Memoir ’44 – 04 – Pointe-Du-Hoc

4 - 5

Winner: David

Full Scenario

History:

The rules of the game tell us a brief history of this battle; June 6th, 1944.

It was felt by the Allies that the position the Germans held on top of the cliffs at Pointe-Du-Hoc was too strong. They had guns with them that could, from the top of the 100 foot cliff, accurately hit anything attempting to land on the beach.

The Second Rangers (an American unit formed specifically for this mission), under the command of Colonel James E. Rudder were assigned to stop them. After a difficult landing, under heavy fire from the Germans they managed to reach the top of cliffs. Here they found that the guns had been withdrawn from their stations several days beforehand and only dummies left in their casements. One Ranger patrol went south searching for the missing guns.

Two concentrations of Germans had remained; one in the south-west antiaircraft bunker, the other in the observation bunker. Despite repeated attacks these resisted and were the most dangerous of the German forces in the area.

The single Ranger unit finally found the guns sitting quietly, unguarded, in an apple orchard inland. They placed incendiary devices inside them and completed their mission.

Pointe-Du-Hoc

Pointe-Du-Hoc
The Steup.

Strategy:

Allies:

Landing on the beach puts you at a fairly strong disadvantage to the Axis player; you’re in the sea, which gives you movement restrictions, and retreat penalties, but you get six command cards and you move first, so it’s not all bad.

  • You have to factor in that you cannot scale the cliffs in one move, the special rules for this scenario state that you must use two moves, to scale a cliff from the beach side.
  • However, your units are Rangers, so they can all move two hexes and still battle, which is a big advantage, and makes life much harder for the Germans.
  • The victory condition is four medals; we found that the most promising way to achieve this was to storm straight up the middle and try and take out the units in the sandbags, plus the left-hand one in the bunker. Then capture medals at the back to win. You should also try and do this as quickly as possible.
  • In this scenario I would say that keeping your units pretty close together was probably a better bet than spreading them thin, simply because the victory condition in not so high as in other scenarios, and it’s easier to outgun a unit if you’ve several of your units attacking them.
Axis:

You get the fun of defending in this one. Dave and I did have a bit of a debate about whether or not it was more advantageous to stay in the bunkers and let the Allied player come to you, or to go out and meet them. We played it both ways.

  • You’ve got a bit of an interesting set up, on the top of the cliff. You’re position is very good defensively, but a little annoying until the Allied player has moved a fair few of their units.
  • You’ll probably find that although you can attack maybe on or two of their units, you can probably only do so with one battle die, which is an incredibly tedious (although completely acceptable, and sometimes necessary) way of destroying a unit
  • My main comment for this one is to not (if possible) let your enemy destroy your artillery. Because of its range this unit is incredibly useful, but annoyingly, also fairly easy to obliterate if an enemy unit gets close enough. PROTECT IT. That’s what your unit in the bunker on the point is for – to stop anything getting to your artillery.

General strategy point: be aware of the spread of your units in relation to your command cards. It’s very unwise to bunch all your units in one section of the board, as there may come a time when you have no command cards relevant to that section, which renders your turn useless and gives your opponent the upper hand.

 

Running Score:

David: 11

Miriam: 5

 

Cambio

4 - 5

Number of Players: 2 – 3

Year of Publication: 1996

Creator(s): Maureen Hiron

IMAG3069

 

Video:

Cambio, similarly to Quarto!, is a complicated or ‘thinking mans version’ of Tic-Tac-Toe (Naughts and Crosses).  For this review we’ve done another video. The video covers all our normal sections except ‘History and Interesting Things’ so check it out below:

History and Interesting Things:

There are only a couple of notable things about this game and they are:

  1. The game was invented by Maureen Hiron in 1996. She is a very successful game inventor and know for inventing several other games including: 7 Ate 9, Continuo and Qwitch.
  2. The word Cambio means exchange.

To Conclude:

Like we say in the video we like this game, the design of our specific issue of it could be better but apart from that its a fun and fairly simple strategy game thats not too long to play but not so fast you miss what just happened.

Quarto!

4.5 - 5

Number of Players: 2

Year of Publication: 1991

Creator(s): Blaise Muller

 Video:

Quarto! is complicated Connect Four and for this review we’ve done a video, our first real video review! The video covers all our normal sections except ‘History and Interesting Things’ so check it out below:

History and Interesting Things:

There are only a couple of notable things about this game and they are:

  1. The game was invented in 1991 by Swiss mathematician Blaise Müller.
  2. It has won the following awards:

To Conclude:

Like we say in the video, we like this game a lot! My only issue with it is retaining enough concentration to keep in check all of the eight different piece attributes that could create a line. However I would highly recommend this game and if you like games that range from Connect Four to Chess then you will most probably love this game.

Memoir ’44 – 02 – Sainte-Mère-Eglise

2.5 - 5

Winner: David

Full Scenario

History:

Set in 1944 on the 6th of June this scenario aims to replicate the D-day battle of  Sainte-Mère-Eglise. Sainte-Mère-Eglise is a town in Normandy, north-west France. The town is used as the central setting for the board, as can be seen in the layout diagram below. The fight began with Allied paratroopers landing at 0140; this is simulated by the dropping of four units of Allied men onto the board from a height of around 12 inches. If they land on a empty hexagon they become a full unit, however, if they land on a German unit, or off the board, they are considered a failed drop. Many drops failed that night as buildings in the town were on fire. This lit up the sky making the paratroopers easy targets. There were also incidents like that of John Steele who’s parachute got caught on the church tower and he could only observe the battle and there were others who got caught in trees.

The set up.
The set up.

At around 0500 the town was taken by the 505th parachute infantry regiment, it was then heavily counter attacked by the Germans, but the infantry held until they were reinforced from Utah Beach in the afternoon of June 7th.

Historically speaking this was an Allied victory, however, the success of your parachute drop at the start strongly influences your chances of success or failure.

Strategy and Tactics:

Allied:

The first thing to focus on when playing as the Allies is your parachute drop. You get four units that you have to drop from 12 inches above the board, if they land on an occupied space or off the board they are taken out of play, so you want as many of them to land safely as possible, so drop with care. Additionally, depending on where they land this effects what you do next.

As the Allied player it makes sense to take the Axis unit that holds the town in the center first; depending on your command cards and on your parachute drop this can be quite easy as this unit is cut off from the rest of the Axis forces. Then holding the town and waiting for the Axis player to come to you is a fairly sound strategy as you then have the added bonus of the protection of the town at -1 against infantry and -2 against tanks for dice roll because of obscured line of sight.

What I found while playing is that while the hill on the left side of the board looks like a good position, if you don’t reinforce it you may as well pull out because with the right command cards and a couple of moves that unit will be eliminated with ease.

I also found that the single unit on the right is easily forgotten about by both sides, if it’s left by itself, as, if you’ve enforced the town in the center, the Axis player will move their right had units in towards the center in an attempt to take the town. So to move this unit into the cover of a hedgerow makes sense and, if possible, to reinforce it, depending on where your parachute men dropped.

Axis:

The Axis players are not so lucky as to have anything as fun and useful as the parachute drop, they do have one unit of tanks, but they also get one less command card. Assessment of where the parachute men fell is essential for the Axis player; the thing to keep in mind is that the win criteria is four medals (four completely destroyed enemy units). So seeing where their weakest units are and destroying them speedily makes good sense.

I found that the unit on the left up the hill was most often left by itself so that was a good place to start, even with the -1 for shooting up a hill. Additionally withdrawing your unit from the town in the center to prevent its quick destruction was also a good idea.

If the Allied player were to fill the town in the center it is highly possible to lose more men than it’s worth trying to retake the town; however they cannot hide all of their men in the town and will undoubtedly have some out in the open, here getting your tanks into play and focused on units not in cover is a good move, but to fire tanks into a town is close to a waste of a move as they fire at -2.

Both Sides:

Remember to try to keep units in all sections of the board as it will always be the section of the board you have no units in that you have all the command cards for!

To Conclude:

This is a good scenario with a lot of replay value due to the parachute drop creating a slightly different set up every time. Also being only the second scenario in the rule book it gives a small, basic introduction to tanks with one tank unit in play. It also introduces you to hedgerows and hills and is a well-paced second scenario for people still learning the game.

However it lacks the fun of some of the later scenarios due to its relative simplicity and lack of lots of heavy weaponry!

Running Score:

David: 5

Miriam: 3

 

 

 

Update – August 2014

A Change In Form:

So we’re changing our format a touch! Or at least we’re going with what we feel like for now and we will review how well it works later and make changes accordingly. Instead of having a themed month and reviewing four to five games that fit into that theme we’re going to have just the one game for a month. We’re going to play the game multiple times and do one review in the same format as we used to that covers the game in a basic form, then we’re going to play it in different ways or play it in all its scenarios (depending on the format of the game) and review each scenario or form of play individually.

Hopefully this will result in a more in-depth look at the game, leave us with a greater understanding/appreciation for the game and allow us to actually comment on real strategy rather than having to say things like “we’re not sure as we’ve only played it twice but we think this might work <insert vague suggestion here>”.

So on that note, the game that shall start this change in form is the wonderful…

Memoir ’44:

IMAG2892
The game and rule book.

This game we first played at the UK Games Expo in May, you can see us playing a huge expo variation of the game in our Expo video here. We loved it immediately and bought it at the Expo. As some of you will be aware it has the same designer as the game Battle Cry: the almighty Richard Borg. We have already reviewed Battle Cry and that review can be seen here.

So strap in for a whole month of us going on about this game, analyzing every scenario, and even looking at the actual history of the given scenarios. We will also be keeping a running score at the bottom of each scenario post so you can tell which of us is getting better at the game, each of us will get 1 point for a loss, 2 for a draw and 3 for a win. By the end of the month it’ll be probably be clear which of us has the more strategic mind.

Other Things to Note:

  • We are actually back now and should be back for the foreseeable future.
  • Hopefully, with this whole month being about Memoir ’44, we should get our first video review up about it, so that should be exciting.
  • With there being more posts going up than there used to be (there should be at least 18 going up this month because there are 16 scenarios in Memoir ’44 plus this post and the over all review) it will be harder to commit to specific publications dates. We’ll say that Mondays will stay a sure thing, but depending on the game for the month (and how many posts it’ll take) we can’t be sure how regularly the in between posts will be going up.

Update – We’re Back…Well Sort Of!

I’m back (David). Having finished wandering around Wales I’m back and hopefully ready to get back on schedule.

This is what Wales looked like!
This is what Wales looked like!

Unfortunately my sister is still wandering around Europe somewhere but I should still be able to get us back on track. I will make sure reviews go up on Mondays and hopefully the ones we missed will go up in between. Until then heres a nice video I made of my time in Wales, its mostly just shots of various animals and no games at all. But for people who like that kind of thing should be nice, also for people who like that kind of thing they should check out my girlfriends blog on nature stuff Here!

Update – Sorry We Fail!

Due to holidayness we have failed to play enough games to do all the reviews! My sister’s gone wandering across Europe and I’m about to go wandering across Wales. So I must apologise that we will not be able to publish our reviews as promised in the June Update post. But we will review Trivial Pursuit and Know it All in July; as well as the Kids Games month we had planned. But until early-mid July it’s unlikely we’ll achieve anything.

I take great solace in the fact that I doubt anyone really cares but great pride in the fact that probably more anyones care than those that would have cared around 5 months ago!

Anywa;y I hope you all have wonderful holidays planned, with plenty of games and craziness! So this is goodbye for at least two weeks or so… Hopefully less, but I make no promises.

Tension

4 - 5 Strike Thro

2.5 - 5

Number of Players: 2+ (team play)

Year of Publication: 1992

Publishers: Cheatwell Games and Drumond Park Ltd.

There Was Much Tension:

Tension is an interesting game, in the sense that it says; “NO! Not all answers to this question are right… Only the ones that I randomly preordain as right will score you points”. So. You end up getting angry at it because you name every James Bond film except for the ones written on the card.

What’s In The Box:

The Stuff!
The Stuff!
  1. The game board.
  2. 1 Orange and 1 Purple deck of Quiz cards.
  3. Pad of scoring sheets.
  4. Two playing pieces.
  5. Sand timer.
  6. Rules book.
  7. Two pencils.

Playing The Game:

Objective: To be the first player/team to reach the ‘Tension’ marker in the middle of the board.
The starting setup.
The starting setup.

Each player/team places their piece at the start, then the opposite team draws a card of choice (either purple or orange). They write the title of the card on their score sheet (you are effectively keeping score for the other team). Then they read out the title of the card and flip the timer over. The other team has until the timer runs out to guess as many of the ten things written on that card, that fall into that category – for example “James bond Films”, “Madonna Hits” or “British Inventions” – as possible. The team who reads the card out ticks off each one they get right on the score card until the time is up. The team then gets to moves the amount of spaces they got right. The colour of the square they are now on dictates the colour of the next card that will be drawn for them. They then do the same

for the other team.

The additional factors are the question mark squares and the whirlpool squares:

  • Question mark squares – The player must guess how many answers they are going to get right before the title of the card is read. If they get at least that many right they may move the amount the guessed (and no more) forward, if they get less than what they guessed they have to move the amount they guessed backwards. The colour of the card they get for these squares is chosen by the other team.
  • Whirlpool squares – If you land on one of these at the end of your move, the move you just made is immediately made again e.g. if you moved 7 and ended on a whirlpool you get to move 7 again straight away.

The player to reach the middle of the board first wins!

Strategy:

Possible strategy to this game is limited but here are a few things:

  1. BE REALLY SMART OR PICK THE SMART PERSON TO BE ON YOUR TEAM – Basically knowing a lot about a lot of things is helpful… As in all quiz games.
  2. TACTICALLY TRY TO HIT WHIRLPOOLS – If you can think fast enough you can try to hit Whirlpools intentionally. For example if you know you need eight to land on one, stop guessing once you know you’ve got eight right, because they you’ll move sixteen over all.
  3. TACTICALLY TRY TO MISS QUESTION MARKS – Try to miss question marks by making sure you get more or less than the amount needed to land on one.

History and Interesting Things:

There is almost no history to be found on this game except that there are two editions of the game; the first one published in 1992 as Tension: The Crazy Naming Game and the second edition published more recently as Tension:The Zany Crazy Naming game, this is the edition we have which has more up to date topics/answers than the original.

To Conclude:

This could be a very good game; it’s easy to see how the concept could be expanded to make it more of a board game as well. You could add more of a maze type board and directional options that allow you to choose between which type of cards you’re more likely to get given. This would make it less based on just knowing stuff – yeah I know it’s a quiz game, but it could be that and so much more. Also some of the cards are a bit questionable as to who could possible guess those 10 answers correctly, like this one:

IMAG2619
The one that can’t be read because of the flash is “Swiss Cheese”.

Not only is the question so broad it literally has millions of answers but the 10 answers picked to be “the chosen few” are mostly ridiculous! If the questions where a little better devised and the general game design a little more complex it could be a very good game. Additionally I see no real reason why it needs to be only two players/teams, apart from the fact that the teams/players who aren’t guessing or reading are sitting around doing nothing… But that’s true of most board games ever… If it’s not your turn, you’re not doing anything.

It does have the advantage that it’s easy to play, quite quick, and a good laugh, so it’s not all bad… It could just be so much better!

The UK Games Expo!

So on Saturday the 31st of May we went to the UK Games Expo in Birmingham. It was amazing! We’d been debating about going for all three days, but decided to go just for the day as we were unsure if it would be worth it or not. On reflection we can say it’s definitely worth going for the full thing and we will be going for all three days next year! Anyway, being the proud owners of a video camera we took that with us and videoed some bits; here’s what happened:

Because it was in Birmingham it was a LONG day; we left our house in London at 5am and got home at 11pm, give or take a bit, and all that for only six hours or so at the Expo.

The Biggest Problem With The Expo Was Staying Rich!

All the things we bought!
All the things we bought! And the programs.

We bought three board games, some surplus canvas boards that looked cool and a whole load of games pieces. Now that may not seem like much but actually that was about £100 worth of stuff… Totally worth it. Especially as all the games are AMAZING! The Firefly game is quickly becoming my new favorite game!

Chris Barrie Was There:

As you may have noticed from the video (if you watched it) Chris Barrie was there, who is famous for portraying this man/hologram:

So that was really cool as I’m a HUGE Red Dwarf fan!

What I Realised…

…Was that there are WAY more people into board games than I thought. There’s a lot of people doing really cool stuff and developing really really cool games. Like the Ragnar Brothers who are in the throes of developing a really cool looking card game called Steam Donkey, having had a little help from Kickstarter. That will definitely be a game we’ll be getting and reviewing once its released.

To Conclude:

The Games Expo was AMAZING and we’re definitely going back next year. Also if you live in the UK and like that kind of think I can’t recommend it enough.

Update June – 2014

So this month is going to be Quiz Games (with the exception of the first game). I’m not a huge fan of Quiz Games because I consider myself a man who knows quite a lot about quite a lot of things… But just not any of the answers to any Quiz question asked EVER. I might see how it goes by keeping a tally of how many questions I collectively get right across the four Quiz games we do and publish it in the next Update post. Anyway, these are the games we’re doing:

Games for June: – Quiz Games

Monday the 2nd – Mastermind

Monday the 9th – Tension

Monday the 16th – Taboo

Monday the 23rd – Trivial Pursuit 

Monday the 30th – Know it All

Other Things to Note:

  • We’re going on holiday! This coming month is when we’re both going on holiday; my sister is away for the best part of a month and I’m away for a few weeks in that time as well. So the posts that go up may be boring and short because we have no time. Additionally it’s possible something may be late or missed but, we’re trying to avoid that.
  • The board game cake my sister made for Scrabble went down quite well as a post, so we might try to do a board game cake a month starting from next month or whenever we have the time.
  • Time sucks! We have so many ideas and plans but NO TIME! Which I’m sure is a problem most people most places suffer from, but we’re working on cool things in regards to videos, our own game developments and just playing as many games as possible but unfortunately we’re doing them all so slowly it almost hurts. One day all cool things will surface!
  • Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to us on YouTube.