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France '40
    
$55.00 USA   £44.99 UK

From GMT Website:  France '40  contains two separate games - Sickle Cut and Dynamo. Both games use the same rules and share many game pieces, but each has a separate full size map.

Sickle Cut: Guderian's Drive to the Channel
This game covers the crucial week in May 1940 when the German army broke the French line on the Meuse and raced to the sea at Abbeville. The game starts on May 13th, the third day of Case Yellow. Six panzer divisions have passed through the Ardennes and are now at the Meuse River. The French and British have raced through Belgium to reach the Dyle Line and cover the Gembloux Gap. The stage is set. Can the Germans cross the Meuse in front of strong opposition? And, if they can, will they be able to break out from the bridgeheads and advance across the map while threatened by Allied reinforcements pouring in from the north and south?

  

Dynamo: Retreat to Victory
This game covers the British withdrawal to Dunkirk and the evacuation. The game starts on May 24th, the day the British decide that the B.E.F. is in real danger of being cut-off from their supply base and the best option is to head for the coast at Dunkirk. However, many of the German panzer divisions are closer to Dunkirk than the British. Can the British reach the coast before the Germans? Can they hold the Dunkirk perimeter for eight days while they evacuate?

      

The rules for both games highlight armor, air support, and morale. Special rules include: Allied Heavy Tanks, DeGaulle, Rommel, Hitler's Halt Order, and French Command Paralysis. Note that the two maps may be linked together for players to study the entire period from May 13th to June 3rd, but there is no combined game scenario.

TIME SCALE: 1 day per turn     MAP SCALE: 4 miles per hex     UNIT SCALE: Divisions, Brigades, Regiments, and Battalions

COMPONENTS:    2 paper maps     2 countersheets      Rulebook     4 Player Aid Cards     Two 6-sided dice

LIVING RULES:Rulebook as published French Rules

ONLINE RESOURCES :

REVIEWS: dell'Associazione Sammarinese Giochi Storici (Italian)

DESIGNER Mark Simonitch      MAP ART Mark Simonitch     COUNTER ART Mark Simonitch
ART DIRECTOR Rodger B. MacGowan     PRODUCERS Gene Billingsley, Tony Curtis, Andy Lewis, Rodger MacGowan, Mark Simonitch
 
Both scenarios in this game are about attack versus defence - strong attacking forces versus disadvantaged defences. It is May 1940 and the Germans are on the offensive against the French, Belgian and British. 
Heinz Guderian is renown as the Panzer Leader, one of the best, military tacticians of WWII. FRANCE '40 puts one of the players in the role of this great General and the other player trying to prevent the brilliance of a genius.
 
Sickle Cut: Guderian's Drive to the Coast:
The German player is charged with breaking through the French line and especially breaking up the Allies contiguous supply line; this action alone is worth 10 VPs to the successful side.
The Germans gain VPs through gaining ground, taking hexes from the Allies. The Allies get their VPs mainly from destroying German units; 1 VP for each unit no matter what size it is.
There is an additional variation that if both players agree the scenario can be extended  by 4 Turns. If this is agreed on, there are two conclusions and victory is determined at both the 10th and the 14th turns.
 
Dynamo:
This is the Allies retreating to and from Dunkirk. Allies gain VPs for saving units, Germans for defeating units.
 
This is what I would call a regular tabletop counter-based wargame. The counters have the necessary information on them, including Attack, Defence and Movement (also Stacking points, ID etc).
Combat is determined by adding all the numbers plus any modifiers of the attacking force (up to 6 hexes can be teamed against one enemy hex). Then add all the Defence numbers plus any modifiers.  Divide the totals into each
other to get the Odds, rounding down in favour of the defence. The Dice are then rolled. The die result and the odds are cross referenced on the CRT (Combat Results Table) and the result acted on.
 
This is a tough game to review per se because basically it is a counter based tabletop wargame dependent on a little luck and the player's decisions of when to attack. Not being an expert on WWII I cannot attest to the accuracy
of the scenarios, but knowing how much research GMT and their designers put into creating these games I put my faith in them being as accurate as possible.I haven't found anything different or unique from the majority of other
tabletop counter based wargames I have played but where it is really good is the tenseness and atmosphere it creates, especially on the retreat to Dunkirk. Some tabletop wargames are like playing Chess matches where you take a
lot of time deciding on your next move but FRANCE '40 has me itching to make the next move as I cannot seem to want to wait for the outcome, it just gets very emotional.
 
As the Allied player it is a challenge to stop the German force whilst trying to hold the supply line, while the onus is on the German player to push and keep pushing, ensuring that the war machine doesn't grind to a halt. As I say
I am not an expert on these battles, but that means I have gone into them with open eyes and mind. I have played as both the German and Allied commanders in both sets of scenarios and have to admit that my tactics (why is my
opponent laughing when I use that word?) weren't as good as Guderians, but I still found it (barely) easier to break the supply line and win a narrow victory in Sickle Cut than I did stopping the Allies getting away at Dunkirk.
So overall I have to say that these are nicely balanced games.
 
 
© Chris Baylis 2011-2015