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Memoir '44: Hedgerow Hell» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Much anticipated first play of Hedgerow Hell rss

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Phil McDonald
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OK, I forced myself to wait until I had finished painting my M44 miniatures before allowing myself to try one of the map expansions. A kind of incentive to get them finished

So Hedgerow Hell is first to the table and I can look forward to Tigers in the Snow for a little bit longer

Too wide for the coffee table (large one) in the lounge where I do most of my gaming. Try it on the dining table.... and it fits.... just ! About an inch to spare all the way around because of all the helpful stuff they've printed around the edge of the map.

Thickish paper map, so out come two large pieces of plexiglas that I've canibalised from picture frames. They cover half of the map each perfectly. Not enough to cover the printed refernce cards at top and bottom of the map, but who cares? Flattens the map creases nicely and protects the map from tears and spills. If anyone's interested, the plexiglas is 56cm x 71cm each piece, and one of them is obviously perfect for covering the standard Memoir layout once the terrain is laid out.

Ok, game setup is nice and easy because unit/sandbag intial positions are printed on the map, as is # of figures in a unit where not standard, and any unit badges that are necessary.

Stand back and take a look... Wow, with painted units it looks like a war room, and no longer looks like a Eurogame

I've got the Overlord expansion, so I can also give a first try to the overlord card decks. Allies will be played by me, and Germans will be played by myself. Most of my gaming is done solo, I get competition using Vassal. I have become quite adept at playing wargames solo. I don't treat either side as MINE and I play both sides to win. Card driven games make it even easier, because I just play the most logical cards for each side. These days it doesn't even cross my mind to think about what the other side is doing or what cards they have. It would only spoil the game anyway, and I play purely for fun and the experience.

Allies have 8 cards and start. Germans have 10 cards and a useful 3 medal start due to occupying 3 towns at the start that are medal objectives for both sides. 13 medals to win and I'm using red glass gaming beads to record the medals. They show up much better than medal tokens (which there aren't enough of anyway), and don't jeopardise miniatures being used to track scores. I have a habit of knocking them flying with sleeves or dice. It was only a matter of time before I trod on one

Turn 1 and I decide to issue 1 card to each of the 3 sectors for allies to get the ball rolling quickly. This turned out not to be a good idea because next turn they would only have 7 cards to choose from, and the Germans started with 2 extra from the beginning. Worse still, the Germans are in very good entrenched defensive positions and the allies did next to no damage in any sector
German first turn and they too could afford to play 3 cards and still maintain a 2 card advantage, so they did. FIRE ! Wow, 2 allied units killed on turn 1, giving Germans a 5-0 advantage

At this point I'll just say that I REALLY like the new Overlord command decks. Everything you need to know is on the card, explained clearly. The game is playable with the Standard Memoir command deck, but a lot of cards require adjustment and you would do a fair bit of cross-referencing. Also, this way both sides get their own deck. NICE. And as a small bonus, the graphics are nicer too.

Turn 2, and it is now apparent to me that I should not have played 3 cards on turn 1 for the allies, instead saving that option for turns when it can impact the scoring. So I play a card each to the left and centre sections as they are best positioned to use them. I roll a dice for the field general on the right, and wouldn't you just know it, I roll a flag, and none of his units can retreat, so have to take a casualty on a unit of my choice
Dish out some casualties in left and centre, but still no medals

Play 2 cards an a dice for Germans to maintain card superiority (each side take 2 fresh cards at the end of their turn, whether they have played 1,2 or 3 cards). This is beginning to feel like Normandy. Kill two more infantry units and now the Germans lead 7 medals to nil

On Turn 3, allies played 2 cards and a dice, but one of the cards was a Recon card, allowing them to take, and keep, 3 cards at the end of their turn. This is another feature I like about the Overlord rules, and it allowed the allies to put their hand size back to maximum. (You can never exceed your initial card hand size).

OK, I won't carry on with a turn by turn scoresheet cos I'd sooner round it up at this point and give some first impressions.

Well, things started to turn around for the allies in the mid-game, once they could get some targets for their tanks that weren't sitting in bocage (-2 dice for tank attack)
Taking out the 3 sandbagged German infantry in a line in the centre section was a tough nut, but once done things started to look less dismal.
The Germans eventually won 13-9 on turn 9, with the Allies having taken NONE of the 3 dual-medal towns, though they came very close on 2 of them. the Germans JUST managed to take the last medal on turn 9, otherwise the allies would probably have squeaked it, what with the two medal swing on each of the objective hex, plus several german units were in critical condition. So the final score did not fully reflect the situation at game end, but at the same time, thems the rules

Q: Did I have a good time?
A: Sure did !

Q: Did it play well as a solo experience?
A: Hell Yeah !!

Q: How did it compare to a standard game of Memoir?
A: MUCH more engrossing. It feels much more Wargamey and atmospheric, without the negative implications that might have for some people. It's still just as accessible as Memoir, but with more of everything. Not least fun!!

Q: Do I recommend getting the Operation Overlord expansion to get the new command decks?
A: That would be a YES. They made play nice and easy, with no crib sheet. Also, you get 8 extra dice with OP O/L, as well as cardboard unit tokens in case you haven't got 2 base sets of Memoir. If you DO have 2 base sets, it still gives you extra cardboard units for Japan and Russia, in case you ever want to play those nations in Overlord format.
Q: Any tips for playing?
A: Not tactically, cos half the fun is experimenting, but because it is possible to order quite a few units across the board on a single turn, I put a dice (I used to use a coloured gaming gem), next to each ordered unit, and then remove it once they have fired. The extra dice come in handy for this. It saves the memory-challenged like me from having to constantly try and remember what I was doing. Also, remember that all sectors of an army complete their movement BEFORE the first sector begins their attacks. You should also nominate which order the sectors are to make their attacks in BEFORE starting the attack phase, because this could make a difference.

Q: Is there anything I didn't like about Hedgerow Hell?
A: One small gripe. It is already well aired that the miniatures are badly scaled in Memoir '44, but supply trucks that come with this battle map are freakin' tiny !! I hope it was worth them saving a couple of cents in production, but they look about the scale that a jeep should be, with infantry units towering twice as tall

Anyway, I heartily recommend the Hedgerow Hell battle map to all Memoir '44 fans. You'll love it.

I hope one day to be able to play it with 3 or 4 players per side, because I like the idea of the chain of command, but don't be put off trying it solo as both sides. It's a blast !!

Phil.


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Ray Brown
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Nice review. I just played Tigers in the Snow last night and really enjoyed it. I'll take your tip for getting the Overlord expansion just for the cards. That will really make it much easier and enjoyable.
Thanx!
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mike hibbert
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Great review, really felt I was playing it too!
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philmcd wrote:
... Also, this way both sides get their own deck..


Reallycry???
 
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Phil McDonald
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Yep, the Operation Overlord expansion provides TWO identical command decks, tailored to the overlord rules.
 
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philmcd wrote:
Yep, the Operation Overlord expansion provides TWO identical command decks, tailored to the overlord rules.


Yes, I know, but you have to mix them together, if I remember well.
So there's not a deck each, but a big single deck.
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Phil McDonald
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supertopix wrote:
philmcd wrote:
Yep, the Operation Overlord expansion provides TWO identical command decks, tailored to the overlord rules.


Yes, I know, but you have to mix them together, if I remember well.
So there's not a deck each, but a big single deck.


No, you DON'T mix them together, each side gets its own deck.
 
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philmcd wrote:
supertopix wrote:
philmcd wrote:
Yep, the Operation Overlord expansion provides TWO identical command decks, tailored to the overlord rules.


Yes, I know, but you have to mix them together, if I remember well.
So there's not a deck each, but a big single deck.


No, you DON'T mix them together, each side gets its own deck.

ehm whistlewhistlepage 4 of the original rules on DOW website:

"Now shuffle the two sets of Overlord Command cards
together and give each Commander-in-Chief the
number of cards indicated for that camp on the
scenario's briefing notes or Battle Map."...
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Phil McDonald
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Fair enough, but it is far more convenient for both sides to have their own deck, and less prone to the possibility of imballanced hand draws.

Not a great fan of house rules unless they are really necessary usually, but in this case I'll stick with what works.
 
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Andrzej Sieradzki
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Phil, I'm going to paint my tigers before jumping into TiS expansion as well. Might you post some photos of your pimped figures? I'm curious how you dealt with panzer-camo and infantry colours.
 
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