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Subject: How is this anything but a weaker, simplified Memoir? rss

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Swood
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That's a harsh subject, I know... but I'm confused here.

I've looked at the images, read the rules, visited the website, read the forum posts... and I just don't get it. Why would anyone buy this game over something like Memoir 44? The only significant gameplay difference appears to be the card-driven nature of Memoir. But heck, you could just throw the Memoir cards out and play by the Hold the Line rules and have a much nicer quality game overall.

Is it the subject? I myself am looking for Revolutionary War games, hence my interest in Hold the Line. But is this really a Revolutionary War game? The theme of Hold the Line appears to be as pasted on as they come. It could very well be pictures of robots on the counters and it wouldn't make a difference.

Is it the rules? I'm not a war gamer, but it looks like Hold the Line is incredibly simple. It's less complex than Memoir and probably a LOT less complex than typical war games.

It's certainly not the art, so I won't go there. Oh wait, I will. Is that *really* the terrain art? Even with Memoir on the shelves? Really? I like the counters though.

I'm not a Memoir 44 fanboy by the way, I've only played it a couple of times. It is merely the easiest mainstream, high quality game with which to compare Hold the Line. And it costs less!

So what's the hook? What is the thing that made you say "I gotta get this game"?

p.s. I should mention that I have come close to actually clicking the order button for Hold the Line, but I can't really say why. Hence the need for this post.
 
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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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I'm interested in the subject matter.

I'm interested in a light battle game on the complexity level of BattleCry/Memoir: '44--which this is. (The optional rules add a little more "crunch", too, which I like.)

I'm interested in a visually-appealing and thematic game that encourages interest, participation, and discussion of the subject--which this also does, IMO.

Hold the Line and Memoir: '44 aren't the same game. There ARE some interesting similarities (13x9 map, terrain tiles, simple mods for combat, scenario format) but other games share most of those features, too. Different subjects and different applications, so I don't compare the two head-to-head. For a light wargame/battle game, it scratches that itch. And I think it's fun.

If Richard Borg ever publishes the AWI game some folks says he has (and I don't doubt it for one minute) I'd get that game, too, and still be happy to have this one.

I can't explain it any better than that! I can't vouch for your tastes, either, so try before you buy! If you like it, great. If not...keep looking.

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Scott Henshaw
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The above post is right. The games have some physical similarities with the board and terrain tiles, but many others also do. More even now as it seems a cheap way to get lots of map variety to the customer. (Tide of Iron has really done this!)
This game plays completely different from Memoir. I own and have played Memoir, but I will be trading it away. I find the core movement schems, card play, to be way too limiting. I played one game where only 1 card was drawn that could activate anybody on my left flank. I watch my entire flank disappear with no way to respond. That was frustration and why I all but stopped playing the game.
In this, I can always activate a unit that needs to be. On some turns, maybe less than other turns, but the critical unit or two can be activated.
The game also simulates the linear combat of the era very well.How you approach the other army is important, but you must close in to do battle.
If you do just march right up, expect a lot of losses on your side!
I've attached a link to a session report I did on a solo play of Bunker Hill battle using Clash for a Continent, this game's predecessor.
This will give you my take on the feel for the ARW in this game system.
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/65735
ScottH.
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PAUL OCONNOR
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Aside from a (very) few rulebook typos I found this a very handsome product -- nice art, thick tiles, plenty of scenarios, even a good box and dice. I suspect "unpunched" copies of this game will prove scarce, both because the game is so inviting to play that most owners will punch it and give it a go, and also because the counters are so nicely cut that most of them will tumble out of the sprues on their own. Add in the French & Indian War supplement and you have some nice, exotic frontier war scenarios, too.

There is an undeniable shared heritage with Memoir but it is as different from M44 as the other games in Borg's own Commands and Colors series are from each other. I'd welcome Mr. Borg's own take on the Revolutionary War if he can bring it to market, but for now I am more than happy to have this game on the shelf alongside other esteemed "light wargames" like Manoeuvre and the aforementioned Borg titles (of which I own them all).
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Kevin Duke
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I went for the first two games in the system partly because people kept talking about similarities to Battle Cry (and I'm interested in the period).

I don't see it.

Which is too bad.

One can say that these just "don't have the command card driving mechanism" and they also don't have the board divided into zones. At that point, it becomes a very different game. Hand management-- the choices you make around what you have in your hand--are the core of the C&C system. These games give you a limited number of commands-- you can't move everyone you want to-- but it's free form which units you move. That's a different game entirely.

Yes, it has scenarios and terrain hexes. That's been done for a long time. (See Yaquinto games, "Armor" for example.) Not really a connection.

There is also no promise that, if you like C&C you will like this. At least in one case.
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Evan Stegman
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Skadar wrote:
That's a harsh subject, I know... but I'm confused here.

I've looked at the images, read the rules, visited the website, read the forum posts... and I just don't get it. Why would anyone buy this game over something like Memoir 44? The only significant gameplay difference appears to be the card-driven nature of Memoir. But heck, you could just throw the Memoir cards out and play by the Hold the Line rules and have a much nicer quality game overall.

...


Just moving from the card driven system of C&C to an AP system significantly changes the feel of the game:

- Greater control over which pieces act on your turn. This one is pretty obvious.

- Hand management is a huge part of the C&C system. Eliminating that signficantly changes the feel of the game.

- Scenarios not limited to two lines facing each other. With the C&C system, because the cards are based on dividing the board into three areas, scenarios pretty much always have to be two lines facing each across those three areas. By not dividing the battlefield like that, scenarios can have more variety. For example, there is one scenario where the Americans and British start in one corner of the board and the Americans are trying to escape from the opposite corner with British trying to chase them down before they do. You couldn't really do that in the C&C system without making cards for the sections there are no units worth a lot less valuble than the ones that there are. Someone getting a lot more of the right cards than the other player by itself could decide the outcome of the game.

- One thing the cards do give that the Clash system doesn't have is they can have special cards like Rain of Arrows and such that allow actions that normally aren't allowed.

While I can see why someone would look at the two systems and see some similiarities - the scales of battles are about the same, hex boards with modular terrain, and so on - just reading the rules I got a pretty good sense the feel is going to significantly different enough to justify having both in much the same way that the feel of Ancients & Memoir is different enough to justify having both.wea

I can see that both systems have their own strengthes and weakenesses. Whether it is overal weaker is strictly a matter of personal preference for systems.

Sure you could try and modify Memoir to play more like HtL. You could also modify Memoir to play like Ancients or Aquaretto to play like Zooleretto or Shogun to play like Risk or if you wanted. So what? If I like both games enough and can afford it, I would rather have the actual game rather than try and kluge together some facsimile.
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Matthew Jones
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ScottH wrote:

This game plays completely different from Memoir. I own and have played Memoir, but I will be trading it away. I find the core movement schems, card play, to be way too limiting. I played one game where only 1 card was drawn that could activate anybody on my left flank. I watch my entire flank disappear with no way to respond. That was frustration and why I all but stopped playing the game.


I know I'm a skosh late to the thread here, but I can't disagree with you at all. It can be horribly frustrating. There's a line in wargames for command and control of your troops. Too far on the luck side and people get frustrated by the lack of ability to do anything. Too far on the Action Point side, and you have to have a big rules section on Morale as well.

I guess what cemented C&C (in all it's iterations) for me was a book by Noah Andre Trudeau called the Last Citadel about the Siege of Petersburg in the ACW. In it Trudeau chronicles time after time where both Confederate and Union orders got muddled, mis-sent, or intercepted, misinterpreted, or just plain old ignored. It really could be considered a sub-thesis of his history of the siege.

It got to the point where it almost got funny to read about (oh, God, here we go again...), except that then a general would kick off an operation and lots of men were slaughtered because of it.

I find that Commands and Colors gives a good sense of that chaos in a relatively easy game. I think that's why all the C&C rules say play twice.

I hear what you're saying about the Action Points freedom, and I'm sure you can't send one unit haring off to attack the enemy; well, I suppose you could but... I think it can make for a good game, but I like the C&C system.

I'm interested in any more opinions if you've got 'em.
 
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Scott Henshaw
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Great comments Matthew. The inability to move the units in that particular game was frustrating, perhaps 'realistic' in regards to ACW command & control. What was very unrealistic was the troops inability to retreat or return fire. They just got slaughtered and never retreated, never fired back. That was a little too much for me to take. I agree with you on Command & Colors, which I do own and play. They have fixed this problem with the new card texts. You can almost always do something with any one troop in each area, if you have to.
Now, to find a way to bring that card mix to BattleCry......
 
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Richard Berg
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"There's a line in wargames for command and control of your troops. Too far on the luck side and people get frustrated by the lack of ability to do anything."

You mean like in "Reality"? The ruler of any battlefield is Chaos. Any game that avoids that is just that, a game . . . well, they're all games, but giving a player ay true control over his troops is more gamey than others.

Moreover, what one player wants out of a game is usually different what another does . . .and all to the nth degree. So the question is, mostly, moot . . . .all history games (well most0 are very similar, basically . . .especially ones focusing on sucject and scale.

In that way, they're like the usual slew of teen-aimed college weekend movies . . .

RHB




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Bill Eldard
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Skadar wrote:
That's a harsh subject, I know... but I'm confused here.

I've looked at the images, read the rules, visited the website, read the forum posts... and I just don't get it. Why would anyone buy this game over something like Memoir 44? The only significant gameplay difference appears to be the card-driven nature of Memoir.


You're seeing similarities that I don't see. Memoir '44 is a CDG in Battle Cry family of games; Hold the Line is a tactical game in the more traditional hex-counter style of wargames. Not even the subjects are the same. Why would you assume that they are similar?

Skadar wrote:
But heck, you could just throw the Memoir cards out and play by the Hold the Line rules and have a much nicer quality game overall.


You're assumption is plastic miniatures = quality. Maybe you prefer minitures to counters. I prefer game information on the units. Actually, HtL is a high quality wargame in its own right.

Skadar wrote:
Is it the subject? I myself am looking for Revolutionary War games, hence my interest in Hold the Line. But is this really a Revolutionary War game? The theme of Hold the Line appears to be as pasted on as they come. It could very well be pictures of robots on the counters and it wouldn't make a difference.


One could say that about any tactical game, including Memoir '44. In fact, when I played Memoir '44, the only thing that suggested WW2 to me was the miniatures. In an age of radio communications, card-driven command and control may make for interesting games, but it's less realistic in WW2 games than in battles of the 19th Century and earlier.

Skadar wrote:
Is it the rules? I'm not a war gamer, but it looks like Hold the Line is incredibly simple. It's less complex than Memoir and probably a LOT less complex than typical war games.


Complexity does not equate to quality in wargames. The AH Classics had only 4 pages of rules. Hold the Line is a very playable game with 8 pages of rules (plus 2 more pages of advanced rules).

Skadar wrote:
I'm not a Memoir 44 fanboy by the way, I've only played it a couple of times. It is merely the easiest mainstream, high quality game with which to compare Hold the Line. And it costs less!

So what's the hook? What is the thing that made you say "I gotta get this game"?


There is no hook. You're not a wargamer, so you probably won't like it. Don't buy it.

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Matthew Jones
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BROG wrote:
You mean like in "Reality"? The ruler of any battlefield is Chaos. Any game that avoids that is just that, a game . . . well, they're all games, but giving a player ay true control over his troops is more gamey than others.


I do mean like in reality. And it's why I like the Commands and Colors system.

I am more willing to entertain the command and control arguments from people in WWII or later games (with the improvement of communication techniques). But you only have to look as far as today's headlines for Mogadishu or Iraq to realize that it hasn't improved all that much, even with all the satellite-powered everything that modern warfare entails. It still comes down to morale on the ground which can change in a heartbeat and modern troops can get just as bogged down.
 
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Richard Berg
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" I myself am looking for Revolutionary War games, "

Have you checked out FLINTLOCK (from LocknLoad)? Comes out this week. (Never pass up a Schill Op).

RHB
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Bill Eldard
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Sigrdrifa wrote:
. . . I am more willing to entertain the command and control arguments from people in WWII or later games (with the improvement of communication techniques). But you only have to look as far as today's headlines for Mogadishu or Iraq to realize that it hasn't improved all that much, even with all the satellite-powered everything that modern warfare entails. It still comes down to morale on the ground which can change in a heartbeat and modern troops can get just as bogged down.


I respectfully disagree. Technology has greatly reduced the fog of war for hi-tech militaries. Leaders can communicate two-ways electronically with individual soldiers to issue commands and recieve instant feedback; knowledge of the battlespace is greatly enhanced by linked information and access to data; contemporary sensors are employed right down to the tactical level; and joint-force command & control is greatly improved over the past 25 years.

Note that I didn't say fog of war is eliminated. It will always exist to one degree of another.

Mogadishu was actually an excellent example of modern command and control. The general had a very good picture of what was happening on the battlefield; he merely lacked was the proper forces to regain the initiative, because of political decisions before the battle. If anything, he was guilty of poor planning and might be guilty of failing to consider what would happen if virtually the whole city fought his troops.

As far as Iraq & Afghanistan go, command and control is excellent. There's still some fog of war -- like the fratricide when USAF fighters bombed a Canadian unit in Afghanistan -- but these exceptions are rarer than WW2's.

An example of the great difference is Desert Storm, when a modern Allied force crushed a WW2-style Iraqi military.
 
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Matthew Jones
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Eldard wrote:
I respectfully disagree. Technology has greatly reduced the fog of war for hi-tech militaries. Leaders can communicate two-ways electronically with individual soldiers to issue commands and recieve instant feedback; knowledge of the battlespace is greatly enhanced by linked information and access to data; contemporary sensors are employed right down to the tactical level; and joint-force command & control is greatly improved over the past 25 years.

Note that I didn't say fog of war is eliminated. It will always exist to one degree of another.

Mogadishu was actually an excellent example of modern command and control. The general had a very good picture of what was happening on the battlefield; he merely lacked was the proper forces to regain the initiative, because of political decisions before the battle. If anything, he was guilty of poor planning and might be guilty of failing to consider what would happen if virtually the whole city fought his troops.

As far as Iraq & Afghanistan go, command and control is excellent. There's still some fog of war -- like the fratricide when USAF fighters bombed a Canadian unit in Afghanistan -- but these exceptions are rarer than WW2's.

An example of the great difference is Desert Storm, when a modern Allied force crushed a WW2-style Iraqi military.



I can't argue (too ferociously) against those points and really wouldn't want to. I think that the common counter to this is that the cards in Battlelore, C&C:A, or Mem'44 are basically a game way to take into account the situation you describe in Mogadishu: I know what's happening but due to circumstances beyond my control, I can't get forces there.

My followup question back at you is this:
To what extent do you think that the excellent command and control is due to the fact that the US is engaging a relatively low-tech enemy who, while able to inflict a "fog of war" on the tactical battlefield level is unable to engage in the kinds of ECM necessary to disrupt US C3, and furthermore has little (to perhaps even none at all) command and control over their own soldiers? If the US was fighting a country more technologically on par, do you think the C3 picture would be different?

My second question is: Have we successfully hijacked this thread yet?

Thanks for the good conversation!
 
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Everybody seems to be talking as if the C&C games have a command control element and Hold the Line does not. The fact is that both have rules to prevent a player from having full control over his forces.

In Hold the Line, you roll for Action Points each turn, and use those to move your units. You never have enough APs to do everything you need to do. So command control is addressed, it is simply a different implementation.

Neither game's method faithfully recreates the command control problems of a real commander, but both make a nod in that direction.
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