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Dutch Resistance: Orange Shall Overcome! Review from Steven Foster

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Quick Look: Dutch Resistance: Orange Shall Overcome


Designer: Marcel Kohler
Artists: James Churchill, Fabio Leone, Filipe Ferreira, Irene Cano Rodriguez, Jerry Padilla, Blyker, Michele D’Angelo
Publisher: Liberation Game Design
Year Published: 2023

No. of Players: 1-5
Ages: 14+
Playing Time: 90-180 minutes.
 
Find more info HERE.
 
From the Publisher:

Resistance fighters in the Netherlands work together to outsmart the occupation forces in a non-violent way.

In a period when most people were too afraid to oppose the occupying Nazi forces, some decided they did not want to sit idly by. To keep morale high and show they did not accept the occupation, they wrote a secret message OZO (Oranje Zal Overwinnen, translated as Orange Shall Overcome) on the walls. They formed groups and found ways to sabotage the occupiers’ plans. You are one of those resistance fighters.

Dutch Resistance: Orange Shall Overcome! is a scenario-based cooperative game about the Dutch Resistance during the Second World War. The main mechanisms are pick-up and deliver and resource management.

The game has five very different highly replayable scenarios. They are not directly connected to each other but focus on different aspects of the resistance work. Each scenario has its own goals, special rules, cards, and other elements.

Each player controls a character that is based on a real resistance fighter. These ten different characters have their own deck of three unique Character cards, based on what this person did during the war.

Orange Shall Overcome!

Disclaimer: The publisher provided the copy of Dutch Resistance: Orange Shall Overcome!. The opinions expressed in the review are completely my own.

 

Review:

 

Theme and Mechanics:

Orange Shall Overcome takes place in World War II era Netherlands, as a player you take on the role of a member of the Dutch Resistance during 1943. The Nazi’s are occupying the Netherlands, and they are starting to become more dangerous. As a citizen you have grown tired of the constant searching of your homes, and tired of your friends and family being shipped off to Germany to work in labor camps. You must do something even if it means death, but you are not alone; others share your views and have joined you to create the Dutch Resistance Group.

Orange Shall Overcome draws much of its theme from historical events involving the Dutch Resistance during this time. Some of the major historical elements are the included scenarios which are based on actual activities that would have been carried out by the group. The available player characters are based on real life Dutch Resistance members and used with the permission of surviving family members.

Orange Shall Overcome is a pickup and deliver co-op style game using a narrative driven theme. During the game each player will take control of one of the available characters, which are all asymmetric and bring different qualities to the game. There are 10 different characters to choose from. Each character has a set of 3 action cards available to them to be used to complete the task ahead of them.

The game rounds are split between two phases: a daytime phase and a nighttime phase. During the daytime phase the players will utilize action points to perform actions around the board. Action points can come from the player’s character cards or from moral points.  With the Character cards you can choose to use the card for an action point to complete one of six actions available. These included movement, gathering information Raising safety or taking a scenario action. Not all actions will be available on every turn as some require some prerequisite action or resource to complete. On the character card this is also another action that is specific to your character’s identity. When playing the card, you can choose to use the action point or the special ability. Some cards do allow you to do both. Another way to access action points is through the moral track that gives the players a shared pool of action points. As morale goes up and down the number of available points also change. 

 

 

As you maneuver your character to the different locations on the board and complete the task, you must be aware of patrols of German police and soldiers. If during your movement your character crosses over a patrol you must play a halt card which gives the player a decision to make and many of the decisions come at a cost to you or to someone in the story. One of the cards I encountered is a young boy running to you trying to have you help him hide from German soldiers. You can choose to hide the child and receive a beating causing you to lose some alibi and safety to your location. If you hand the child over to the soldiers the entire resistance will lose some morale but you will gain more alibi making it easier to travel the board. While this might seem like an easy decision to hide the child that loss of safety to your location could trigger a raid, raid cards can add a lasting effect to your game making it more difficult to achieve your missions.

After a player plays all their character cards and desired moral points, they will play an occupier card that has a negative effect on the game, by either losing safety, morale or increasing patrols in the area. Once all players have played their character cards, occupier cards and all moral points have been used the game shifts to the nighttime phase.

During the nighttime phase one patrol card will be drawn that causes the police and soldiers on the board to move. If the soldier crosses over a location with a character present, then the safety of that location drops and could trigger a raid. Once the patrol card is played then each player will examine their board and if they have too many resources or their alibi is too low then the safety of their location will drop, which can also trigger a raid.

After the nighttime phase, all players will collect their character cards, draw a new occupier card and reset the moral points based on how high the moral trach is. 

To win the game the players must complete the win condition of the scenario. The players lose if there are no more occupier cards to draw, the moral track reaches zero or any player’s alibi reaches zero.

This was a very brief synopsis of Game play and not a full teach, Orange Shall Overcome is rules heavy and could not be taught in these short words.

 

Artwork and Components:

The art for Orange Shall Overcome fits the theme so well the artist that worked on this game truly captured the look and feel of what the game looks to accomplish. The muted color palette conveys the despair of the time as occupying forces threaten every facet of the Dutch lifestyle. But with the splashes of an aggressively vibrant orange, you feel that sense of hope that the citizens probably felt when they saw the orange of the Dutch resistance back during World War II. The illustrations convey the message of the game. The graphic design is easy to understand, and the iconography is readable. It took a few flips through the rulebook to remember them all, but they are not so difficult it ruins the game experience. 

The components of the game are good quality. Cards are the standard affair and are a good wait and are easily readable. The font is a good size, and icons are easily seen. The tokens are a good thickness and can be easily differentiated between. Good quality wooden components for the meeples, dice and first player token. Overall the game is of good quality and should hold up to playing the game on a regular basis.

Thoughts:

I was not sure what to think about Orange Shall Overcome when I first heard about the game. I love World War II history. I knew a little about the Dutch Resistance and knew that it was a peaceful resistance. With a war that was so violent and deadly how would the game pull off the peaceful but effective Dutch Resistance. It was so intriguing to have a war game with no violence, no guns and seemingly no death. Even the last one is always at the back of your mind as you are making decisions that can affect the player or citizens in the narrative. Which is what I love about Orange Shall Overcome. As a player you can go into this game and simply play the mechanics, but when you stop to read the biographies of your character which are all based on true people. You begin to realize that these people really faced these tragedies. Or when you are making that decision on a halt card that might send a child to a labor camp or worse, you think someone might have had to make that real decision to send someone away to help protect the greater good of the resistance. The emotional toll this game can take on the player is real. I found myself trying to protect as many people as I could with my decisions, and genuinely feeling upset if a citizen suffered at the hands of my decision. If a location, which was once a safe house, now gets raided because I moved there during my turn it weighs on your mind. Thematically you can feel how the resistance must have felt after each failed attempt; when your moral track goes down and your group loses the ability to do one action. Imagine the Dutch during the war, if they failed the morale of the group would go down, maybe causing the group not to feel motivated to act anymore. You get that opposite effect when you see the moral track going up or you accomplish part of the mission. You feel like you are one step closer to ending the occupation of your homeland.

Orange Shall Overcome is not an easy game, and it shouldn’t be. It plays long and can easily swamp players who go into the scenario and fail to work together. I feel that the difficulty and length of the game add to the theme. It was hard for the resistance and it took some time for the resistance to free their homeland. I have played 4 of the 5 scenarios and lost 3 of them with varying numbers of players. On my first solo run of the game. I tried to just muscle through the scenario which led to disaster. Once I realized that there needs to be a methodical approach to the scenarios. The Game eased a little, but it was still difficult to achieve the win. The scenarios while they appear the same with each play, you do not know what occupier cards will appear or how the patrol will move from one play to the other. Which gives the game a lot of replayability. 

The game comes with 5 scenarios that each have four difficulty levels. There is plenty of replayability right out of the box. However, it is not difficult to play the game by creating your own scenarios and randomly setting up the board if one grows tired of the scenarios. My play group did just that one playthrough to see if it is possible. It was a relatively smooth game, mixing the different goals from the provided scenarios and randomly setting up the locations and patrols on the board.

 
Conclusion:

After a few plays of Orange Shall Overcome, I can 100 percent recommend this game to any gamer who is a history buff. However, this game is so well done and the mechanics so smooth that it is a joy to play whether you enjoy World War II history or not. The emotional toll and theme may turn some away and might keep it from routinely hitting the table like other games with lighter themes, but it will be a game that makes its way to my table. I enjoy that emotional pull and anxiety that comes from impending doom of failure or joyful bliss of success. The fact that you can have a well-laid plan destroyed by a passing patrol adds to the reality of life in war. War is very unpredictable. I feel that Orange Shall Overcome is able to give that feel of war and how the members of the resistance felt and lived very well. 

 

After reading Steven Foster’s review, if this sounds like a game for you at the time of this posting Dutch Resistance: Orange Shall Overcome is available for purchase for only €64.95. Check it out get yours HERE.

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Check out Dutch Resistance: Orange Shall Overcome and Liberation Game Design on:

             



 

 

 

Steven Foster – Reviewer

 

Steven is currently a stay-at-home dad, homeschooling his two young sons. He is a father of 8 children ranging in age from 26 to 7. He and his wife of 22 years have been foster and adoptive parents for 15 of those years.

Steven began gaming as a young child playing family classics like Monopoly and Uno. In the
early 90s, he started playing Magic the Gathering with the alphas and started his first Dungeons and Dragons campaign in 1995.

His first Euro-style board game was Catan in 1997 but board games would soon be out. Steven left tabletop gaming in the early 2000s and got into online competitive gaming with Counterstrike, and Halo then eventually started competitive Call of Duty tournaments.

He started playing board games again in 2019 at the start of the Global Pandemic. Board games became an escape during a time when a family of 9 was stuck in the house together. Steven fell in love with board games and quickly amassed a decent collection. Steven enjoys board games and their ability to bring people together and create lasting memories. Some of his favorite types of games are polyomino, tile placement games, and worker placement games.

See Steven’s reviews HERE.

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