Wednesday, May 26, 2010

little green army men

nope.  not these guys...

these guys:

a lot of folks that know miniature wargames immediately think of historical wargaming like flames of war or warhammer ancient battles, or even sci-fi and fantasy wargaming like warmachine, warhammer, and warhammer 40,000.

some think of games like heroclix, star wars miniatures, or monsterpocalypse.  

some may even consider the use of miniatures during d&d and role playing games as a form of miniature wargaming.

and personally, as long as you're playing a game and having fun, i'm all for it.

but today, i'm going to chat about one of my favorite historical miniature wargames:  memoir '44.

for those not familiar with the it, memoir '44 is produced by days of wonder and they describe it as a... 

  "unique historical game where players command a horde of little plastic Army men facing-off in dozens of ww2 battles on an oversize hex game board.

each battle scenario mimics the historical terrain, troop placements and objectives of each army. deploying forces through a variety of command cards, the smart commander uses the unique skills of his units - infantry, paratroopers, tanks, artillery, commandos and resistance fighters - to its greatest strength."

one of the major reasons i really enjoy playing memoir '44 is that i can buy the basic box game and be playing within 15 minutes of getting it home.  i don't have to have dozens of different troops and rules to play (though there are some pretty sweet expansions like eastern front and the winter/desert board for when you absolutely have to bloody the german warmachine by making them pay for every inch of stalingrad). 

another reason i really enjoy the memoir '44 system is that it's flexible enough to allow both tactical and strategic battles.

starting with a small tactical scenario for the taking of pegasus bridge at midnight on 06 june, 1944, the basic rule set includes 16 scenarios recreating ww2 battles from june 1944 to december 1944, including the liberation of sainte mere-eglise, both sword and omaha beach landings, the liberation of paris, arnhem bridge (the "bridge too far"), and even an "overlord" version of omaha beach that is suitably enormous, requiring two memoir '44 sets (good reason for both you and a friend to have a copy).  the various expansions include additional terrain and scenarios to play.

all of the scenarios appear to be well-researched and feel accurate to the historic deployment of forces. 

since the game system itself is a combination of command cards (to move and affect both your and your opponent's troops), and dice (to resolve combat), it rewards both good command and control of your forces and a bit of daring.

finally, memoir '44 makes me feel like a kid again.  i'm playing with little green army men.  the only thing missing is firecrackers and the "pew! pew! pew!" sound effects.

okay, i'll admit to making the "pew! pew! pew!" sounds when playing. who doesn't?

so if you like ww2, and you want a quick game that you and a couple of friends can pick up, play several scenarios in an evening, and put away, then consider picking up a copy of memoir '44.  

you can purchase memoir '44 at most local games shops (or they should be able to order it for you), or online at days of wonder's online store 

american and german plastic army men by louis marx and company. photo by j. corey butler, 2007
memoir '44 board and figures by days of wonder.  photo by cliff etters, 2010

1 comment:

  1. I love this game too. I'm missing a few expansions. I'd like to try the Operation Overlord D-Day scenarios at some point.

    The other games that use this mechanic are pretty good too. The fantasy version, Battlelore, originally by Days of Wonder and now by Fantasy Flight. They're making a Game of Thrones version soon too that I'll definitely have to add to my collection.

    Battle Cry was the Civil War version of the system and I never had the chance to pick up a copy or play it before it went out of print and there's an Ancient Armies version of the system too, but I can't remember the name.