Rainy Day Game's Board Game Review of Memoir '44:
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Memoir '44 in Summary
Play the role of a battle field commander in the great battles of the European theatre of World War 2. The Memoir '44 board game tries to simplify the WW2 war game genre to the point where almost anyone can play and enjoy the game.
Rather than simply omit parts of battle, the system tries to "blur" the time-consuming detail and reveal the bare heart of the game. So instead of having to do lengthy calculations to determine troop movement rates, a quick rule lets you simulate their effect. Players of Battle Cry will recognise the game system immediately, but watch for the changes, such as the elimination of the deaded "useless cards".
Another important note: Eagle games has a special set of rules for multiple players with multiple boards. Check out their website here for reasons why you should buy more than one copy!
Memoir '44 Gameplay
Memoir '44 comes with terrain hexes you lay on the board. They indicate the hills, forests, towns, fortifications which make up the battle field for your scenario. Then the two players lay their infantry, armor and artillary units on the map as the starting map of the scenario indicates. Now it's time to get down to business.
Each unit type has their own movement and attack characteristics as you would expect. For example, artillary can move or fight in a turn, but not both. Infantry can move up to two hexes, but can't attack if they move more than one.
Your units can attack the opponents once they come within range and have a clear line of sight (unless it's artillary). Battle is conducted with dice rolling. The number of dice you roll depends on the type of unit and range to the target, and is modified by fortifications or terrain. Once you figure out how many dice, roll 'em and count the number of symbols which match your target type. That's the number of pieces killed in battle. Once a unit has all its pieces killed it's out of comission and the victor gets the last piece as a trophy (and victory point).
Who should buy Memoir '44?
Well, the Memoir '44 board game is not going to be accepted as a serious war game by the grognard crowd. So some gamers will have to accept that and move on to the next game. If you deride Axis and Allies for its simplicity, this one isn't for you. Memoir '44 doesn't aspire to be a simulation of WW2. Rather it's trying to capture the feeling of commanding battlefield tactical warfare. Just the feeling, not the actual practice of it.
But a change of focus might change your mind. Memoir '44 captures our imagination. Playing it feels like you really controlling the men's destiny with your choices. It's fun and pits you directly against your opponent in a battle of tactics. These are all good things, and in our opinion far outweigh the lack of simulation-quality detail.
And if you're looking to start someone on their way towards more substantial war games, this is your pick. So many times we've read comments and reviews of people saying "Finally, my friend/girlfriend/wife/etc is playing a hexagon war game with me!"
The Manufacturer's Board Game Review of Memoir '44:
From the cliffs of Pointe-du-Hoc to the hedgerow battles in the Corentin Peninsula and beyond -- Memoir '44 airdrops you into the key battles that turned the tide in Western Europe during the summer of 1944. Omaha Beach, Pegasus Bridge, Operation Cobra... Step in and command your troops on the battlefields that defined History in the 20th century!
Memoir'44 is a unique historical game where players command a horde of little plastic Army men facing-off in dozens of WWII battles on an oversize hex game board.
Each battle scenario mimics the historical terrain, troop placements and objectives of each army. Deploying forces through a variety of Command cards, the smart commander uses the unique skills of his units - infantry, paratroopers, tanks, artillery, commandos and resistance fighters - to its greatest strength.
Easy to learn and fast-paced, Memoir '44 requires strategic card play, timely dice rolling and an aggressive, yet flexible battle plan to achieve victory!
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