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Subject: Normandy to Victory in Less Than Two Hours rss

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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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D-Day is a game that has loomed large in my imagination. In 1993 I was on a family vacation in California. We were at Carmel and I waltzed into a store and saw this large game box.

Star Wars!


I wanted it right then and there, and while I did not get it (at 11 years old cash ain’t exactly handy) I swore I’d get into wargaming. So my obsession started there. Perhaps then it was inevitable that in spite of its low rating on BGG, I’d eventually get a copy and see for myself. D-Day is part of Avalon Hill’s Smithsonian Series, which included many retreads of old standards. We the People remains the best loved of this series. Midway falls in the middle. D-Day is at the bottom. Way at the bottom.

Gameplay (60/70): D-Day is a hex and counter game covering the Allied invasion of France from Normandy to the Ruhr, although a 1943 scenario is included to allow players to try out one of World War II’s great what if questions. Units are corps, which can be moved on their own or with an army unit that allows a greater concentration of force and less on the board cluttering.

The basic game allows you to move and fight, with the Allies getting to use rules for sea invasions and port transfers. Units move by expending what are called "Moves." These represent supplies and in the basic game they are fixed for both sides, with the Allies getting more Moves. When forces battle each other they each roll a ten sided die, adding their combat strength and terrain modifiers. The side with the greater total wins, and the greater the margin, the more losses the defender will suffer. The attacker, oddly enough never suffers losses.

The optional rules add more to the game, but mostly these new rules are for the Allies, and include mulberry harbors, airborne units, carpet bombing, and limits on the mixing of American, British, and French units. Effecting each side are simple weather rules, replacements, and an initiative concept where a player can void a die roll but give the other side the initiative on the following turn. Most of all the rules for Moves are more involved. Instead of a set number of Moves, they are decided by the control of supply cities and headquarters. While well meaning, this puts the Allies as a disadvantage since they start with fewer Moves each turn until they conquer more European real estate. The Germans can merely feed replacements to their units, but since attackers never take losses it is hard for the Germans to get the kills need to win. A draw is too often the result of many sessions.

The Great Crusade


Accessibility (6/10): The rules are short and simple for the average wargamer, but the wording would be rough for anyone else. As an introductory wargame this one fails pretty miserably. I give it some points for splitting the rules into a basic and optional.

Components (8/10): The map is hard mounted and colorful without being garish. The units are the right size and color coded, reducing confusion. For its time this was a sharp looking game, and still holds up well today. I do wonder about the large box since there are few pieces in this game.

Historical Quality (6/10): D-Day was never meant to be an accurate simulation, and even then it does simulate some things rather well. The rules for Moves are a nice touch that avoids the trap of being able to do it all so to speak. The trouble lies in the scarcity of Allied Moves in the optional rules, which make attacking difficult. In the early turns the Germans receive more Moves than the Allies! Yet in another sense the Germans are at a grave disadvantage. Allied units are vastly superior, making it hard for the Germans to destroy enough Allied corps to actually win, while the attacker never suffers losses, which means the attrition of long campaigning is not at all well simulated. So as the Allies a popular strategy is to make one army the hammer, and just blow up German units at will. All of this can be easily fixed, but I wonder why a veteran designer like S. Craig Taylor let it come to that.

Overall (80/100): D-Day is a solid game hurt by a verbose rule book and some mistakes regarding combat and Moves. Otherwise, it is actually my favorite game on this popular but difficult to simulate subject. I believe my fellow wargamers have been much too hard on this Avalon Hill title.

Better Than Baseball Cards!
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Andreas Hellwig
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Thanks for the excellent review.thumbsup
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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schwarzspecht wrote:
Thanks for the excellent review.thumbsup


Thanks Andreas. I was starting to think no one cared about this review.
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Robert Wesley
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oh, 'moi' CARED, since I was wondering if you felt the entire ETO could become portrayed with their 'system' from this? It is around the same scale as for "The Russian Campaign" overall, so just imagine if THAT were 're-configured' accordingly. If you extended the entire MAP to include ETO & MED Sea environs, then I suppose it yields something akin to 3R or its derivatives, so, who knows?
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Sim Guy
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Nice review.

As you say, not a great simulation, but not necessarily a bad game. Most of the people I used to game with (myself included) would rather play something a little closer to the simulation end of the spectrum, however. But a game doesn't have to be big and complex to be fun. case blue
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alex w
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Thanks for the review.

I have 2 copies of this game and played it but once or twice years ago. Can't remember much of it now.

After your review, I'm gonna dig it out of my closet and teach my son to play. Afterall, I still feel that such system are the main teachers of hex and counter gaming.
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Robert Wesley
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Here is something else to consider: How about some additional "Scenarios" based upon starting off from the likes of "Market-Garden", and "Battle of the Bulge"? So you then have several "lengths of duration" to choose from, in addition with presenting the 'situation' from those beginnings.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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GROGnads wrote:
Here is something else to consider: How about some additional "Scenarios" based upon starting off from the likes of "Market-Garden", and "Battle of the Bulge"? So you then have several "lengths of duration" to choose from, in addition with presenting the 'situation' from those beginnings.


That sounds like a good idea. Anyone made those or do we just have to wait and see?
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Tom Willcockson
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I'll have to take this one off the shelf and dust it off sometime. Forgot that We the People was part of this series and Gettysburg 88 as well which we played a lot back in the day. Also have Battle of the Bulge and Midway & Guadalcanal. Never played D Day though. I think I wasn't interested in the basic game, but didn't like the look of the advanced game, but I'll have to fiddle around with it a little. Never thought of unloading it so there must be a reason. I also always wanted to see an ETO game at this scale. Played a lot of A3R, but always wanted something a little bigger, but not too big. I always thought Guns of August had the perfect map scale.
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Geo
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It's been ages since the last time i played this!
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Richard Boyes
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I played it just last month and was sorry we didn't choose something else.

The game ended in a draw and it looked like it would be difficult to get anything else.

As mentioned above there are some interesting mechanics, but not enough fun for me!
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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eltorosailor wrote:
I played it just last month and was sorry we didn't choose something else.

The game ended in a draw and it looked like it would be difficult to get anything else.

As mentioned above there are some interesting mechanics, but not enough fun for me!


Sorry to hear that. It can be an issue, but the system is simple enough that you can get away with variants and house rules.
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Jim Dauphinais
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Nice little review.

I enjoyed playing this solitaire quite a bit after it came out. It had a reasonable playtime and was easy to setup and cleanup. It worked out well when my kids were very young and we were living in a small Condominium. It was much more practical at the time than breaking out Fortress Europa.
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Kevin Shewfelt
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This is a good little game and is a shame about the some of the quirks which make it below par. Of all the problems I had with this game in mechanics, I still played the heck out of it and managed to get it working with a few similar house rules to what have been proposed elsewhere. (I'll post my ideas on that on the Variants forum, as I've recently cracked this one out again and want to remember what I did back in 92!). Some assorted thoughts on the game below:

Attacker losses:
Sean, I never got the impression that only the defender can suffer casaulaties in battle per 4c. Rather, the Losses section applies to any losing side of a battle and I find that the Allies can finish the Normandy campaign with a whole slew of reduced corps. Is this what you meant by "the attacker never suffers losses" and why you use a Combat variant "If the attacker loses they take two hits. If the attacker wins by a margin of +7, then they take 1 hit." Unless I'm mistaken, the existing rules can already attrit attackers with low dice and a special rule isn't needed. Or were you trying to get some Allied units more like to be eliminated by this rule? In my games, the Allies suffer further casualties because of 10b Fight On being needed, so think the attrition rate is about right.

Army Organization:
Shifting corps around between armies and the variable nature of what that army is made up of is a great appeal of the game to me. I agree this scale and integration between corps, army, and army group would be very interesting for Eastern Front, and even ETO. I've just finished dusting off Hitlers War and that has a similar kind of thing where you are shifting around strength between army groups. This game is better with that, though, becuase the actual fighting units have an identity rather than just the number of armor or infantry. If you took this approach to the Eastern Front, it would be corps level the same as D-Day. For ETO, it would probably need to be Army level for combat units, and the Army Groups would contain the Armies. Otherwise, the game would get pretty huge. I wish I had the time to work on that one!

Moves System:
While the moves system frustrates the *$$@ out of me, I still find it interesting. My problem is I want to prove the game can work by recreating the historical campaign and I cannot effectively do that without modification. I don't get the sense of a huge buildup of supplies sitting in England that I have limited capability to get over to France. Instead, I get the feeling the Allies are running out of gas and they don't even have any spares in England! Other D-Day games make you feel like you're sitting on a stockpile but just can't get the stuff over quick enough through limited ports. The Basic Game schedule of 13 Moves for the Allies is good for the first few turns but compared to what the Allies would get historically using the 11a Optional rule is far less. You get 156 moves over the whole Basic Game while you would earn 192 moves historically with 11a. That's an average of 16 per month. But the problem with 11a is you don't have enough gas in August to break out of the beachhead. Ultimately, the moves system is a gaming device to limit both sides to reasonably accurate capabilities. It is an abstraction which combines elements of shipping, replacements, supplies, but I'm just not sure it really works. After the Allies broke out in August and September they went through a huge hangover period where they got caught up again.

Small map!
I love the scale and see a lot of comments from other veteran gamers who are having a similar 'rennaissance' with smaller, less complex games. I used to have time to play out the whole A3R but just can't do it anymore! I was tempted by Totaler Krieg recently, but don't want to digest that rulebook!

Strategy:
This game has the same strategic array that other D-Day games have. When to cut losses as the Germans and run for the Border? When to counterattack? Where to land as the Allies?

Combat:
I don't mind the combat resolution system and think it is nearly the same as Bulge 91. Given both sides max out at +10 modifiers in a battle, some things like a Mortain Counterattack suddenly become feasible. If 1st Army is in D16, and 3rd Army in E17 at the end of the July Allied turn, it is a real threat if the Germans throw in everything for an assault to cut off Patton! It will take good luck and nearly all the reserves to launch it, though. But that is a strategic decision.

Apologies if my focus in these comments is from the perspective of recreating history. But in my opinion, a game needs to be able to simulate what actually happened or the system is faulty in some way. So far, this one doesn't without modification.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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kjlshewfelt wrote:
Attacker losses:
Sean, I never got the impression that only the defender can suffer casaulaties in battle per 4c. Rather, the Losses section applies to any losing side of a battle and I find that the Allies can finish the Normandy campaign with a whole slew of reduced corps. Is this what you meant by "the attacker never suffers losses" and why you use a Combat variant "If the attacker loses they take two hits. If the attacker wins by a margin of +7, then they take 1 hit." Unless I'm mistaken, the existing rules can already attrit attackers with low dice and a special rule isn't needed. Or were you trying to get some Allied units more like to be eliminated by this rule? In my games, the Allies suffer further casualties because of 10b Fight On being needed, so think the attrition rate is about right.


Well I guess that is what they meant by the game being undermined by vague rules, unless I have an older (and vaguer) edition.

Quote:
Apologies if my focus in these comments is from the perspective of recreating history. But in my opinion, a game needs to be able to simulate what actually happened or the system is faulty in some way. So far, this one doesn't without modification.


I agree. I'm not into complexity for its sake or even hyper accuracy. Just make history possible and in some cases, encourage it.
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