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Subject: A great ride with a superb SOLO variant form memoir44 rss

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Ben Bosmans
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While the “basic” Memoir44 is simply a game for kids really, the system evolved over the years into an interesting introduction wargame with quite a different angle from that original basic box.

In fact there are now almost 2 complete different Memoir44 games, the basic dice roller with terrible card play that is so simple you can compare it with Axis and Allies and then the final Memoir44 Breakthrough/Overlord maps with adapted cards and a WHOLE bunch of extra rules, hardware and quite logical terrain rules, you would call this an almost full fledged wargame.

For those still underestimating Memoir44 at its latest development (and still evolving btw with an upcoming historical module in Spring this year), have a look at

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/40681/player-aid-updated-...

with the file that was updated in Sep 2017 where you see the HUNDREDS of extra rules covering different tanks, destroyers, pontoons, roads, weather conditions, night rules, a dozen air missions, spec troops, etc.

Browsing through that condensed and colorful document you would think you are almost referring to an intro ASL document (joking of course).

So I decided to take on that interesting little scenario “ Road to Clervaux” from the Winter War expansion ...(and already seen a few posts above).

This is what the situation looks like at the start:



The 110 th Regiment defended the area behind the Our River on Dec 16th 1944 and would meet with the 26th German Infantry backed by elements of the 2 Pz Division in the very first hours of the Battle of the Bulge.

The scenario contains a lot of interesting sim rules as limited visibility, winter conditions, Pontoons that need to be constructed, limited armor speed, congestion on the roads and … even a very decent SCALE with around 500 meters per hex, which renders this scenario a good addition to ALL the operational Battle of the Bulge games we played already (with that typical 2-3kms per hex scale).

Now the reason I am writing a report about this game session is that I played it with the LATEST solo rules of StukaJoe’s CDG system. Found here:

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/128764/cdg-solo-method-di...

Only the last 2 updated files should be downloaded (2017) btw.

I will not explain the solo system here (it is very well explained in that document), but I will show the setup I used for the 2 sides.



The system is based on the fact you don’t have access on all cards and it depends each turn which cards can be played – along with interrupt cards !

The cards show the ABCDE sections with hidden and face up cards and so depending on what’s available and can be played/turned up.

You will notice that the Blue side has 2 cards in the A row and that’s simply because the Germans have one more hand card than the US (latest variant).

To have an example how this solo system works:



The US side played Armor Assault because they wanted to bring in their Tank Destroyer/Tanks into the fight quicker.

The German side rolled a 1 allowing a Counter Attack (row C card) AND this allowed the play of an additional Winter Combat card; Winter Forest which allowed a tank unit to enter a Wood hex and still battle !

Before the German side would roll though the US could play an interrupt (Ambuscade) but it would only succeed through the StukaJoe system by rolling a 1, 4 or 5… They succeeded, taking out one Panzer figure.

Then the Germans attacked and they were rather unlucky (2 flags and nothing else). So the US chose to deny the retreat by playing the Street Fight counter card (not to use the text but to use the “snowflake” figure on the card that denies the 2nd retreat flag) and so it could hold the dug in cross road.



Long story short. I love this solo system that makes a Card driven wargame quite easy to play both sides.

Of course it is only worthwhile when you take on more detailed Mem44 scenarios and watch the story unfold.

In the end the above was one of the more crucial phases in this battle and the US won with 8(9) vs 4, with only one German Tank unit to exit the battlefield towards Bastogne and the reinforced 110th still holding Clervaux and Heinerscheid 5 kms north.



In any case : worth trying this great CDG solo system for other supported wargames too.
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Barry Kendall
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Thanks for highlighting these resources, I hadn't previously noticed them. Eager to give it a try.
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Mayor Jim
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Nice find and report...thank you! ...now, time to try it...
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Anton Nieuwkoop
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thanks for the link. It take some time to read the document though

If you like to play with other people. There are memoir'44 groups in your area In klundert, and Melle.
 
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Ben Bosmans
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antoi wrote:
thanks for the link. It take some time to read the document though

If you like to play with other people. There are memoir'44 groups in your area In klundert, and Melle.


Attention: you only need to read the last 2 pages of the document. The other pages are just thoughts and designer notes of how the system grew...

And as you will notice: these last 2 pages cover ALL C&C systems, like Memoir44, Ancients, Napoleonics.

So apart from the second pdf that shows the ONE page aid sheet to put your cards on, this is just 2 pages to explain this wonderful solo system.

It was made by StukaJoe/Jose who is well known here for putting video games up of wargames.

Btw I am now setting up and play another solo system he supports in that document: We the People that also has a 2 page help mode in this same document.

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Mayor Jim
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Yep, only 2 pages of rules...pretty neat!
 
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John S
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Ben_Bos wrote:
While the “basic” Memoir44 is simply a game for kids really, the system evolved over the years into an interesting introduction wargame with quite a different angle from that original basic box.

In fact there are now almost 2 complete different Memoir44 games, the basic dice roller with terrible card play that is so simple you can compare it with Axis and Allies and then the final Memoir44 Breakthrough/Overlord maps with adapted cards and a WHOLE bunch of extra rules, hardware and quite logical terrain rules, you would call this an almost full fledged wargame.


Actually, while younger gamers can certainly can play the base Memoir '44 game, I think you have mistakenly branded this as a "game for kids".

There certainly is a lot more to the base game than dice rolling. I am not sure what you mean by "terrible card play".

As you point out, the system has acquired more diverse rules which often are used in regular one board scenarios, in addition to the Breakthrough and OL scenarios.

But before any of those came along this game was played to death (and still is) by many adult gamers.
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Ben Bosmans
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John, I have been playing historical wargames for 40 years now and the basic Memoir44 box at launch could hardly be called a simulation really. Certainly not by us grognards who used to play ASL or compared to games like D-Day at Omaha Beach the basic Memoir box was not taken very seriously as a simulation.

BUT as I stated, thanks to an ever evolving system AND introduction of far more variety in both card design, board design and added rules we can now speak about 2 different games really.

A superb example is the Clervaux scenario I took above. While still playing on a standard board, the extra detail and design put this one straight into a correct historical setting - even with a correct 500 meter per hex scale.

Great evolution by the Borg team and Co.

Other C&C games like Ancients, Napoleon or The Great War could only profit from this further development.
 
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jamie erskine
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Im trying to get my head around the conversion from C&C to memoir 44 (I have never played any other CDG war game, which is probably causing the confusion).

Is the skull on die roll one referring to the inactive team playing an ambush card? Or is this skull actually only for extra decks of cards in later expansions?

If it isn't referring to the ambush card. Does this system still allow the opponent to play this card? Is it just done automatically if the card is turned upside? I hope not as sometimes you want to save that card for the right moment rather than the first opportunity.

The rest of it seems very interesting. I always roll a 6-sided die to determine the card chosen by my imaginary opponent (1-3 for best card, 4-5 for next best, 6 for 3rd best). But this could be much better.


thanks.
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Ben Bosmans
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Strewth78 wrote:
Im trying to get my head around the conversion from C&C to memoir 44 (I have never played any other CDG war game, which is probably causing the confusion).

Is the skull on die roll one referring to the inactive team playing an ambush card? Or is this skull actually only for extra decks of cards in later expansions?

If it isn't referring to the ambush card. Does this system still allow the opponent to play this card? Is it just done automatically if the card is turned upside? I hope not as sometimes you want to save that card for the right moment rather than the first opportunity.

The rest of it seems very interesting. I always roll a 6-sided die to determine the card chosen by my imaginary opponent (1-3 for best card, 4-5 for next best, 6 for 3rd best). But this could be much better.


thanks.


The skull on die roll one is for the possible play of extra cards for the active player.

So in my play example I could add that extra combat card that allowed the armor unit to fire after entering the woods hex!

As the “active side” you decide to use it or not.

These extra cards (for example winter combat) are played just like the rules dictate: you get 2 of these extra combat cards in the set up and can draw even more extra specific combat cards with each single Recce card played.

These special cards are never used in the A-E template, they are just there to be used whenever the skull is rolled for the active player.

To play these extra combat cards for the INACTIVE side, StukaJoe has 2 different options. OR you may play - as the non active side - that interrupt by rolling a “C” result (die roll of 1,4,5) or you may play it any time.

I choose the first solution so you never know when the counter interrupt will happen.

The standard Ambush card follows the exact same procedure as these extra combat cards, but of course, the Ambush card has to be face up in the inactive side display to be used, while these extra combat cards are always available face up like mentioned in the specific extra rules of the particular expansion.


I used to play other solo mechanics, but frankly this method is far superior.

ONE important note: StukaJoe explained to me that to simulate the extra hand cards one side may have over the other side you simply add one extra card in row A (for one extra hand card) and another extra card in row D (if there is a difference of 2 hand cards).

I preferred this last solution above the one with multiple rolls with the method die. So now both sides just roll once to decide the cards that are valid to play.

Have fun.
 
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jamie erskine
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Just played a breakthrough scenario with this solo set up. I was quite disappointed. Often we have a hand size of 4-6 cars when playing this game. And even that can be frustrating at times (but mostly in a good way). however, with this solo variant, most of the time we're limited to 2 or 3 cards. This made it too difficult to play out the strategy I wanted.

Half way through the scenario and switched it so that the dice roll determined which cards were turned over, but still allied both sides to play any card turned up, not just the ones on the dice roll.

Maybe I'm on my own on this opinion, but I don't like the idea of having even less options than we already do. I enjoy the games limitation of moves to a degree, but I don't want to add to that anymore than each scenario's set up.
 
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Lewis Karl
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elkshadow wrote:
Strewth78 wrote:
Just played a breakthrough scenario with this solo set up. I was quite disappointed. Often we have a hand size of 4-6 cars when playing this game. And even that can be frustrating at times (but mostly in a good way). however, with this solo variant, most of the time we're limited to 2 or 3 cards. This made it too difficult to play out the strategy I wanted.

Half way through the scenario and switched it so that the dice roll determined which cards were turned over, but still allied both sides to play any card turned up, not just the ones on the dice roll.

Maybe I'm on my own on this opinion, but I don't like the idea of having even less options than we already do. I enjoy the games limitation of moves to a degree, but I don't want to add to that anymore than each scenario's set up.


You're not alone. I don't see much difference in this method and just flipping two or three and picking the best. It's too complicated for what you get. I just take out the ambush card and play both hands to the best I can. When I pick up a new card at the end of the turn, I don't look at it. I don't have a problem forgetting or ignoring what I've seen.


thumbsup Yep, too complicated. My eyes glazed over before finishing the first page of rules.
 
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Lewis Karl
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Quote:
Maybe I'm on my own on this opinion, but I don't like the idea of having even less options than we already do. I enjoy the games limitation of moves to a degree, but I don't want to add to that anymore than each scenario's set up.


When you limit a solo opponent to fewer options (cards) than the scenario allows and you select those options randomly, I doubt the solo opponent will be as difficult to defeat than if you just choose the best card.

So as stated above, when playing solo, I also remove the Ambush card and just play each side as best as possible each turn. I don't look at the new card drawn for a side until the next turn. This works out perfectly for me, but my opponent is never any better at the game than I am, but at least he's not worse or playing randomly.
 
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Ben Bosmans
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pisqueeter wrote:
Quote:
Maybe I'm on my own on this opinion, but I don't like the idea of having even less options than we already do. I enjoy the games limitation of moves to a degree, but I don't want to add to that anymore than each scenario's set up.


When you limit a solo opponent to fewer options (cards) than the scenario allows and you select those options randomly, I doubt the solo opponent will be as difficult to defeat than if you just choose the best card.

So as stated above, when playing solo, I also remove the Ambush card and just play each side as best as possible each turn. I don't look at the new card drawn for a side until the next turn. This works out perfectly for me, but my opponent is never any better at the game than I am, but at least he's not worse or playing randomly.


You can do as you please but I doubt you even tried to play it.

1 Too difficult ?

You roll ONE die 1-6 and apply the outcome... then mostly you can choose between 2 or 3 cards...

2 It is playing the 2 sides, BOTH sides play like that of course. So Lewis it is even very clear you did not even READ or tried to play ...

3 So it SOLVED the problem of the Ambush card, it SOLVES the problem of the extra Combat Cards in the Winter Expansion and it solves btw ALL extra combat cards in Napolonics, The Great War etc...

So be my guest, but just putting out the Ambush card is NO solution at all since there are DOZENS of cards now in the newest C&C series (like the Winter War or City War cards in advanced Memoir44) that can INTERRUPT play.

I think it is a superb new solo system to play 2 sides with CDG’s.

But of course if 2 pages are too difficult to absorb ...


I think StukaJoe made an EXCELLENT general solo tool to finally play Card driven wargames 2 sided.

From Paths of Glory to Washington’s War.

As to Memoir44 advanced, it is much better then the side deck method I used (mixing a 3 face down side deck with your hand each turn) as it solved the ambush and extra cards used in the special editions and other Borg games.

But hey, I just offered a new tool. Do as you please.



Final note: this solo Card driven method got published by the official website of GMT and got universal praise.

I guess many Memoir44 players are still not historical simulation gamers but view Memoir 44 as a game “to win” instead of simulating things to a certain degree. How can you be hampered ... if BOTH sides apply the same rules...

A shame as advanced Memoir44 deserves more than just play to win really.


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jamie erskine
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I agree with Ben, that until you've tried it, you shouldn't necessarily write it off as too complicated. I did try it (and may try it again), and found it far from complicated (though I did print the dice stickers which eliminates the need to work out the dice roll).

My only gripe was the lack of card options. So I may try it again, but I will likely modify it to provide enough turned over cards to choose from.



Still, my current way of playing it is still my favourite... I look at the opponents (4) cards, sort the best 3 cards in order, roll a d6. 1-3 is the best card, 4-5, next best, a 6 is the 3rd best. That means most likely they'll get to play their best card, but there is still an element of surprise for me. To even out the fact that my opponents card is decided by the roll of a dice, I discard the 4th card (their worst card) and draw 2 new cards after their turn. This means their hand is much stronger so even a roll of 6 is never really bad. I find this adds some descent surprise value for me but also means my opponent has a good hand so, it makes it difficult to beat.
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Ben Bosmans
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Strewth78 wrote:
I agree with Ben, that until you've tried it, you shouldn't necessarily write it off as too complicated. I did try it (and may try it again), and found it far from complicated (though I did print the dice stickers which eliminates the need to work out the dice roll).

My only gripe was the lack of card options. So I may try it again, but I will likely modify it to provide enough turned over cards to choose from.



Still, my current way of playing it is still my favourite... I look at the opponents (4) cards, sort the best 3 cards in order, roll a d6. 1-3 is the best card, 4-5, next best, a 6 is the 3rd best. That means most likely they'll get to play their best card, but there is still an element of surprise for me. To even out the fact that my opponents card is decided by the roll of a dice, I discard the 4th card (their worst card) and draw 2 new cards after their turn. This means their hand is much stronger so even a roll of 6 is never really bad. I find this adds some descent surprise value for me but also means my opponent has a good hand so, it makes it difficult to beat.


I can understand your system and it is a good one too.

But I think the problem lays with the fact that we old grognards were playing wargames 2 sided for decades, for 2 reasons.

Lack of opponents, but also interest in history and how historical battles unfold and see WHY Napoleon lost at Waterloo.

It is like I played the Tour de France with my bike miniature riders and rolling dice at the age of 10... as a kind of spectator.

Now basic Memoir44 is a terrible simulation from that point of view, BUT after 10 expansions the game became quite a surprise with its development. So much so that in the example shown of Clervaux you have quite a few historical correct settings and so it becomes interesting to see the flow of things.

The other C&C games profited from this evolution too btw. In this respect it was no surprise a wargame publisher like GMT posted the variant(s) on its website to use in their different Card driven wargames.

Happy gaming
 
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Lewis Karl
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Sorry. I started to read those pages and my eyes glazed over and didn't grok that both sides were played that way (which is a complete turn-off to me). I don't think I said "difficult" but instead "complicated" which makes a difference to me because I play Memoir solely when I want to avoid complication. However you are correct, I shouldn't criticize (too much) without having tried it (but I never will - I only allow my eyes to glaze over once per game).

And of course, once again, games do not have to be simulations of real life.

Happy gaming to you as well
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David Kitcat
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Ben, thanks for pointing me in the direction of StukaJoe's rules. I tried them today with Dieppe Yellow Beach and really enjoyed it. I'd say they don't so much provide a hardcore solo opponent, but rather an enjoyable spectator sport since the system leaves you running both sides and coping with the cards that fate deals. Provides a good story & that's why I game.
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