Number of Players: 2
Year of Publication: 2004
Right. Well. I think we played that wrong….
We should really include that in all the titles/opening paragraphs for this blog, since I can’t immediately think of any game that we haven’t played wrong at least once. Memoir ’44, as has been stated at least once now, is a fantastic game. I don’t think we’re likely to ever get bored of it. Based on real scenarios from the Second World War it’s not only interesting for its historical accuracy, but also as a strategic game.
What’s In The Box:
- 14 Special Forces Badges
- 3 Blue and 3 Green Command Card Holders
- 44 Double-Sided Terrain Hex Pieces
- 60 Command Cards
- 1 Double-Sided Obstacle Summary Card and 1 Double-Sided Unit Summary Card
- 7 Terrain Cards
- 8 Battle Dice
- 2 Sets of Army Miniatures; Green = Allied Forces, Blue-Grey = German/Axis Forces
- 4 Double-Sided Bunker and Bridge Tiles
- 10 Double-Sided Victory Medals
- 1 Double-Sided Battlefield Board Map
- 1 Rules and Scenario Booklet
Playing The Game:
Objective: To fulfill the scenario’s victory conditions before your opponent and score more points after you’ve switched sides.
When you read the rules for this game you’ll see that the first scenario it recommends you play uses only the Infantry Units available to each side. This is very good, as the game builds you up to a thorough understanding of each of the different types of unit available to you in different scenarios by introducing them one at a time into gameplay.
You start by setting up the board, as directed in the instructions for the scenario you’re playing. You change the look and layout of the board by using the terrain hexes to put in woods, hills, villages, rivers etc.
Once you’ve set the board up for the scenario you then decide who’s playing as who. In the rule book the scenario instructions will tell you which side plays first, and how many Command Cards each player is dealt to begin with. Players then take turns. There will be a preset condition for victory in each scenario.
The Command Cards contain an array of things a player can do on their turn, standard orders or special commands. These mostly look like this:
The special command cards look like this, but are all different:
Winning The Game:
There is no time limit to the scenarios, players continue taking turns until someone manages to destroy enough enemy units to fulfill the victory conditions for the scenario. Then the board is reset and players switch sides. A note is kept of the score from the first round, for example, if the victory condition was that someone needed to have completely destroyed 4 of their enemy units and the other player had destroyed 2 when this happened you would then make a note, and at the end of the following round the victorious players score would have to be the highest total number of units destroyed.
We realized fairly early into the playing stages of this that the scenarios are usually relatively heavily weighted towards one player, they may have an advantage in the number of Command Cards they have, or in having bunkers or sandbags. But despite this, if you play reasonably tactically, all the scenarios we’ve played so far could go either way.
We started out just playing the most obviously useful card we had in our hand at the start of each turn, and seeing where it got us. Because the destruction of a unit is determined by a combination of the card you played, the position of your units, the terrain around you and the rolling of battle dice it can be unreasonably hard, on occasion, to annihilate a unit that should have been wiped out the first time you attack it. This is both true to the slightly unpredictable nature of a battle, and completely inaccurate as an Armour unit fighting Infantry at what is more or less to be considered point-blank range should not somehow manage to miss all of them. But that aside, it is possible, tactically, surround and destroy units, using terrain disadvantages to your advantage.
There is a lot to be said about strategy on this game, but we’ve decided that in the interest of keeping you interested, we’ll go into much more detail on tactics and strategy, as well as historical overview and other exciting things like that as we write about each scenario individually.
History and Interesting Things:
- The game was designed to commemorate the men and women of WW2 and the sacrifices they made.
- It was published in collaboration with the Mission for the 60th Anniversary of the D-day Landings and Liberation of France.
- In 2004 it was awarded the International Gamers Award for the General Strategy: 2-Player category.
- There are eleven expansions for this game, all of them require the original to play.
- The game can be played with up to six people, playing in teams of three, each commanding a different section of the board.
There is more to write, but we want to look at the history of each scenario in greater detail over the course of the month, as we’re doing with our Strategy section of each post.
As is evident, we love this game. We hope that over the course of the month these posts will show us gaining a better understanding of the game, and knowledge of the historical associations of each scenario. As well as actually letting us play a game more than once, which will make a nice change to our usual style of review. If you can get a copy of this game and a friend or two who might be interested, do it. Otherwise, stay tuned for our upcoming post of the first scenario of the game Pegasus Bridge!