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Omaha: The Battle for the Beach» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Review of Armchair General edition rss

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Steven Bucey
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Lancaster
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(I "suddenly" realized that there were no reviews for this game and I had most of what I needed in replies to somebody's questions in another thread, so...)

As the title suggests, this game covers the US invasion of the Omaha beach on June 6 1944. I played the Armchair General edition with a friend in April 2007, which I obtained through the Armchair General web site via a code in the magazine. You have to print and assemble the components, but the map is small and there are not very many units, so if you have any craft skills you should be able to make something you can work with.

(I printed everything on 110 weight paper. The map and counters I affixed to sheets of 2mm thick "foamies" with a sticky back that works much better than fussing with spray glue, and then cut them out with an Avery rotary paper cutter. The foamies are hard on the circular blade, but they're cheap.)

It is not a sophisticated game for sure. We had a few questions about the rules but nothing that prevented us from playing it, and it seemed to play well, given that it wasn't playing the way we expected (see below). The level of complexity for this game does make for a good intro game, particularly for younger players. The mechanics overall are actually quite interesting, and there is a fair amount of chrome for an otherwise simple game.

There are "cards" included with the game. They drive random events only -- not actions by your units. You draw one each turn and implement the instructions on the cards. Reinforcements enter via random events, for instance, or maybe some Off-Board Artillery support for one attack during your turn. They would provide absolutely no obstacle to solitaire play, and may actually enhance it. You could also use them as a replacement for a die to resolve combat as in Combat Commander, but we didn't use them that way. There are twenty four cards total.

Incidentally, there are separate rules for solitaire play.

While it played well, it just didn't seem to play the way we would have expected, with the US forces caught on the beach and shot up for a few turns before attrition and the Naval guns helped open a path through the defenses. Instead very quickly the first turn the US tanks and naval guns started suppressing German strong points and on their second turn US units started well coordinately attempts to concentrate on the two beach exit areas. The German strong-point units didn't seem to be able to do much against the US units and if the German reinforcements had not arrived early (via a random event on a card draw) it would have been a blowout.

I understand that the designer has revised and republished this through his own company, so please be aware that this review does not pertain to that version.

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