Recommend
18 
 Thumb up
 Hide
4 Posts

Memoir '44» Forums » Sessions

Subject: 1 Session, Four Games - the Strengths and Weaknesses of Memoir 44 rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Simon "that sci-fi guy"
Australia
Sydney
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


In 1 sitting we decided to play four different scenarios, each player taking the same role for all four games (i.e. being either Axis or Allies for each campaign).

Having only played once before (and that was almost a year ago) We began with Pegasus Bridge - a scenario that clearly favoured the Allies, as the Germans were taken by surprise. That's fine, it's attempting to be historically accurate. And it's also why it's recommended that each player plays both side. The game played much as one would expect with the Allies claiming the win fairly easily - 4 medals to 1, including the capture of a bridge. It was a good warm up and reminded us of how the game played. We wanted to play a scenario that used a greater variety of units and so we moved onto Operation Luttich.

Operation Luttich (thanks to Ernesto Cabrera)

Operation Luttich has just about everything. A balanced setup, all the units you could want (accept Axis artillery) and lots of choices. The onus is on neither side to remain too defensive as is the case with Pegasus Bridge or a beach front campaign (more on that later).

Anyway it was this campaign - despite it's balance - that highlighted one of the weaknesses in Mem44. The Allies hill position on their right flank gave them air power like strike capabilities and were inclined to use it (as you would). The Axis had two special units (one armour, one infantry) in that flank and were vulnerable to the air
strikes. And so much of the game was spent by the Axis force trying remove the Allies from their hill position, and by the Allies trying to protect it. The Medal available in the far town was an afterthought and never came into the equation. Because of this battle within the battle the other flank had almost no part or impact in the game, which I suspect goes against the historically accurate nature of the game that Richard Borg was trying to capture.

In the end the Axis were successful in claiming Hill 317 and mopped up in the centre of the battlefield to claim victory but for me it highlighted a shortcoming in the game mechanics. I'm not sure how to resolve it however. How do you bring in the side of the board not being used - card control? Greater incentives? It's not like the
battle was imbalanced on that side, there was just no reason for the Axis to move from their safe positions and no reason for the Allies to choose to attack there when they began with the advantage of air strikes.

After this we turned the board over and had a crack at some beach landings. The predictably one-sided Omaha beach was a slaughter with the Axis side taking 6 medals without losing a unit. Sword Beach was our final confrontation of the night and was by far the most balanced game (in terms of battle if not setup). The Allies suffered early casualties at the hands of the Axis artillery but fought well to overcome one artillery unit and an infantry unit also to move their tanks off the beach and capture a town (on their left flank) to get themselves a medal. This was one scenario where the great numbers of the Allies coming out of the water was to overcome the superior position of the Axis side. It helped of course that the Axis, when attacking an armour unit, rolled four infantry (something the German generals never had to deal with I'm sure) but that's how the game
goes.

Allies landing on Sword Beach (thanks to Jeff Coon)

This final scenario was by the most even (and longest) with the Allies finishing with 5 medals to the Axis 4. Even if the game isn't historically accurate and was enjoyable and does the best it can at a wargame geteway type level. I'm aware that there are more complex wargames that deal with some of the issues I mention far better than Memoir 44 does, but they require a far greater expenditure of time, money and effort and that's just not where I want to go with my gaming.



2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
brian
United States
Cedar Lake
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
tiggers wrote:

Anyway it was this campaign - despite it's balance - that highlighted one of the weaknesses in Mem44. The Allies hill position on their right flank gave them air power like strike capabilities and were inclined to use it (as you would). The Axis had two special units (one armour, one infantry) in that flank and were vulnerable to the air
strikes. And so much of the game was spent by the Axis force trying remove the Allies from their hill position, and by the Allies trying to protect it. The Medal available in the far town was an afterthought and never came into the equation. Because of this battle within the battle the other flank had almost no part or impact in the game, which I suspect goes against the historically accurate nature of the game that Richard Borg was trying to capture.
...
How do you bring in the side of the board not being used - card control? Greater incentives?

Ah Luttich. The scenario that was my Achilles' heel for so long. I had an 0-4 losing streak on this one until I had an online competition and finally broke that streak and tore up a win streak after that. My final record on this is 5-4 with a fairly even 2-2 Allies record and a 3-2 Axis record.

It's been well over a year since I played this one so I don't recall all the details. I do remember that I have won and lost by both taking the hill at all costs and ignoring it completely. I don't see this variability as a weakness of the game. Richard has set up the beginning of the engagement to resemble the orginial battle. He has tried to stack the side that historically won with either more units in better positions or more command cards so they have their historical tilt.

And then you play. You may or may not then follow real history in your own game. The point of this game, and many wargames, is to allow you to be in control and see not only how well you do against your opponent but if you can pull off a better victory than your historical counterparts. It is why we play these games - so that we can make our own decisions and not be constricted to move pieces along their restrictive historical paths.

As to this particular scenario and your questions, there are a few reasons why you wouldn't focus solely on the hill. The most obvious is that the cards may not let you. Due to the random draw, you may not be able to sustain an attack on the hill or defend it. Another is that, if I recall correctly, the hill is a 2-hex move for infantry and so can be a slow move to get the guys up there and finally start using the air capabilities. Then, the air capabilities are subject to the same random card draws.

I am not sure if you explained it wrong or if you played it wrong. But I am not sure you got the air rules for this game correct. Once you occupy the hill, you play a Recon 1 and perform an Air Strike in that corresponding Section. So a Left Recon 1 could do damage in the left section and keep the action in a different part of the board. And if you are weakening units there, then you can go in and mop up. Though you made no mention of this either way, the other thing to remember is that if you play a Recon 1 for something else, then you do not get the "draw 2, keep 1" option. If you had been playing this wrong it may have given you more opportunity to keep the right flank cards. In addition, I am not sure how the 2 units on the Axis Right were any more vulnerable than units throughout the board. Typically, single units are less vulnerable as you only roll a total of 2 dice - other cards can be more effective at that point. Where the beauty of the Air Power card shines is when you find a group of 4 contiguous units and then can roll a total of 8 dice (still 2 per unit) - a more rewarding attack usuaully.

Finally, the flow of the game will reflect the importance you place on the objectives. If you wanted the hill at all costs, your opponent was going to deny it to you at all costs. If you wanted the towns, he would have fought you for the towns. So while there are some scenarios that do direct you to certain places on the board and see more action, it still is dependent on where you choose to fight.

Regardless, I am gald to see you enjoyed M44. It is quick, fun, and accurate enough for me. Good gaming!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Hendrix
United States
Florence
South Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great session report!

I just played Sword Beach again this past weekend and agreed with you on that....good challenge...pretty fair scenario. We turned side and give it another go from the other side.

Seeing what you wrote on Luttich (and Brian added to)....I gotta re-play that one again, as I have not played it in a while!

So thanks for getting my juices flowing with this session report!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Simon "that sci-fi guy"
Australia
Sydney
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ColtsFan76 wrote:

It's been well over a year since I played this one so I don't recall all the details. I do remember that I have won and lost by both taking the hill at all costs and ignoring it completely. I don't see this variability as a weakness of the game. Richard has set up the beginning of the engagement to resemble the orginial battle. He has tried to stack the side that historically won with either more units in better positions or more command cards so they have their historical tilt.

And then you play. You may or may not then follow real history in your own game. The point of this game, and many wargames, is to allow you to be in control and see not only how well you do against your opponent but if you can pull off a better victory than your historical counterparts. It is why we play these games - so that we can make our own decisions and not be constricted to move pieces along their restrictive historical paths.


Yep that makes complete sense to me. This is where wargames differ from other games. Often when playing a game (set in the middle ages for example) we might say "that doesn't make sense because *such-and-such* wouldn't have been that way". But with wargames (in my limited experience) you can't do that because it's a specific scenario not just a time/place setting, and the game designer is letting the players take control and that may or may not recreate history as you said. I wasn't trying to say in my session report that the game has a major flaw - cause it lets you choose differently to your historical counterparts - it's just that I felt that one side of the board was underutilized and the game gave us no incentive to change that.

ColtsFan76 wrote:

As to this particular scenario and your questions, there are a few reasons why you wouldn't focus solely on the hill. The most obvious is that the cards may not let you. Due to the random draw, you may not be able to sustain an attack on the hill or defend it. Another is that, if I recall correctly, the hill is a 2-hex move for infantry and so can be a slow move to get the guys up there and finally start using the air capabilities. Then, the air capabilities are subject to the same random card draws.


The Allies start with infantry on the hill so they can use their air capabilities virtually straight away, hence my desire (as the Axis side) to counter that ASAP. You're right though, in that all this it depends on having the cards you need to focus on a particular area, which as it happens we did. There was no shortage for us to be able concentrate on Hill 317. Between flank specific, choose 4 unit, choose 4 infantry units, armour control, 1 unit from each section etc there is almost always something you can do in the section you want to - at least in Op Luttich where you have 5/6 cards.


ColtsFan76 wrote:

I am not sure if you explained it wrong or if you played it wrong. But I am not sure you got the air rules for this game correct. Once you occupy the hill, you play a Recon 1 and perform an Air Strike in that corresponding Section. So a Left Recon 1 could do damage in the left section and keep the action in a different part of the board. And if you are weakening units there, then you can go in and mop up. Though you made no mention of this either way, the other thing to remember is that if you play a Recon 1 for something else, then you do not get the "draw 2, keep 1" option. If you had been playing this wrong it may have given you more opportunity to keep the right flank cards. In addition, I am not sure how the 2 units on the Axis Right were any more vulnerable than units throughout the board. Typically, single units are less vulnerable as you only roll a total of 2 dice - other cards can be more effective at that point. Where the beauty of the Air Power card shines is when you find a group of 4 contiguous units and then can roll a total of 8 dice (still 2 per unit) - a more rewarding attack usuaully.


I'm not sure about this. My opponent was the Allied player and he read the rules on the air strike and I didn't double check them. We may indeed have been playing incorrectly. It does seem in hindsight that it wasn't as devastating to my side as I first thought it was going to be, so perhaps I could have focused my on other parts of the board. However there's no escaping that if you want to get to the town you have to go past Hill 317 and take your chances with the infantry there. I also felt that even if not concentrating on the left I wouldn't have done much on the right either for 2 reasons: 1- (my) Axis units had good cover in towns etc and had no incentive to move from there and 2- the Allied artillery was located in that area and moving forward would only bring me into their range.


ColtsFan76 wrote:

Finally, the flow of the game will reflect the importance you place on the objectives. If you wanted the hill at all costs, your opponent was going to deny it to you at all costs. If you wanted the towns, he would have fought you for the towns. So while there are some scenarios that do direct you to certain places on the board and see more action, it still is dependent on where you choose to fight.

Regardless, I am gald to see you enjoyed M44. It is quick, fun, and accurate enough for me. Good gaming!


Yep again I agree with you. It's up to the player to decide on the objectives within each scenario so as long as they are varied it gives the players choice and control. It is accurate enough for me given it's limitations - it's not a 4-6 hour wargame extravaganza which is one of the things I like about it, but that's what it would have to become to be more accurate. That a scenario can be played in 45-60 mins is a big plus for me.

Thanks for your thoughts.



2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.