Friday, 27 September 2019

Axis and Allies: D-Day

View from the beachheads.
My friend Ian brought the Axis & Allies: D-Day boardgame round. As I’m still in recovery mode, I thought a boardgame would be less demanding. I'm not a regular boardgame player, so anything like this is quite a novelty.

I played the Allies. The Allied objective is to take and hold Caen, St Lo and Cherbourg. The Germans win if they prevent that.

The sequence of play is driven by a stack of cards. They are always in the same order and you play through the stack each turn. Interspersed ‘Fortune’ cards improve or degrade your performance of each action. Players are left with the choice of where to move and attack.

For the Allied player the main challenge of the game is how to divide resources between the three objectives. At one point I was contesting all three with some chance of winning the game, but the Germans retook St Lo and I just didn’t have enough resources left in the vicinity to counterattack.

The game is obviously quite abstract but I think it does quite a good job of capturing aspects and flavour of the Normandy campaign.

The game is fairly attritional - as was the reality. Playing through the card stack is rather repetitive but it speeds up each turn as some cards are single-use and discarded and you become more familiar with the sequence.

The game certainly works and would be good to play from time to time, but it’s not the sort of game I’d want to play regularly.

The only major design fault is the very small print on the order cards, which is extremely trying for anyone over 40. On those grounds I think this game is best left to younger players.

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