A simple statement to start off this review: if you are a WWII gamer, you should own this game. Period.
D-Day Dice is full of uniqueness. It plays from 1 to 4 people (yes – solitaire is a completely viable option!). It is cooperative. It is fast (a game takes less than an hour). It has tons of specialized dice. The rules are simple – and, most importantly, it is a blast to play.
In D-Day Dice, the players take on the role of Allied forces storming the beaches during that fateful operation. Each player has a unique score card which he uses to keep track of certain resources during the game: Soldiers, Courage, Leadership and Scavenge. To generate these resources players will roll specialized 6-sided dice trying to get sets or sequences. Using these resource points will allow the players to advance up the beach and eventually capture an enemy strong-point (for example, a bunker).
To track the progress of the mission, unique maps are used (8 different maps on four boards come in the base game). Each player’s platoon is represented by yet another custom six sided die which not only designates where on the beach that player’s forces are but also how long they have been in any one sector. Due to the intense resistance put up by the Axis (German) forces, players cannot remain in any one sector more than 3 turns – and often times even less.
Each turn players will lose a number of their soldiers – and that number is based on how far up the beach you have traveled. Certain sectors have different restrictions on entry, as well as being blocked by land-mines or tank traps.
During your turn you can also recruit specialists, find discarded or abandoned items and even receive awards in the field. These cards will grant you special abilities like crossing mine-fields without harm, or allowing re-rolls.
Tension is created by the time-limit on how long a platoon can remain in any given sector, how many soldiers one loses during each turn and the desire to prepare for the heavy casualties one will face farther up the beach. Players must balance preparing versus rushing the objective. Each map presents new and varied challenges.
If even one player is eliminated, the mission is a failure and the game is lost.
I cannot stress enough how fun this game is. As many of you know, I am a huge proponent of the cooperative game – and also an avid WWII war gamer. The fact that D-Day Dice combines those two and adds solitaire play is an absolute slam-dunk.