Recommend
56 
 Thumb up
 Hide
18 Posts

Memoir '44: Equipment Pack» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A somewhat mixed bag, but overall worth the money. rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Peter Busch
United States
Columbus
Ohio
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
The Equipment Pack has been available now for about a week and no one’s written a review yet, so I guess I’ll get the ball rolling.

First off, because almost everything in the Equipment Pack has been previously available through use of badges or pieces issued with the Battle Map Expansions, there is really almost nothing in the Equipment Pack that is needed to play Memoir ’44 as it existed before the release of this expansion. Practically, therefore, one doesn’t need this expansion, but it does add a lot of additional “eye candy” to scenarios that utilize these troops, SWAs, and vehicles.

O.K., we got that out of the way. If you don’t care about the extra goodies for your Memoir ’44 game then keep your money for something else. However, if you’re on the fence about picking up this expensive (though expansive) addition to the game, then read on. I hope my observations will give you enough information to decide whether this new set is for you.

Although the Equipment Pack is priced at $60US, it comes in a large box (same size as the base game) that includes a plastic insert for sorting pieces. Inside are over 180 plastic pieces, Rulebook (in English and French), Scenario book (English/French), and two sets of cards (one set in English, the other in… wait for it!... French). Given the amount of stuff you’re getting, and if you like the idea of having all the extra pieces for your game, then the price seems like good value for the money.

The pieces come sorted in zip-bags, so it’s quite easy to separate and identify the individual types of weapons, troops, etc. My first quibble here is that the box insert has two large pockets and two small pockets (about 1/3 the size of the large), rather than, say, eight medium-sized pockets to help better sort the pieces for easy organization. This effectively means that you’ll have to keep the pieces in their zip-bags to keep them readily accessible for game play. If you’re like me and you keep your all Memoir components sorted in storage boxes, then this isn’t much of a problem, but it could be slightly inconvenient for those who use the original boxes for storage.

It seems to me that there are a few important criteria by which to judge the value of the pieces:
1) Qualitatively, how expert is the sculpting, molding, and historical accuracy?
2) Visually, is the piece easily distinguishable from other pieces?
3) Practically, how useful is the piece to game play?
Each criteria will have a number rating from 1 to 5; the higher the number the better I liked this aspect of the piece. There will also be additional comments to explain my rating.

Let me also mention one aspect of the pieces that is common to many (most?, all?) of the sculpts that have a barrel: they have a tendency to warp out of shape during the packing process into the zip-bags. For those of you new to soft plastic figurines: don’t panic! The easiest fix is to take a small bowl, fill it 2/3rds full of warm water (usually the hottest water from your tap will be sufficient). Place a few pieces at a time into the water. Let them sit in the warm water for a minute or so, then take them out and place on paper or cloth towel to dry. You’ll find that most pieces will realign themselves into the correct shape just by contact with the warm water (it’s called “molecular memory”), although a few pieces might require a bit of gentle coaxing into shape after they’ve softened in the water. If you’re planning to paint the figs (as I am), then this is a good opportunity to also clean the pieces of residual oils from the manufacturing process as well as your own handling of the pieces. A little mild dishwashing detergent in the warm water and a soft-bristle toothbrush will do the trick.

I’ll review each piece in the order it appears in the rulebook.

Flak 88(aka Heavy Anti-Tank Gun)
Qual: [5] Very nicely detailed and accurate.
Vis: [5] Easy to differentiate these from regular artillery.
Prac: [2] Almost exclusively useable only for German forces, but throughout the entire war. Maybe a few uses for late-war Soviet A.T. guns. Enough figures in the mix (6) to make three units, so plenty for normal scenarios; might need more for Overlord games.

Long Tom (aka Big Guns)
Qual: [3] Nicely sculpted but rather too plain, and small for a “Big Gun.” Plus points taken off for inaccuracy. The U.S. M1 155mm cannon had wheels but this figure doesn't.
Vis: [3] The fig doesn’t look all that much different from the standard German and American artillery piece.
Prac: [5] Useable by all major combatants. The six provided should be sufficient for most scenarios.

M7 Priest (aka Mobile Artillery)
Qual: [3] Reasonably detailed for its size, but why the heck is it so small? It’s the same size as the half-track and jeep figures!
Vis: [2] With respect to its tiny size mentioned above, it can be hard to tell this piece from some other vehicles across a map board.
Prac: [4] Useable for all major European armies (mostly mid- to late-war), but only useable for U.S. forces in Pacific Theater.

Nebelwerfer (aka “Screaming Meemies”)
Qual: [4] Nice detail and accuracy, but why so large? Compared to a normal artillery piece, the Flak 88, or Long Tom, this thing is HUGE!
Vis: [5] Because of its giant size, you’ll have no trouble mistaking this for anything else.
Prac: [1] Like the Flak 88, this piece only works with German forces, and late-war at that! I suppose you might count these as Russian “Katyushka” rocket launchers (1941-45), but those were typically truck-mounted.

LCT 202 (aka landing Craft)
Qual: [1] In only the most general way does this piece look like an American LCT (Landing Craft, Tank). In fact, to my eye, it looks closer to a Japanese landing barge. There is only the barest detail to the sculpt.
Vis: [5] No mistaking this for anything else on the board.
Prac: [1] If I could give this a “0” I would. The piece has utility only in beach scenarios, and quite frankly its size and shape make it impractical to place a full unit of troops onto. I’ll stick to using the cardboard pieces that came with the Pacific expansion (and others). If there is one abject failure in the Equipment Pack, it’s this.

Hobart’s Funnies (aka ARVE)
Qual: [4] Excellent detail of the tank and all the accessories. One point taken off because the figure is small compared to other tanks in the game. The Churchill tank was a big vehicle, but this sculpt is smaller than the British Crusader tank in the Mediterranean expansion. Also, when the Petard mortar is attached to the tank’s gun barrel, the Bobbin accessory won’t fit on the figure.
Vis: [5] Especially with the accessories attached, this piece will stand out on the battlefield.
Prac: [1] Exclusively used by the British Army in NW Europe in 1944-45. Some of the accessories’ game effect applies only to the “Funnies” unit, not to other units following in its path. Why can’t other units take advantage of the Bobbin carpet or fascine laid down by a Funnies?

Elefant Panzerjager (aka Tank Destroyer)
Qual: [5] Nice sculpt, although one wonders why this terribly unsuccessful vehicle was chosen to represent the whole class when other, far more effective TDs could have been chosen.
Vis: [5] Unique shape makes it easy to distinguish from other armor units.
Prac: [4] Like many other pieces in this expansion, this unit is only usable in European scenarios from mid- to late-war on.

Sd.Kfz 250 (aka Half-Track)
Qual: [4] Nice detail, but the figure is somewhat foreshortened so that it looks shorter and chunkier than the typical Sd.Kfz 250 (more like the command vehicle sub-variant) and is too small in relative scale to other soft-armor vehicles.
Vis: [3] Being the same size as the Jeep and M7 Priest, and with an open top, it doesn’t stand out like it could have.
Prac: [3] Usable only by Germany, Britain and U.S.A. There are only three figs included with the Equipment pack, which is far too few for many standard scenarios let alone an Overlord. If you’ve got the six half-track figs from the “Dieppe” Battle Map #4 then these make for nice extra pieces, if not, they’re of only limited utility.

Tiger (Heavy Tank)
Qual: [5] Very decent sculpt. Its large size makes it seem menacing even when occupying a hex all by itself.
Vis: [5] No mistaking this bad-boy of the battlefield for anything else!
Prac: [4] Usable only by Germans from mid-war onwards (although one could adapt it to the late-war Soviet JS-2 Heavy Tank), but the three provided are quite adequate for standard scenarios and even many Overlord games.

Dodge WC-63 (aka Supply Truck)
Qual: [4] Good detail for its size, but again, one wonders why it’s so small?
Vis: [4] Because it’s the same size as the Jeep, Half-Track, and Kubelwagen this could present problems.
Prac: [3] Similar comments as the Sd.Kfz 250 (Half-Track) listed above.

Jeep Willys (aka Long-Range Patrol Cars)
Qual: [5] Great sculpt! Correct size, excellent detail, historically accurate.
Vis: [4] As mentioned before, this unit’s similarity with other vehicles is slightly problematic.
Prac: [4] Usable by all combatants in Europe/N. Africa. Useful and fun game value, but again, with only three included that’s not enough (especially in N. Africa scenarios) unless you have the previous Battle Map release.

Kubelwagen (aka Command Cars)
Qual: [4] Correct size, historically accurate, but a bit lacking in detail (the lines denoting windows and such could have been deeper).
Vis: [4] Could have problems distinguishing it from a Supply Truck.
Prac: [5] This is a completely new rule exclusive to the Equipment Pack! The game effect seems very cool and useful to all nations. Six figures seem entirely (if not overly) adequate for all scenarios.

M2 Mortar
Qual: [4] Fairly well detailed, but it doesn’t rest on a base plate but rather a sandbag. The ammo box is a nice extra touch.
Vis: [4] Pretty good, but its square base and squat barrel makes it somewhat similar to the previously released Anti-Tank piece.
Prac: [5] All nations, full war timeline. Six figs is a good number.

M2 Machine Gun
Qual: [4] Good detail, although the ammo box and belt could have been more distinct.
Vis: [5] Because of its triangular base and slim barrel this one’s easy to identify.
Prac: [5] All nations, full war timeline. Six pieces is quite satisfactory.

Sniper
Qual: [4] Fairly nice, but his weapon’s too short for a sniper rifle and there could have been more detail to the folds of his greatcoat.
Vis: [5] Excellent. As a single figure in a hex this unit will stand out.
Prac: [5] All nations, full war timeline. Six pieces is quite satisfactory.

Ski Troops
Qual: [5] This guy looks quite good except for the too short weapon. The skis, snowshoes, and “ushanka” hat look cool though.
Vis: [5] Especially if you paint them, these figures are standouts!
Prac: [4] Usable primarily for Eastern Front scenarios; a few limited uses for Italian campaign. But I love the Finns, so that bumps up the rating! With 24 figs in the mix that’s quite adequate.

French Army
Qual: [5] Another excellent figure! Lots of detail, but again the weapon’s too short.
Vis: [5] Especially once painted (even a single flat color) these will stand out.
Prac: [3] Lots of use early war, and then declining as the war wears on. But as with the Italian Artillery below, where are the rest of the units for this nationality? I'd have really liked to see French 75s and Char B's! 48 figs provided, so that’s spot on.

Italian Artillery
Qual: [5] Superb detail, even the underside looks good!
Vis: [5] Very distinct piece, won’t mistake it for any other artillery. Wish the “Long Tom” had looked this good.
Prac: [2] Usable only by Italians until 1943. And where are the matching Italian infantry and armor units?!! Points off for that! 12 pieces included, which is enough even for Overlord scenarios.

Polish Cavalry
Qual: [4] Very good detail (again a short rifle!), but why is the figure so small? Relative to other infantry figures this cavalryman is a “little person” and his mount is a pony.
Vis: [5] No other figure is on horseback, so it’s quite obvious who these guys are.
Prac: [3] Even using these figures to represent German and Russian cavalry, there is somewhat of a limited utility for these. 24 pieces is plenty even for Overlord.

So there you have it. A somewhat mixed bag, but overall I think the positive numbers outweigh the negatives. An overarching limitation on this set is that it is heavily weighted towards the European/Mediterranean Theaters and late-war scenarios. The Pacific Theater gets short shrift here (for instance, I’d have much rather done without the LCT landing craft and instead had LVTs for the U.S. Marines). Another weakness is a lack of consistency of scale. The vehicles especially are all over the place when compared side-by-side.

The scenarios included look quite interesting and I look forward to playing them. Between these and all the previously released scenarios that use specialized units there are plenty of opportunities to play with the new pieces. I especially like that the first two scenarios can be played individually as regular games or pieced together for a larger Overlord scenario. That’s an idea that I hope to see more of in the future.

All that said, if you care about the visual impact of seeing lots of specialized pieces on your Memoir ’44 game board, then by all means consider purchasing the Equipment pack.
53 
 Thumb up
0.30
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
StevenE Smooth Sailing...
United States
Torrance
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My sets are arriving tomorrow... I hope.

The Long Tom is the standout disappointment of the group.

I was hoping the Kubelwagen would be on par detail-wise with the Jeep.


Anyone in the US want my French materials (cards and books)?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Bazynski
Poland
warsaw
mazowieckie
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

you spend 90% of the time talking about miniatures, and 2 sentences on the scenarios. so am I correct in thinking that if I were to buy it for scenarios only it's not worth thinking about? (breakthrough expansion for instance is great only because it has so many scenarios included)
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Shabatowski
Canada
Stittsville
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I am a huge supporter of this wonderful system but I have to say that I was a little disappointed by the quality of the components. In particular, the Kubelwagen looks horrid. The models have very soft plastic so it took me a while to straighten the pieces up.

That being said, the set arrived at 7:30 last night. They were washed and half were primed by 10:30. The landing craft are painted and so it begins again.....

Something else: I view M44 as an operational warfare type game. I picked up Operation Barbarossa 1941 and if you want to see a magnificent tactical game check it out. I am spoiled by the quality of those components.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nicholas Gauthier
United States
Monticello
New York
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice detailed minis review! One can't say too much about the scenarios, after all, until one has played them. For me, the lack of a consistent scale is the biggest failure. Axis and Allies Minis ruined the look of the game by upsizing the vehicles. You'd think any historical game would be more careful. Making a small scale vehicle a bit larger for detail is one thing, but making a large vehicle smaller in unforgivable!

Nevertheless, I hope sales are good so they can make another one down the line. And as you say, where are the Italians? Not to mention the Chinese!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan C
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Outstanding, useful, thorough review of the miniatures. Hope you get to write another review after giving the scenarios a spin.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter Busch
United States
Columbus
Ohio
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
bazik123 wrote:

you spend 90% of the time talking about miniatures, and 2 sentences on the scenarios. so am I correct in thinking that if I were to buy it for scenarios only it's not worth thinking about? (breakthrough expansion for instance is great only because it has so many scenarios included)


Because the major component of this expansion is the miniatures that's what I concentrated my review on. Not having yet played any of the scenarios, I didn't feel qualified to speak in more detail about them. My advice would be that if your primary focus is the scenarios, then save your money and wait for them to eventually be posted on the Memoir Forum at DoW. This has nothing to do with the quality of the scenarios (in fact, they look quite good), but rather that spending $60US mostly to get the scenarios doesn't seem good value for your hard-earned cash.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter Busch
United States
Columbus
Ohio
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
TheRakeman wrote:
Thank you for the first review! Do the scenarios included actually make use of a large number of the special units, or do you really need campaign books and such to make this expansion worth it?


All the scenarios included do make good use of many of the new pieces. That said, there are only sixteen of them and some pieces (Polish Cavalry most notably) do not have a scenario included. That said, here's an approximate breakdown of each type and how many scenarios it's used in:
French Inf. - 3
SWAs - 9
Command Car - 3
Big Guns - 3
TDs - 6
Sniper - 1
Ital. Art. - 1
Patrol Cars - 1
Flak 88 - 5
Tigers - 3
Funnies - 2
Trucks - 6
Half-Tracks - 5
Nebelwerfers - 5
Ski Troops - 2

Obviously many previously published scenarios will also make use of many of these new pieces as well.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Janko Kene
Slovenia
Cerkno
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice and helpful review indeed.

I was really worried about scale consistency. Priests really deserve a nice look on the board considering their tactical value. I really miss some specialist Infantry for all nations, like Combat Engineers and Elite Infantry, to name just a few. Maybe in the EP-2.
Anyway, looking forward to ordering this one.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
StevenE Smooth Sailing...
United States
Torrance
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
"...but overall worth the money."

I guess I can agree with that... My two sets arrived yesterday.
Tomorrow it is a warm wash/dry/reshape and then primer.


There are several points one could complain about:
Grouse about a few of the miniatures, detail and scale
Grouse about no new terrain tiles/obstacles
Grouse about no new tokens or badges (LoL)

The bag of Long Toms looks like a bag of walking-sticks (bugs)...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin
United States
Martville
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
In the case of the Tigers etc. (units that were already released in battlemaps) match? (the new sculpts and the old ones)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Victor Garcia
Venezuela
Caracas
Miranda
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
phacops wrote:
In the case of the Tigers etc. (units that were already released in battlemaps) match? (the new sculpts and the old ones)


Identical!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin
United States
Martville
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
red_zebra_ve wrote:
phacops wrote:
In the case of the Tigers etc. (units that were already released in battlemaps) match? (the new sculpts and the old ones)


Identical!


Nice...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Hébert
United States
Topeka
Kansas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great review. Thank you.

These are minor quibbles but every time I open the box I notice them, so I'll note them here.

• The box feels cheap.
• The insert is not designed for these pieces.
• The cards feel less substantial than those in the previous Memoir 44 packages.
• The figure scale is off for some of the models.

The cover is not a linen finish cover. Instead, it's an almost sticky-feeling varnish coat that I wonder if it start adhering to anything it touches long enough. The fit is so tight it is difficult to wrestle the cover off and on.

Granted, these are little things. But they exhibit a cost-cutting approach that, while it may be needed in this economy, lessen the overall experience of the game. It doesn't speak "quality" to me. Not like the first time I opened Memoir 44 years ago.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J. Emmett
Canada
Surrey
BC
flag msg tools
Win it or bin it
badge
Win it or bin it
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ldsdbomber wrote:
I just cant get past the fact that all the minis are white. Doesnt it look a bit ridiculous to mix those in with the ones from the rest of the game?

Nah. There's a good reason for it (so certain figures, like SWAs, snipers, etc, can be used for any nation), and no one is going to forget who is controlling what white figure in a game.

But I have no problem using green Shermans with khaki Brits-as-Canucks, so chalk it up to personal preference. I'd just as soon have white sandbags, wire, and hedgehogs too!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Victor Garcia
Venezuela
Caracas
Miranda
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Until you get to those scenarios where both sides have snipers, or trucks, or. . .
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.