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Axis & Allies D-Day: Countdown to H-Hour
Week 8: The Front Awaits
by Mike Selinker, lead developer, Axis & Allies D-Day

"It no longer is possible to bring to the front in Normandy any new forces worth mentioning. On the enemy side, new forces and new war materiel flow to the front day after day. The enemy’s supply system is undisturbed by our air force. The enemy exerts stronger and stronger pressure. . . .”

--Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, Commandant of German Army Group B

How you reinforce your units may be the most important decisions you make in a game of D-Day. The units that start on the beachheads and beaches are headed toward a clear fate, but thereafter, you control what units go where.

Reinforcement Cards

These reinforcement charts by graphic designer Abigail Fein are crafted so that you can put pieces directly on their spaces at the start of the game. The pieces are all labeled according to which historical unit they come from. The Panzer Lehr Division, the 101st Airborne, and the British I Corps (among many others) are all represented on the reinforcement charts.

At the beginning of the game, you place all the non-starting units onto the reinforcement charts, one per box. The order is crucial, for you'll be reinforcing from left to right and top to bottom. No unit can enter play until the unit preceding it has done so. That juicy clump of tanks at the bottom of the German chart is a long way from the front.

Order Card 14: Allies Reinforcement

Order Card 14The text of this Allied order is Roll two dice for the United Kingdom. Roll two dice for the United States.

When this order comes up, 2 dice are rolled for each Allied nation. The number rolled equals the number of units from each country that are available for mobilization during this order. Thus, it's possible to get a large reinforcement or a small one, depending on the roll of the dice -- representing in an abstract way such varied issues as weather and enemy interference.

The units must be drawn in order from the chart and placed in the beachheads. US units go to Utah Beach and Omaha Beach, while UK units go to Juno Beach, Sword Beach, and Gold Beach. A unit can be placed on any beachhead silhouette, not just one that matches its unit type. Some US units can go to only one beach or another, such as the "Blue and Grey" 29th Infantry which bore the brunt of the attack on Omaha.

New Allied units are placed in the beachheads if space is available. If during this order the beachhead boxes still contain units placed previously because of congestion on the beaches, then there might be no place for the reinforcements to go. In this case, you draw only as many units as will fit in the beachheads. Extra units must wait until the next turn to mobilize.

As the Allied player, it is imperative to clear those beaches and get your men moving inland. If you are slow to do so, your reinforcements will be slow to arrive, and you will lose the game.

Order Card 15: Axis Reinforcement

Order Card 15The text of this Axis order is Roll two dice for Rennes/Chartres. Roll two dice for Rouen/Chartres. Fighters strafe Axis land units reinforcing in zones they patrol. Roll one die for each fighter per unit that reinforces. A roll of 1 is a hit.

The Axis player also rolls two dice for each side, but in this case, it's each side of the board. The reinforcement markers show the zones in which German reinforcements can go. Two are labeled "Rennes," two "Chartres," and two "Rouen." These are the French cities from which these reinforcements sped to the front.

The Axis player must decide which zones to reinforce with his forces from the Rennes/Chartres group and which to reinforce from the Rouen/Chartres group. The player makes these decisions after rolling both sets of dice. Of course, only eight mobile land units can be in a zone, so piling 24 pieces in the two central Chartres zones is not allowed. Also, pieces that were there before this order count against these limits.

Unfortunately for Axis reinforcements, the Axis player must also deal with any Allied fighters that were placed in the reinforcement zones during order card 3. Reinforcing counts as a "move" from the fighters' point of view, so they strafe any units that reinforce in their zone. Each fighter gets a shot at each reinforcing unit in such a zone, hitting and destroying that unit on a roll of 1. A large fleet of fighters placed in a single reinforcement zone is likely to scare the Axis player away from reinforcing there unless it's the only option. Even if the fighters fired on moving units before, they can fire again now at any reinforcing units in their zones.

Once you are out of reinforcement units on a chart (or side of a chart), you cannot reinforce from that chart any more. Most players like to see a large number of units move out early, but if they're used poorly, there is nothing left to back them up.

Order Card 16: Fighters Return

Order Card 16The text of this Allied order is Place fighters on airfield.

After pounding German reinforcements, fighters return to the Allied airfield. They can be placed in different zones on the next turn.

Now comes the most important step of the game.

Check for Victory

After the deck has been exhausted for a given turn, you check for victory. If the Allies have the only units in the three victory cities (Cherbourg, St Lô, and Caen), the Allies win immediately. If it's the end of turn 10 and the Allies haven't won, the Axis wins immediately. Otherwise, turn the deck back over, advance the turn marker, and start the next turn.

That's the end of the order card deck. Next time, I'll show you the first of the two sets of advanced cards, the fortune cards. See you then.


Catch up on any previews you missed!

Mike SelinkerMike Selinker has been playing, designing, developing, and just plain loving games of every variety for many, many years. He is a gamer in the very best sense of the word. Mike lives in Seattle.

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