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Subject: Memoir '44: The Ultimate Non-Wargamers Wargame rss

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michael crow
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Memoir '44 (M44) is the perfect wargame to introduce non-wargamers to the genre. Its smooth and relatively robust rules are easy to learn, yet not so simple that it turns off the casual wargamer. The great looks of the box, board, and game pieces all add to the overall top notch quality of the game. If M44 has any weakness it that the hardcore wargamers who are used much more simulation in their wargames may not appreciate the simple mechanics.


The box is made of sturdy cardboard which should last for years and the cover picture is a very high quality beach landing scene. The rules manual is well laid out and clearly written, with many very good examples. The hex terrain pieces are all nice an thick board, with different terrain on each side. There are so many terrain pieces that you could make thousands of different battlefields. The game also includes barbed wire and tank traps plastic figures along with plenty of grey axis and Green ally minis. There are also several other cardboard markers. And a deck of section and tactics cards, to finish out the game.


The game play is pretty easy to pick up. On your turn you play section or tactics card and do what it says on the cards. If you play a section card, it will tell you which section (left, right, or center) you can order and how many units you can order in that section. An order can be anything from moving, battling, move & battle, clear barbed wire, clear a tank trap, or enter a city. If you battle you just pick up the four dice and subtract dice per the range/terrain rules and roll them. If the symbols on the dice match the type of unit you are battling, you eliminate one unit for each die with that symbol. If you get a flag, the unit falls back one hex. If you get a grenade that counts as one kill. If you get the star, it means nothing unless your tactics card says otherwise.

My only gripe is at times you will not draw a card that allows you to order a section of the board very several turns. This is not a big issue in my opinion because it is an attempt to represent the chaos of the battlefield. Units are not always where the commander wants them and don't always do what he wants them to do, there are many random elements of a battlefield. However if you are used to playing games where the units can be moved when and how you want them to, this might irritate you.


The object of the game is to get the number of medals indicated in the scenario you are playing. This can be done by eliminating enemy units (1 medal each) or achieving a goal as outlined in the scenario, like capturing a city. It seems to me that the Allies have the upper hand most of the time in the scenarios and the Axis player will have to play much better to win. I don't have a real issue with this because is in someway represents that the Axis had the odds against them during this time period of the war.


There is a pretty good selection of scenarios in the back of the rule book that represent small and large battles. There are also several free scenarios posted all over the Internet and Days of Wonder has a very nice map generator that can be used on their website. The overlord scenarios seem to be the most interesting to be, particularly the Omaha Beach entry in the rulebook. Overlord scenarios are played using two M44 sets and placing the boards end to end. Once laid out and setup it makes for an impressive sight and great fun!


The Good: The overall production values of M44 are excellent and the game play is fast and furious. The terrain tiles help give this game a very high replay value, you can have a different battlefield every game. This is the ultimate intro wargame.

The Bad: The combination of dice and drawing cards leads to fairly high amount of luck being involved.


The Ugly: there is nothing ugly about this game.


Overall rating 8.5

more of my reviews, articles, and session reports can be read here:
http://gameswithboards.blogspot.com/index.html
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Eddie
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Hey Michael,

Great review of the game! I have asked a few question before on any tactics to start a mission, and people have been very helpful here. I am new to war games, Memoir 44 is the first I have ever played. I just played my first game today, and It was a blast. Just a couple of question if you don't mind. Just to see if I am playing right. You are allowed to battle even if you don't move, is that correct? You just have to give the order to battle when the proper card is played. And any time that you move on to a hex with barbed wire, you can remove it from the board instead of battling?

Thanks,

Eddie
 
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michael crow
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edmondella wrote:
Hey Michael,

Great review of the game! I have asked a few question before on any tactics to start a mission, and people have been very helpful here. I am new to war games, Memoir 44 is the first I have ever played. I just played my first game today, and It was a blast. Just a couple of question if you don't mind. Just to see if I am playing right. You are allowed to battle even if you don't move, is that correct? You just have to give the order to battle when the proper card is played. And any time that you move on to a hex with barbed wire, you can remove it from the board instead of battling?

Thanks,

Eddie


Yes, you can battle even if you don't move as long as the card you play allows you to order the unit.

Yes, if you move into a hex with barbed wire, you can remove it instead of battling. However, if you choose to battle with an infantry unit instead of removing the wire the unit battles @ -1.
 
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Eddie
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Thanks, it is good to know that I am understanding the game. I am really liking this game.

Thanks for the reply

Eddie

 
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michael crow
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edmondella wrote:
Thanks, it is good to know that I am understanding the game. I am really liking this game.

Thanks for the reply

Eddie



you may also want to check out Tides of Iron when it comes out. Get some experience with M44 and then move up with Tides of Iron.

I have a summary of Tides of Iron posted on my blog:
http://gameswithboards.blogspot.com/2007/01/tide-of-iron-nex...
 
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