Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Memoir 44 just got bigger !

Really? Even bigger? I mean... It's huge already isn't it? The core box gives you a lot of stuff to play with and you can even join 2 boards and overlord expansion (or 2 core boxes) to double its size and play 6 players ! Three another expansions gives you different theaters : eastern, pacific and mediterraean, not mention winter and desert boards that came as separate expansion, another one came out with extra terrain tiles, and other one with planes and airports, breakthru maps (bigger 2 player maps), winter tiles, 2 campaign books, and 4 printed overlord maps <gasping>. I mean realy... how many so far? I've counted 17! So is there room for 18'th on my shelf? What it brings to the game and does the game deserve the money? My thoughts.

First of all a bit of a remainder what Memoir 44 is. It was published in 2004 by Days Of Wonder and designed by Richard Borg, and its in the family of "command and colors" series of games he developped, includes Battle Cry, Battlelore, Command and Colors Ancients and Napoleonics and recently Samurai battles (2012 zvezda), and one that is not exactly card driven called Abbadon (2012 Toy Vault inc.). So it is quite a long line of games revolving on similar idea, it must be a popular game then, in the matter of fact Memoir 44 won 2004 International Gamers Award for 2 player game. Looking at a release date I only wished other publishers were supporting a game like Days of Wonder does, well done.

Memoir 44 is a simplistic take on a strategy game, everybody can pick it up quickly because of how easy the rules are, have some fun in an hour or so and pack it up, some measures were taken to ease the learning proces like printing reference cards for every major rule, so you can lay cards only revelant to the scenario you are playing, great if you are facing newbies, gives them all they need to know. Only down turn and a reason it is not played so frequently by me is how long it takes to set it up and tear down, I don't mind its light weight mechanic at all, sometimes it's even better to play something that won't boil your brain, it doesn't mean that its not tactical no no... luck factor is noticable there is no denying about that but countless times I've been crushed by a more seasoned gamer when played it over DoW's online version, and with more expansions added there is growing variety of possibilities for you to take advantage of, hand management is crucial same as using terrain and resources availible. I won't go into details about rules here.

So what is all about this post today? Let's cut to the chase, shall we?
Days of Wonders is releasing "Equipment Pack" !!! there is tons of plastic in this one, we all love plastic right? but we don't realy like the hefty price that comes with it, $60 wow, that's more than a game itself, it is on pre-order for europe, and will ship on 16/8/2012.

What You'll get for that ridiculous amount of money they want to charge us?

Here is a list of contents:
  • 4 Minor WWII Nations (48 French Infantry, 24 Finnish Ski Troops, 12 Italian Artillery and 24 Polish Cavalry figures)
  • 4 Artillery types ( 6 "Flak-88" Heavy Anti-Tank Guns, 6 "Long Tom" Big Guns, 6 "M7 Priest" Mobile Artillery and 6 "Nebelwerfer" Screaming Meemies figures)
  • Beach Landing Equipment ( 6 "LCT-202" Landing Crafts and 6 Hobart's Funnies figures, complete with their accessories)
  • 3 Armor types ( 6 "Elefant Panzerjäger" Tank Destroyers, 3 "Sd.Kfz 250" and 3 "Tiger" Tanks figures)
  • 3 Vehicle types ( 6 "Kübelwagen" Command Cars, 3 "Jeep Willys" Long-Range Patrol Cars and 3 "Dodge WC-63" Supply Trucks figures)
  • 2 Special Weapon Assets ( 6 "Browning M2" Machine Guns and 6 "M2 60mm" Mortars figures)
  • 6 Sniper figures
  • Scenario booklet detailing 11 Standard, 4 Overlord and 2 Breakthrough battles
  • Rules booklet
  • 25 Summary Cards

For most people that started collecting Memoir 44 and were late to the party it must have been a  pain in the back side to get the overlord maps, it wouldn't be a problem but most of the maps that were released except of "Sword of Stalingrad" which came with aditional cards, came with miniatures like Tiger tanks, jeeps, and support trucks, no brainer those soon became a real treat on ebays and other devil's playgrounds reaching astronomical prices and probably many of us didn't get them at all, if you are one of them cheer up because Equipment pack include those pieces for your convenience and peace of mind, you'll get Tiger tanks, Dodge trucks, Sd.KF's and Willy Jeep's - yay uuuuUUUhu, huh? just 3 of each? you bastards !

There is some new stuff but most of the minis are just replacing tokens that were used to represent different units, I am not sure if its a good idea and if so why the hell they haven't gave us Cruiser ship miniatures as well? or bunkers or more new stuff? is DoW out of ideas to push this game further?. I do like the new stuff they've introduced though:

-Nebelwerfer artillery that can not only fire as usual but also use incendinary or smoke rounds that obscure the battlefield on 3 contiguously adjecent hexes within fire range.

-Churchill tank that can have one of five accessories mounted: bridge, bobbin, fascine, mine digger or petard mortar helping you assault a beach easier.

To sum it up... Curse you Days of Wonder, 18 expansions is a bit intimidating for somebody who would like to start playing Memoir 44, , money-wise this game can drain your wallet dry.
M44 allready have tons of pieces to set up on a board and more doesn't help doing it faster, other than looking good this expansion is not introducing a lot to the game rules-wise. And I don't know what is the aim of this expansion, is it just to sell more plastic to us?

I was hoping I will get all the pieces we missed with the Map Packs and Air Pack some day, the problem is its been 8 years since the release (core box) and most of expansions are out of print now for a long long time already.
Air pack was released in 2007 and a short run because it had 8 painted planes and it sells (if you'd be lucky to find it) for a astronomical price, I saw one recently on ebay and 9 people were bidding on it, the price was $100 and a day to end, crazy! DoW claims that they won't release it again because of the cost, yet pleanty of later scenarios require air pack to play (including this one).

Whats the point including pieces that were previously released but in lesser numbers than required? If somebody had Map Packs he'd had enough stuff already? for those who doesen't, what option do they have to get the stuff they need? buy two expansions? that would be $120

So is this expansion any good? I think for somebody who doesn't care about completing theirs game and own just core box this one could be the best ever! it contains loads of stuff from different expansions to play with, I only wish it had more tiger tanks, trucks, and jeeps.

Peace out.

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