Pros: Fun, historically accurate, customizable, expandable, durable and strategic.
Cons: Slight undersupply of equipment, terrain hexes are not immobile.
Memoir ’44 is a wonderfully historical, strategic combat based board and card game. Players take control of various wartime scenarios that came about during World War II and attempt to win the battle with whichever side they choose. The board used is a multifold, reversible with a hexagon grid. It has a basic land design structure on one side and an ocean/beach landing structure on the other. Each scenario in the guide uses one side of the board or the other and further modifies the board with territorial hexes. These cardboard hexes sit atop the standard board to assume/modify terrain to change the mechanics of the game and to set up for further modifications. (Bunkers, barbed wire, sandbags and others). Each player is given miniatures to represent artillery, infantry, or armored units to use as playing pieces. Some scenarios add special ops units which behave differently, using normal units for representation but are flagged with a definitive token to show they are different.
Each scenario starts each side with certain numbers of each type of armament placed on certain hexes with certain terrain modifications as shown in the guide. Each player starts with a certain number of randomized command cards as specified by the guide pertaining to each scenario. Play progresses in turn based fashion with command cards being played and units moving and attacking one another. This is simulated with rolls of special icon dice that are reduced or increased in number depending on range and terrain of the target or with special modifiers from command cards. Medals are won for defeating entire enemy units or occasionally claiming a territorial hex containing a medal.
Skill level varies from scenario to scenario with possibilities for balanced play as well as variable degrees of advantage allowing for less experienced players to balance out with the more experienced. The manual holds large numbers of historically referenced scenarios, but it is certainly completely customizable as well. Multiple expansion packs also exist to greatly add more depth to the game. The game also offers a free trial online version with purchase to help teach the game.
My only complaints are that though the board is slightly roughened to help hold modifying terrain hexes, the hexes do still move a bit too much. I personally remedy this with a plexiglass sheet over the set up board as necessary. Among minor nitpicks; The game supplies miniatures as green formed plastic for the allies and blue formed plastic for the Axis. When setting up some terrains it is necessary to “borrow” an allied barbed wire to set up some axis defenses as the game does not supply enough Axis barbed wire. Aside from that the only improvements I could see would be for painted or detailed miniatures but the coloring as it sits makes them easier to identify.