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Subject: I've lost interest in Memoir. Should I try C&C:A? rss

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Josh K
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Memoir '44 was one of the first games I bought, and for a while, it was one of my favorites. I just love the idea of military tactics, and Memoir's much better than Risk. After a while though, while some games were very fun, it'd seemed that far too many were unsatisfying. When you try to make advance, only to continually draw the wrong cards and end up being demolished, it's very frustrating. Winning in that situation is equally unsatisfying, because I don't feel like I've accomplished anything. This doesn't happen every game, but often enough for me to lose interest. Also, while there's some strategy, it's not all that deep. The number of reasonable options always seems limited (not even regarding the cards). I've since gotten Ogre/GEV and A&A:1942, and while those are seen still as very light games, there's many more options. Someone here on the Geek (don't remember who, sorry) pointed out that never after a game of Memoir do you find yourself thinking of new strategies. There seems to be only a few paths to victory, and they're pretty easily found.

So, after that long rant, here's my question: should I buy C&C:A? I have a lot of interest in wargames, and while there's many other great gateway games out there, C&C:A looks like a fun and easy step up. It looks great, and there doesn't seem to be nearly the debate on whether or not it contains strategy/is a wargame/isn't pure luck/doesn't suck. I don't know much about the whole battleback thing, but it seems like it might fix the problems. Also, I read in some review that the cards are more balanced and flexible. However, I decided it best to ask the masses. Do you think I will like C&C:A? Does it alleviate the problems I had with Memoir?
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brian
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The reasons you list for not liking M44 can easily be transferred over to Ancients. You have a similar deck of cards, still have to deal with the dice. However, I don't agree with your assessment that there are few paths to victory, so you may just not like the concept of the C&C series. Hand management is key as well as working the terrain to your advantage in all.

So what does Ancients do different? Well terrain is less of a focus. You do have the battle back option. So if you do have a flank that is stranded and they are getting attacked, they can try to fight back and inflict some damage. Leaders play more of a role as well. And while I am not sure the section cards are any more balanced, the Leader cards allow for more ordering outside of just a single section.

So there are differences. Many like it above M44 for a variety of reasons. You may too. I am just hesitant with what you picked out as issues in m44.
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Josh K
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Thanks for the quick and thoughtful reply. Maybe it's not the right game for me, but I'm not ready to give up yet. Could you maybe articulate why you think so many people find C&C:A to be more strategic? Am I correct in my impression that by keeping a steady line of troops one can alleviate much of the problem with the card draw?

Also, on a different note, but something I just thought of: is there more objective-based victory conditions, or is it still mainly about killing five or six enemy units? That's not a dealbreaker for me, but I'm curious.
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Joe Keller
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Ancients does require you to learn how to win with bad cards, just as much as Memoir does.

But Ancients is, in my humble opinion, much deeper than Memoir, because you have a whole lot of different units with a lot of different capabilities. It takes quite a while to learn how to use each unit's strengths to their maximum effectiveness, and how to minimize each unit's weaknesses. Someone looking for a light game may find this very frustrating, but someone looking for a deeper game will tend to find this a very rewarding experience.

Sincerely,

Joe
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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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If you are not happy with M'44 I think you may be unhappy with C&C:A.

However, C&C:Napoleonics may be more to your liking.
After the learning curve is met the games are full of action and quite bloody. After having played 20+ scenarios I have yet to encounter an unplayable hand. The deck is quite comprehensive.
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brian
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jkjosh wrote:
Thanks for the quick and thoughtful reply. Maybe it's not the right game for me, but I'm not ready to give up yet. Could you maybe articulate why you think so many people find C&C:A to be more strategic? Am I correct in my impression that by keeping a steady line of troops one can alleviate much of the problem with the card draw?

AS mentioned above, you have a lot more unit types. It still boils down to 2 main types - foot and cavalry - but within each, you have different capabilities. Faster units are lighter so while they get into the action quicker, they can't do much damage. Stronger units are slower so they take longer to get into the fight. How you use these strengths and weaknesses is a key to winning.

In Memoir, you have 3 unit types, and basically that is it. Some of the expansions tweak these slightly but an Infantry unit moves about the same, shoots about the same no matter what. You still need to balance strengths and weaknesses and combo these up, but the variety of units in Ancients gives you more combos to explore.

Also, M44 allows you to send out units by themselves. each one can act independent of each other. In Ancients, you can offer support which means a line of units is stronger than a single unit (because they don't flee as easily so have a greater chance to battle back). Some of the tactics cards also reward for keeping units cohesive. There is a card that allows you to move all your infantry that are adjacent to each other. If this is 10 units across 3 sections, all 10 get to move. M44 doesn't have the same as they just activate the section in most cases. As I already stated, leaders can command adjacent units as well. So lines become a primary way to move and fight.

Quote:
Also, on a different note, but something I just thought of: is there more objective-based victory conditions, or is it still mainly about killing five or six enemy units? That's not a dealbreaker for me, but I'm curious.

Yes, same basic conditions - kill X units first for the win. I think M44 actually has more objective medals than Ancients though I haven't been through as many Ancient scenarios to know for sure.
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Orion J.N. Winder
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In my opinion Ancients is where this C&C system really shines, it's like the right match for genre and mechanics. There so much more that "feels right" in playing it complared to M44, which when I play I'm mostly counting "points", not seeing the havoc of the battle. In Ancients I can normally feel like I'm actually playing strategys that would be viable in the actual period, not just attempting to "collect points". And the Epic variation really makes it shine even more, as the battlefield and units are about doubled.

Course if you want to get away from the section cards, and persue other light to medium light wargameing, you might jump to any of many other games. My personal recommendations without hesitation would include:
Combat Commander
Tide of Iron
Fighting Formations
And perhaps if they ever reprint it so that the cost is reasonable and and the rules rewritten (though I never found the bad)... Up Front

And deeper down the rabbit hole you might explore the original Squad Leader game. The original, with programed instructions, was pretty simple to grasp and understand, up through the first expansion. And they are really pretty inexpensive for the great tactical game that it is!
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Kent Reuber
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jkjosh wrote:
Thanks for the quick and thoughtful reply. Maybe it's not the right game for me, but I'm not ready to give up yet. Could you maybe articulate why you think so many people find C&C:A to be more strategic? Am I correct in my impression that by keeping a steady line of troops one can alleviate much of the problem with the card draw?

Also, on a different note, but something I just thought of: is there more objective-based victory conditions, or is it still mainly about killing five or six enemy units? That's not a dealbreaker for me, but I'm curious.


In Memoir, if you don't have any cards in your sector, those units are pretty hosed: they can't fire back and they can't move.

One thing you might try in Memoir is the Breakthrough deck included with the Winter Wars expansion. The Breakthrough deck has the concept of ordering units "On the Move" that is, a number of units anywhere on the map can move, but they can't battle. The "on the move" orders are useful for bringing artillery forward or retreating injured units into cover. The Recon and Patrol cards allow you to order 1 or 2 units + 2 units "On the Move" while the Attack card allows you to order 3 units + 1 On the Move, and the Assault card no On the Move units at all. So, instead of being able to order (1, 2, 3, equal to command) for the basic game (Recon, Probe, Attack, Assault) cards you can order (3, 4, 4, equal to command). So this equalizes the luck factor and allows you to move about the same units on any card, but some of the units won't be able to attack, but this is made up for the fact that these moving units can be *anywhere*.

In C&CA, light units and cavalry units can often evade melee attacks, getting a free retreat and lower odds of being hit. Cavalry in C&C Napoleonics can also "retire and reform" vs. infantry.

In addition, BattleLore, C&CA and C&C Napoleonics units in melee who don't retreat can "battle back". So even if you don't have cards for a particular sector, you can react to what's going on. BattleLore and C&C Napoleonics also have the battle back mechanism and it rewards keeping solid lines so that you increase your chance of battle back.
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Randall Shaw
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"And the Epic variation really makes it shine even more, as the battlefield and units are about doubled."

What really makes Epic shine for me are the Command mechanics/structure rules.
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Железный комиссар
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C&C:A is about formations and close combat. M44 is about terrain and ranged combat.

You might like it more but the things that bother you about Memoir could easily apply here.
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Ian McCarthy
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I think that, if Memoir was once one of your favorite games but you got tired of getting basically screwed by the huge disparity between a hand full of good cards vs. a hand full of bad cards, then you might very well love Ancients.

It has the speed of play that you're used to in Memoir. Also, yes, the order deck is very different, more than half of the order cards ignore sections completely, allowing you to be more tactical and rely less on getting the specific cards for the key sections.

Don't get me wrong. You can still get very lucky. I once decimated a first time player after about six turns by drawing Line Command, which basically activated all my troops on the board, twice in a row.

Best case would be that you would get to try before you buy, as you might not appreciate the more austere aesthetics of GMT. They really can't compare to the beautiful Days of Wonder productions. And it's just cool to play with army men. You won't get that in Ancients.
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Steve Norton
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I've been a long time Ancients player and I've recently played a few games of M44 - and in my opinion it just doesn't come close as a gaming experience. In Ancients the rules concerning evade, battle-back, support and leaders work together so beautifully - you really need to be aware of what your whole army is doing in order to play well. In M44 I find myself just moving individual units without giving much thought to where they are going. There are certainly some tactical considerations in M44, but not on the same level. Win or lose, it feels like the outcome of the game is determined by the dice everytime. I've certainly had games of Ancients where I've been beaten by the dice (and felt like there was nothing that I could have done) but they happen very rarely.

There are undoubtedly common elements between the two games, so if you dislike M44 then I would certainly hesitate before diving into Ancients. I would agree with the previous poster who suggests playing the game before you shell out because its not cheap. I'd be very happy to show you the ropes on Vassal (send me a geekmail if you are interested) and I am sure that other players will be very willing to make the same offer.



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How abour trying out for free on VASSAL?
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Alexandros Boucharelis
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I bought CCA and i was excited. After 2 months and 50 plays i bought Mem44 and i was very disappointed. Napoleonics is a middle step as i m told, so you may choose whatever you like.
 
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Josh K
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Thank you for all the great responses. It sounds like it might be a game I'd like after all. What bothered me about Memoir wasn't the luck, it was that bad luck in card draws nullifies most of the strategy. If you can't move in the left or the middle, then you're going to have to move on the right flank. Your other units are just going to be slaughtered. It sounds like C&C:A greatly lessens that problem through leaders, lines, evading, and battleback. My impression from your replies is that the luck of the draw is still there, but C&C:A gives the player many more options to deal with the luck. In addition, many of you have said that C&C:A has a lot more strategic options and depth. The increased complexity seems to come with a lot more depth as well, so that seems like it'd get rid of my feeling of the slight transparency in Memoir's strategy. It sounds like C&C:A is the game Memoir at first seemed to be. I like the idea of Command & Colors, and Ancients seems like it fleshes it out to make the game I want. It will likely be in my next purchase.
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Randall Shaw
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You can still experience the 'I only have cards for 'x' side but I need cards for 'y' side.' situation. However, in CC:A, many cards allow you to activate one unit somewhere if you can't do the main part of the card.

Better than nothing and sounds like its better than M'44 (I've not played that one yet but have an offer from a M'44 fan to teach it to me if I reciprocate on CC:A. Why not? cool
 
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Yes, the the C&C system is better suited to earlier period warfare where manouvere was more important. And I would also suggest that C&C Napoleonics is even somewhat deeper strategy for this system due to the different interaction of the various units. I love them both, and though they are similar they play completely differently IMO.
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Josh K
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jeff miller wrote:
Yes, the the C&C system is better suited to earlier period warfare where manouvere was more important. And I would also suggest that C&C Napoleonics is even somewhat deeper strategy for this system due to the different interaction of the various units. I love them both, and though they are similar they play completely differently IMO.


Yeah, I'll definitely try out Napoleonics if I like Ancients. However, I don't find the Napoleonic era as interesting as ancient warfare.
 
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BrentS
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Sokadr wrote:
You can still experience the 'I only have cards for 'x' side but I need cards for 'y' side.' situation.


I think that one of the great challenges of C&C:A is learning how to manage weak sections, whether that weakness be in units, cards for ordering or both. Far from being limiting or frustrating, I find it an enormously enjoyable challenge and often in tight matches the player who best manages his weak sections will be the victor. This is an aspect of the game that is rarely recognised or acknowledged.

Brent.
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I agree with all the praise for CCA.

I've hardly played Memoir at all, but have noticed for the past several years a number of people who have played both say they like CCA better, for the reasons given above-- flavor of the period, more flexible control, interaction of units, and everything else.

I also second Brent's challenge about "learning to manage a weak hand" and note that CCA games can get a little longer after players have gotten more familiar with the system. There's never a time limit in game terms and more "jockeying" can make it interesting.

One final element that has amazed me is how "differently" the different armies play (and folks need to learn each one). I mean, they're all wooden blocks and they have mostly the same sorts of units, but the combination of unit types-- who has more bows, who has more medium infantry, how lethal is the cavalry?-- really adds another layer of interest.
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Um... I'm an avid player of Memoir, C&C:A and C&C:N - and I went to them in that order. I bought C&C:A because I loved Memoir but wanted something that felt as if it captured warfare better. I bought C&C:N because I love the system and Napleonic warfare is my main interest. Needless to say I love them all but C&C:N is my favourite by some way - feels far more tactical and tense then the other iterations. I haven't bothered with Battlelore or Battlecry due to lack of interest in the themes. All this is leading to... I can't see how you will like either C&C: A or N if you dislike the basic system in Memoir. They are essentially the same game with refinements and improvements (IMHO) with each iteration. If you dislike the basic 'command' card system I can't see you enjoying Ancients - although playing a game of Epic Ancients 1:1 is a joy to behold. I suggest you explore some alternatives to C&C - there seems to be plenty around.
 
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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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Another 2cents.... While the system and base mechanics are generally the same with each game I think the command decks have matured with each release. In M44 the possibility of a dead hand becomes less likely if the supplemental combat decks are used. The C&C:N deck does not have nearly as many unit limiting cards as Ancients.
 
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Quote:
I've lost interest in Memoir. Should I try C&C:A?


Yes.
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Mahler wrote:
Um... I'm an avid player of Memoir, C&C:A and C&C:N - and I went to them in that order. I bought C&C:A because I loved Memoir but wanted something that felt as if it captured warfare better. I bought C&C:N because I love the system and Napleonic warfare is my main interest. Needless to say I love them all but C&C:N is my favourite by some way - feels far more tactical and tense then the other iterations.


I know there is a commonly held belief that Napoleonics must be a more developed and therefore better version of the system than Ancients and I'm sure for some people it is......but that's not been my experience. I do really enjoy it and the versatility of the C&C system is beautifully demonstrated in how differently each of these games plays and how well they portray their genres. There is a cerebral element to Napoleonics that I really appreciate but for excitement and dynamic, fluid play, nothing beats Ancients and the system fits the period like a glove. Both are excellent and I know Napoleonics has yet to grow into its boots, but I don't see it as the pinnacle of the system.....both are high points of different roads and while period and style preference will always colour players' perceptions, for me Ancients will never be surpassed.

Brent.
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BrentS
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StevenE wrote:
Another 2cents.... While the system and base mechanics are generally the same with each game I think the command decks have matured with each release. In M44 the possibility of a dead hand becomes less likely if the supplemental combat decks are used. The C&C:N deck does not have nearly as many unit limiting cards as Ancients.


Once again this has not been my experience (and I'd stress my experience....others' may vary). I've found that between its Troop, Tactics and Leadership cards, the Ancients deck is a more open deck, with far more options for ordering across the board. I've found ordering in Napoleonics more constrained and because of this, and because of other factors inherent in its system, there seems to be a greater imperative in Napoleonics to build a hand before taking decisive action.

Brent.
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