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Posted on Jun 5, 2018 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

“It will be the Longest Day”  D-Day at Omaha Beach Computer Game Review

“It will be the Longest Day” D-Day at Omaha Beach Computer Game Review

By Rick Martin

D Day at Omaha Beach Computer Game Preview. Publisher: Decision Games Price: $24.95

Rick Martin

Passed Inspection: Captures the feel of the board game; nice sound effects, quick to load, takes up very little hard disk space, help screens are nice

Failed Basic: Includes two manuals but both are for the board game; one 9 page semi-formatted manual is in folder entitled “Media”; a little back ground musical score would be nice; has some bugs regarding the “landing window” which don’t allow the game to progress; feels like an alpha release; needs more development

“It will be the longest day,” said Field Marshal Rommel when he spoke of the D Day landings. Unfortunately, playing this game felt like the “longest day” to me as well.

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On this anniversary of the D Day landings, we are looking at Decision Games computer version of their wonderful D Day on Omaha Beach board game. While that board game is a classic, the computer game doesn’t make the cut.

In D Day at Omaha Beach the computer game you command two divisions of American troops. Your job is to land your troops and establish a secure beachhead. The computer artificial intelligence (AI) controls the German defenders. Several different options allow you to experiment with different variables such as “what happened if more American amphibious Sherman tanks made it to shore” and “what happened if the Army Rangers didn’t land at Omaha” to “what happens if the Germans high command allowed for the panzers of Kamfgruppe Meyer to deploy to the landing area instead of being held in reserve while Hitler slept?”

The steps of each turn are as follows:
1) Landing Phase
2) Random Event Phase
3) Engineering Phase
4) Engineering and HQ Phase
5) German Fire Phase
6) German Action Phase
7) US Actions

There are two scenarios – The First Wave and then Beyond the Beach.

The graphics are pleasing and evocative of the board game. The units are easy to move and attack with. When attacks occur, you can see and hear machine gun and canon fire. I wished for some type of back ground music to help set the tone but maybe I’m just asking for too much.

To move a unit, simply click on it. The game will show you where the unit can move and/or attack. During the course of the turn, random events may occur which can throw your plans in to disarray. The entire game can be controlled from your mouse. There is a great deal to do with the units – from clearing mines to scaling cliffs and assaulting German positions, this game captures the events of D Day.

While the game is fun, it feels incomplete and buggy. The first problem is that the game has no real instructions manual! Two manuals are included which are just the manuals for the board game! Finally, while looking through folders in the main game folder, I found a folder called “Media” and found a semi-formatted 9 page “instruction” book within it! While the game has plenty of help screens, it would seem to me to be important to actually have a formatted instruction book to help you play the game!

In addition, at specific points in the game, a window will open up giving you the option of landing specific units on specific parts of Omaha beach. Until you assign the units, you can’t progress in the game but, get this, some of the units can’t be assigned so the window will not go away and let you play more of the game! I had to exit out of the game and then restart the game from my auto-saved turn in order to progress past the screen. Why? Why?

This game has so much potential but feels like it’s an alpha test edition that Decision Games decided to release. Did they not play test this game? Why didn’t they have a technical writer or game designer work on a complete manual to the game?

As a game designer and technical writer, myself, it frustrates me to see a game with such potential be given such a shabby, rushed treatment. The game is fun to play if you can look past all the issues. Like the amphibious Shermans which didn’t cut the muster on D Day, the computer version of D Day at Omaha Beach feels like a waste of materials.

Armchair General Rating: 65 %

Solitaire Rating: 5 (1 is not suitable, 5 is excellent solo play)

About the Author
A college film instructor and small business owner, Richard Martin has also worked in the legal and real estate professions, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War I and II gamer who can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!

2 Comments

  1. Interesting review! I had looked this over as the paper game is huge and difficult to play solo. Still left wondering if the game is for just PC’s or both PCs and Mac’s?

    Think I will give it a try though comparing how the paper game is not at all practical for me. Thanks for the review.

    • Thanks for the comments. I believe it is just for PCs.

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