France 1944: The Allied Crusade in Europe, Designer Signature Edition, marks the return of an original game covering the historical events that led to the liberation of France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands during the Allied drive on Germany by renowned game designer, Mark Herman. This new signature edition has been re-mastered and updated and will be linking with an all-new companion game, Russia 1944, slated for release in 2019.
Changes from the 1986 version include an updated combat system that has been simplified and bloodier. The game updates attrition rules. The Brittany Campaign is captured in the game along with V1 rockets. The mounted map has more terrain features, covers more area. The game includes an additional scenario that takes the war past the Rhine River and goes to the end of the war. The game also includes 70 additional counters and a second map that zooms in on Normandy and features larger hexes to better manage the initial breakout.
This original game influenced Herman’s classic Empire of the Sun in that the player will activate a headquarter piece, which in turn activates armor divisions and infantry corps within command range of the headquarters unit. Instead of cards, though, this game uses chits drawn from a cup.
The most unique feature, though, is the attempt to model real time through a simple increment chart. The result is that if a unit moves, it captures an instance of time where all units must do something, even if that means sitting still. There is no movement phase where you move units of various speeds adjacent to an enemy and then go into a combat phase where they all attack. Coordination is captured more realistically, but in a manageable and simplistic system.
The game emphasizes logistics in how you coordinate combat and movement. Also, if you move too rapidly, like George Patton in 1944, you outrun your supplies and have to wait while it catches up.
The game plays in one sitting and has a relatively low complexity for a wargame.