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Al Johnson
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Let me preface this review by saying that I believe D-Day at Omaha Beach is a solid, good, if not great game. However this review will be from the perspective of a brand new war gamer. My previous experience in war games includes Risk, Memoir 44, A House Divided, and some euro games with some war in them, for example Vinci and Imperial. I would think those are in a completely different category than games like D-Day where you are pushing little counters around (House Divided is somewhat close, but easier). Some 30-35 years ago I did play Blitzkrieg from Avalon Hill. That’s right, I’m in my 50’s - that could affect this review too since I find quite frankly I don’t catch on and remember rules like I did in my 20’s. I am mainly a euro gamer, but I do like the heavier euro games and some train games (e.g. Age of Steam).

Also a caveat - I also have only played the Easy Wave Scenario about 4 times. While this is not the complete game I still think it is enough information to provide to a euro gamer. I have also looked over the rules for the rest of the game. While this review may not be totally exhaustive, I think it gives enough information to a euro gamer who would like a review not from the perspective of a war gamer but from the perspective of a euro gamer.

I also will not go over the review of the rules for 2 reasons: first other reviewers have done that and second they are posted at the link below.

http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?13@111.wPLeaJAYmdQ.14@.1dd1...

Click or paste the link and then click on LivingRules.

Let’s get started.

COMPONENTS
First off the while the components may differ somewhat from most euro games, they are excellent. The main difference is euro gamers love those wooden cubes; war gamers love counters. And this game has 352 counters. Sounds like a lot, but they are not all in play at any one time so don’t fret. All the counters are good quality, 5/8" square. It also has a good quality set of cards equal to most euro games and well written rules with additional sheets of colored pictorial examples of war. It also has some charts (that some euro games could use) for reference to determine battle outcomes, landing results, etc. These are basic good quality card stock.

It also has a 34 by 22 inch paper map. Let me begin by saying I don’t like paper maps or paper playing boards but I also understand there is a cost for mounting boards that would have been passed on to the consumer that may have resulted in less copies being sold. So while it’s not my preference, I understand the economics of it. I will say the map is VERY functional; pretty ingenious how it was laid out with the intense, steady, and sporadic fire zones. Some say it’s cluttered but really a few minutes after examining the map you won’t have any problem with it.

Finally it includes a 15 page color booklet that covers the history of the D-Day invasion focusing mainly on Omaha beach. Although not necessary at all to play the game, it is very well done and is a nice addition to the game.

For the euro gamer or someone new to board games, the components are pretty much equal and easy to use. Some euro games also use counters; these are as good of quality counters as I’ve seen in any euro game. Also understanding the map won’t be a problem for any euro gamer.

SCENARIOS
While the game has 4 scenarios in reality it is just one game. Let me explain, no that would take too long, let me sum up.

Easy Fox is the introductory scenario and covers just the east half of the map and the first 16 turns. It is meant for new players only and is a good way to learn your way around the rules.

The First Waves scenario is like the Easy Fox scenario except it covers both halves of the beach.

Beyond the beach covers just the second half of the game from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. You may be wondering why the first half covers 4 hours and the second half is 8 hours and that’s because the first half are broken into 15 minute increments of time and the latter half into 30 minute increments

D-Day at Omaha Beach covers the complete game from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm.

RULES
Ah, the rules. Again before I get attacked I am approaching this as a NEW war gamer used to most euro games that may have 10-12 pages max of rules with all sorts of colored illustrations. The rules are 32 pages (20 for the introductory game) also with black and white illustrations. Also included is the handout which has some colored illustrations. The print is very readable (if you don’t think this is important look at Hermagor’s rules as they decided to use script). The rules are also laid out very well and are organized in a clear, systematic manner. However from someone NEW to war games there is a LOT here. I found several sections to be quite confusing and I’m guessing I’m not the only one since there are currently 12 pages of rules questions on this site. I also found after 3 plays I am still often referring to the rules for questions (could be my age), but that is decreasing. And I have still played only the introductory scenario. Also during the game euro gamers aren’t used to flipping through charts, you’ll have to get used to that.

The scoring initially was very confusing and still feels like I am taking a test to see if I get the correct answer when I am done. I have visited this site to look at previous posts and pictures and that has helped somewhat. The problem is that some people have put up pictures where it is obvious they have scored incorrectly. Read the posts about scoring. I have found some of the ones with pictures and a comment only are wrong.

With that said please understand I am not blaming the rules or John Butterfield (creator of the game). I simply chalk that up to MY inexperience in war gaming. It’s kind of like teaching a kid algebra for the first time. It takes a little effort. If you don’t want to put the effort in to reading and rereading the rules you may not want this game. Most euro games do not have 20-32 pages of rules. However if you find it relaxing to sit on your couch and read through the rules a few times, you could handle this.

SO WOULD I RECOMMEND IT TO A EUROGAMER
Let me start by saying the reason I bought this game was because I wanted a true solitaire experience. I’ve tried playing some euro games solitaire (Le Havre, Agricola, Age of Steam, etc.) but just found it wasn’t much fun. I then tried Memoir 44 (which is very simple compared to this) but I did not like playing both sides - definitely no fog of war there. I also tried A House Divided (which is closer to this than any of the others) and again I just don’t like playing both sides. That’s just my preference. That’s not a knock against the games mentioned. Finally I stumbled upon D-Day at Omaha Beach. It was specifically designed to be played solitaire so I knew I wanted to at least try it. There is an option to play cooperatively with another player and I won’t comment on that because I haven’t tried it. I figure if there were 2 of us, I would just as soon play the other person in something else. (Although I am thinking when I really get the rules down of sitting my 15 year old son down and playing if nothing else so he gets a little history lesson). So this game gets an A+ in the solitaire department.

I would recommend it to a euro gamer with the following caveats.
1. You must be patient enough to read through the rules. They are not real difficult but do require more time than even your more complex euro games. This game is definitely heavier than almost all euro games I have played. If I could compare it in complexity to a euro game I would say it compares to War of the Ring, however the rules for D-Day are laid out much, much better. Again the rules are written well, it’s just that most people who strictly play euro games are not used to the amount of rules. Some of the gamers on this site say the rules are easy - they may be to an experienced war gamer but not to your typical euro gamer.

2. You will have some questions after reading the rules and you will have to visit this site to ask questions and get help. The good news is that I have found many of the war gamers just as helpful as the euro gamers (or maybe they are just trying to convert us to the dark side). Also John Butterfield himself has answered and/or commented on many of the rules posts here.

3. Paper maps can’t bother you. I know this seems silly but some people including me just really prefer mounted maps. Often it is a deciding point in buying a game. But since I wanted a true solitaire game, I bought a piece of plexiglass from Hobby lobby for $5.99 and I laid it over the map and it work just fine. I am concerned about the constant folding though when I put it in and out of the box, but hopefully that won’t be a problem. Also consider buying a craft tray from hobby lobby. I bought one with 25 spaces and all the counters are nicely separated in there. It works great.

4. Facing a difficult challenge and losing a lot cannot bother you. You will lose this game the first few times you play it even in the introductory scenario. I have played 3 times and my best game is I survived with 4 points. You need 10. BUT, that’s because I am not a good war gamer – that is not the fault of the game. Since I like a challenge, that makes the game even more enticing to me.

5. After 3 plays I got my playing time for the Easy Waves scenario down to 2 and half hours, and that was still referring back and forth to the rules. I could see this getting to 2 hours and most people aren’t quite as forgetful as me. I tend to double and triple check rules. I would estimate the Beyond the beach scenario at about 4-5 hours and the entire game maybe 7-9. But those are estimates. So ask yourself if you have the time or can leave the game set up somewhere and come back to it.

FINAL THOUGHTS
I would definitely recommend this game for a euro game IF you have no problem with the 5 caveats above. However, if you don’t like reading rules or playing longer games you may want to reconsider. That’s not the fault of the game, that’s just personal preference. The game is very, very well done and supported by John Butterfield and the geeks on this site so you will get help when necessary. I am very happy with my purchase and look forward to more plays.
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Gerry Palmer
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Very thoughtful review from an interesting perspective. Big thumb from me.:)
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WAN CHIU
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Excellent writeup. For a lighter solo wargame I would suggest the DVG Field Commander series or Victory Point solo titles.
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John Butterfield
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Al -- Thank you for your well-considered review and your perspective. I appreciate you taking the leap of faith to play D-Day at Omaha Beach.

I would also recommend Field Commander:Rommel if you want to try a less complex solo war game.
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Marcelo Antunes
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Thanks, i´m somewhat in the same boat as you, after playing a lot of eurogames i´m just trying some wargames, particularly solo ones. I think D-Day is a great game and also managed to buy a copy of Ambush, i´ll try that latter (after i managed to feel confortable with D-Day :-))
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Jan van der Laan
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Leeuwarden
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Als u begrijpt wat ik bedoel.
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Great review of a great game. Thumbs up thumbsup!
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clive holland
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Great review Al.

I am of a similar age and also quite forgetful, but it sounds like even with those two disadvantages you seem to enjoy the game. I have it on order and now am convinced I did the right thing in buying it.

Rules, yes, I take a time to learn these so a bit of bedtime reading for a while before getting onto the beaches I think.
 
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Mike E.
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Nice review, Al. I bought this game on the strength of John Butterfield's update of RAF, but as yet haven't played it. What impresssed me the most about RAF was the rulebook. RAF has lots of "moving parts" as it's a relatively (at least for me, anyway) complicated game, but the rulebook and wonderful graphic layout of the board really makes it playable. As I played the game more and referred to the rulebook as I went, the rules I needed clarification on just seemed to pop out at me as I became more comfortable with the structure of the game. Sorry to admit that I'm even older than you, so am no stranger to the hopeless rules books I've encountered over the years.
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Freddy Dekker
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Hm paper map, there's a good point, I love a map solid enough so you can smack your opponent over the head with it, if he beats you again.

I WANT this game so I'll not make an issue of this, but your observation that it might not survive all the folding and unfolding does have me slightly worried and I would love to see some (hopefully positive) comments on this.

Oh, just comes to mind, but maybe I glanced over this.
These 300 something chits, is there any way of storing them provided with the game, or will I have to go and get scores of bags or find some other way for storage.

I hate it when they just expect you to drop all the components in the box on one big pile.
 
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Jack Dorrell
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Harrison
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For games with many counters I have found boxes designed to store beads for jewelry crafts excellent. They usually have enought subdivided boxes to satisfy counter distribution and they have rounded corners inside that make counter removal easy. A variety of boxes can be found at general craft stores. Next best, are boxes made to store fishing equipment. In the States, the Plano company makes a wide variety of boxes.
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Ignacio Vilchez Santos
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Thank you for your review it was very useful for me
 
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