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Subject: Memoir '44, Do I see something happening here? rss

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Kevin Roach
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I have never played the game, nor have I see an actual game in RL, but I have read the ongoing debate as to weither it is actually a real wargame. Now with this in my head, I was looking over the many pictures on the site here and over the course of the years, I have seen somthing happening and wondered if it was just me or what.

So here what I have seen. The units are getting to be more specific and the terrain was becomming more diverse. Now in my opinoin, I consider it to be a wargame lite and not a "real" wargame.

With this in mind;
-Is the detail being increased?
-Is the game becomming more "hard core"?
-Are the units becomming less generic?
-More specific?
-Is is flowing toward a more historical miniature type of game?
-Is it becomming less "lite" and more meaty?
-Are Memoir '44 players moving into more historical wargames?
(Dare I say Simulations?)


From thoses that play it and have played it scince its conception what would you say to it?
 
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John Carlton
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I'd say the game remains at the same "depth" as when it was released. The terrain and troop expansions have simply added more variety. The interactions can be a little more complex in terms of figuring out what movement is allowed or determining how many dice to roll, but it's definitely not "hard core."

As for myself, I very much enjoy M44. But I have not played a single other wargame outside the C&C system since I first purchased it.
 
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Bill
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The units are becoming somewhat more defined but not terribly so. Japanese and Russian soldiers behave somewhat differently from Allies and Germans but the differences can be summarized in a sentence or two. There are also some more special units within nationalities but these are also very easy to handle. There are also some new terrain types and some new rules for nightime scenarios, battle ship bombardment, mines etc. but nothing is at all complex and a single scenario generally only includes one of the new features at a time. If people thought the original game was too generic, they will probably still feel that way.

I am unsure if this game is actually leading people to more complex wargames. I would assume this is the case, especially among younger gamers (much like Axis and Allies led many of my generation into more complex wargames) In my experience, it is rather that wargamers craving a light, fast game are coming to Memoir 44. This game will still not scratch the real wargaming itch for most however. It and other lighter wargames (like We the People and Columbia block games) have led me to develop a strong aversion to older style wargames with dense, exception-laden rule books. To be fair, the fact that I now have a full time job, three kids and a larger collection of games might also be leading me away from the very complex wargames of my youth as well.
 
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Kevin Roach
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You could be right about hardcore wargamers playing it for "a break", as I am thinking of picking it up.
 
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David McLeod
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I think the major selling point is that you can set-up and play in 30-45mins. Not many wargames can make such a claim.

Memoir'44 won't replace your heavier wargames but it certainly will find a place in most wargame collections.


 
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George Kinney
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Memoir has gotten some additional bits thrown in, but its just more variety, hardly more complexity. I think DoW knows who they are selling this game to, namely folks that want a quick playing, light weight, shoot-em-up.

I'm sure a few folks will head on to 'heavier' wargames, but I'd bet they'd have headed off that way of their own volition at some point anyways, just like many Axis&Allies players of my youth did.
 
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Kevin Reynolds
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I am a wargamer as well, with ASL and similar the basis of my wargaming interests.

There is a problem though, its hard to find opponents that are nearby and available to play.

I found that there are a few barriers:

1) Lots of complex rules. Its really hard to introduce new players to wargaming if they aren't already interested to some degree. There is a huge up front investment in time to play simulations (real wargames).

2) Long play time. Its rare that a wargame plays out in less than 2 to 4 hours. People have short attention spans, and don't want to break games up into multiple days. Vassal helps with the game board retention, but doesn't solve the separation issues.

3) Lots of people don't like games revolving around war. I truly don't understand this.

4) Lots of units to manage. Lots of gamers don't want to manage the units required for wargaming. Maybe this is an attentionspan issue, who knows.

5) Finality. In a wargame, there are rarely ties. You invest alot of time, and you can lose. Some people actually hate losing. I don't understand this either.

So this is why I picked up Memoir '44 and BattleLore. These two games really address all but the 5th item. However, since you are investing less than an hour into the game, the sting of the 5th item to people who hate losing isn't so bad. You can play 3 or 4 games in the time you can play a single wargame (or even more). No, its not nearly as detailed and fun as wargames are, but at least you get to play. Hell, I have every ASL expansion from the beginning, including the historical modules, and I have played perhaps 5 games in the last 10 years. Most of those games did not get completed, and 3 of them were online using Vassal.

I've now moved into blockgames to try them out. They address all of the issues except item #2, but there really is no reason you can't complete a game in a single sitting. I will let you know how it turns out.

I wish I could get some ASL/SL playtime.
 
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I come from a historical board and miniatures wargame playing background and have found the Commands & Colors systems games to a lot more fun, easier to play, easier to teach, and usually just as plausible as hard wargames covering the same topics.

I've played ASL, War in Flames, Command Decision, Empire, and plenty of other "hard" wargames. The thing I've noticed is that plenty of wargamers of all stripes will drop historical tactics and decision-making in favor of cheesy play and hair-splitting at the drop of a hat if it means a win.

The Commands & Colors games have rules that are simple enough to remember and reference when someone has a question about play. And because the rules are clear-cut, it's pretty hard for someone to fudge or deliberately cheat. And the games touch upon enough points of historical consideration that I think the themes are being well-addressed.

They aren't perfect, but they pack a surprising punch.

 
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Alexius Exfalso
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Is it a wargame? Me, I say yeah, it is, and actually a good one, too. ASL is also a good wargame, but in a different way.

Is it evolving? Definitely, yes; it has become richer. Each expansion has contributed something (including the terrain module, which has really enriched the game - here's hoping something similar happens for C&C - Ancients.

It can be modified to suit tastes, easily without losing too much of its character - it is not difficult to create rules distinguishing classes of army and troop, reaction fire, bore-sighting, residual fire...the game is what you choose to make of it. And yet, it doesn't need any of that; it plays well on its own terms.

I know it's often spoken of as an entry level game leading onto to more substantial things, but to be honest I can well understand why many are perfectly satisfied with it, and feel no need to move on. It is well-produced, very well supported online and, above all, fun.

There is a lot to be said for that.
 
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Dr. Dam
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My definition of a wargame is any game that involves a combat system, dice driven or otherwise. After that it is only the complexity that differs.

I agree that DoW know their target market very well and I loved Memoir from the get go. But I still feel there is room for expansions that allow gamers to deepen the complexity if they wish.

One of the greatest improvement to the C&C franchise is the importance of support in their new release BattleLore. The importance of support means you have to be far more careful with how you advance on the enemy, which is not always the case in Memoir.

I would like to see some improvements of this ilk.
 
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William Hostman
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kjuice wrote:
So here what I have seen. The units are getting to be more specific and the terrain was becomming more diverse. Now in my opinoin, I consider it to be a wargame lite and not a "real" wargame.


There is no such thing as "wargame light"... There are wargames, and there are consims... most consims are also wargames. BL is a wargame, but not a consim. It's comparable to OGRE/GEV...

The increase in complexity is minimal. The increase in tactical options is moderate. The increase in terrains is actually more of the complexity than is the increase in special troop types.

The next step in complexity isn't in M44... it's in BattleLore... which is more complex, and more involved.
 
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Isaac Citrom
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I am with each play growing to hate this game, and yet I keep playing it and having fun.

I lost yet another session to my youngest son and I can't say that I played poorly. Just that raises a giant red flag in my mind.

As soon as a unit gets down to 2 figures, I must go all out and expend precious relevant command cards in order to withdraw that unit lest the unit is destroyed and another victory medal is earned. In the meanwhile, I have an armoured unit and 4 infantry units doing calisthenics on my left flank. The chances that I would draw the right combination of cards to even remotely move these units cohesively is damn rare to begin with, much less while I am wasting cards moving a single 2 figure unit.

The designation of the cards as "pincer move", "probe", "attack" or what not is completely irrelevant. This too raises a giant red flag with me. In M44 I have 2 or 3 "threads" of thought going on simultaneously. I like cards that will allow me to move the maximum number of units as these cards allow me to inject what-I-really-want-to-do-command-points across the board. So, for example, I am not really executing a pincer. Rather the pincer move card permits me to move a couple of units on my right flank in support of what I actually want to do there, and likewise for the left flank. Thinking about it, how could the deck possibly "know" what I would like to or ought to do. I find the whole notion of "card driven" more and more ludicrous with each passing game session.

Obviously, the grognard in me is quite frustrated. And yet, I and my sons keep having a lot of fun playing M44. This past weekend my two youngest sons played the Sword Beach scenario with me as the spectator/umpire. The battle was a real nail-biter. At one point the older of the two, playing the Germans, had his whole right flank caved in. There was not a friendly unit to be found anywhere on that flank. His younger brother had an armoured unit about to enter the town and grab one last victory medal and win the game. Valiantly, the elder brother sent a single weakened infantry unit from the centre in hopes of destroying the armoured unit and stave off defeat. Too far and too weak I thought. Several command cards later, the armoured unit was destroyed and very unexpectedly the game took a turn. All three of us had a blast.

Is M44 a wargame? With the hexes, tanks, infantry, and artillery, it is an uphill battle to say that it is not. I don't feel like I have wargamed when I play M44. I just don't have the control over my own troops that I would in a wargame. I feel like I played a fun game and followed along with its mechanics.

I think M44 sits at the nexus of a war themed game and a conflict simulation (consim).

The goal of the design of a consim is to simulate reality in order to allow me to re-enact some military endeavour. The design choices are related to tradeoffs between realism and playability. A good consim design will allow me to do exactly what I want to do without bogging down the simulation.

M44's main design focus is playability and fun. The question at the end of a game of M44 is not whether you feel you did well as a military thinker in the Sword Beach scenario. The question is, did you have fun.

As a grognard, I made peace with M44 by accepting that it is not and never will be even a super light consim. It is a fun game with a WWII war theme veneer.

I will add that I have noticed with several older consimers, myself included (I turned 29 for the 12th time now), a fundamental questioning of consimming. I have a host of Avalon Hill and SPI consims on my shelf. I question whether, at the end of the day, with all the investement in time and energy, am I having any more fun. ASL has been dancing in my peripheral vision since the system's inception. I intend to buy the rulebook just for the grognardian interest but I do not have the will nor the bravery to invest myself in it. That is why I so eagerly await the release of Tide of Iron. I am hoping that Tide of Iron will successfully generate the fun one seeks but with the simplicity of an M44.

No, M44 is not a wargame, not in the sense that I understand what a wargame is. But, it does allude to what is possible without going into the minutiae of an ASL. In any case, I'm having a lot of fun with M44, wargame or not.
 
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Darrell Hanning
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I think Isaac hits on a salient point, here - at the end of the day, I want to have had fun.

"Fun", when I was 20 (back when Ford was president), amounted to poring over thirty pages of rules, playing a single game for eight hours, and having the outcome questioned based on the interpretation of various rules. Yes, that can be fun, for someone who has a lot of time to kill, few distractions in his life, and even fewer choices in games.

After the Holocaust, for example, used to seem like "fun". And based on that general memory of an impression, I pull it out once every couple of years, look it over, scan the rules, and conclude that both I and the gaming world were rather different, back then. That isn't meant as an indictment against every complex game I own from my earlier years of gaming, but it seems true for most of them.

OTOH, M'44, while "fun", chafes too much in the realism department. I prefer C&C:Ancients, and am looking forward to Tides of Iron.
 
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Gary Krockover
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Axelfudge wrote:
I think the major selling point is that you can set-up and play in 30-45mins. Not many wargames can make such a claim.

Memoir'44 won't replace your heavier wargames but it certainly will find a place in most wargame collections.




Pick a scenario, set up the game. Now, the best 2 out of 3 with the high die roll wins the scenario. Very simple.
 
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Seth Owen
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I don't think I need to belabor my bona fides as a wargamer, but I agree with most of the commentary above.
When I was a young man without family, responsibility or much money but blessed with lots of time, I enjoyed spending that time immersed in deep, hard-core wargaming with loads of other young guys of my ilk. Lots of times I even thought a lot of it was "realistic" because of its great detail.
Now I'm a much older man with family, responsibilities and a little more money and a real shortage of time and like-minded players. My views of what's "realistic" have also evolved with time, more study, life experience and a short tour in a war zone. I think a lot of detail can get in the way of understanding the timeless fundamentals of warfare. Instead, I now believe wargames like Memoir'44, Bonaparte at Marengo, Columbia's block games, Up Front and many other less traditional approaches can provide a better insight into the art of generalship than many more detailed treatments.
Still, at the end of the day, a good wargame is about having fun, and I don't believe I have found any other game system to be as consistently entertaining as Borg's various Command & Colors titles.
I'm still a fan of more hard-core games such as ASL, TCS, Harpoon4 and more, but I also accept that those will be rare treats and objects of appreciative study more than games that get played.
As far as wargaming, goes, I expect it will mostly be BaM, C&C, War of the Ring, A&A miniatures and the like.
 
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Kevin Roach
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I think maybe that the games that are comming out now are building on M44 and becoming more detailed. Perhaps it all started with Battlecry and is slowly building up. what do you think?
 
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Isaac Citrom
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kjuice wrote:
I think maybe that the games that are comming out now are building on M44 and becoming more detailed. Perhaps it all started with Battlecry and is slowly building up. what do you think?


Kevin, yes, or at least I hope so. I hope that this is a trend toward reinventing the notion of a wargame. Let's see what comes up in this potentially a renaissance of wargaming. We will still have our 10,000 counter 14 map consims--they're not going anywhere.
 
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