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Memoir '44: Overlord» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Do I have any hair left? rss

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Joseph LaClair
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Watertown
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Overlord is a great frustrating experience. If you have never played Memoir 44 in Overlord mode, you don't know what you are missing. BUT, it has to be played with at least 6, 8 would be better but at least 6.
It can be played with 4 and it's a good way to get Overlord in if you have no other option.

Most people by now are familiar with Memoir and the C&C series and game mechanics so we won't waste time going over the basic rules. It's still basically Memoir but with double the size of your board and fun.

Each flank and center now have 2 sections and one player will play the left 2 sections, one the center 2 and one the right. They are your field generals. Finally one person plays the Commander-in-Chief. He is the man in charge of the overall operation and also probably the most fun to play.

The C&C gets all of the cards and hands them out as he sees fit. He can play up to 3 but only draws back 2 at the most. Recon cards will let you draw up to 3. He will dole them out to his Generals and can then communicate with ONE of his generals and tell them what he would like them to do. That general can then ignore anything said by the C&C and play the card as he sees fit and this is where the game shines.

You as the C&C have to sit back and watch as your generals muck up. We played a game this week where one of my generals gave a newbie general some advice, he had her move some troops onto a hill where the enemy would get one less die to attack, even though there was a forest right next to the space where the enemy would get 2 less dice.

This may be acceptable if they were moving to get in a better attack position and gain that extra die but NO, they were just moving, I had to stand there and cover my eyes and grit my teeth. Sure enough the next turn the germans came in with a tank, it didn't wipe them out but it taught the newbie a lesson about listening to so called experienced players.

I had one turn where a general was fixated on attacking a villiage with as many troops as he could muster and completely ignored a lone tank for an easy medal. They also missed many tank overrun oppotunities and all you can do is satnd by the sidelines and pull your hair out.

Fortunately the other C&C's players botched a few moves as well. Now this may sound like it's more frustrating than fun and it maybe for some, but we play to have fun and I can tell you there is nothing like watching the opposing C&C sit there and shake his head and grit his teeth and be completely helpless. Every game of this has never failed to elicit gales of laughter.

With four players you can openly communicate, I suppose you could play that the C&C cannot give any advice throughout the game but that would diminish his enjoyment of the game some.

We were playing Tigers in the Snow and had an absolute blast.

The nice thing about Memoir is that it is an extremely simple game and just about anyone can enjoy it and in this day of $100 games it's still only $50 and you get a ton of stuff. If you buy from an online retailer you can get 2 at a decent price and be able to play Overlord. They have ton's of official and fan made scenarios. But to be honest, you'll probably need an expansion or two to get the most out of it, at least the terrain pack. The Operation Overlord expansion is not necessary but it does make it easier and you will probably want to get it too.

On a final note to those who are familiar with playing Memior, Overlord does not get rid of the luck factor, it mitigates it somewhat but it's still there. This last game my opposing C&C had at least 3 possibly 4 activate all units in one section card opposed to my one. I did manage to play a counterattack card on one of them though. His field generals were rolling pretty hot also, we lost but it was extremely close, 13 to 10. Generals that don't recieve a card can roll a die to try to activate one unit and that also helps if you don't have the right cards.

If you haven't tried this you really should. Memoir is never going to be a complex wargame and if your hoping for that look elsewhere but if your just looking for a good time on a game night, this will give you all you can handle.
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Clay Cooper
United States
Slidell
Louisiana
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Yes, I have played this at a gamng convention with 8 players and it was fun. A very different experience than normal Memoir '44.
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James C
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Played Overlord tonight for the first time. With 2 players. My feelings are mixed.

In a nutshell, I find that it takes more away from Memoir '44 than it adds.

What makes Memoir great IMHO is how quickly and easily it gives you a really fun battlefield experience. Fairly quick set-up and simple rules maximize the enjoyment while minimizing the "work."

I found Overlord just a little more fun, but a lot more work.

Set up takes twice as long, and each turn is significantly more involved as multiple cards are being played. Because of multiple card play, each turn felt a big cumbersome, as we struggled to keep track of which units were being ordered in each section, etc. (I recommend using activation chits.)

With a team-mate, I imagine the "costs" of playing Overlord diminish significantly (as there's less for one person to keep track of, and someone to help with set-up). And all the benefits Overlord (namely, a meatier more involved battle) are preserved.

To be clear: I'm not saying 2-player Overlord is bad. I've played a lot more complicated 2-player games (War of the Ring comes to mind).

I certainly enjoyed Overlord. If was fun. But it was a significantly different experience that the basic Memoir '44 game. It's no longer a quick and dirty battlegame - it's something a bit grander, and with that inevitably comes some baggage.
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Joseph LaClair
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To be fair, Overlord is not meant to be played as a 2 player game, although it certainly can be. You miss out on the fun of commanding your flank generals and of course you don't have to worry which troops have moved as you have flank generals for that.

To sum up, if you have only played 2 player Overlord you haven't really played the game.
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