One of the interesting features of D-Day: The Beginning of the End is the option which allows you to manipulate the opening scenario settings and create conditions vastly different than the historically based defaults. Besides assuring diversity in replay situations this option presents the player with a definite chance to re-think history and direct operations accordingly. The game is designed to accommodate two human players or human against computer. Because of the complexity of the strategic and tactical decisions as well as the detailed level of troop movement and supply, D-Day: The Beginning of the End has a tendency to produce extremely long games. It wouldn't be unusual for games between humans to last a period of weeks. The reasons behind this are the vast size of the theater being emulated and the painstakingly involved campaign requirement of moving all troops from turn to turn. Long term orders are not supported so you'll have to direct each and every unit under your command every single turn if movement is desired or necessary. Adding to the realism of the simulation are the options to customize areas such as the military leaders' personalities (more aggressive, tentative, etc.), hands-on control of supplies and weaponry, difficulty levels which impact the computer's "smarts" and ability to select fog of war conditions. Two modes of play are offered with the standard option dependent upon factual historical records of troop placement, timelines, availability of units, actual supply and weapons readouts, movement and various other aspects while the historical option allows for the manipulation of starting conditions referenced above.
Nearly all movement and player induced commands are entered by choosing menu options and troop movement is handled nicely with the mouse (simply right click on unit to select it and then left click on destination hex). The game's complexity results in an intensive time investment as each unit must be checked or monitored each turn and note-taking is suggested as a way to keep track of your overall strategy which can be lost in the myriad of details and passage of time. Terrain affects troop movement and units have assigned movement points so careful planning is a must. Another positive point is the inclusion by the designers of an option that allows the computer to determine combat outcome automatically rather than force you to direct every single movement of every unit during a battle. Perhaps a bit more detail regarding outside influences could have been built into the game such as the war going on in the Eastern Front. As it stands, very little impact is considered in this regard which can result in unfair advantages during manipulation of scenarios, especially in the area of German troop strengths. What would have happened if Hitler only had one front to worry about instead of two? Inadvertently, D-Day: The Beginning of the End gives you an opportunity to test out that avenue of strategy. In summary, the game is a very complex exercise in all aspects of strategic management and is geared toward seasoned wargaming veterans.
Graphics: Aged graphics but clear enough not to distract gameplay. Typical military unit icons and mapping.
Sound: Fortunately this isn't an integral part of gameplay.
Enjoyment: Gets mired at times in overly lengthy sessions of troop movement which can impact on continuity. Oversight of outside influences and required troop commitment elsewhere slightly and subtly deflects realism.
Replay Value: Many customizable features allow for scenario changes which assure different strategic looks at the action.
The pivotal battle of World War 2 is recreated using Impressions' Micro Miniatures wargaming system. You take an overall command of the units by directing them, and can play out the individual battles yourself if you wish. The screen display uses letters to indicate the unit type, with only functional use of graphics and sound throughout.
The gameplay is turn-based, with you selecting each move for your units before activating them and letting the computer do the same. The strategic considerations include the surrounding terrain, whether the enemy forces are fortified and ready for your attack, unit morale, unit fatigue and remaining movement points. At higher difficulty levels your orders may not be followed to the letter, as the more ambitious or arrogant generals attempt their own plans.
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