Kill them all

Yesterday Jeff celebrated his mid week birthday in great style by hosting a gaming session of Memoir 44 for friends and family.

The plan for the day. Turn up play Memoir 44, eat and drink, have a great time.

We were playing Memoir 44 using the multiplayer Overlord rules and maps. On a basic level Overlord is two teams of players where one player on the team is the commander, while the rest of the team are generals. The commander issues his orders to his generals who then execute those orders on the section of the battlefield they are responsible for. Naturally there is a little more to it than that, but not much.

Our first conflict was between the Japanese and Russians in the battle The Khalkin-Gol Encirclement. This was a battle just before the official start of WWII.

Sides were decided randomly by drawing a playing card. Draw red you were Russian, black Japanese. The cards had decided that the least experienced players of Memoir should be together and play the Russians. While the more experienced players were deemed by the cards to be more suited to gather round the flag of the rising sun.

Which meant that Jeff was commander of the emporers forces, facing off against his son who was commanding the people’s army. On the ground I was commanding the Japanese forces on the right flank, defending a hill, and one victory point on that hill. While Diego was leading the waves of Russian forces trying to take that hill from me.

For the majority of the battle my forces held the hill. By the time Diego took the hill it was too late. It had been costly for Diego. I had scored my share of victory points while defending my positions. Which was helped by the fact the Japanese troops were not allowed to retreat! Yep we got to ignore the first retreat flag rolled. It also helped that Diego was rolling as bad as Jonathan normally does playing Memoir.

Within a turn of Diego taking the hill, our forces had won the game.

It was time to set up the next scenario and eat.

Our second game after a lunch break of BBQ food was the Capture of Tobruk. Sides were once more decided by drawing cards. This time I was the commander of the Axis forces. My generals were Jeff, Diego and Jeff’s son.

To start with I hardly had any command cards that would allow me to activate Diego and my left flank. So I had a slower start on that side than I wanted. Jeff on the right flank, and his son commanding the centre were able to do great work on their fronts. The British called in a spitfire, which couldn’t go unanswered. We called in our own air support in the form of a 109, skilfully piloted by Jeff.

After the third turn the cards were kinder to me and allowed me to bring in Diego more. We were trailing on the victory point front. But I wasn’t worried I knew we would pull it back. Which we did. We were putting pressure on both flanks, and breaking through the middle. The allies were dropping like flies. By the end the allied commanders were demoralised, impending defeat, poor card draw, and our forces over running theirs. Who wouldn’t be? The inevitable happened and we won.

I loved playing the Overlord format. Having the chance to play as both the commander and as a general, great fun. And different experiences. These weren’t short games. About 2 – 3 hours each. In fact the second game might have been longer. This really is a great way to play Memoir with a few friends.

What a great day. Great company, great food, great game. I know lots of greats. But it’s true.

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