without needing permission or acknowledgments from others) but where does presenting it in a manner to suggest others are doing something wrong come from, that's the type of passive-aggressive shit I'm used to seeing on other websites ?