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Memoir '44
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Memoir '44

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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
8+ 30-60 minutes 2

Designer(s): Richard Borg

Publisher(s): Days of Wonder, Asmodee North America

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Product Description

From the cliffs of Pointe-du-Hoc to the hedgerow battles in the Corentin Peninsula and beyond -- Memoir '44 airdrops you into the key battles that turned the tide in Western Europe during the summer of 1944. Omaha Beach, Pegasus Bridge, Operation Cobra... Step in and command your troops on the battlefields that defined History in the 20th century!

Memoir '44 is a unique historical game where players command a horde of little plastic Army men facing-off in dozens of WWII 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.

Easy to learn and fast-paced, Memoir '44 requires strategic card play, timely dice rolling and an aggressive, yet flexible battle plan to achieve victory!

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Best Historical Simulation, 2005
International Gamers Awards
Best 2-Player Game, 2004

Product Information


  • 1 double-sided hex board battle map
  • 144 axis and allied army pieces
  • 36 obstacles
  • 44 terrain tiles
  • 60 command cards
  • 9 summary cards
  • 8 battle dice
  • 2 card holders
  • 32-page rules & scenario booklet
  • 1 Days of Wonder online access number
Memoir '44 has the following expansions available:

Memoir '44: Equipment Pack expansion Out of Stock

Memoir '44: Campaign Book Volume 2 Rules & Scenarios Out of Stock

Memoir '44: Disaster at Dieppe The Battle Map Series Volume 4; Overlord Out of Stock

Memoir '44: Sword of Stalingrad / Rats in a Factory The Battle Map Series Volume 3; Overlord Out of Stock

Memoir '44: Tigers in the Snow / Operation Market Garden The Battle Map Series Volume 2; Overlord Out of Stock

Memoir '44: Hedgerow Hell / The Cadets of Saumur The Battle Map Series Volume 1; Overlord Out of Stock

Memoir '44: Campaign Book Volume 1 Rules & Scenarios Out of Stock

Memoir '44: Air Pack Out of Stock

You might be interested in these related products as well:

Commands & Colors Ancients 5th printing

(30% savings!)

Axis & Allies: Spring 1942 revised base game Out of Stock

Axis & Allies: 1941 boardgame Out of Stock

Axis & Allies: 1942 2nd edition Out of Stock

Axis & Allies 1914 Out of Stock

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.5 in 22 reviews

Changed My Life
May 29, 2017

Memoir '44 wasn't the first modern board game I ever played (Ticket to Ride holds that honor) but Memoir '44 changed the course of my life. My brother-in-law had to convince me to play, but once I did this amazing game opened my eyes to the wonderful world of World War II history and strategy board games!

The historical background with every single official scenarios (of which there are hundreds) drew me in to the story behind the game and the history that's so important for us to know. The way that Memoir '44 handles complex unit movements and battle conditions with the modular board and the card-driven orders system blows me away because the more I learn about the actual battles, the closer the game comes to reflecting the actual events.

As a teacher, I used this game to help me teach my third grade students decision-making, planning, sportsmanship, strategic thinking, and history. Memoir '44 is a total gem and you won't regret getting into the system. Any expansions you get will simply be the cherry on top because the base game is amazing right out of the box.

Have fun with this game and welcome to the world of World War II combat for regular people!

Instant Classic!
February 27, 2008

I learned to play this game with a friend at a gaming group, and the simple rules, and complex strategies, mixed together with a great online community and unlimited different kinds of maps to create, makes this game a constant star on my dining room table.

This game was my first step into playing board games, and I fell in love instantly. the very small learning curve gets you into the action fast, and with a few games under your belt, you quickly realize the depth of strategy you have in this game.

The combat is as simple as looking at dice. Each side has a unit's symbol on it, with infantry showing up more than armor. And choosing where to hide your units in different terrain types from cities to forests. An amazing combat system even in its simplicity.

Then the board uses hexes and pieces to place in the hexes to represent different terrain features. the rulebook has plenty of material to get you started, and the online community offers limitless possibilities to make your game even more versatile. the site also offers a map creator, so you can create and share your maps.

To sum it up, deep strategy combined with easy to learn rules make this game a great game package, for people of all ages. A perfect game.

Still too much luck
June 03, 2007

We bought several strategy games through the years: Puerto Rico, I'm the Boss, Memoirs 44, and Attack. The two non war games are great. They are light, fun, easy to play and about one hour games. They are almost totally no luck and are pure skill and strategy. The two war games on the other hand involve too much luck and are frustrating. We are not hard core gamers but seek fun Sunday father son type games. Maybe one day there will be a war strategy game, with miniatures, that the luck of the die or draw of the cards doesn’t win games. I think that day will be when the new Microsoft computer table is an interactive board game.

Wonderful Bonding Time
April 13, 2007

Memoir 44 is a much needed game. I love wargames but I do not like to having to read a novel to understand and play the game. Most of my friends do not want to learn or invest the time in playing a long game. I do not mind learning complex systems but it is not fun playing alone and I do not have the time for it. Memoirr 44 solves both. Yes it is not as in depth as full fledge war game covering the same period BUT I can teach people in 20 minutes or less how to play this game and one round takes no more than an hour. My family enjoys this game and the questions and research that have come out of playing Memoir 44 have been stimulating.

Wonderful Items in the box. Quality. Pure quality. Looking for something fun and does not consume all your time but yet requires strategy and brain power. Memoir 44 is for you.

...And your friends will want to play as well...

Satisfying Wargame without Taking Three Hours
April 10, 2007

This is a great game. It moves along. It is balanced between strategy and luck. The many scenarios are neat (as are the historical paragraphs about each one); plus, each scenario is fun enough to play several times in a row. The components are handsome, as is the artwork on the cards. If you like Axis & Allies, for example, I can't see why you wouldn't like this game. This is one of the few games I have that I will sometimes take off the shelf to play against myself: it is that fun.

Battle Cry World War II Style
November 10, 2006

This game is excellent for beginners and veterans alike. It plays almost identically to Battle Cry (the civil war game from Avalon Hill). The game is so similar that I can say if you enjoy Battle Cry you will love Memoir 44'. The game comes with many scenarios and it is easy to create your own. The only things I can fault the game on is the price of the expansions and it's not quite specifically detailed enough for hardcore gamers that like a little more detail.

Reinventing History
August 17, 2006

Before playing Memoir of '44, I wasn't that keen on it. I found it hard to locate the base set -- in fact, it was impossible to locate in South Korea where I was told they didn't stock it because "Koreans don't like war games." When traveling through Europe I found some copies at highly inflated prices and wondered if the game would ever be worth the trouble to acquire it. It was my eleven-year-old son who finally convinced me to buy the game, despite the cost.

I have been more than pleased as it is the only strategy game my son will stick with and play. I would never have believed it would turn out to be the favorite father/son game in my collection, but it has.

I love the highly researched scenarios and even the extra bonus of having additonal downloadable scenarios available when you register the game through Days of Wonder. Although the set-up and take-down is, indeed, time-consuming, I find that this becomes part of the fun. You begin to examine the terrain and the possibilities to plan your attack. Although history tells you how the battle played out, it is fascinating to imagine how it could have happened if you had been the commanding officer.

Others have told how it is played, but I want to encourage gamers to consider the suggested option of switching sides after the battle and playing the scenario again. We have also taken to recording our outcomes in the scenario book to have a record of our games.

I am thankful for the time I now share with my son playing the game, it was worth every penny.

Alright game, Looong set-up time, loong take-down time.
January 30, 2006
I love war-games, they are a blast when you have the right people. I had a huge hankering to try out Memoir '44 and the first thing I remembered when starting it is the extremely long set-up time. It honestly took something like half an hour to pull out the scenario and set up the board properly.

The game went pretty smoothly once everything was set up, but after setting it up I was just about to throw in the towl and try something else. The pieces themselves are of great condition and quaility, they seemed a bit oversized if you ask me, but still good none the less.

The strategy was evident, but still slightly lacking if you ask me, you still have to draw cards which gave you options in what you can do on the board. Perhaps after a couple of games it might grow on me, but I've played 3 games so far and was not impressed.

- L.T.

Squad leader light + great fun
August 05, 2005

If you like "complexity" like Settlers, Risk or RoboRally, and wanted a fast-paced lightweight wargame this is a game for you, and it works fine with only 2 players.

The gameplay is very smooth. You cant move all your pieces every turn, so you will have make a lot of quick decisions when trying to implement your strategy. The random factor of the command cards (used to move your troops), evens out during a whole scenario... yes, people can actually be very good at Backgammon / Settlers although these games involves a lot of dice rolling.

The game includes 16+1 scenarios. Should you get bored, just go to the manufacturer's website and download some more scenarios :-)

Spent my youth and my friends precious time trying to get Squad Leader running, but it never worked. With Memoir '44 girlfriend and I were up and running within 15 minutes, and had great fun ... so here's a wargame you can actually play with women!

The worst thing about this game is actually the VERY ugly box graphics. Besides that I can't really find anything bad to say about this game.

Great game!
August 04, 2005

This is a great, classic game. My brother and I play this whenever we get together (he's a hard core wargamer, and he enjoys it just as much as I do.) It has lots of tactics and strategies. The "luck of the cards" isn't really luck -- a smart player knows how to play the cards he's dealt. War is not always a simple matter of issuing commands, and the luck of the draw actually helps to illustrate this point.

I recommend this to any war game fan who doesn't always have the time to set up and play some of the more complex games. The historical synopses of each battle provided with the scenarios is educational, especially for younger players, and the game is easy to learn, yet requires strategy to play well.

I'm looking forward to the recently announced expansions, which should add more complexity to the game for more experienced players and lots of new scenario options. The ability to design your own scenarios (via the game website) is a blast, and adds a whole new dimension to the fun -- I can see a lot of future game designers getting an early start from it. Easy to recommend to most anyone.

Not for the serious gamer.
July 25, 2005
Disappointing, what more can be said. Complexity is not there. If you desire a game you must think to play, look else where. The dependence on a card to be move troops is to much luck, not enough thought.

I would recommend this for younger, first time war gamers just to learn what games can look like and how to use dice, but not for the serious gamer.

Great WWII-themed tactical game
March 31, 2005

If you like light, tactical games with a World War II theme and quick gameplay, buy this game right now. It is awesome.

This is not a wargame in the classic sense of traditional hex and counter games like Squad Leader, Panzer Leader, etc. It is much shorter and lighter than those types of games. But it feels more like a traditional wargame than Risk and Axis & Allies do, for example.

The command cards do add quite a bit of randomness, at first glance. (“I can only attack with my left-hand units this turn?”) But this forces you to make due and adapt to the situation, just like any general must do.

Plus, you get to re-enact D-Day and play with army men and little plastic tanks. What's better than that? :)

I've played this three times so far, and each time when it was over I immediately wanted to start another game. It's great fun.

Game of the year candidate
October 01, 2004

Buy this game.

I am not kidding. Click on the buy button right now. You are not doing it fast enough. Now! Go! Buy!!!!

This game captures the mood of watching a film like Band of Brothers. It is simple, but not overly so. It is fast paced (a rarity among wargames) and fun (another rarity, actually). My wife loves this game and wargames are her least favorite genre. No collection is complete without this gem!!!

Just misses that fifth star.
August 18, 2004

I'm really not much of a war gamer, I prefer the newer, German games. I have nothing against war games. I mostly just suck at them if they require more strategy than Axis and Allies. Officer material I am not.

With that in mind, this may be the perfect war game for someone like me. Memoir '44 doesn't overwhelm you with choices. Choices are limited by the few cards in your hand. Rules are simple and straight forward. Playing time is short, in fact I played 3 games in 90 minutes the other day. (I played with an experienced war gamer who wiped the board with my butt in short order all 3 times so that contributed to the shortness of the games.)

I really like this game. There is little bookkeeping, there aren't dozens of counters to keep track of and be flipped if damage is inflicted. Units are quality plastic pieces. It is simple but not simplistic. There is enough strategy to keep experienced war gamers happy, but I doubt Memoir '44 will enthrall them for more than a dozen plays or so. After all it is recommended for ages 8+, I think that is a stretch but 10+ would be accurate.

There are 17 scenarios in the rule book. There are more scenarios available on-line. The variable and double-sided board is a brilliant touch which theoretically could lead to unlimited scenarios. If you order from Funagain I see that you get the Sword Beach scenario included.

Although team play is theoretically possible this is a two player game at its core. I prefer multiplayer games. Although I want to like war games I find that I am more drawn to the great family games being produced today. I look forward to playing again, but I just can't give the 5th star. 'Puerto Rico', 'Settlers' and 'Tigris and Euphrates' have set a new standard for superior games. Memoir '44 is a solid and fun game, but it is not a superior game.

Bottom line-buy this game and keep an eye on Days of Wonder. They have produced some good games lately.

Buy it now!!! Best of it's type!
July 14, 2004

Im sure that there are many, many game company executives who wish that they were running Days of Wonder right now. Days of Wonder has set the bar extremely high for their games, and its showing in a big way. Ticket to Ride has just won the Spiel des Jahres 2004, and their newest game, Memoir 44 (Days of Wonder, 2004 - Richard Borg) is selling off the shelves faster than any other game Ive seen. Memoir was definitely one of the hits of Origins 2004, where I saw people playing it everywhere.

Is this popularity deserved? The answer is that Memoir 44 is the pinnacle - the absolute best of light war games. With the tried-and-true system Borg invented in Battle Cry perfected - Memoir 44 plays smoothly, quickly, and provides a pile of fun! The game can be taught in less than 10 minutes, but has definite strategies, but with enough luck to make each game varied. It is the best game Ive played in 2004, and one that is quickly replacing Axis and Allies as my favorite light war game about World War II. I usually can say something negative about most games, but Memoir is a game without error - a masterpiece of fun and excellence.

Okay, enough ranting about the game, and more about the mechanics. A double-sided board is placed between two players (more players are possible when combining multiple games). A scenario is picked from the book, and the appropriate side of the board is used - either the beach landing side, or the grassy plain. The board is divided into many large hexes, upon which are placed cardboard hexes of various terrain types - as depicted by the scenario. Each player sets up their forces, consisting of infantry units (4 men to a hex), artillery units (2 guns to a hex), and armored units (3 tanks to a hex). Other terrain obstacles, such as barbed wire, sand bags, and hedgehogs are also placed as depicted by the scenario. A deck of sixty Command Cards is shuffled, and each player is dealt a certain amount (again dictated by the scenario). One player goes first, and then play alternates until one player reaches the victory conditions.

On a players turn, they choose one of the Command cards from their hand and play it. Command cards allow players to do a variety of things, but the most common command cards are section cards. The playing board is split into three sections: right, center, and left - and a section card will indicate how many units a player can activate and in which section. For example, one card allows a player to activate three units in the center section, while another allows a player to activate one unit in each section. Other Command Cards are known as Tactic cards, which allow players to do a variety of things, such as attack with only infantry units, strafe the opponent with airplanes, or copy the command the opponent just played.

After choosing the card, the player announces which units they are going to order - according to the card. These units are then moved - tanks moving up to three hexes, infantry up to two hexes, and artillery one hex. Certain terrain types affect movement, such as beaches, rivers, forests, hedgerows, hills, and towns. After moving, each unit that was ordered may fire at an opposing unit. Artillery units may not fire if they moved, and infantry may only fire if they moved one hex or less. Special battle dice are rolled to determine casualties, with the number of dice rolled determined by the range and attacker. Infantry roll three dice when attacking an adjacent hex, two dice for a hex two spaces away, and one die for a hex three spaces away. Armor roll three dice up to a maximum of three spaces away. Artillery can fire up to six spaces away, starting at three dice adjacent, and ending at one die on the sixth space. Terrain can affect the amount of dice rolled, as well as line of sight. Each battle die has six symbols on it: two infantry, one armor, one grenade, one star, and one flag. After the dice are rolled, they are compared to the target type. Each die that matches the target type (i.e. when attacking infantry, you want to roll infantry silhouettes), or has a grenade (wild) kills one figure from the target unit. Stars are misses, and flags force the target unit to retreat - one hex for each flag rolled. If a unit is forced to retreat off the board, it is lost. When the last figure from a unit is killed, or if the unit retreats of the board, one figure from that unit is given to the opponent, who places it on a special medal spot on their side of the board. When an infantry or armor unit kills or forces a target unit to retreat from an adjacent spot, they can take the ground, moving right after. Tanks can even fire yet again!

After moving and firing all units, the player then draws a card, and turn passes to the other player. Play continues until one of the players reach the victory requirements - which is usually to reach a certain amount of medals - kills, or other victory conditions, such as taking a bridge, etc. That player then wins the game! In most scenarios, it is then proper to switch sides, and replay the scenario. The player who does better overall is the ultimate general!

Some comments on the game...

1.) Components: Do I really need to write anything here? By this time, Days of Wonder has established itself as the hands-down champion in this category. As usual, the components are absolutely fabulous - with the plastic units taking center stage. They are of a soft plastic, and are fairly large models, with differences between the German and Allied units. The board is fantastic - with beautifully painted terrain pieces. Because of the modular feel of the terrain hexes (which are thick and double-sided), thousands of different scenarios can be set up. The hexes even run all the way up to the edge of the board, so that two boards can be connected together, to play large-scale games. One really nice feature of the game is ten cards that summarize abilities of units and effects of terrain. Only the terrain types used in the scenario need be used, and the cards really help for ease of game play. The command cards are of an excellent quality and have great artwork on them (very indicative of the era), and everything fits very nicely in a superb plastic insert which is placed into a sturdy, well-illustrated box. If anything else, Days of Wonder has produced the best components in the business - again.

2.) Rules: The rulebook is absolutely incredible, with the rules taking up seventeen pages, with another eighteen pages dedicated to scenarios. This may seem like a lot, but theres really not much more to the rules than what I described above. However, the rulebook provides plenty of examples, illustrations, and plenty of pictures. Everything is laid out in a wonderful fashion, and I really think anyone could pick up the game and learn it in a very short while. Ive had great success when teaching the game - especially to those whove played Battle Cry before, even though its certainly not necessary.

3.) Battle Cry: Richard Borgs previous game, Battle Cry by Avalon Hill, uses the same basic system as Memoir 44, but in a Civil War setting. Players who own that game may wonder if theres any reason to own both games. If one likes World War 2, then the choice is obvious, but Memoir has improved the whole system to a degree, and changed some of the nagging annoyances of Battle Cry. One of the most important changes is the card balance. No longer are there any over-powered cards, or even under-powered cards. Every Command card has a purpose and a place; and while its certainly useful to have a bigger hand of cards, its important to know how to use them.

4.) Strategy: One of the biggest criticisms that may be leveled against this game and Battle Cry is that the game is really not that strategic, but depends on dice and cards. The dice and cards do play a large role in the games outcome, to be sure, but skillful card management and clever movement of the forces will hand the game more often to the better player. The game is very tactical, and while it wont simulate a World War battle to appease a hardcore war gamer, it will satisfy the majority of players.

5.) Overlord: The Overlord set of rules (downloadable for free online) and scenarios are designed for more than 2 players. Four players can play on each side - connecting two boards, with two zones per player, and one commanding general on each side. The commander draws the cards and decides which of his subordinates to hand them to - who then decides the best way to use such cards. This is by far the most fun way to play Memoir 44. I rank Memoir a 10, as it is one of the best games Ive ever played, but in the Overlord scenario, Id rank it as an 11. The huge battles Ive been a part of have been deliriously fun, and go remarkably quickly, considering how many are involved. Ive played the Overlord Normandy beach scenario many times, and still havent bored of it yet.

6.) Fun Factor and Speed: The Fun Factor of this game is huge - as it plays almost always under an hour - yet produces a great and satisfying experience. Almost everyone that Ive introduced the game to has immediately wanted to play the game again, whether theyve won or lost; and many of them have immediately wanted to purchase the game for themselves. Its a great game, and one that will interest many people - even if they normally dont like war games.

7.) Variety: There are seventeen scenarios available with the game, and myriads more being posted online on a consistent basis, at . These scenarios are user-rated, so that you can go through and pick the best ones to try out. Rumors of expansions are in the works, adding more delight to an already fantastic game, so it doesnt look like well be getting bored anytime soon.

Memoir 44 sold out its first shipment in record time. Run - dont walk - to your nearest game retailer and preorder now. Dont miss out on the chance to own one of the best games of 2004 - and one that you are certain to love and enjoy. Memoir has given me many hours of enjoyment, and Im sure many more to come. It is by far Richard Borgs best game yet, and Days of Wonders crowing achievement, even topping Ticket to Ride! Its good to be King - or at least, Days of Wonder!

Tom Vasel

Real men play board games.

Mister Borg has overdone himself!!!
July 08, 2004

This really is a fantastic game. I'm not going to write a review of how the game mechanics work, therefore I refer to the review of Walt Mulder (that you can read here too). But what I really want to say, is that this is a gem of a game. I was already in heaven with Battle Cry, but this one goes even a bit further (if that was already possible). This gem of a game has the same mechanics as BC but with here and there a little twist that makes it playable over and over again. There are now also Tactic Cards (one third of the cards in the game) that are always usable, so you won't get stucked with useless cards.

For those of us who like to bring in their own personal changes to the game, I can refer to the house rules of Walt Mulder. You can find them at the Boardgame Geek or at the website of Days of Wonder (

I can only say, buy this gem of a game. It has to be on every true gamer's shelves! I'm off now to battle once again my wife on the beaches of Omaha! Ciao!

If You Print It, They Will Play...
June 28, 2004

Simply put, I have been waiting for this game for many, many years. I've played a lot of wargames in my time - from Advanced Squad Leader to Panzer Leader, Axis and Allies to Risk, and EVERYTHING in between. Along the way I have always wished (no, more like desperately hoped) for an 'Axis and Allies' equivalent to ASL, and my gaming prayers have finally been answered.

The rules and gameplay are elegant, the components are top-notch, and the presentation is everything I had hoped for. When I opened the box I actually thought, 'welcome home, old friend.'

My only 'complaint' (stemming from purely selfish reasons) is that expansions couldn't happen soon enough!

Thank you Mr. Borg and Days of Wonder. I will be a devoted fan of this game for the duration.

'I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams...'
June 27, 2004

A classic gem symbolizing the hopes and dreams of a past generation at war.

Just as the hopes and dreams of Richard Borg fans waiting for what seemed an eternity, finally got an early Christmas present, Memoir '44.

This is quite simply, phenomenal. The hype was well worth it. Memoir' 44 is a great game. Awhile back, I gave Battle Cry a 3 star good review. Memoir '44 uses the same system, but oh what a difference. Battle Cry had lots of scenarios, but no objectives. Just first to wipe out six opposing units. Memoir '44 creates more excitement by offering terrain objectives (bridges, cities, etc) as well as unit elimination. The order cards have more options/possibilities to them. Everything just feels incredibly well thought out.

Two (extremely) minor challenges:

Great infantry & tanks, artillery units are soft and not up to the look as the other units.

Some players were frustrated by the retreat requirements (as I'm sure many generals at the time were!)

All of the armchair generals at Board Gamers of Reno are already talking about Eastern Front, Pacific & North Africa expansions.

5 stars and a must buy

Mr. Borg and Days of Wonder deliver!
June 24, 2004

Let's get this out in the open right away. This is not ASL light. What this is is a beautifully produced and apparently well-supported game that lends itself to tinkering or playing as is. It is very expandable and a delight right out of the box. It's thoughtful but won't have anyone reaching for the aspirin bottle and plays quickly and cleanly. A great sit down, set up, play and let's get a pizza game. This one will be at the top of my pile of play titles for a long time. Richard, will we be seeing Ancients and/or Napoleonics next? I hope so!

Simply Grand!
June 18, 2004

It's been a while since I've posted a review here much less given a game 5 stars, and one is long overdue. For those unfamiliar with Richard Borgs Battle Cry this preview will probably be of interest. For all of you who know and love the game Battle Cry and/or are familiar with the Command & Colors system, just skip to the last paragraph where I lavish the most praise on this game and recommend its purchase.

But since youre already here and reading, Ill try to limit redundancy and keep it interesting.

Let's start with the components. The quality is what you would expect from a Eurogame sans wood. This one was published over there and does not disappoint. The terrain hex tiles are thick stock and fall out of the cardboard holder with ease, the board is beautifully illustrated, thick, and double sided, and the plastic miniatures are wonderfully detailed. The images found on the web dont do them justice until you actually see them up close. I was fully expecting the size and detail for tanks and infantry of the type found in Hasbros Axis & Allies games. To my pleasant surprise, these are much larger and more detailed. As an added bonus, there are also miniatures of certain terrain fortifications such as wire, sandbags, and hedgehogs (tank hindering devices). They are soft molded plastic and are a bit prone to barrel droop on the artillery however, but they bend back nicely. The two tank types represented are Shermans and Panzer IVs. The artillery units are the same for both sides and modeled from the PaK 40 that was used in both an artillery and anti-tank role. Infantry is found with different guns and poses for each side, though the Allied side represents all coalition forces. Best of all, the miniatures are all in a bag with no need for spending time trimming them off plastic trees. The rulebook is a work of art with full color laminated pages and plenty of photos and examples. You wont be disappointed with it either. The cards are likewise detailed in full color, laminated, and the size of standard playing cards. Eight dice are included that were designed for this game. No stickers to place on the die faces are required since theyre already imprinted with the required symbols. One side of the board is generic terrain while the other depicts a generic ocean/beach scene. The box size is what I consider to be a Eurogame standard square style about three inches high. Its the same type Ticket to Ride (Days of Wonder), Domaine (Mayfair), or Lord of the Rings (FFG) comes in so lots of different US game manufacturers are using this style now. It has a nice holder inside for the cards, units, and extras with the board fitting nicely into the top. As an aside, you can actually fit two sets into one box if you take out the inserts, and you may very well want two copies of this game.

The scenarios (17 at this time with more on the way) range from the initial glider landings by the British to take Pegasus Bridge and the US Ranger drops onto St. Mere Eglise to St. Vith in the Ardennes and Montys botched folly Market Garden with an Arnhem Bridge scenario. Each scenario gives a brief historical description of the events and forces portrayed along with any special rules or rule changes. Victory conditions change from one scenario to the next depending on what occurred or what the objective was. This is all pretty standard faire. With a scenario editor currently in working status at the Days of Wonder website, there will be an unending supply of battles to recreate. There is a plan to charge a nominal fee to become a registered user of the scenario editor when it is revealed. Better news is that it will probably be free for anyone registering a 2nd copy of the games purchase. This is a nice feature for those players and grognards that will really want to get into the game and create their own scenarios. But the best part is that it's totally free to go and view/download other folks created scenarios. For the average family player, youll be getting a great game right out of the box with no need for additional bells and whistles. Now Ill be a bit lazy and tell you to check out the Memoir 44 website for the full list of scenarios. When you get there, youll find theres already a special Overlord supplement available for download that allows 2 games and boards to be linked together to create larger scenarios. For those that can't get enough of a good thing, this is why you'll be purchasing the extra copy of M44.

All right, enough of the fluff; so hows it play? It plays simple, fun, and fast. Again, if youre a Battle Cry fan, youll feel right at home with a few new minor changes to capture the WWII flavor. Command Cards drive the system. The battlefield (board) is divided into three areas: a right, center, and left flank. Each player receives a variable hand of cards from a common deck as determined by the scenario. Players alternate playing cards one at a time from their hands to give orders to units on the board. There are 40 cards that will allow you to give orders to units in a particular board section. These range from a recon team of 1 unit to an all out assault allowing action by all units in a given section. Some cards allow one or two units in each section to activate, move and combat. Then there are 20 special cards in the deck that provide the true flavor to the game. (HINT: Go to the website to view many of these cards ya lazy Sad Sack. Tell em Kilroy sent you!) Each unit has a designated movement and combat capability. Some can move and fight; some can only do one or the other. And of course some attack better than others or defend better depending on the type of terrain they occupy. The terrain is fairly generic but substantial enough to create the setting for any given engagement. New concepts such as close combat and overruns have been added to the game play mechanics. Infantry can now occupy vacated enemy hexes by advancing into them following combat. Armor units can do the same but can also continue to attack one more time. Artillery packs a punch and doesnt require line of sight. Dont worry if youre not familiar with some of these terms. Theyre all explained in detail and very few questions will arise during play. If they do, Days of Wonder is already working on a FAQ to address that possibility. Dice are rolled to determine the outcome of an attack. Rolling a die face with the proper unit symbol will inflict a casualty on the enemy. Finally, players score victory points by either eliminating enemy units and/or taking certain victory locations (and holding them). Once the scenarios victory conditions are met, the game ends and a winner declared. This usually all occurs in under 45 minutes per scenario. And of course, being a card and dice driven game, no two engagements will play out exactly alike. M44 has fantastic replayability.

There is a lot of luck in the die rolling portion of the game, but it's really a game about hand management. If you rush in with units without a plan, they're likely to get mauled and cost you victory Medals. If you bide your time as best possible and build up your hand with the right cards, you can deliver a might blow with perfect timing for a win. The luck of the dice is mitigated by better card play.

Its all really a Beer and Pretzel affair or, since this game starts off in Normandy, a Wine and Cheese rendezvous. Grognards beware: simplicity lies ahead. Either accept this game for what it is or retreat back into a comfortable reading of Advanced Squad Leader rules. Actually, I love war games but I probably dont fit the definition of a true Grognard though I like to think of myself as an amateur history aficionado. Memoir 44 deals with a simple representation of units, capabilities, and events. It will present you with plenty of strategy and decision making on how to advance in achieving your objective or when to pull back and regroup. As I mentioned, there is plenty of luck present, both in what cards are drawn and whether the dice results are going your way. Sometimes youre going to have to live with the fact that your Sherman tanks, rolling 4 dice with a bonus at point blank range, couldnt so much as put a dent in the rear of a sole remaining Panzer they were firing at. Who knows maybe Oddball was using paint that time (and those were Tigers)! Again, much of this luck can be mitigated through smart play (unlike my recent games against my son, where I play the Germans and theres no question to why they lost the war). But luck is to be expected in a game like this. Its not about what they could have put into the game, but rather why things were intentionally chosen to be left out. Memoir 44 is not a simulation nor will it recreate all aspects of a given battle or combat situation. It does allow for sound principles of war to be applied and provides a reasonable chance for either side to win with an edge going to the better player. Just think of any luck present as the uncertainties of war. Sure, this all sounds pretty simplistic but, in reality, this game is targeted at the mass market. Its meant to appeal to the family gamer as well as the seasoned war gamer. It is even being used as an introductory learning tool in grade schools exposing kids to the history of the enclosed battles. Plus, the WWII theme is much more interesting historically to most people than any other war. As for the game club bunch, this is a perfect side game for two people that arrive late and missed out on the start of Goa. And now another plug for 2 copies (which may show up anyway with a game group). You can play this with up to 8 (that's right, 8) players with two copies. The Overlord scenarios allow for each side to have an overall commander that doles out the cards and players take one section of board each for the battles. It can get a bit convoluted, but it's possible. Personally, I think the game plays best a 2-player.

If you like to tinker with games, youll be in tinker heaven with this one. Much like the previous Battle Cry, this game lends itself wide open to house rules and variants. Im happy enough to play the game as it is, but its never stopped me from developing my own house rules to enhance my satisfaction. One terrain type lacking in Memoir 44 is roads. I understand their reason for omission but its not enough to stop me from designing road tiles and house rules for some homegrown scenarios. Aside from tinkering with the game, it really leaves itself wide open for future expansions such as the African deserts or steppes of Russia. How about an M42: the Russian Campaign or an M41: the Afrika Corp, or maybe an M45: Pacific island hopping. My guess is that if this game does well in sales and popularity, well be seeing a lot more from this system but Im probably getting ahead of myself.

The whole intent of this preview was to get you thinking whether youd be interested in this game or better off with a more detailed product or war simulation. If you're put off by a war theme, then don't buy this game. You're better off with the latest Eurogame involving auctions. But if you're the type that accepts war as having defined the shape of nations and an integral part of history (or maybe you're just indifferent to the whole issue) then you'll be happy with M44.

So heres my overall assessment as promised to those who skipped down to the last paragraph. Im betting that if you're a 'Beer and Pretzel' fan youll want this one bad, and maybe two or three. For Memoir 44, my db rating on this one bends the Mulder Meter off the scale. This is a must buy game. Put it on your Christmas wish list, request it as a birthday present, stand on a street corner with a sign reading will work for a copy of M-44. But please dont do anything illegal to get it. Oh, and tell your buddy to buy a copy if you can't afford two of them. Thay way you'll get to play the 'big' scenarios together. Im sure once you purchase and play it, you wont be disappointed. This one wont stay on your shelf gathering dust. Cheers and good gaming.

Walt M.

BIG FUN in a big way!
June 17, 2004

Memoir '44 achieves what few games about battles or war ever achieve: it is quick to play; it is easy to learn and to teach to others; it has superlative production values; it has excellent replay value; it is a tool for developing your own Memoir '44 scenarios; it is a chellenge to play well; it is historically plausible; and (most important of all) it is FUN!

Memoir '44 eschews the complexity of modern wargames that are often so daunting to play and esoteric in subject matter in favor of reducing their complexity into simple rules and a deft meld of card play and combat resolutuon mechanics.

Memoir '44 places the player where they typically want to be when they approach board wargames: in the role of battlefield commander. Cardplay in the game factors in fog of war and the relative command structure of the opposing sides throught the randomness of the cards they receive and the number of cards they may hold. And it is through the cards that players issue orders and move their troops (game pieces).

Rather than have complex rules covering terrain, weapons systems, and unit types, the game simplifies the type of combat units in play and modifies the way they fight based on the type of terrain the target is using for cover. Dice with faces representing the target unit and other effects are rolled to determine and apply the effects of combat.

Players play cards, move their pieces, and resolve combat until one side or the other achieves a requisite number of military objectives or destroyed enemy units.

That's the essence of the game. What players are given to play the game with are almost 200 plastic infantrymen, artillerymen, tanks, and obstacles. They are also given a large, double-sided mapboard for playing standard battles or beach invasions. They are also given double sided cardboard counters and cards for assistance in playing the game.

The minatures are made of durable (if a bit bendy) plastic and the board and card illustrations are of a lavish, cartoony nature that dispels any pretense as an overly serious wargame. For once, genuine fun is coming first. The harder aspects of reality take a backseat, but are not forgotten.

When you play the game, some kid fun is invoked as you push around the 1' tall infantry pieces and tanks. Even the molded colors are classic 'Army Green' and 'Enemy/German Gray.' In fact, some devotees of the game already swear they will scour hobby shops and dollar stores to track down the 'Army Men' of their youth to recapature the thrill of 'war in a sandbox' with a set of rules worthy of the fun while also fairly worthy of the history!

Will the kids like it? WIll the wife like it? This game seems fairly aimed at the kid in all of us that enjoyed Milton Bradley battle games as a kid, but the rules a re a little more sophisticated and offer the challenge the true game player in all of us are looking for. That same challenge combined with the easily learned rules and quick game play will at least allow people who don;t care for recreating battles the enjoyment of a genuinely fun and thoughtful game.

Days of Wonder also has a surpises in store fo folks that purchase a second set of the game: Overlord rules and scenarios! The base game itself comes with set-up instructions for a two-set recreation of the World War II battle for Omaha Beach. By registering two games under one user name on their website, players will be permitted to download the additional rules needed to play the big scenario, which will allow 6-8 players to each be a battlefield commander in the battle under the leadership of a player-general in chief.

Days of Wonder also offers the opportunity for players to generate and share scenarios with other players through a scenario generating application on the website.

May 22, 2004

Just played the Pegasus Bridge-scenario, and even though this is a simplyfied intro-scenario, I alreaddy know this game is GREAT!

Havent played Battle Cry, so I can't compare, but to start with: the components are really awesome. Excellent quality right through to the core. The manual is easy to read, and the reference card is also very nice.

To play the game is really quick. Action all the way.

In the opening scenario, the Allied goal is to conquer two bridges, and hold it 'till the allied has reach 4 victory points (VP). The German's goal is to defend the bridges at all cost - but no points are given to germans for holding the bridges. They have to do it the hard way - by getting rid of 4 allied gang of troops.

Also, since the germans were really taken by surprise; they dont have more than two command cards to start with. The allied starts off with 5. Germans will get more during the next two rounds - 'till they have 4.

All in all a very fun and fast game! Enjoy!

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