Avalon hill must be congratulated for their attempt to make war games more accessible to the general gaming community. I have most of their Smithsonian Edition games to this end. Generally I have to say they play quite quickly and without allot of complicated rules, large stacks of counters or the book keeping that is usually involved in this style of game. I must say that they do snooker the whole process with some of the most convoluted rule writing you would (not) wish to find. This is particularly the case with D-Day. Sadly.
As with all (or most) the Avalon Hill games the box says 12 to adult. I'll take my hat of to a 12 year old that can work out the convoluted mumblings of one S C Taylor in his case. An old friend of mine calls the company Avalon Hell. We use to play quite allot of Up Front but had no luck understanding the rules when we got to AFVs so just kept playing the first few scenarios only.
Having got that off my chest... I'd have to say that is the only gripe I could really get testy about. The artwork on the board is lovely without being too pretty. The printing on the counters and OB sheets also has just enough colour to make the whole thing present well. Mr Taylor has gotten around the little stacks of counters that this style of game usually has by army boxes at the base of the board where you can group corps sized units and then only have to move the army HQ counter around the map. This makes for a stacking limit of one counter on the map part of the game board. Fantastic I say. The Allies have a large selection of marked hexes from which they may invade from. The Germans set up first in an attempt to make this a problem. They can not defend the whole coast so the trick is to defend the closest bits to the Fatherland best. You have to pay "Moves" (more like fuel) to move a piece on the board or do an invasion. The allies seem to have plenty of "Moves" available per turn but this is not the case for the German. Judicious movement is the key for them.
There is no combat odds table in this game. Combat is done by adding a dice roll (10 sided) to the combat factors printed n the counters plus any terrain modifiers. A very simple system that I really liked. These D10s appear in the other three Smithsonian games also.
To win the Allies need to get 20 units (ground units) over the Rhine plus grab a few cities (depending on which of the two available scenarios you play). The Germans have to avoid this and kill 10 of your corps sized units. Anything else is a draw.
All in all, I have to say I liked this game. It takes a bit over two hours to set up and play and we are slow players. I may have a go at re-writing the rules at some stage and putting them on the geek for those not conversant in Tayloresque.???