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Subject: Very beginner questions rss

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Tim Tix
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I got interested in M44 which is strange. I'm no wargamer. I'm not even a heavy Euro gamer, actually I prefer light fare. (Now for a wargamer, M44 certainly is light fare, so that's fair enough I guess.) So, yes, M44 appeals to me because of its simplicity, streamlinedness and perfidiously family-game look. I have to admit, a wargame appealing to me does confuse/irritate me (partly) since I am German and when I saw the game for the first time, I didn't think playing this was a good idea.

However, without having played it, just after reading/watching some reviews, I've got some - very basic - questions.

The system's called Commands and Colors... Commands are the cards in this card-driven game. What are the Colors? Does that stand for any mechanism? Or is that just a reference to the two opposing parties?

One feature of the system is the three sections of the maps - the center and the flanks. What does that do? Why was this incorporated? Is it's main meaning to create that situation that you might end up with cards that don't help you (considering the position of your troops)?

As I mentioned the game's light weight is welcome to me. But the attack only dice make it a tad too random, I think. Why am I wrong?

On the other hand, when I watch photos or videos I get the feeling that a beginner would act pretty randomly and would not have a clue what to do. I mean I'd suspect it to be similar to chess where a beginner (me) would just try to attack with their Queen not thinking about any basic strategy. How's that with M44? Are there basic strategies that one should learn/consider before starting to play? Or are the scenarios that clear that you have a basic idea what to do from your very first game?

Not sure about the medal count winning conditions... Isn't that a bit too simply put? I know, there are these strategic objectives that also give you a medal... But sometimes a meaningful winning condition would rather be "bring a certain hill under your controll" - whatever the number of killed units is. Makes sense?

Is that correct, there is no German edition of the game? (No prob, I'm fine with the English one.)

Finally... having said all of that I'd think M44 is my best bet out of the series. Or would anyone recommend a different game? Commands & Colors: Ancients appeals to me theme-wise, and after I just read what the basic idea of the blocks is, that idea seems also interesting. (EDIT: Now I read that the blocks in CC:A do not incorporate that Fog-of-War-mechanism.) How much more complex is CC:A?

Well, that's it for now. Thanks in advance!
Tim
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Timothy Yordy
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The sections on the map could be considered to simulate potential communication breakdowns during battle. And it also creates the need for good hand management.
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Ryan Keane
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1. Yes, I think "colors" in the C&C series just refers to the 2 different colored sides.

2. I think of the 3 sections in the C&C series as simulating having different commanders on the left, center, and right flanks. Gamewise it limits your ability to order all your units, requires hand management, and can produce narrative where the battle may first rage on one flank and then swing to another and so one.

3. The dice, as well as the card draw, at a lot of randomness, but also means good gameplay is all about reducing that randomness through hand management and maximizing your probability of killing the last pawn of a unit. I definitely enjoy that only the attacker rolls, with the very occasional surprise ambush, rather than lots of defender responses. But I find some other heavier wargames, like Combat Commander, just as random, but in different ways.

4. I find the game is pretty straightforward and new players can still likely win against a veteran. A lot (most?) of the scenarios are not balanced, so giving the newer player the easier side helps.

5. I accept the complaint that in general gaining medal objectives are not a major part of the game, although they can often just be enough secure a close win. I think of it that the defending side is not going to defend a hill or whatever to the last man - if you kill enough of their units, they were going to withdraw and leave the objectives undefended. I think there are fan-made scenarios that make strategic objectives more important, or even mandatory to win.

6. I would assume there is a German translation of the rules around.

7. C&C: Ancients is just a little bit more complex than M44. Of the ones I've played significantly, I rate the complexity:
Battle Cry < M44 < C&C:A < Battlelore
I would pick the one with the setting that most appeals to you. For me, it's WWII, even if the C&C system perhaps meshes better with less modern settings.
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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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TimTix wrote:
The system's called Commands... Commands are the cards in this card-driven game. What are the Colors? Does that stand for any mechanism? Or is that just a reference to the two opposing parties?


Commands are the cards
Colors are the teams/sides

Colors was originally meant for flags in the Napoleonics version of C&C.

TimTix wrote:
One feature of the system is the three sections of the maps - the center and the flanks. What does that do? Why was this incorporated? Is it's main meaning to create that situation that you might end up with cards that don't help you (considering the position of your troops)?


As mentioned this is to simulate communications failures or lack of unit cohesion/response. Think of it as the fog of war, you as the general see the board and overal picture but your units can only see their immediate surroundings.

TimTix wrote:
As I mentioned the game's light weight is welcome to me. But the attack only dice make it a tad too random, I think. Why am I wrong?


In the base game this may be initially true at first, but after a good number of plays you'll start to see that hand management is essential to mitigate the perceived randomness. Each expansion introduces some new rules and some even offer new cards that can be used in conjunction with the command cards. BreakThrough and Overlord decks replace the base game's Command cards.

TimTix wrote:
On the other hand, when I watch photos or videos I get the feeling that a beginner would act pretty randomly and would not have a clue what to do. I mean I'd suspect it to be similar to chess where a beginner (me) would just try to attack with their Queen not thinking about any basic strategy. How's that with M44? Are there basic strategies that one should learn/consider before starting to play? Or are the scenarios that clear that you have a basic idea what to do from your very first game?


As mentioned the will likely be true for the first few plays... You will develop hand management and tactical skills. C&C games do allow for 2-4 turns of planning but you'll likely be reacting to your opponent's play and the cards you draw each turn.

TimTix wrote:
Not sure about the medal count winning conditions... Isn't that a bit too simply put? I know, there are these strategic objectives that also give you a medal... But sometimes a meaningful winning condition would rather be "bring a certain hill under your controll" - whatever the number of killed units is. Makes sense?


There's been much debate on this.
Some people like to play each scenario twice playing each side once, then compare the total medal count.
Some like would like to have each side achieve a specific objective to win.
The medal count is a good way to initially end the game, you could always house rule endings as you gain experience.

TimTix wrote:
Is that correct, there is no German edition of the game? (No prob, I'm fine with the English one.)


I don't recall a German edition, only English and French

TimTix wrote:
Finally... having said all of that I'd think M44 is my best bet out of the series. Or would anyone recommend a different game? Commands & Colors: Ancients appeals to me theme-wise, and after I just read what the basic idea of the blocks is, that idea seems also interesting. (EDIT: Now I read that the blocks in CC:A do not incorporate that Fog-of-War-mechanism.) How much more complex is CC:A?


M44 base game is a great introduction to the C&C system
Some will say Battle Cry is a simpler intro
Ancients will add a little more complexity because of more unit types and tactical choices.
My favs are Samurai Battles and The Great War... But M44 has the most of my C&C investment
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Lewis Karl
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Re: Very beginner questionsits
I have no answer to the very general questions about game mechanics. All I can say is 1) my favorite game of the "command and colors" games is Napolenonics, due to the very "clean" implementatioN and B) on the other hand, Memoir '44 is my favorite light war game because it is WW II, uses plastic figures, and has thousands of potential scenarios.

The other questions, I don't know. Play the game and discover the game's secret qualities that makes it so popular.
 
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Mark Yang
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Just a quick note on the combat mechanics. I don't know how everyone else plays the game, but I try to put luck in my favour by rolling more dice. The more dice you roll in combat the greater chances of success per turn, right? So get your units in closer to maximize the number of dice you'll be rolling. Get more units to support in that firefight to eliminate the enemy. Manage your cards so you have enough orders in a particular section to carry out firefights to eliminate enemy units.

Why is there only an attack dice roll and no defensive roll? Because the target units already performed their defensive maneuvers when getting into cover. That's what you do against firearms, you get behind cover. There is no act to block with a shield or parry with a sword, so hence no defence roll. Oppose the enemy's attack rolls with good defensive cover. Get into the forests, towns, etc.. It will decrease the effectiveness of the enemy's attack rolls.
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Anton Nieuwkoop
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There has been a German command card and summary card deck.
It isn't availible on the website any more as far as I can see.

Maybe if you post a message on the memoir'44 forum (german part) you can find someone how has a spare set.

have fun with this great game, and may i'll see you one day at our "Dutch Open" tournament in the Netherlands someday (I now some of your fellow countrymen will do )
 
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Ryan Keane
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deadeyedshooter8 wrote:
Just a quick note on the combat mechanics. I don't know how everyone else plays the game, but I try to put luck in my favour by rolling more dice. The more dice you roll in combat the greater chances of success per turn, right? So get your units in closer to maximize the number of dice you'll be rolling. Get more units to support in that firefight to eliminate the enemy. Manage your cards so you have enough orders in a particular section to carry out firefights to eliminate enemy units.


Yes, usually maximizing how many dice you roll is always better, but not always. Choosing who to attack (infantry are easier to hit than tanks and artillery, but who's the bigger threat, who's closer to being eliminated), if you should concentrate more than one attacker at a unit possibly rolling less dice if the first attacker kills the unit or make it retreat out of range/LOS, is it better to leave protective terrain to close with the enemy or roll 1 or 2 dice less and encourage them to close with you, is it better to go close with a tank for a possible overrun and roll 3 more dice or keep your tank back and shoot from range, avoiding closing with a nearby enemy for 3 dice so instead you can shoot the weaker unit behind it with 1 die.... lots of decisions to make.
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Tim Tix
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Thanks for your thoughts and answers.

(Basic) M44 is a very streamlined wargame which is why I'm interested. The simple dice resolution of battle/attack, the reduced amount of different units... all of that made me consider to try the game in the first place. I also understand that there are enough choices left - even in the die rolling.

So what makes the CC system stand out? (Or rather: differentiates it from other sub-genres?) The simplicity. Are the command cards different from other card-driven wargames? Are the sections (which I do understand better now) what makes the system stand apart? (...what Borg invented?)

I still feel the medals are quite superficial (?) as victory conditions. Quantity rather than quality. As if you just try to chase down the x weakest units whatever the situation is... But I'm happy to wait and see for myself. Again, the simplicity should be something I like.

Regarding the question about German editions... I was rather wondering why there's no German edition. Every boardgame that sells over years would be published in German, one would think. But apparantly war is still not family fun in Germany, and I'm not unhappy about that.

Again, thanks for your comments. More are appreciated.
 
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The Compulsive Completist
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M44 is everything you expect and more. If you've done research on it and think it is a good fit it will be.
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Clexton27
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It is ironic that you state that their are no "German" editions to MEMOIR'44. Actually, the original 2004 versions of the game and into 2006 were manufactured in Germany and are of superior quality in terms of components to the later made versions made in China. I am thankful to own several of these made in Germany games and appreciative of the attention to quality shown in their construction.
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Donald G
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Well, an unexpected bonus from reading the forums! Now I have learned the early production runs of M44 were superior. Add another "gotta have one" to my shopping list. LOL!

As far as trying this game---just go for it! I have been enjoying it immensely for over 2 years and am absolutely still hooked.

The first scenario is Pegasus Bridge, if you google the actual battle you find the Brits took those 2 bridges in about 17 minutes or so with very few casualties! Awesome.

Also if you can play the online version a bit for practice, then you can play the A.I. solo games, and see it use the most dice approach most of the time. Not always the smartest. But it works much of the time.

Another reason I like to play the "rematch" system where players switch sides for a 2nd game, besides evening the odds, it allows for quicker play as set-up time is much quicker.

Hope you like the game as much as I do!

Don
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Tim Tix
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mzungu wrote:
It is ironic that you state that their are no "German" editions to MEMOIR'44. Actually, the original 2004 versions of the game and into 2006 were manufactured in Germany and are of superior quality in terms of components to the later made versions made in China.


Cool. I'll check out the online version first, so I won't rush and order the game right now as I would like to.

But: BGG lists only the 2004 and 2006 versions... So what do you mean by "and into 2006"? Is the 2006 version already the weaker Chinese one?
On the Geekmarket there are several offers stating it's the 2004 edition.
What do I have to look for? Whih questions to ask? Does it say "made in Germany" on the 'correct' boxes?

Thx in advance!
 
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Lewis Karl
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The German version was in stock for several years starting in 2004. I purchased my first base game in 2006 and it was the German version. One or two years later I purchased another base game (probably the Chinese version) and it had a few minor problems.

First, the terrain tiles were of a clearly lighter, washed-out color and did not match the deep rich color of the original game. Its not perfect when playing overlord with tiles from both sets adjacent, but so what? This was a problem only because I mixed the two versions and not that big a deal.

Second, the plastic in my US army figures, mainly the infantry, did not set well, so some of the figures look fragile. But frankly, not really much of a problem. They are functional.

Other than that it was good. Who knows if that was a fluke with my copy. I have purchased additional expansion sets and those did not have problems, although the Pacific tiles, badges, etc. have a different surface texture, which I find useful to distinguish the components from those of other sets.
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Tim Tix
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pisqueeter wrote:
The German version was in stock for several years starting in 2004. I purchased my first base game in 2006 and it was the German version.


How do you know?
I bought a used 2004 edition in good shape. Well, it doesn't say exactly it is 2004. (It would say 2004 anyway, because that is the year of copyright, right?) But it doesn't say any other year either or "Made in China" or anything. The quality is fine and the colours are bright and rich.

By the way...

I got the game only yesterday. So far I've only played a couple of games online. Against the AI, mostly. I enjoy it and hope I'll get someone to the table.

I had a couple of questions/doubts, but the only one that I remember right now is this: In my turn I position a couple of units close to some of my opponent. I attack with my first unit and roll e.g. 0–1 hit and 1–2 flags. The unit retreats, and I think: f***ing flags.
I understand it's thematic, so am I wrong thinking that a flag should not help my opponent more than it helps me?

Last, one more thought: Immediately when I had a closer look on the game (BGG research, I mean), I thought sea warfare and battles in city centres would be interesting. Obviously I'm no wargamer, let alone an experienced one. Are such types of battles meaningful within the system?
 
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Lewis Karl
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I don't know for certain that my first purchase was a German produced version, but I'm pretty sure given the quality and the time of purchase. How do you tell otherwise? I have no idea.

Every die roll does not necessarily benefit the attacker. A retreat might benefit the attacker if they pin the unit against impassable terrain or the edge of the board or if they cutoff retreat paths before attack. Otherwise, the retreat may benefit the defender. However, its generally not a benefit to give up ground. In any case, a flag is what it is: retreat. A hit is definitely a benefit to the attacker. A miss (not a hit and not a flag) is definitely a benefit to the defender. So as usual, as in most war games there are a variety of outcomes that benefit each side and the strength of the attack versus the defense determines the odds of a successful outcome for the attacker.

There are no sea warfare options, although that has been suggested for consideration by a few fans over the years. Also suggested for expansion in the past were terrain tiles to create varied coastlines or to support naval raids. None of that was ever consider seriously by DOS as far as I know.

The Winter Wars expansion was the first expansion to add combat cards in addition to the normal deck of cards. I think it was the first. Anyway, the combat cards included cards that facilitated attacking city/town hexes. So take a look at those expansions that included combat cards.

The Sword of Stalingrad battle map expansion included combat cards for the first time. Buy this immediately if still in print. The Winter Wars expansion added combat cards for winter combat.


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