Memoir '44 has been in my pile of shame for about a year and a half now. I'd originally bought it for Nath and I to play. But best made plans and all that, we haven't got round to playing it.
So I was really pleased when I found out that Jonathan at the Fenland Gamers group not only had Memoir '44 but also had almost everything for the game expansion wise with the exception of the odd map pack.
Last night finally saw me play Memoir '44 for the first time with Jonathan. Luckily for me Jonathan was in need of a refresher on how to play the game due to a long gap between this game and his last play of it.
Game One – Pegasus Bridge, June 6, 1944 I'm the Axis Player
Game one started off with me playing as the Axis power in the game. This was the first scenario in the manual, and sees the Axis player start off with a card disadvantage (two cards) to simulate the forces being taken by surprise.
Jonathan got an early victory point by capturing the bridge on the left flank, and also nearly wiping out the unit that was on the other side of the bridge. But I managed to get that unit out and manovered away from the Allied forces along with the other lone unit on that flank so that they did not become easy victory points for Jonathan.
While that was going on Jonathan sent his Allied forces to engage with my dug in forces on the right that were defending the second bridge and the town next to it.
I was more than happy to let the Allies come at me, it meant I was able to enjoy the benefits of my defences, which in Memoir terms means one less dice to roll for Jonathan.
So I had the victory point from the second bridge and good dice rolls and card draw got me the other three victory points I needed by allowing me to pick off the Allie forces from the safety of my dugouts.
Wow somehow I had won my first game.
Game Two – Pegasus Bridge, June 6, 1944 I'm the Allied Player
Game two and time to swap sides and see what the other side of the map looks like. Boy does it look different.
Having played the Axis first definitely helped me on this game. As did having an awesome card draw. My first card was an advancement order that allowed me to issue an order all my units, plus they could move two hexes and attack, or move three hexes and not attack.
So my first move was swamping the right flank, and rushing to the bridge. The thing with this scenario is that the Axis have two units on the right flank separate from each other. One is in the corner on the opposite side of the river. So overwhelming them quickly would net me two victory points, and a third can be gained taking the bridge.
This part of the plan worked perfectly, one turn I've cut the bridge off, and can pick off the trapped Axis unit. Surprisingly Jonathan's other unit is moved in to engage with the superior force. Which is exactly what I wanted. They were soon picked off also, and the bridge taken. Three victory points on the table, one more needed for the win.
My mass move to the right flank threw off Jonathan whose remaining forces were dug in defending the second bridge in the top left corner of the left flank. I don't think Jonathan had the card draw that enabled him to do much. Although he did start to venture through the barb wire to engage with me.
The second part of my plan after getting the “easy” victory points on the right was to just throw all units at the Axis lines on the left, all I needed was to pick off one unit to get the win.
With Jonathan moving units from behind their defences I soon finished off a unit to get the win.
I seem to remember this being a very short game.
Game Three – Sainte Mere-Eglise, June 6, 1944 I'm the Allied Player
On to scenario two, this time I starting off as the Allies. I remember seeing Tom Vassell doing a live play of this on The Dice Tower channel a while back. Can't remember the actual game but the having to drop four miniatures on the board from about twelve inches up to simulate a parachute drop by the Allies was the only bit I remembered.
My drop got me three additional units in a central position. I thought I'm going to need these units the Axis forces had a tank unit!
Those tanks were my biggest worry in this scenario. Once they were out of the right flank top corner they would be deadly.
I managed to take out the lone Axis unit that had dug in the little village in the middle of the board. By the time I had done that the tanks were close. With poor card draw for Jonathan (I'm assuming that is the case) the tanks failed to attack and do any damage. I had a window of opportunity here. I attacked his tanks with three infantry units, the rolls were with me and I wiped out the tanks.
Then the battle front moved to the left flank with our infantry units engaging each other. Some tit for tat exchanges and I've gained the final two victory points needed to win.
Below courtesy of Jonathan a picture of me (there really aren't enough of these on this blog) in deep thought trying to work out what I'm going to do about the bloomin tanks. Luckily after this photo I played just the right card to allow three infantry units to take out the tanks.
Game Four – Sainte Mere-Eglise, June 6, 1944 I'm the Axis Player
The final game of the evening. I'm now playing as the Axis forces. My luck was bound to run out at some point. My card draw was not going my way. I was just not getting cards that would allow me to issue orders to my left flank and get the tanks and supporting infantry units out.
I even sacrificed my lone unit in the middle to distract Jonathan to try and buy me time to get the cards I needed. But that only delayed the inevitable, Jonathan's forces attacked my right flank picking off units, and despite me trying to make an exit through the woods I was out of the game.
I had started to draw cards for the left flank, but it was too little too late. Before being defeated I did manage to score one victory point to stop it being a total whitewash.
Wow. I love this game. And I'm not just saying this because I won! I love the combat and the dice rolling. The command cards to issue orders is brilliant.
Yes bad dice rolls and not drawing the cards you want can be frustrating. But they do nicely simulate orders not getting through or the tide of battle going against you.
For me Memoir '44 is just right. Love the theme, I think with the bits of flavour text that you get with each mission is great. Components are great. This just works on all levels. The nice thing is it's not a heavy wargame. Ok it's a wargame “lite” which suits me perfectly.
I really can't wait to play more games of Memoir '44. Thanks Jonathan for a great evenings gaming and teaching me Memoir.