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4.6 out of 5 stars
Memoir '44
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107 of 109 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2004
I've been playing hundreds of wargames for over 35 years and this game is one of the best I've come across. My 13-year old daughter likes it too (she beats me regularly), and even my 20-something sons enjoyed playing. Memoir'44 has some subtle but effective wargaming tactics to it in the card play and movement of the units. The terrain pieces determine "kill zones" for units in overwatch and "sanctuaries" for spent units. My daughter caught on very fast and this is a wargame for people that would never play a complicated wargame like "Command Decision", but it still gives the grognard the "feel" of a real wargame. The games play out quickly also for time-contrained individuals. Up to 4 can play with one game, but for 4-6 players on two teams, buy 2 games and put them together for real command and control experiences. The game comes with over a dozen historical scenarios and many more are avaailable on the "Days of Wonder" website. The Memoir '44 website supports additional scenarios, FAQ, and player interaction. Highly Recommended. High replay value. There are many small plastic pieces and cardboard terrain pieces so small children should be monitored (as always).
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60 of 60 people found the following review helpful
Background: I have fond memories of spending New Years Eve with my buddies in HS sitting around (the original) Axis & Allies.

As much as I love Axis & Allies, the setup is tedious and the learning curve is steep; not a good combination for bringing new gamers into the fold. For someone who's interested in WWII and/or tabletop gaming, M'44 is a godsend.

M'44 is a tactical game covering some of the major battles of WWII, with expansions available for additional theaters of war. The game itself involves tiles (for a completely modular board), plastic minis (meeple = my people... moldiers = my soldiers? lol), special dice for combat, and cards for movement/abilities; four great tastes that taste great together.

The box itself feels pretty sturdy, and aside from some plastic to keep the cards, tiles, and chits from flying, the components came in little plastic trays and ready to play. No hours spent punching your units out from plastic sprues, here! The rulebook is of good quality, full-color, and easy to follow. The included scenarios are in the second half of the book.

Besides having rather simple rules, the game includes reference cards, so you can pull out just the ones for the terrain and units that you're using at the moment. Not since Carcassonne has a game been so easy for me to teach.

"That's all well and good, but is it fun to play?" YES. There's just the right mix of strategy and luck, so the games can be exciting. Come-from-behind victories are certainly possible. Also, games can go rather quickly. 30-60 minutes seems to be the norm with my friends; much better than all-day Axis & Allies affairs.

Almost like Chess, this game is easy to learn but leaves plenty of room for strategy. And with the various expansions, it can be as simple or complex as you'd like. If you're a fan of the subject-matter, this is a very good buy.

[Note: I realize that Axis & Allies is a strategic-level game, versus the tactical level of Memoir '44.]
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2006
Memoir '44 is a two player (more can play with additional copies) game about WWII ground combat in Europe, simple enough to be played by my six year old (with adult help) yet interesting enough to be enjoyed by those who are used to far more complex military simulations. Fast playing and good looking, it is fun and despite the simplicity, it retains a good historical and simulative flavor.

Memoir '44 uses small plastic figures to represent military units, that fight battles on a cardboard map with a hexagon grid superimposed over it. A deck of colorfuly illustrated cards drives the action, and combat is resolved with some nonstandard dice.

The figures include infantry, armor, artillery and some obstacles like barbed wire. They add a lot of visual oomph to the game, and will capture the imagination of anyone who has played "toy soldiers". The figures can represent squads to regiments or larger units, depending on the scenario being played.

The map is two sided, with one side featuring an invasion beach, and the other European countryside. The maps are customized for each scenario with large cardboad hexagon tiles, so environments from urban to rural can be represented. The map is good looking and practical, with hexes large enough to hold the multiple figures representing the forces involved.

The map is divided in to three zones: Left, right and center. The cards each player recieves allow the player to move and attack in one or all of these zones, adding uncertainty to the game. Attacks are resolved with specially marked six sided dice, and players win the game by inflicting losses on the enemy or taking key points on the map.

Most scenarios can be played in an hour or less, although setting up all those cool figures can take a half hour or so.

Veteran wargamers will find Memoir '44 a refreshingly fast playing and fun light game. It is suitable for players who have never played a wargame before, and anyone capable of grasping "Monopoly" should be OK with learning to play Memoir '44.

There are expansions available that bring this game system to the Eastern front and the Pacific.

My six year old boy enjoys the game, and even my wife will play it. A great game for those with any interest in learning about WWII history, or just seeking a fun, competitive game that is fast playing, often tense and looks really good sitting on your table.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2010
Memoir '44 is a Days of Wonder game and the company is renowned for making quality and visual games.

As the name suggests it is a boardgame set in World War 2. The original game has expanded and now a number of extensions and add ons are available seperatly.

The game is played on a hexagon board and comes with a lot of hexagon tiles, such as hills, towns and woods that are used to change the setting. For newcomers it is good to point out that the game has a number of combat missions and the tiles needed are listed in the mission and it is clever to prepare these before they are laid down since all are double sided and it can be furstrating to look for that 1 missing hill by having to turn around other already placed towns and woods. The 2 basic settings are beach landings as appropriate for D-Day and a plain grass board.

Gameplay is focused on order cards and is turn based, IGO-UGO (I go - You go) concept where players first activate units based on the command given and then move activated units and then combat with them. The game utilises a clever concept of minatures where as a standard 4 infantry pieces are an infantry unit, 3 tanks and 2 artillery. Each time a loss is take one piece is removed until the point where the last piece is removed and that counts as a point (called medal) for the opposing side and is placed on a visual medal space on the board. A few other objectives can also give such medals to encourage gameplay.

This is not a serious wargame by any standard, the units are very abstract and the combination of random cards and battle dice can mean that randomness will affect tactics and can frustrate players when their command cards are of the wrong type or bad dice rolling prevents success. Also the units have no paticular value but reflect different size units depending on the mission while behaving the same in gameplay.

But where the game shines is that it is fun. It is recommended to play each mission in turns so that both players play each side once and this means that you use the same set up twice and saves time to play and the contest is to do better than your opponent did. It also counteracts against some scenarios being unbalanced and favor one side when both play that side while the other tries to score more medals than the other. With the game comes a set of cards with basic rule outlines to help gameplay but the rules are easy and short.

Players need to be old enough to read but but otherwise this game is well suited to younger players. Older players can also enjoy the simple and clean fun the game provides although some serious gamers will find the game a little simplistic and random.

Each game is short and can be played in about half an hour and is such fun that several games can be played in one evening as time permits.

The game is well supported on the internet, a code comes with each game that allows you to access further missions and there is a thriving community around the games. Further expansions are available that are set in the Desert, Pacific and Eastern Front so variation is endless and it has a collective value well suited to collectors. But don't fret the basic game is sufficient and with the internet access will provide hours of entertainment.

CONCLUSION

A basic game in a military setting that is more aimed at fun than serious wargaming. Recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2010
I'm not a wargamer, partly because I never got the opportunity. I might have been when I was teenager, because I was enthralled with learning about the military and playing military style computer games along with other types of games. I was however never big into playing with plastic army men. Seems like plastic army men were begging for a game to be made for them and Memoir '44 does that very well. I've heard about how long most wargames take (3,4,5,6,..10+ hrs), and at this stage of my life with job, kids, and church, I don't have the time to play. Memoir '44 really fits that niche for me with the kind of wargame that I am looking for, because it can easily be played in about an hour. The base game provides plenty of replay value and challenge as each person can try their hand playing each side.

Some people complain about too much luck, and I understand that isn't to some people's tastes. I however enjoy the luck factor, because it adds uncertainty that happens in real life. This leads to some neat "heroics" where the last infantry takes out that tank and causes cheers and groans on either side. Again, the whole point of good luck based games is to give you options to minimize your opponents luck factor and maximize yours. Memoir '44 does this very well by the use of terrain which is expected in a tactical style wargame. Effective use of terrain will help you win the game.

The command cards are a nice way to simulate the ebb and flow of the overall battle. The cards add some nice offensive power to the game that simulates some possible real life situations that happen on the battlefield. Cards such as "Their Finest Hour" that represents those moments when troops rally to the cause and "Behind Enemy Lines" where a squad is able to penetrate deep behind the enemy to wreck some havoc.

Memoir '44 does have educational value by recreating famous battles of WWII. Each mission provides some history from the war. It also gives me as a father time to explain to my children what WWII was about, so they will one day learn the amazing sacrifice out country paid for our freedom.

One thing the base game lacks is the variety of air planes, campaigns, and other forces to really recreate some interesting battles. However, that's where the expansions come into play, and maybe one day I'll be able to purchase more as my pocket book allows.

All in all, I truly enjoy "fun" factor that Memoir '44 provides, and so does my 7yr old daughter and 5 yr old son.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2010
Verified Purchase
My 11 year old son is interested in World War 2, last year he got Axis and Allies, but we never learned to play it, (have you ever seen that instruction book, sheesh)... We have had luck with other Days of Wonder games (Ticket to Ride) so I took a shot at this game.

My son now says it is his favorite board game after us playing 4 times...

Pros: The game has terrain cards, so the map changes based on the scenario you are playing
Easy to learn movement and battle rules
Enough strategy to make it fun, but doesnt bog the game down,
Luck plays a big part (drawing cards and rolling dice)

Cons:
The scenarios are set up to recreate a battle, not to start with a level playing field. A couple of the scenarios, I dont know how the Axis would ever win.
Luck plays a big part :-)

The part we enjoy the most is the historical backgrounds... each scenario is recreating a battle in WW2, and it gives a couple paragraph explanation to tell the story. Nice to have a board game have an educational nugget in it.

Basically, we love it, and are already talking about buying one of the expansion kits soon...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2013
This is an incredibly fun light war game. You will have a lot of fun battling against each other in a real world war 2 scenario. The set up time is fast and a game takes easily under an hour to play. The rules are simple but there's a lot of strategy involved. I play this game at least twice a week and its fun to play through the different battles of World War 2 and learn a little history while I'm playing. Because there are so many good things to say about this game I'm going to break it up into categories.

Game Components:
Days of Wonder has a really good reputation for make good looking and durable components. They've shown this through Shadows Over Camelot, Ticket to Ride, Small World, Collessum, and Memoir 44. The board is double sided to show either a beach or a field and there are terrain hexes included to customize the board for whichever scenario you are playing. There are also terrific looking minatures and all the cards have great looking art. When all of these components come together the board game looks realistic and it becomes easy to picture what the actual war looked liked.

Gameplay:
Whenver I play this game I feel like a general during World War 2. The turns are very quick and your always invloved in the game. Using cards to command your troops really simplifies the game and keeps you from being stressed with so many different decisions. People may say that the cards put too much luck into the game, but I think that the cards are a realistic way of showing how good your communications are with the different sectors of the board. The luck factor in this game is much less than in games like Risk or Heroscape. You will have a lot of fun thinking of different strategies you can use to defeat your enemy. Your turn is split into 5 phases which go by very fast: 1. Play a card 2. Decide which units to order 3. Move units 4. Attack with units 5. Discard played card and draw a new one.

Buying Reccomendation:
You will have a lot of fun by only having the base game. You do not need other expansions. However, if you want to add a little more complexity or different types of terrain then I would reccomend buying the Eastern Front, and Midderteranean Theatre expansions with the Winter/ Desert board map.

This is a great game! Buy it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2013
Verified Purchase
I bought Memoir '44 for two reasons: one, I was looking for my first war game, as my girlfriend is very much into WW2 history and I figured it'd be easier to get her to play; and two, I wanted a solid two player game.

Memoir '44 turned out to be perfect in both regards. It's not overly complicated (though certainly will take a few reads of the rule book to understand), every game is different, and it takes just the right amount of time (about an hour and change) for the casual gamer. I can understand a few people claiming it's "too simple," but honestly, unless you're an over-the-top gamer looking for one of those war games that stretches for four to five hours or even days (they exist!), Memoir '44 is just what you're looking for.

The game comes with a double-sided board which can be customized for the particular scenario you're playing - one side is a beach, the other, a forest. Hex tiles are used to add features to the game, like hills, towns, etc. Additional obstacles like barbed wire fences and bridges are then layered on top of that, so each scenario, meant to mimic a particular WW2 battle, is totally different.

Turns are simple and straight-forward, yet offer a ton of options. First, you choose the armies you are looking to mobilize, or "order"; you move them or leave them where they are; and finally, you attack. Damage is done, retreats are made, and then it's the next player's turn. The first player to get a certain number of medals (usually attained by killing four or five units) wins the game.

It only takes a game of two to realize that haphazardly charging ahead with all your men is not always the best strategy. I'm still working out what works best, but what I love is that each game is totally different. You can be the axis or the allies, or you can switch it up; you could be launching a beach assault or combing through the forest.

As someone who only knew your standard Risk and Stratego, Memoir '44 was a great introduction into the world of war games, and I'm anxious to add some of the expansions to my collection.
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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2010
I have been into strategy board games most of my life. Although I like the design of the game it's self (i.e. being able to set up different battles) personally I think that there is to much luck involved. Having you whole battle based on "the luck of the draw" and on top of that "the luck of the roll" combined with the way that the game rules are set up can make for very frustrating game play. If you are looking for a hardcore strategy game, this is not it, but if you don't mind having a large part of your games based on luck, then it might be right for you.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Picked up this game the other day after reading a number of reviews online, wanting to give a more tactical rather than operation game a try. Typically I prefer larger scale games such as Axis and Allies, but also thought it might be fun to try something a little quicker and lighter.

The strengths of this game are that a scenario can typically be played in 30-60 min, and that setup is quick and intuitive as well. The rule book is short and well written, from the time I opened up the box I had the game set up and was playing with a full understanding of the rules in about 20 min. The game also comes with a dozen or so different battle scenarios right out of the box (with many add on packs available as well for when you tire of these). I must say that I have a good time playing Memoir '44, and when playing with new players you can typically explain the rules to them in a matter of a couple minutes.

That being said, the strengths of this game are also it's weaknesses. There is little depth to the game, very few rules, and a whole lot of luck. Your moves are based on the cards you draw from a deck, and if you draw lousy cards or cards that just apply to a particular flank, you can quickly lose just based on the cards you draw. I had one game where I was well ahead of my opponent, but ended up losing because I drew card after card that only applied to a flank where I didn't have any units. Between cards and dice, this game is about 75% luck and 25% strategy. I understand why they did this, not wanting to bog down new players with hundreds of rules, but it sometimes make you feel like you have very little affect on the outcome of the battle regardless of how well or poorly you understand strategy.

In summary, I like this game and have a good time with it. It's the kind of game you can get out when you have an hour to kill and play an entire scenario, and never gets bogged down with complicated rules. It's just plain fun and shouldn't be taken too seriously. It won't replace my more complicated wargames, but will remain on my shelf for something quick and easy to pick up and play when I have a limited amount of time.
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