On the table is Operation Dauntless, Mark Mokszycki‘s game about the June 1944 Normandy battles for Fontenay and Rauray, published by GMT Games. The first game of Mark’s that I played was the excellent Red Winter, and this looks to be even better.

The box is overflowing with gaming goodness: the physical production standards are the usual top notch, though there are one or two minor pieces of errata. Apart from the expected map, counters, rule book, and play aids, there’s a chunky Scenario Book (complete with programmed instruction starter scenarios to teach the system) and a very impressive Reference Book with commentary, supporting notes, and a ton of historical detail. Finally there is a Play Book with many examples of play, material about how to link the scenarios into a campaign game, tips, and other bits and pieces.

The system is somewhat more complicated than Red Winter, the key differences being additional rules to cover defensive fire and anti-tank combat. The latter has a unique action and reaction cycle which took me some time to become comfortable with. However, there is a play aid with a flowchart that handles this subsystem better than the dry body of the rules.

I have played through most of the programmed instruction scenarios, and setup and walked through the first couple of turns of the first actual (historic) scenario. The game has lots of rich tactical detail which makes it play a bit slower than Red Winter. Whether this is worthwhile is a matter of taste. I enjoy the immersive experience, so for me it’s a positive feature. It may have taken a while to get to the table, but the timing is fortuitous, given I have a wee bit extra free time to devote to this beauty.