Review: D-Day Dice First Edition

Designer: Emmanuel Aquin

Artist: Emmanuael Aquin, Mark Poole

Published: Valley Games Inc

Playtime: 30-45 min. Depends on the map

Player Count: 1-4 players

Storming the Beach

D-Day Dice is a dice rolling cooperative board game where players represent Allied soldiers storming through German machine gun nests. You and your fellow comrades work together to collect resources, gain courage, and slowly advance through enemy lines one sector at a time. The goal of each battle map is to reach the final bunker, which is decked out with machine guns and landmines to make your mission seem impossible.  D-Day Dice is a war of attrition that is earned by managing your resources and timing your advance properly. This game is known mostly for it’s solitaire experience, which I will touch on later on. There is a picture of the Player Aid to give you an idea of how everything works.

The Recipe

  • Cooperative/ Solo play
  • dice chucking
  • Action selection
  • Easy to learn
  • Thematic/historic

Iconography and Components

From the dice to the battle maps, every icon and what do with the results is completely clear to any level of gamer. The Player Aids included for each player, pull you away from constant rule checks and keep you immersed in the action on the battlefield. The battle maps clearly explain the specific mission icons, where to start, and how many troops you begin with. Every sector has emblems numbered in black and white to indicate the amount of soldiers you lose each round and the all black sectors indicated you may only to stay for one. After two plays, you will probably know most of the icons by heart or with a quick glance at the rule and Player Aid.

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Example of an early map in the game.

The best component in the game is the the planned resources cards. They assist players with tracking soldiers, courage, tools, and honor after each roll. At first glance they seem a bit fiddly, but after 30+ playthroughs, I was DEAD WRONG! The quality of the dice is top notch, especially for a game published in 2012. I like the size, weight, and the deeply etched icons in each die. Since I don’t have dice quality knowledge, I’ll just say…..I enjoy chuckin’em!

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The recourse card is used to track the final tally after three rolls. Tick tick tick! I was amazed how well they hold up.

 

 

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nit marker dice for each player on the left and a pair of each color dice for ever player.

What’s the Mission Sir?

The goal of each map is to reach the bunker. The bunker sectors are heavily fortified and have multiple effects that deplete large amounts of  resources to enter and survive the final charge. I’ll try not to repeat myself too much, but managing your resources BEFORE you get to the final two or three sectors give you the best chance at victory. If all of your troops die in combat or you cannot pay the requirements needed to progress, you lose.

Ready Weapons & Storm the Beach

With players aid in hand, the six phases of each turn runs fairly smoothly. Every player starts at the bottom of the map, placing their unique colored unit marker (Chevron die) in the starting “S” symbol. Every map has a starting set of soldiers and sometimes specialists, to get players off to a very humbling start. Each player has their own set of dice, regular specialists deck, and planned resource card. In the booklet, there is a description of each battle map and the specific special items, soldiers, and unique soldiers for that map. It’s worth reading the map instructions in the booklet thoroughly, while reviewing battle map. All players will have a chance to decided routes to take and which special items and unique specialists will help them the most. Oh yeah, there is some strategy and you must cooperate!

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General setup for a 4 player game. Every player has their own regular specialist deck, unit marker chevron die, 6 dice,(2 of each color), and resource card. The items, awards, and specialists are all set up according to the mission guide inside the booklet.

Phase 1: Every player simultaneously rolls their six dice (2 Red, 2 White, 2 blue). Each result is their own. On the first of three roll attempts, you must lock at least two dice out of six results. You can lock in more die symbols if you choose, but they are permanently locked in. The second roll results you can keep or reroll until the third roll, which is called the final tally. If your final tally roll has a skull or skulls, a die result of your choice is eliminated along with the skull die. This mechanic is brutal considering the difficulty of the game. Don’t worry, there are bonuses for matching three skulls. When bad rolls result in the possibility of huge returns, you have me hooked in. I’m a risky fella.

Phase 2: In the Upkeep Phase you check the final tally and apply the results to your resource card. If you match up three symbols with red, white, and blue color dice, then you get a corresponding RWB special bonus. The Fresh Troops bonus gives you six troops for matching the double soldier symbols PLUS an additional six soldiers. The Special Find bonus is applied when you match three tool symbols with red, white, and blue colored dice. The additional bonus other than receiving six item points, allows you to purchase an additional item before the next phase. Generally you can buy an item once per turn, but this is a bonus opportunity or you can gain two courage.

Phase 3: Adjust your unit marker(die). You simply move your unit die up one chevron each round turn until you finally reach the third chevron. On Phase 3 during the third round(chevron), you move your unit marker to the red arrow indicating that you MUST move during the next move phase.

Phase 4: Recruit Specialists/Find Items/Trade Resources/Draw rewards

  • There are four types of specialists, regular, reserve, ranking, and unique. Each soldier type has abilities that assist you and your allies during the mission. In order to recruit specialists, you must spend stars equal to the amount labeled on the cards.
  • Finding items is similar to recruiting. You can only purchase one item per turn and items are acquired by spending tools from your resource cards. Purchasing items is vital to your success as prep for later sectors with crushing conditions. You have the option of trade anything with your fellow allies who share the same sector as you. This includes star, tools, items, stars, etc.
  • You are able to draw awards two ways. If you roll a straight (all six faces of the dice) or if you spend 6 courage, which is pretty risky. The benefits are better than any items, such as the Royal Red Cross Medal. This award allows players to ignore all casualties except for special effects and bunkers. Awards

 

Phase 5: Movement. When you have to move forward, the courage requirement must be met in order to move forward. You lose if you cannot move forward or lose all of your soldiers. You can move laterally or forward only, there is no backwards movement.If there are landmines, trigger as you enter the sector. You have to roll a D6 for damage before you start your first turn. OUCH!

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The Player Aid makes each turn a breeze without the need to dive back into the rule book.

Additional Details Sergeant?

I want to talk a little about strategy. The turns in D-Day Dice are really simple and you get a pretty good idea of what you are doing wrong or right based your management skills. Sometimes it boils down to buying you time by moving laterally to have more turns to delay moving forward. You might make the mistake of chasing the RWB (red, white, blue) rewards so much that you didn’t plan for buying items or having enough courage to move forward. I’ve done this a couple times, don’t repeat my mistakes please. Dice luck is part of this game, but management is the most important game play aspect. This game is difficult, but not to the point of frustration.  There are 8 maps included in the base game and I have a couple expansion maps. Understand that you’re going to be tested enough during this game that even the most experienced player will deal with defeat often.

There are vehicle cards, which are discovered like items in the game. Tanks, bulldozers, armored cars, jeeps, ambulances are all present. Some of the benefits are obvious, but I wanted you to know that vehicles are another gameplay element that adds to the heavily thematic dice game.

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A few examples of Vehicle cards.

Verdict

THIS GAME IS A MUST HAVE FOR SOLITAIRE PLAYERS! The rules for solitaire players are tight and easy to score if you choose to tally a score board. A few cards are eliminated from the game and there is a special Lieutenant card for solo players to give a little assistance on rolls. If you are specifically looking at this game for a solitaire experience, buy this game. The multiplayer mechanics in this game work thematically and make the cooperative game just as  satisfying. I did not mention this earlier, but there is scoring in the game based on what you have left at the end of the map. You can also use the scoring as a competitive element because at some point, it’s race to the finish the map. D-Day Dice has a bit of randomness due to dice rolls, but you have so many choices with each roll to help manage your soldiers. Being able to recruit soldiers with abilities and find items balances some of the worst rolls. The thrill of victory feels victorious and earned, while the agony of defeat swift. D-Day Dice is the type of game that in defeat you immediately want to start over and alter your approach. I never felt like I had no chance to win, but I always think back to previous turns and prepared better. The theme of overall hits home for me as a Veteran of the US Marine Corps. I think Valley Games does a great job of representing the theme instead of making the game a very dry generic dice chucker. D-Day Dice keeps me coming back to it because of the quality of the components, exciting gameplay, and the theme hit on all cylinders. This is one of my favorite games of all time and you should expect to see more content this week to talk about the 2nd Edition Kickstarter campaign on November 11th. If you cannot find the 1st Edition somewhere, PLEDGE FOR THE 2nd EDITION!

Thank your for your time and I hope you like today’s review. If you would like updates on my content, please give my site a follow or follow me on Twitter using the tag @jambapg. Please feel free to ask questions about the game or any conversation is welcome. Thanks again.

 

 

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