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The Debate Over AAM D-Day

Axis & Allies: D-Day Booster Pack
Product #
Suggested Retail Price
$14.99 USD

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Eric O writes:

I'm all for a critical examination of a product. We've seen them here before. That said, this one does sort of trail off into sounding like a customer complaint at points.

Revision Log
27 June 2006page first published

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Paul Glasser writes:

Many former fans of the Axis and Allies miniatures game (AAM) will be spending their money elsewhere.

D-Day booster pack

Since the debut, AAM has been fraught with production problems. It started with the M18 Hellcat tank destroyer, which was out of scale. But, it didn't stop there, and a number of other units from all four expansion sets were also out of scale, including the 47mm AT Gun, 20mm Flak 38, and the notorious M3 artillery gun. For a little variety, grossly oversized units, such as the Flak 88, are also for sale now. Other models, also suffered from production flaws.

But, for most players, the D-Day expansion - released on June 2nd - was the final straw. As is clearly visible in the side-by-side photo, the British Spitfire is nothing more than a repainted BF 109.

British Spitfire and BF 109

Robert Mull, online producer for AAM, addressed the problem in a written statement and acknowledged the mistake:

"This is not what we wanted or intended," he wrote. However, Avalon Hill plans to take no action to correct the mistake. "At this time we have no plans to redo this miniature," Mull wrote.

DD Sherman

By contrast, rival Wizkids recently released a Jade Falcon Battle Force set with a production flaw. Some of the heat dials were assembled upside down, and WizKids issued a replacement set (a $30 USD value) with a free limited-edition model.

With so many mistakes in a short (eight month) production life, it is not unreasonable for consumers to expect some sort of solution. However, there have been no announcements to reissue or replace any of the affected models, which total approximately 15 units, or ten percent of the total collection.

P-38 Lightning

On the other hand, many gamers are undeterred by the latest series of errors. Although a significant minority of players either canceled or reduced their orders for the D-Day expansion, many others were undeterred. The most die-hard fans are still committed to purchasing more than $200 USD of the newest product. In fact, a recent poll indicated that only 20 players accounted for more than $30,000 USD in sales.

Their enthusiasm is not without reason, because the new set includes fortifications, heroes, the P-38 Lightning, DD Sherman, the Fw 190, Flak 88 and Jagdtiger.


In the spirit of D-Day, a beach landing map pack and scenario were released, which provides added gameplay options.

Neutral units like pillboxes, barbed wire, minefields and tank obstacles will allow players to add new tactics to any scenario or map. Pillboxes provide soldiers with cover in any terrain. Barbed wire and tank obstacles require units to make movement rolls to by pass them. Minefields force attackers to either risk disruption or expend movement points to avoid them.

Heroes are another hotly debated unit. The Soviet superman has a 33 percent chance of automatically avoiding death. The German marksmen scores double success on a natural six. The Japanese swordmaster uses hand-to-hand combat and camouflage to close with the enemy and destroy him. The British hero provides the British with a speed bonus and a hard-hitting leader.

But, the American hero has already been derided as a "Borg-like" entity who "assimilates" anything in his path. Inspired by Audy Murphy, the "resourceful" hero can equip the guns of any unit destroyed in his hex, but without accepting any negative skills associated with it. So, he could leap into a Whirbelwind and shoot down a fighter without suffering a cover penalty, or use a wrecked Nashorn to blow up anything in sight.

All the heroes ignore disruption and sport improved defenses. Another much maligned skill is the ability to deploy by teleporting on to the map almost any time, any where.


The D-Day set has developed into a litmus test for capitalism. The basis of the free market is that competition allows consumers to spend their money however they want. And, in this case, many players have chosen to voice their displeasure by refusing to buy the product. If they lose enough money, maybe Avalon Hill will finally take action.


The manufacturer has just announced a Spitfire Exchange Program.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and not necessarily the editorial viewpoint of TMP.