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Subject: First impressions from a bloody beach. rss

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David Hughes
Australia
Northbridge
NSW
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I had a moment of clarity this morning during my first playing of D Day at Omaha Beach. A company from the 29th Infantry was disrupted - the first of many to suffer this fate - so I checked the rules for recovery. I found that disruption counters come in two shades so players can distinguish between units disrupted this turn (who cannot recover till next turn) and those disrupted previously, who can recover now.

Now this is a small example of a game which has been designed in every detail so that it's as easy as possible to play. Rules, counters, map, play aids - all ooze expertise. This you will remember is the product of the same company which also gave us the utterly pedestrian, uninspired and often incompetent Struggle for the Galactic Empire. So the penny which dropped was this - a great designer will transcend a mediocre publisher, and the evidence suggests that John Butterfield is a great designer.

I picked up the rules around 11, stopped for an hour to eat, started pushing counters around 2, and stopped at 5, when 29th Infantry lost its 8th company, I had lost the game and the Allies had lost the war - maybe.

It's pretty good. You really do have to fight your way off the beach - weapons nest by weapons nest - in a pretty plausible fashion. I was all at sea - literally in game terms - and was slaughtered. It wasn't easy for me as a beginner to see what I was doing wrong, but no doubt there are better plans than merely marching one's Poor Bloody Infantry under the enemy's machine guns and hoping for the best.

Strangely, though I enjoyed it, I didn't love it. The overt reason might be that the balance between decision-making and process wasn't quite high enough for me. But more pertinent I think was a certain lack of charm. This is probably trivial though - I think I just missed the dice cup.

Second game was better than the first. Luckily, as it could hardly have gone less well for the forces of freedom. One big reason was that I discovered I had been treating all German fire as if it was against a concentrated target - no wonder my poor GIs were mown down like tall poppies at an Aussie sports roast.

Still didn't win though. As a reaction to my cavalier disregard for America's mothers in game 1, this time I looked after their sons as if they were my own. By game end, only three companies had been eliminated in the 29th div sector, and the big red one fared even better - all but one of its companies survived.

Veterans of the game will no doubt know what's coming next; probably as a result of my new-found caution, progress was too slow. By game end I had 10 VPs - all for control of WNs. I was in control of the E-1 draw, but couldn't quite neutralise the last German position overlooking it. Even then, that would have been 15 VPs, still 5 short - and I was nowhere near another 5. In truth, it wasn't even close.

Actually, I suspect that this performance looks better than it really was; the cards felt as if they were shining on the Allied cause; for example, I saw only two new depth markers on the first 10 turns, and half of the DD tanks made it ashore, unscathed. Maybe this was a mixed blessing though, as it did mean I used them - possibly more than I should have. After all, at Omaha, if you're firing, you're not moving...

It was even easier to play 2nd time around - set up in 15 mins, and I'm getting close to 10 minute turns. I can see completing a game in 2.5 hours soon - now that's fast.

Downsides? - somewhere around turn 12 it occurred to me that I had a chance of winning, so I should look up the Victory Conditions. From that point on, all pretence of history flew out the window, as I gamed the system (and myself) for all it was worth.

It's fitting I failed so miserably.
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Andre Oliveira
Brazil
Sao Paulo
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From my experience (7 games), in order to win, you gotta do what the GIs did back in 1944 when trying to survive the massacre: avoid the WNs, climb the bluffs between them and attack them from behind.
It's possible to overcome only a few of them in a frontal attack, and you're gonna suffer. Climb the high ground and attack the buggers from behind.
And about the cards: pray for heroes. If you don't get them, pray for depth markers. The worst for you is when the germans get a lot of reinforcements on the high ground. They make it much harder to get the VPs you need to win once you get there.
And before you start playing, make a plan: mark with a coin or whatever the WNs, the VP spaces, the reinforcement spaces, and at least one draw that you wanna conquer to get 20 points. And go for them. Don't start to think about your 20 VPs only after you climb the bluffs.
It' a hard design, but it is possible to win.
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David Hughes
Australia
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From the little I know so far, that all seems like good advice.

Thanks for that.
 
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William Moody
United States
Mount Juliet
Tennessee
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Scotty Dave wrote:
...so I checked the rules for recovery. I found that disruption counters come in two shades so players can distinguish between units disrupted this turn (who cannot recover till next turn) and those disrupted previously, who can recover now.


Not quite actually, 7.7: To aid you in differentiating units disrupted in the ACTION PHASE from units disrupted prior to the phase, US disruption marker are provided in two shades.

Units disrupted in the German fire phase of the same turn are undisrupted as a free sole action in the US Action Phase. US units that are disrupted as a result of failed attacks during the same phase cannot be undisrupted until the next turn.
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