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Subject: The Ranting Review… rss

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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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Ok, I bought two of these things (yes I admit it)… so this allows me to give praise and point out the short comings in this expansion of the Memoir’44 world.

Having taken my time writing (and rewriting) this review I am having a hard time deciding who’s the bigger fool? Me or DoW…
Me for buying two copies or DoW for producing some shoddy work?

I will admit that I am a Commands & Colors fanboy and having met Richard Borg I became a bigger one. I am not sure which of the games in the series is my favorite but Memoir’44 certainly has the most of my money and time.

I have played 5 of the scenarios in the Expansion Pack and have liked each one and even wrote a couple session reports.

The new mechanics are interesting and provide some unique additions to the game.

Is the expansion pack necessary to play any of the other Memoir’44 expansions or scenarios?
I would say no with the possible exception of scenarios that use the British Funnies (altered Churchill tanks). But these can still be played using the token badges.

Well let’s talk about what DoW got right with this expansion.

First the Artwork
The artwork in the rules and scenario books is great. There is no mistaking what you are looking at and what nationality or military vehicle you are looking at. I wish the printed artwork had been this good for all the other expansions.

The Scenarios
The scenarios in this expansion are of a good variety. All fronts are represented except the Pacific Theater. There is a mix of Standard, Overlord, and Breakthrough maps and Winter, Desert and Countryside terrain. Props for god scenarios thumbsupthumbsupthumbsupthumbsup

Missed Point
It would have been nice to see some new terrain tiles in this expansion.
Maybe some new water and coastal features or cliff hexes… (I’m sure others will offer suggestions)

The Cards
The new cards are a nice touch.
They work to flesh out the growing collection.
I gave away my French cards, not sure if DoW really saves money by producing expansions in two languages. Is there a German/Spanish alternative?

The BIG Fails

The Plastic
I am pretty disappointed in the quality of plastic used in this expansion.
It is not like that from the other expansions.
It is a softer plastic that feels almost rubbery. This has caused the barrels on the 88s, Tigers, and Ferdinands to droop and become distorted. I tried doing the hot water reform and the process did not work so well. I ended up having to use a candle and slowly heat the barrels and reform. This process has worked much better.

Having painted a good number of the miniatures I have found that even after a good thorough warm soapy wash they do not hold paint very well (yes I did primer them). I have miniatures from the other expansions that took a base coat of primer and some acrylic paint and have been tossed around pretty hard and have held the paint. The miniatures in the Equipment pack are already flaking after some mild handling. It would have been nice if the plastic was a bit firmer.

The Scale
The scale of some of the miniatures is way off.
The Nerbelwerfers are gi-normous, the long toms are puny, the snipers are giants, the M7 Priests are more like alterboys.


The good pieces:
The Churchills – Nicely done and probably the most compelling reason to buy the Equipment Pack. The attachments are a little fiddly but are a welcome addition. thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup

The French Infantry – These are probably the nicesest pieces in the box. It is more than obvious that DoW took an extra special interest in getting these troops done right. No chance of irritating or offending the French with these troops. If I was from the UK I would be pissed with infantry that were shoved on us from the Med expansion… Good thing there are 1/72 alternatives. These French troops paint up nicely and there is a lot of detail. thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup
Big Miss – where are the French artillery and tanks? thumbsdownthumbsdownthumbsdown

The Jeeps – Same old jeeps from Disaster at Dippe. These are still the best miniatures DoW has authorized. thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup

The Cavalry – I’ve seen comments regarding the scale. I like to think that the horses are heavy draft animals. These pieces are a little distorted but all-in-all I find them acceptable. They do paint up nicely. thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup

The Tigers – Same Tigers from Tigers in the Snow… except they have flaccid barrels, blame on the quality of plastic. I am trying to figure out if I should pin the barrels or just sell off the tigers. I am disappointed in the quality of the plastic for this miniature. thumbsup

The Ski troops – These are nice. A little awkward looking when compared to the French soldires… maybe a little undersized. thumbsupthumbsup

The Italian Artillery – This artillery is a little oversized when compared to existing artillery units. They also have some good detail, just look underneath. thumbsupthumbsup
Big Miss - I find it interesting that we got Italian artillery and no Italian infantry or armor. Is including Italian artillery telling us we will not see an Italian expansion? If there is an expansion will DoW not include artillery? This would force people to come back and buy the Equipment Pack… thumbsdownthumbsdownthumbsdown

The Trucks – Good trucks, same as we saw in Hedgerow Hell thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup

The Command Cars – nice pieces but the detail is very shallow and hard to see. If painting you’ll want to apply a wash. thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup

The M7 Priests – These are really nice looking but are completely undersized… roughly ½ the size of a Sherman!!! thumbsup

The OK pieces:
The 88s – These should have been the belle of the ball… unfortunately they are flaccid and a little oversized. thumbsupthumbsup

The Ferdinands – Ferdinands??? Really??? Why Ferdinands??? DoW couldn’t find a better German Tank Destroyer? They must have had the Ticket to Ride guy approving production art for this expansion... But hey, look at those French soldiers. thumbsupthumbsup

Landing craft – Jury is still out on these. They are ok miniatures for mechanized desires, I would have preferred a Higgins boat. I’ll probably sell these off. thumbsupthumbsdown

Halftracks – The same squat, squashed half-tracks we saw in Disaster at Dippe. They are ok and look almost like German half-tracks. thumbsupthumbsup

Nerbalwerffers – Sigh… Who was the person at DoW who approved these? I forgot they must have had the Ticket to Ride guy approving production art for this expansion. Nice looking by way out of scale… But hey, look at those French soldiers… and the 88’s thumbsupthumbsdownthumbsdownthumbsdown

Snipers – I was hoping for better on these. They are in a nice pose, obviously Russian looking, but are oversized when compared to the other infantry in the M’44 series. thumbsupthumbsup

The Sad Crappy Pieces:

All I can say is that I am glad I have much better alternatives to these pieces.

Long Toms – The photo says it all… But hey, look at those French soldiers. thumbsdownthumbsdownthumbsdownthumbsdown

Mortars – Have you ever seen a one-legged mortar? Me either… But hey, look at those French soldiers. thumbsdownthumbsdownthumbsdown

Machineguns – I don’t know what to call this thing. I know what it is supposed to be, but when placed next to a unit of infantry it looks like a huge cannon of sorts. thumbsdownthumbsdownthumbsdown


After a long time of contemplation, playing the scenarios and painting a bunch of the miniatures, I don’t think I could in good conscience recommend this expansion. The scenarios are great and play well but do not carry the expansion alone… Equipment Pack misses the mark. Nice but not required for play.

The Equipment Pack should have included the complete French and Italian armies or no French and Italian pieces at all. (I feel like we are being setup for a marketing scheme… stand by for French and Italian expansions being dependent on the Equipment Pack)
I think the quality of the pieces in this expansion shows that the people running DoW need to become more involved in the production process. The M'44 community loves bling so please get it right next time.

I do feel a bit foolish for ordering two copies of this expansion. I think I can salvage what I have and maybe off load what I won’t use… But I think DoW will feel worse for all the stock they will likely end up having to deeply discount or give away.

I still love M’44 and will support the system but in the future I will be scrutinizing the “production quality” more thoroughly… But hey, look at those French soldiers.
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Michael Wheal
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Nits the nail nicely...


Good review.



I only bought one pack.. and am slowly replacing / pimping out my M44.
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Doug Click
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The review is very well done and it pretty much fits my view on the expansion... I feel like I paid a whole lot of money for the scenarios, which are great.

The figures, not so much.
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Scott Wheelock
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Your subject line is deceptive; that was a nicely balanced, objective review, I thought. Rants are more one-sided.

The Equipment Pack just slipped a little down my wishlist.
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Shawn Baldwin
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Thanks for the review. This helped me make the decision to not buy this expansion.

I am sure the scenarios will be available online one of these days.
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Markus
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StevenE wrote:
The Scale
The scale of some of the miniatures is way off.
The Nerbelwerfers are gi-normous, the long toms are puny, the snipers are giants, the M7 Priests are more like alterboys.


I don't know if you guys have noticed, but the basic infantry figures are HUGE when compared to tanks! Or then the tanks are really tiny...
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Victor Garcia
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Just to add to the rant: The Funnies are used just in a couple of scenarios!!!
I was really hoping for an Overlord landing scenario with the Funnies.
 
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Victor Garcia
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DeePee wrote:
StevenE wrote:
The Scale
The scale of some of the miniatures is way off.
The Nerbelwerfers are gi-normous, the long toms are puny, the snipers are giants, the M7 Priests are more like alterboys.


I don't know if you guys have noticed, but the basic infantry figures are HUGE when compared to tanks! Or then the tanks are really tiny...


Yes, but the infantry is consistent in scale across the board. The same could be said of the tanks and artillery... until now!
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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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DeePee wrote:
StevenE wrote:
The Scale
The scale of some of the miniatures is way off.
The Nerbelwerfers are gi-normous, the long toms are puny, the snipers are giants, the M7 Priests are more like alterboys.


I don't know if you guys have noticed, but the basic infantry figures are HUGE when compared to tanks! Or then the tanks are really tiny...


True, but the infantry to tanks scale has been accepted since the inception of M'44... Otherwise we'd be using 1/72 scale everything... which isn't a bad idea if you have the space. The scale though of the Nerbalwerfers is very silly.


Consistency in scale of tanks to tanks, infantry to infantry, and artillery to artillery would be appreciated.
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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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swheelock wrote:
Your subject line is deceptive; that was a nicely balanced, objective review, I thought. Rants are more one-sided.

The Equipment Pack just slipped a little down my wishlist.


Sorry, the review started out as a real rant... The booze was flowing a little too freely. whistle

So I went back and cleaned it up... It is more honest, more the real me.

I didn't want to poke DoW in the eye too hard but at the same time I don't want them to think we/I will just roll over and accept crap work based on their name alone.

I'm still not happy that DoW can't/won't produce a US 105MM howitzer or British Infantry with proper helmets... But hey, look at those...
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Steve R Bullock
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Well, Steven, I guess since we both share the same name we have a few things in common. I, too, bought two sets, and have found some of the stuff lacking in the box, much like you have... but hey, check out those French Infantry!

I am glad I have not opened my second box.

I guess I will wait until it goes out of production like some of the other Memoir 44 items and sell it on Ebay for twice what I gave it.
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The War Chief
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First, I find out that DoW is too cheap to mold the minis in the proper National Colors.whistle

Now I find out that they cheaped out on the plastic as well.

I'm sorry I just ordered a copy.shake

I think I'm about done with future M'44 expansions.
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Nice review.
Talking about myself, after the campaign book n. 2, I decided to stop with M44 expansions. Too high price for what u get (nothing really new apart a nice visual touch). Instead of the Equipment pack I can buy a brand new game and even save some money (i.e. D-Day Dice)
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Jack Francisco
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Nice review. I've been on the fence for a while regarding my M44 stuff. As in - on the fence of selling it. After seeing this review, I might just completely bail altogether - especially if someone makes me an offer I can't refuse. whistle
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Snowball
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Thank you. I was on the fence about buying this.
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Stewart Pilling
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Great review. Thank you.

I was lusting after this when I first saw it, but my interest has waned somewhat now. I would trade for it, but would not buy it I think.
 
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The War Chief
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I found a "solution" to the drooping barrel and cheap plastic problem that sends a clear message to DoW.

Just send a letter of complaint to DoW CS. Let them know how disappointed you are in the drooping barrels and cheap plastic. You might even get replacement minis in the bargain. Just don't be surprised that the replacement minis have drooping barrels as well.

Mine did.
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Jeremy Laverty
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While I agree with many of your comments, I think you are playing the wrong system. With the level of scrutiny you are showing towards the miniatures for this game, you should really pack up your memoir '44 stuff and play Flames of War, GHQ or many of the other great miniatures games out there.
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Jack Francisco
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Dorkfest wrote:
you should really pack up your memoir '44 stuff


Already been sold.
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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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Dorkfest wrote:
While I agree with many of your comments, I think you are playing the wrong system. With the level of scrutiny you are showing towards the miniatures for this game, you should really pack up your memoir '44 stuff and play Flames of War, GHQ or many of the other great miniatures games out there.


How do you get I am playing the wrong game? (Or was that not directed at me?)
I love the C&C system.

DoW is the entity that set the bar/level of expectation with all the prior M'44 expansions. DoW has conditioned much of the community to expect infantry figures to be about 1/72, armor to be about 10mm, and artillery to be about 1/100. Am I wrong for being unhappy that the MGs, Snipers and Nerbalwerffers are ginormous in comparision to previous similar units?

I realize that not everyone will appreciate particular colors, materials or scales... and it is just a game... But I think DoW and those who are considering purchasing the expansion should know that some of the components in the EP are dubious at best in scale and quality of plastic.

Component wise I feel the Equipment Pack fell well short of where it should have been compared to prior M'44 expansions.
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Victor Garcia
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StevenE wrote:

Component wise I feel the Equipment Pack fell well short of where it should have been compared to prior M'44 expansions.


That is because you are not comparing it with the Mediterranean Pack

(Go hide behind my big M44 collection)
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Victor Garcia
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Posted several pictures for comparison
 
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Paul Shabatowski
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I agree with every point that you made. I spent hours getting my French infantry right then spent hours looking in the box for the French tanks and artillery. Ditto the Italians.

Nevertheless, when I take into acocunt the pieces I have already used for existing scenarios, the Breakthrough scenarios and some of the miniatures, I feel like I came out ahead on my purchase. I also purchased at a time when my Canadian dollars were worth more than US currency so GenCon purchasing was well worth my while.
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Jeffrey Dill
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Wow, very disappointed in the quality of these miniatures...not at all what I expected (based on the quality of all of the other sets)

I wish they had went to the trouble of putting these in the see-through plastic cases rather than compressed in little baggies, then stuffed in bigger baggies.
 
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Geo
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DOW is trying to milk the Memoir'44 franchise before it fades out.

 
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