"Frenchmen, do not aggravate our misfortune by acts which risk bringing tragic reprisals upon you. It will be the innocent French population which will suffer the consequences."
-- Marshal of France Philippe Pétain
After a few games of D-Day, you may see patterns emerging in your gameplay. At that point, add in the fortune cards. These represent the uncertainties of the invasion, everything from sea turbulence to supply shortages to the Luftwaffe. With these cards, you'll be forced to change tactics at a moment's notice to overcome or take advantage of events beyond your control.
Fortune cards are numbered 1 through 16. Each fortune card is placed before its corresponding order card, so fortune card 1 goes before order card 1. If an order card is removed from the deck, so is its fortune card. (You administer the fortune card before you remove the order card, as some fortune cards can affect whether you must remove the corresponding order.)
Every time you flip a fortune card, the side that will act on the order card rolls a die. If the roll is a 1, the acting side gets a positive development. If the roll is a 2, 3, 4, or 5, nothing happens. If the roll is a 6, then the development is negative.
The text of the fortune cards follows. Each also states "Roll one die" and "2–5: No effect."
Fortune Card 1: Airborne Assault
- COMPLETE SURPRISE. Infantry in Airborne boxes hit on a 2 in this phase.
- AIRBORNE OPERATION IN DISARRAY. The Axis chooses and removes two of your infantry in Airborne boxes. The remaining Airborne infantry cannot attack in this phase. Remove this card from deck after use.
This negative effect can be a major setback. Utah and Gold are two beaches that the paratroopers have a chance to clear. If they don't at least make a dent on Turn 1, these beaches can become killing grounds.
Fortune Card 2: Naval Bombardment
- IMPROVED TARGETING. Naval bombardment hits on a 3 or less in this phase.
- HEAVY FOG AND PITCHING SEAS. Naval bombardment hits only on a 1 in this phase.
This positive development can sweep the blockhouses off the beaches. Many a game has turned from an Allied slog to a triumph (or vice versa) with this roll.
Fortune Card 3: Fighters Patrol
- TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY. There is no restriction on the number of fighters patrolling a zone this turn.
- AIRFIELD UNREADINESS. Roll one die for each fighter. On a roll of 4 or higher, the fighter cannot patrol this turn. (Return it to the airfield.)
Be careful of how you use this positive development. If you put all your fighters in one zone, the Axis may just circumvent them. Still, on turn 10, when you're trying to keep the Germans from reoccupying St Lô, this is just about the best news you can get.
Fortune Card 4: Antiaircraft Fire: Fighters
- LOW-FLYING FIGHTERS. Antiaircraft fire hits on a 2 or less in this phase.
- ANTIAIRCRAFT SHELL SHORTAGE. The Allies choose one zone. Axis artillery in that zone cannot conduct antiaircraft fire in this phase.
This happens after fighters are sent on patrol, so don't count on this positive development before you roll it.
Fortune Card 5: Bombers Strike
- TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY. Your bombers hit on a 5 or less in this phase.
- AIRFIELD UNREADINESS. Roll one die for each bomber. On a roll of 4 or higher, the bomber cannot strike in this phase. (Return it to the airfield.)
Looking ahead, the negative development does prevent your bomber from crashing on fortune card 7 if you're unusually prone to rolling high.
Fortune Card 6: Antiaircraft Fire: Bombers
- LOW-FLYING BOMBERS. Antiaircraft fire hits on a 2 or less in this phase.
- ANTIAIRCRAFT SHELL SHORTAGE. The Allies choose one zone. German artillery in that zone cannot conduct antiaircraft fire in this phase.
Sadly for the Axis, this negative development doesn't happen after bombers strike.
Fortune Card 7: Bombers Return
- AIRFIELD CONSTRUCTION. If you have lost any bombers, return one lost bomber to airfield.
- LUFTWAFFE ATTACK. The Axis player chooses and removes one striking bomber from play.
This fortune card happens before bombers return. If the last Allied bomber is destroyed on order 6, this is the last chance to get one back before order card 7 is removed.
Fortune Card 8: Allies Move
- CLEAR ROADS. All Allies land units may move two zones in this phase.
- BOGGED DOWN. During this phase, U.K. land units can move out of only one zone, and U.S. land units can move out of only one zone.
The Allies choose the zones, of course. Units that are restricted to moving out of one zone can still split up and enter multiple zones.
Fortune Card 9: Blockhouses Fire to Sea
- HEDGEHOG DISRUPTION. Blockhouses hit on a 5 or less in this phase.
- AMMUNITION FAILURE. Blockhouses hit only on a 1 in this phase.
A lot of you know this, but for those who are puzzled: A "hedgehog" is a defensive formation of lethal obstacles placed in the way of landing craft.
Fortune Card 10: Allies Land
- COORDINATED LANDING. U.S. land units may move to zones adjacent to either U.S. beachhead box, and U.K. land units may move to zones adjacent to any U.K. beachhead box, regardless of where they're slated to land.
- TIDE SLOWS THE LSTS. Land units can move out of only one U.S. and one U.K. beachhead box.
The coordinated landing can be a great boon if you've got one beach open and another bogged down. Transferring forces between beachheads can let you get forces to the vacated beach and on to their goals.
Fortune Card 11: Allies Attack, Axis Defends
- COORDINATED INFANTRY. Allies infantry hit on a 2 in this phase.
- UNCOORDINATED ATTACKS. During this phase, U.K. land units can attack in only one zone, and U.S. land units can attack in only one zone.
Again, the Allies choose the zones. This can be the hardest decision of the game.
Fortune Card 12: Axis Moves
- CLEAR ROADS. All Axis land units may move two zones in this phase.
- FUEL SHORTAGES AND SABOTAGE. Axis land units can move out of only two zones in this phase.
One positive aspect of clear roads is the ability to move artillery in step with your tanks. This makes it more difficult for Allied air units to target your tanks on the next turn.
Fortune Card 13: Axis Attacks, Allies Defend
- COORDINATED INFANTRY. Axis infantry hit on a 2 in this phase.
- UNCOORDINATED ATTACKS. Axis land units can attack in only two zones in this phase.
Attacking Axis infantry can dislodge a small occupying force from a city with this positive development.
Fortune Card 14: Allies Reinforcement
- SUSTAINED ASSAULT. Each of the United Kingdom and the United States may reroll one die for reinforcements in this phase.
- SEA TURBULENCE. Each of the United Kingdom and the United States gets only half its rolled reinforcements in this phase (round up).
Sometimes with the positive reinforcement, you want to reroll the highest die to slow down your reinforcements on the beaches.
Fortune Card 15: Axis Reinforcement
- PUSH TO THE FRONT. The Axis may reroll one die per sector for reinforcements in this phase.
- SABOTAGED BRIDGES AND TRAIN TRACKS. The Axis gets only half its rolled reinforcements per sector in this phase (round up).
By "sector," this card means either the Rennes/Chartres half of the reinforcement chart or the Rouen/Chartres half.
Fortune Card 16: Fighters Return
- AIRFIELD CONSTRUCTION. If you have lost any fighters, return one lost fighter to airfield.
- LUFTWAFFE ATTACK. The Axis player chooses and removes one patrolling fighter from play.
The choice for the Axis player isn't that meaningful because survivors just go back to base. In a three-player game, though, it is always fun to cut down a player's last fighter.
In the last installment of this column, I'll describe tactics cards. Get ready for H-Hour, just a few days away.
Catch up on any previews you missed!
Mike 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.