Axis & Allies: D-Day
The Easiest Axis & Allies Game on the Market
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How to Play Axis & Allies: D-Day
Axis & Allies: D-Day is an inevitable spinoff of the Axis&Allies World War II simulation board game. Axis and Allies has had a number of war game spinoffs over the years, including expansions for the European theater, the Pacific theater, rollbacks into the year 1940 for each, and a game based around the brutal struggle for Guadalcanal. Axis & Allies: D-Day, published in 2004 by Hasbro's Avalon Hill, was one of the first to come to the mind of the designers.
"D-Day", a term used by the Allies to describe the day any key operation took place in World War II, stuck in the minds of the public in June 1944 and is now synonymous with Operation: Overlord, the Allied landings in the Normandy region of northwestern France on June 6, 1944. Omaha Beach was just the bloodiest part of a wider invasion of France, as the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada combined to oust the Germans from their French conquest and free the French from Nazi control. When it happened, D-Day was the largest amphibious landing in history. Its success meant the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany, as the Germans now faced the true two-front war that generations of German leaders had dreaded.
Axis & Allies: D-Day Instructions
The setup and instructions for Axis & Allies: D-Day are among the most simple and straightforward in this whole line of games. I suggest this game for getting kids from ages 9-10 and up interested in war gaming. Axis&Allies: D-Day is a step up from Risk and bad tactical decisions can have a huge hand in game play, but you don't have the vast array of options and concerns that Axis & Allies games played out on a wider geopolitical scale are going to have. This means you can set the combat units up, decide where your main axis of attack or your main concentration of defense is going to be, then start to play out Operation Overlord. It should be noted that this is the rare Axis and Allies game where the Allies are the aggressor and the Axis are the defenders, so it's a nice change of pace from the perspective.
Axis & Allies: D-Day Rules
Fortune Cards are one of the most important rules of the Axis & Allies: D-Day version. These represents the good or bad luck that happens in a military action or campaign. Some cards give the Axis advantages or disadvantages, while others give the Allies help or hindrances. For instance, one card lets the Allies move an attacking unit to an adjacent beach instead, if it looks like that would be more advantageous. Other cards stipulate that a sector (or the Allies) get only one-half their normal reinforcements. Even though the card stipulates you round up for each zone or sectors, that's still a huge loss. In all, 48 Tactical and Fortune Cards are available, though the number used is optional.
The Allies have 10 rounds in order to seize three "victory cities" from the Axis: Caen, St. Lo, and Cherbourg. Both the Axis and the Allies have staging areas for reinforcements. A big part of Allied strategy is to land forces on one of five beaches (Omaha, Utah, Juno, Sword, Gold), seize control of the coastline, then push inland to defeat the Germans once the Allies are consolidated. The Germans must conduct a holding action on the beaches, destroying as many allied units as possible, while bringing up reinforcements from the rear to protect their three victory cities located inland. The Allies must use their air power (and hope for luck) in holding back these German reinforcements, or else their move inland will be stymied within the 10 round time limit.
Axis & Allies: D-Day Strategy
When playing the German side, you have to remember the quote from Frederic the Great: "Those generals who have had but little experience (in defensive war) attempt to protect every point, while those who are better acquainted with their profession, having only the capital object in view, guard against a decisive blow, and acquiesce in small misfortunes to avoid greater." The point is, if you try to defend all three victory cities with equal defenses, you spread your units too thin. You only have to control one of these cities at the game's end to win. It's better to delay Allied units along the front with troop placements, but concentrate units in one victory city and make this your last bastion. Don't leave a city wide open, but only leave enough troops to defend certain locations as delaying actions and keep in mind what it takes to win the game at all times.
Also, the Axis should not be afraid to use its armor in a counterattack. Use tank units en masse to drive back advancing Allied units. Don't be afraid to spend them in their best capacity: attacking. Wreak havoc with Allied forces coming up for attacks on your victory cities. It doesn't help a bit to have armor units still in play in the end, if the Allies go to your cities too soon and seize all three.
If you're playing the Allied side in the D-Day invasions, remember that air power is the key to your offensive strength. Air power is going to be how you win the campaign, so use it to withering effect. Especially use this tactic if the naval bombardment doesn't knock out all the pillboxes and/or blockhouses, because you can't afford to lose tanks at sea. You'll need these to drive hard and fast once the landings are successful, so use bombers to clean up any mess left by a failed naval bombardment. Many think Axis &Allies: DDay is slightly tilted towards the Axis side, so you have to be smart playing the Allies.
Axis & Allies: D-Day Review
Axis & Allies: D-Day is a change of pace from most Axis & Allies games. It probably won't be your favorite, but it's an excellent game for introducing youngsters to war gaming, because it adds a lot of random luck while rewarding good tactics and strategic planning. You'll have enough crunch to give a good tactician an advantage, while seizing the imagination of the newbie strategy board game player.
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