Memoir ’44: playing with history

Memoir '44 commemorating the D-Day landings.
Memoir ’44 commemorating the D-Day landings.

Memoir ’44 was one of the first modern board games we bought. We came across it as we enjoy Ticket to Ride and were looking at other titles published by Days of Wonder. Memoir ’44 was released to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings. In the game the Allies are facing the Axis in recreations of battles drawn from history.

Each scenario is different and relates to an historical battle.
Each scenario is different and relates to an historical battle.

The game comes with a book of scenarios that recreate battles from World War II (there are also numerous scenarios to download for free from the Days of Wonder website). Each scenario provides the historical background to the battle and explains the winning conditions. The set up including the terrain and the units available to each side is based on the real life situation. Some scenarios give extra abilities to units or extra ways to gain victory points. Different types of terrain effect units in different ways, for example armour (tanks) are not able to function as well when based in towns, whereas being up a hill gives a defensive bonus.

Generally victory points are awarded for destroying an opponents unit. However some scenarios also award victory points for capturing specific hexes, usually towns or strategic positions. Each scenario has a number of victory points needed to win (between four and six) and then players swap sides. The overall winner is decided by who gained the most victory points in total.

Command cards give you different options to use on your turn.
Command cards give you different options to use on your turn.

On your turn you select one of your command cards (depending on the scenario you will have between two and six command cards at your disposal) and then carry out its instructions. Instructions vary from moving and battling units, to reinforcing positions or even an air attack. To battle dice are rolled with the number of dice available dependant on the unit and proximity to the enemy. This can lead to tense moments where a specific dice roll is needed as if it fails your units are left in a vulnerable position on your opponents turn.

One slight issue I have with the game is the colour choices for the units, the Allies are a dark green and the Axis a dark blue. Although this may be historically based it does make the units very difficult to tell apart as they look incredibly similar.

Overall, this is a fun two player game generally taking about an hour to play. The integration of the history is well done and the combination of luck and planning leads to an enjoyable experience.

 

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2 thoughts on “Memoir ’44: playing with history

  1. Nice overview. Memoir ’44 is one of my favorites. It’s provides a deep enough strategic and tactical experience, yet does not require a day off work to complete. They also did a grand job if incorporating the historical aspect, so you can learn and relate through the play experience.

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