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Subject: Memoir '44 or Tide of Iron - Which and why? rss

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Savage Josh
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Back in the day, my brother and I used to enjoy playing Axis & Allies against each other. I'm finding now that I'd like to get another WWII game for my collection.

The games that have caught my eye have been Memoir '44 and Tide of Iron.

Memoir '44 has caught my eye because it has a short playing time.

Tide of Iron has caught my eye because it's FFG.

I am unlikely to pick up any expansions right off the bat, so I'd want the best game 'out of the box' as it were. I'm pretty new to wargaming in general, but I would like to have a reasonably complex game. I'd also like good components.

So, what do you like about these games? What don't you like? What should I pick, and why?
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Andrew Young
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Neither.

Because.


devil
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Savage Josh
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medievalbanquet wrote:
Neither.

Because.


:devil:


That is certianly easier on the pocketbook.

Though, the reasoning is a bit...lacking. :)
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Richard Linnell
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I can't talk to Tide of Iron, but I've played Memoir '44 (and BattleLore, it's fantasy cousin) and find it to be excellent. Easy to learn and play, and a good selection of scenarios to play. It does have a considerable amount of luck to it, so keep that in mind. If nothing else i would recommend it over Tide of Iron because you can actually take Memoir '44 to someone else's house without killing the suspension in your pickup. I also find the huge amount of expansion support to be a plus, just in case you do like the game.
 
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Steve Mackenzie
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Memoir for me. I find Tide unwieldy sometimes, while Memoir's sleek, simple design and game play always has me engaged and challenged.

DoW components, cards and rulebooks are always well designed and the artwork is of a very high standard throughout.

Always found DoW to have great customer service too.
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David Douglas
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theredtree wrote:
Memoir '44 by a long shot.

Memoir '44 and Tide of Iron have similar depth. Tide of Iron is more realistic, maybe. The scenarios for both games are very unbalanced but Tide of Iron's are worse, and it takes four or five times longer to play through them. Also the Tide of Iron components are lousy, the figures are tough to fit into the pegs and the pegs snap off too. FFG customer service is great though.

Wow. I have rarely seen such a biased recommendation. In my opinion, ToI has fantastic components. In my dozens of plays I have never had a problem with a peg fitting let alone a snap off. The models are MUCH more detailed and fun than the M44 figures (especially the tanks). The board and overlays are better quality too. M44 wins on cards though, ToI is just a standard playing card deck quality.

In my opinion, this comes down to what style of game you are looking for. M44 is a shorter, fast paced game that is easier to pick up and tear down. With that comes a lack of depth and detail that Tide of Iron offers.

If you were looking at a spectrum of realism and the resulting difficulty, M44 would lie on the highly abstract side while ToI is about halfway between a legitimate historical wargame and M44. Both games have great expansions that really allow for a lot of replayability.

So... if you're looking for that ~1 hour long light game, go with M44. If you're looking for something with a bit more detail and depth, go with ToI.
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Josh Whitt
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Tide of Iron
Pros: Fixed scale, many more tactical options, nicer maps (IMO), better looking minis, more unit types, has transport & suppression.
Cons: Epic painful setup, expensive, steeper learning curve than M44, small number of scenarios, rumored to be low on FFG's priority list (this may not be true).

Memoir '44
Pros: Quick to play, easy to learn, uses the C&C system, well-supported by DoW, lots of scenarios available.
Cons: Setup still takes a while, the expansions are interdependent (you can't buy just one, which if money is tight is a bad thing), the limited tactical options will eventually affect the depth of the experience, the scale changes for each scenario.

One of my pet peeves is games with long setup times. M44 pushes the limits of my patience in this regard but the game experience is much smoother in the end. ToI battles have a lot of depth and it looks better on the table, but it takes so long to get there and you might just tear your hands up plugging the little guys into the bases.

For the niche I wanted to fill in my collection (fast-playing WWII battles that aren't necessarily historically accurate to the ammo in the rifles) M44 was perfect, and my g/f (my usual opponent for all games) loves it.
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James Palmer
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How important is the toy factor? Conflict of Heroes might be up your alley if you're willing to trade in minis for counters. It's just as easy to learn and play as Tides of Iron, but faster set up, more realistic, and overall just plain better. :-)
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Stephen Harper
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I would choose Tide of Iron over Memoir '44.

To my way of thinking, Memoir '44 is the weakest of Borg's C&C games. To me, it is not very evocative of the events it portrays, and the scale is not appropriate to the system. C&C Ancients, on the other hand, is a much better fit for this game system, being more of a battle game and giving one much more of a flavor of the era being gamed. I have played the hell of of C&C Ancients, but never played beyond my first game of Memoir '44.

Tide of Iron, gives me a much better feel of tactical WWII combat, and I have played all the scenarios from the base game. The figures and other bits are of very good quality. I have never had any problem with the figure pegs either fitting or breaking off. I especially like the choices you have in organizing your squads. For example, you can have four line infantry figures on a squad base, or two line and two assault figures, or, if you wish to create a command squad, one leader, and three other figures. Similarly, with heavy weapons you can choose to mount two (each takes two peg holes) on the base, or one HW with two infantry figures. Basically, for a given scenario you get so many squad bases and so many figures, and it is up to you how to organize the composition of your squads. You also get a certain amount of chits which, when attached to the back of the squad base, allows you to further specialize your squads as Engineer (flamethrower), AT (bazooka), or medic (red cross chit). In addition to the scenarios in the box, there are others you can download for free. Also, for just a few dollars more, you can buy a book of scenarios that have been designed by a dozen or so wargame designers, and it is very interesting to see what they have created and to play.

If you would like to have a reasonably complex game, then Tide of Iron should be your choice over Memoir '44.
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Jim Patterson
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The Gong Show wrote:
rumored to be low on FFG's priority list (this may not be true).


There are two large expansions for ToI and a third (Eastern Front) announced, so I'm not sure how limited limited is.

Quote:
Memoir '44
the expansions are interdependent (you can't buy just one, which if money is tight is a bad thing),


I'd say this isn't really true. It might be true if you buy the Air Pack and use the revised scenarios there, but by and large the three major force expansion--Eastern Front, Pacific Theater, and Med--are independent.

It really for me kind of comes down to how much depth you want, of these two. M'44 is a great game, but it's probably not going to feel like a finely detailed simulation of WWII tactical combat. ToI is a heavier wargame that has most of the features of the genre, albeit in a fairly straightforward presentation. Playtime will be longer with ToI almost certainly. ToI does have a complicated setup involving bases and small pegs, but there are tips on BGG for making easier fits of pegs to base, and the setup time isn't just busywork--it's usually about building your squads. Scenario construction isn't that great for the ToI base game; I would consider a secondary purchase of Tide of Iron: Designer Series Vol. 1, which (reportedly) includes better scenarios, most of which don't require the North Africa expansion.
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Scott Roberts
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M44 and TOI are two of my favorite games. M44 is lighter and more luck-based. It is still great fun. TOI is deeper (still not a heavy wargame) and is also great fun.

TOI will feel strategic. In TOI you get to set up your pieces, which requires you to think through what you hope to accomplish (do you want to concentrate forces in the middle to punch through the enemy's center, fan out across the line, set up units to give line of sight to mortars, etc.). Looking at a map and coming up with a plan is great fun in itself. Every turn you will get to activate every unit. There is a lot more opportunity for planning and strategy in TOI. The major downside to TOI is that the scenarios in the box are horrible. There are a number of fan made scenarios that are great though. If you get TOI, I can give you a list. TOI is also longer than M44. Even using short fan-made TOI scenarios, TOI normally takes us 75-120 minutes. And that is for the short scenarios. The long ones that the game comes with can last for hours.

M44 is a lot more random and there is less opportunity for planning and strategy. It is all about immediate tactics with the hand of cards you presently have. The scenarios dictate initial unit placement. You do not get to activate every unit every turn. Rather, your hand of randomly drawn cards determine what units you can activate. M44 moves quickly and is fast. The big benefit of M44 is its short play time. Most scenarios play in 30-60 minutes. Days of Wonder supports M44 its website has a tool that allows users to report results of scenario plays. So it is easy to determine which are the most balanced (and tend to be the most fun). Plus there are also a lot of fanmade scenarios.





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Kent Reuber
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Tide of Iron is uses squads as the basic unit type. In Memoir, the units are abstracted but are closer to Company or Battalions in size. If you want more details in combat, ToI is probably the way to go. If you prefer a higher-level quicker play game, choose Memoir.

I own Memoir, but haven't been inspired to get Tide of Iron. I have the Panzer Grenadier series if I want a more detailed tactical game.
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Savage Josh
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Felkor wrote:
How important is the toy factor? Conflict of Heroes might be up your alley if you're willing to trade in minis for counters. It's just as easy to learn and play as Tides of Iron, but faster set up, more realistic, and overall just plain better. :-)


I'm totally a toy-whore. I'd like to say it isn't a factor, but it really is. At least, if I'm going to buy the game without playing it.

If I were to play something that wasn't toy-ish before buying, then I could be convinced otherwise.

But as it stands right now, I'd be buying a game to add a wargame to the collection to play with my friends.
 
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James Palmer
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Bazin wrote:
Felkor wrote:
How important is the toy factor? Conflict of Heroes might be up your alley if you're willing to trade in minis for counters. It's just as easy to learn and play as Tides of Iron, but faster set up, more realistic, and overall just plain better. :-)


I'm totally a toy-whore. I'd like to say it isn't a factor, but it really is.


Haha, no problem, I totally understand. I still love to pull out Heroscape for this very reason.
 
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Dan Conley
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Having played both, I'd go M'44 for sure. TOI is not a bad game by any means, but the playtime pushes the limits of my patience considering the depth and scope of the game. (This perception may well be colored by an AP prone opponent...) whistle

Be that as it may, I still find M'44 to be more rewarding. LOADS of scenarios to choose from + the option to play Overlord, my preferred type of M'44, whether with 2 players or a full table. We have played LOTS of M'44 and will continue to do so. TOI doesn't seem to have the "staying power" for me.
 
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Savage Josh
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Both appear to have the ability to be played by more than two - what is the experience you have with gameplay with 4 people at the table instead of two?

For those that said M44 is more random - are we talking RISK like frustration levels, or does the game do a reasonable job of balancing this out?
 
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kookie antonio
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get both. but if you only really have to choose one, start with M44. regardless of the "toy bashing" and "it's not a wargame" thing, just ignore it, at least you get your money's worth rather than get some over priced war game and find it not up to standards.
 
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Stephen Harper
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Bazin wrote:
Both appear to have the ability to be played by more than two - what is the experience you have with gameplay with 4 people at the table instead of two?

For those that said M44 is more random - are we talking RISK like frustration levels, or does the game do a reasonable job of balancing this out?


If you are truly a toy whore, then TOI is for you!

On the issue of four players, TOI is specifically designed to be played by 2, 3, or 4 players. Four are possible because the unit bases for each side are in two shades of that side's color. So it is possible for two players to play on each side, and their units will not get confused.
 
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Truly you can't go wrong either way. It's more an issue of complexity & time vs. quality of game as both are excellent.

I own everything for both games and have played both extensively.

M'44 is easily the most fun to introduce a new player to. They enjoy it almost immediately and you'll have a much easier time explaining the rules. The setup time, gameplay time, etc. are all reflective of this introductory /intermediate preference.

People who call M'44 TOI light aren't giving either game the respect they deserve. M'44 can get fairly complex once you start adding expansions, air pack rules and the additional terrain types. So don't sell it short. It is less complex, but it's certainly not TOI light once you scale it up a bit.


Tide of Iron delivers on a number of levels for me. I love my minis and this game has a neat, although limited usefulness mechanic, for customizing your squads. I love it and it was what drew me to the game initially.

The time to play is significantly longer, but you get to make far more tactical choices in your play time. Likewise, there's a fair bit more strategy involved given the number of options available to you, particularly once you add in unit special abilities and special action cards.

The map quality and configurations once you add in Normandy to the base game are extensive. The Desert Fox expansion is also equally worth the money. Where the M'44 expansions add rules and nationalities the Tide of Iron expansions feel like they could be whole new games.

The real downside is that you probably want to cultivate a regular opponent for the game since explaining it all can take some time. Likewise, many of the scenarios that ship with the game are fairly unbalanced until you start to pick up on all the tactical choices at your fingertips.

Both are awesome games. If you're on the fence....Memoir '44. If you know your purchase is for a regular gamer buddy and you...Tide of Iron. Ultimately...you'll end up with both...so the real question is which one first?
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John Herrera
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I would also choose Memoir'44 - you can play a good couple of good battles in less time, the expansions (I believe) add alot of flavor to the game. I only tried to play Tide of Iron a couple of times but I am with Memoir'44 all the way.
 
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Even if you are a toy-whore; give Conflict of heroes a try; read a few reviews, check some videos. The mechanics are really, reaaaally neat and you shouldn't discard it without a second thought.

If, after doing that, you're still inclined to the more "toyish" games, based on your comments (don't want many xpacs/will play more than two), TOI seems a better fit: M44 is a good game, but it gets really great after a couple xpacs; and you NEED those xpacs if you plan on playing with more than 2, so...
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stephen
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I must admit I was dubious about COH with its low toy factor after playing both TOI and M44, but I would rather play hex and counter games now and I dont find counters intrusive to my game playing experience. Having all the information on the unit counters is great, makes the game flow really well and both COH and Combat Commander feel more realistic than either of the toy wargames.
 
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Ricky
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theredtree wrote:
ddavidc wrote:
Wow. I have rarely seen such a biased recommendation. In my opinion, ToI has fantastic components. In my dozens of plays I have never had a problem with a peg fitting let alone a snap off. The models are MUCH more detailed and fun than the M44 figures (especially the tanks). The board and overlays are better quality too. M44 wins on cards though, ToI is just a standard playing card deck quality.

How can a recommendation be anything but biased? That's why it's a recommendation and not a fact.

I'm glad to hear your pegs never snapped off. I guess I imagined my whole experience then! I wonder if FFG imagined sending me dozens of new bases and figures then.


I prefer TOI myself, but I agree that every recommendation is based on the poster's biases. To me TOI is more what I'm looking for when I take the time to set up a game like this, it's a bit deeper and does a better job of pulling me in. I like that it plays longer as it draws me in and makes me feel more invested in the outcome. I also don't care about the imbalances, one of my favorite games is very lopsided (EspaƱa 1936), but I enjoy trying to outwit the opponent (and maybe a brazen move dependent on a little luck here or there). Of course, this is just my bias, and if the OP feels an affinity with it, then hopefully his choice will be a little easier.
 
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I would choose Tide Of Iron over Memoir unless game length is an issue. I've read some complaints of people having difficulty with snapping the figures into the bases, but after reading a tip to push them in from the bottom or "feet" I never had a problem, and none of my pieces ever broke.

Tide Of Iron ultimately was not a good fit for me, but that was only due to game length. Also, if you do decide to go for a lighter game like Memoir, I would suggest Battlelore. It's a similar system, but does have more depth, and the "lore" aspect I find to be a lot of fun.
 
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John O'Haver PhoDOGrapher
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I have both games. I have all the expansions for Memoir and the Map Pack for TOI. This is a quote of my TOI comments on my collection page.

Quote:
In my opinion the rules in TOI governing gaining and keeping initiative, gaining command points, the purchase and the use of the combinations of the multiple Strategy card decks, all the stuff that you need to think about that is not on map, are game sub-systems that detract from the immersiveness of the combat portion of the game.

These game sub-systems feel like an unnecessarily complex set of processes designed to distract the player from the fact that this is just as big of a dice fest as Memoir '44 and takes it three or four times as long to play.


I was one of the play testers on one of the scenarios in the Tide of Iron: Designer Series 1 scenario book. Playing the same scenario over and over became so tedious I never wanted to play the game again.

Memoir '44, despite the nebulous scale and simplicity, scratches my itch for WW II tactical game. If the outcome of a game is going to turn on one or two critical dice rolls, I'd rather it happen in a one hour game than a three hour game.

That said, both could be better games. As a sidebar, the hexes in both games are the exact same size and the same size as the hexes in Deluxe Advanced Squad Leader. One reason to get both games is you can cross pollinate them.
 
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