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Memoir '44» Forums » Variants

Subject: No move/attack immediately after a retreat rss

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Ryan Keane
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I have tried some different M44 variants with limited success, but one thing that's bothered me thematically about M44 is that a defender is often happy when the attacker rolls a flag, as it can allow a partly surrounded defending unit to move away from nearby attackers that haven't attacked yet, or move into better terrain, or move onto a space in 2 sectors, and then the defending unit is still in a good, or even better, position to activate and attack immediately the next turn. One thing I love about Maria/Friedrich is that a defender, with the right cards, can choose to retreat for a small loss rather than risk a potentially big loss or complete elimination, but in the M44 system and WWII setting, it seems a retreat should always be a bad thing for the defender.

So my idea that I'm going to try out next time is this:
When a unit must retreat (1 or more flags), place 1 retreat token on it.
When you activate a unit with a retreat token, remove the token, but the unit cannot move or attack that turn (placing a sandbag around it is allowed).
After removing the token, the unit is then ready to be activated as normal in future rounds.
You are not required to activate a unit with a retreat token. If a unit with a token retreats again, it does not gain another token.
A unit with a retreat token cannot be activated by "Ambush."

Thematically, the battalion or company commander has to resupply and rally the retreating unit before it's ready to get back into battle.

This is kind of a simplified version of pinned or low morale in other wargames. We'll see how it works in M44, but I think it will add just a little bit more realism and make flags hurt a little more, without adding much complexity or impacting the quick pace of the game.

Thoughts?
 
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Minot
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Ryan Keane wrote:
but in the M44 system and WWII setting, it seems a retreat should always be a bad thing for the defender.


I think you may be misunderstanding the nature of WWII combat, or at least how Memoir '44 depicts it. Though the M'44 scale is variable, in most scenarios units represent something between a company and a battalion. At this scale, I do not think that "pinned" rules are particularly realistic at such a scale (if they are ever; like being outflanked, such rules are extra chrome in a game to represent something that is organic on a real battlefield). On the other hand, pulling units out of exposed positions as the enemy assault was developing, and then counterattacking after he took that ground, as a core principle in German defensive infantry tactics, and generally understood to be sound concept at the operational level by many armies and general officers.
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Lewis Karl
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What he said and...

Retreat is bad in Memoir 44. First the board has limited depth. When defending against an assault, the baseline is a looming death zone where retreats Become hits. As an attacker retreats break the formation and the momentum. By the latter I mean, as an attacker you build a hand of cards to assault in a section. A retreat disrupts that attack and depletes the hand of cards you need to complete the planned, multi turn assault.

Sure there are times when a retreat gets a weakened unit out of trouble, but usually retreats are bad and ruin plans.
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Ryan Keane
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NimitsTexan wrote:
Ryan Keane wrote:
but in the M44 system and WWII setting, it seems a retreat should always be a bad thing for the defender.


I think you may be misunderstanding the nature of WWII combat, or at least how Memoir '44 depicts it. Though the M'44 scale is variable, in most scenarios units represent something between a company and a battalion. At this scale, I do not think that "pinned" rules are particularly realistic at such a scale (if they are ever; like being outflanked, such rules are extra chrome in a game to represent something that is organic on a real battlefield). On the other hand, pulling units out of exposed positions as the enemy assault was developing, and then counterattacking after he took that ground, as a core principle in German defensive infantry tactics, and generally understood to be sound concept at the operational level by many armies and general officers.


Thanks, I take your point, but then you are saying by "pulling units out of exposed positions as the enemy assault was developing, and then counterattacking after he took that ground" can be a good thing that the defender chooses to do, which was my point.

Of course I know that flags are hits when the defender is hitting the board edge, although thematically I never liked that either, except on the beach scenarios. The board edge is arbitrary - why can't units retreat farther?

I agree that flags are sometimes bad, particularly when you are trying to get through defenses (wire, etc), charging to an objective, etc., but I'm almost always going to prefer an attacker rolls a flag over a hit, and most of the time when I'm making a multi-pronged attack, I'm hoping I don't roll any flags.
 
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Stuart Holttum
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Ryan Keane wrote:
most of the time when I'm making a multi-pronged attack, I'm hoping I don't roll any flags.


Well, yes....but what you are MOST hoping for is to roll damage, whether that be grenade, tank, or infantry. 2/6, or 3/6 respectively. The flag is a "not quite" hit that is better than a star or an unwanted tank/infantry, that is a vital part of the "cut off the retreat" mechanics of the game.

If the majority of your attacks are ones that DONT have retreat cut off, then you aren't playing to the full tactics of the game.
 
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Ryan Keane
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Stu Holttum wrote:
Ryan Keane wrote:
most of the time when I'm making a multi-pronged attack, I'm hoping I don't roll any flags.


Well, yes....but what you are MOST hoping for is to roll damage, whether that be grenade, tank, or infantry. 2/6, or 3/6 respectively. The flag is a "not quite" hit that is better than a star or an unwanted tank/infantry, that is a vital part of the "cut off the retreat" mechanics of the game.

If the majority of your attacks are ones that DONT have retreat cut off, then you aren't playing to the full tactics of the game.


I guess I'm not playing that well, but a lot of the time I can't get troops around to completely block the retreating spaces, or to be in a position to be adjacent to a defending unit that is forced to retreat.

Often a miss is better than a flag, because I will be able to roll more dice in total from all attacks if the defender stays in place.
 
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Minot
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To answer your original question, yes, your variant seems like it would work all right if you believe retreats are not handled correctly right now. However, like I said, from my understanding of history and how this game works, I think retreats work just fine. Along with what I wrote earlier, they add to the "fog and friction of war" element that makes this game so great. So yes, sometimes, you will roll a retreat and the enemy will slip out of your grasp and be able to counterattack. That is part of the game.

Also, you would need to spell out how the rule affects (or does not), elective retreats from sandbags, churches, etc.
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Lewis Karl
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There's no reason to assume that flags should be, or were designed to be, worse than stars. They often are, but a hit is a hit. Everything else is not necessarily supposed to be bad.
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Donald G
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Stu Holttum wrote:
Ryan Keane wrote:
most of the time when I'm making a multi-pronged attack, I'm hoping I don't roll any flags.


Well, yes....but what you are MOST hoping for is to roll damage, whether that be grenade, tank, or infantry. 2/6, or 3/6 respectively. The flag is a "not quite" hit that is better than a star or an unwanted tank/infantry, that is a vital part of the "cut off the retreat" mechanics of the game.

If the majority of your attacks are ones that DONT have retreat cut off, then you aren't playing to the full tactics of the game.


I have played mostly online, but over 500 games. Still not a great player by any means, but I try to take advantage of whatever might happen with those temperamental dice. Get a second attacker into position whenever possible to be able to fire on a unit whether it has been forced to retreat by the first attack or not. Cutting off retreat is optimal but requires more movement than is available much of the time. And, of course, try to remember this is a "beer and pretzels" game with a military theme. Not a serious wargame as such. Although I have found it a wonderful source of information on various battles which moves me to research the historical context frequently.

Don

AND IT IS WONDERFULLY ADDICTIVE
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Stuart Holttum
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To change the retreat rules would impact on French Resistance, and on Imperial Japanese.

It would also have an effect in those situations where a retreat IS a better result than a kill - say, on those one die long shots at the tanks in the forest hex.

It would remove a lot of the point of sandbags, and fortresses.
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Ryan Keane
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Stu Holttum wrote:
To change the retreat rules would impact on French Resistance, and on Imperial Japanese.

It would also have an effect in those situations where a retreat IS a better result than a kill - say, on those one die long shots at the tanks in the forest hex.

It would remove a lot of the point of sandbags, and fortresses.


It would need to modified for special units like French Resistance that are designed to benefit from retreating.

It would increase the benefit of rolling a flag on those distant tanks

I would not remove, but improve the benefits of sandbags and fortresses - they would still negate the flag. The retreat token is only placed if the unit actually has to retreat.

But thanks for all the feedback. I can see the argument that thematically a flag roll could be considered a benefit to the defender - it's like the company commander ordering a retreat, without receiving a command from battalion (the player's cards). It doesn't really follow then that flags would be hits when the unit is surrounded or on the edge of the map, but oh well. As Don said, it's supposed to be beer and pretzels.
 
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Lewis Karl
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Quote:
It doesn't really follow then that flags would be hits when the unit is surrounded or on the edge of the map, but oh well. As Don said, it's supposed to be beer and pretzels.


Sure it does. The figures are deserting the field of operations or morale is breaking down. Eventually that should award a victory point to the attacker. Frankly, I don't need an explanation for every game rule. It's a game and abstracts certain elements that might be simulated elsewhere, and it works. That is why this game is so popular.
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