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Memoir '44

Memoir '44 box - US troops storming ashore on D-DayMemoir '44 is huge fun. I usually describe it as a simple wargame: the rules may be simple, but it's still a challenging game. And one that allows players to re-create lots of WW2 battles.

Players command the forces of either Axis or Allied troops and use cards and dice to manoeuvre and attack with their units. They win medals by destroying enemy units and capturing objectives – first to get enough medals wins the battle.

A big part of the game's appeal is the way it looks: a host of model soldiers, tanks (Shermans and Panzer IVs) and guns spread across the hills, forests and towns. The whole thing looks good and gives a real feel for the historical battlefield. As a game, it's the cards that make it such a challenge. They limit what the players can do, simulating some of the 'fog of war'.

Photo of Arnhem scenario in play

(left) The Arnhem scenario in play: German armour takes casualties, but gets across the bridge to fight the British paratroopers in Arnhem town.


The base game, Memoir '44, covers the war in western Europe from the D-Day landings in 1944 (there are several tough scenarios for the different beaches) to the final battles of 1945. Expansion sets with extra scenarios (see below) extend the game to North Africa, Russia and the Pacific islands, cover the Battle of the Bulge, add more terrain and extra equipment and vehicles and provide different ways of playing – as a team in Operation Overlord or on a larger format called Breakthrough.

For 2 players, aged 8+, playing time 45+ minutes (depending on the scenario): £50.00 (£41.67 without tax outside the EU)
 

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Memoir '44 Expansions

The Memoir '44 Breakthrough kitBreakthrough kit

This expansion is the answer to one of my issues with Memoir '44: the board isn't deep enough. This pack contains two double-sided boards that provide a larger playing surface: 13 x 17 spaces. One board mirrors the base game, with one side being a beach and the other countryside, the second mirrors the Winter/Desert board, with one side white and the other sandy. The pack also contains specific Breakthrough scenarios and there are more in most of the other expansions.

The effect is to provide a longer, deeper game with more strategy as players have the scope to bring up reserves. I recommend using it with the special Breakthrough deck of Command cards that comes in the Winter Wars expansion. This is my favourite expansion: £25.00 (£20.83 without tax outside the EU).
 

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Campaign Book Volume 2Cover of Memoir '44 Campaign Book Volume 2

This book contains forty-odd scenarios across the whole of WW2. They can be played on their own, but are grouped together to be played in sequence in 'campaigns' – the book also includes rules for how the result of one battle affects the following scenario/s. The campaigns in this volume include the 1939 invasion of Poland and Normandy from D-Day onwards in the Breakthrough format.

The last of these sold it to me, but it's a very useful addition for all Memoir '44 fans – especially if the existing scenarios are getting all too familiar: £22.00 (£22.00 without tax outside the EU).
 

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The pack of D-Day Landings mapsD-Day Landings

Released for the 10th anniversary of Memoir '44 (and the 70th of D-Day), this is a folder of giant cardstock boards pre-printed for a selection of D-Day scenarios. All five landing beaches are included, along with the American Airborne landings (to the west of the beaches). The scenarios allow all or a section of each board to be played with one or multiple players on each side. £27.00 (£22.50 without tax outside the EU).
 

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Memoir '44 Eastern Front boxEastern Front

The Eastern Front pack takes Memoir '44 to the war in Russia and winter conditions. It contains T34 tanks and Russian infantry and artillery pieces plus winter terrain tiles (frozen rivers, for one thing). New rules cover the special conditions of the Eastern front and the Red Army's commissars. The scenarios include an early battle between Russians and Finns and the later battles of Stalingrad and Kursk. £24.00 (£20.00 without tax outside the EU).
 

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Memoir '44 Equipment Pack box - an assortment of tanks and vehicles at a battered French crossroadsEquipment Pack

The big box of the Equipment Pack adds a host of specialist pieces for the base and expanded game. New figures are Finnish ski troops, French infantry, Polish cavalry (no, really) and sniper figures plus specialist artillery (Italian guns, 88s, Nebelwerfers and self-propelled Priests). Other specials include Elefant tank destroyers, Kübelwagens, mortars and heavy machine guns. My favourites, though, are "Hobart's Funnies": Churchill tanks with an assortment of special beach landing equipment for D-Day scenarios. Plenty of new scenarios feature the specialist equipment: £45.00 (£37.50 without tax outside the EU).
 

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Cover of the Khalkhin-Gol expansion for Memoir '44 - a montage of troops and equipment from the campaignKhalkhin-Gol

Packaged in a thick paper envelope, this expansion provides two double-sided, pre-printed scenario maps: one pair for Breakthrough games and the other for Overlord. A booklet provides scenarios for the standard game, plus a campaign structure for all the battles between the Russians and Japanese around Khalkhin-Gol in 1939. A blister pack adds models for the armoured cars and light tanks used in these battles. You'll need the Eastern Front and Pacific Theatre expansions to get the best out of this – yes, the Commissar is in play for the Russians. Good fun: £20.00 (£18.33 without tax outside the EU)
 

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Memoir '44 Mediterranean Theatre boxMediterranean Theatre

The Mediterranean Theatre pack covers the fast-moving battles of the North African desert and is my personal favourite. It provides Crusader tanks, 25-pounder guns and 8th Army soldiers (in shorts, of course) for the British player and introduces the Bazooka. New terrain includes the ergs, wadis and oases of the desert and extra rules cover the special conditions in North Africa. The scenarios cover several aspects of Operation Crusader and the battle of Gazala to provide plenty of variety. £22.00 (£18.33 without tax outside the EU)
 

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Cover of Operation Overlord boxOperation Overlord

A different way of playing Memoir '44 is to put two sets together and have a team of generals on each side, with an overall commander calling the shots. Called "Overlord", this is great fun and there are lots of Overlord scenarios. However, there can be some confusion working out what the cards do. The Operation Overlord pack provides two decks of combat cards re-written specifically for Overlord games. It also adds a second set of dice and cardboard counters to make up any shortfall in figures. I thoroughly enjoy playing Overlord games and find the cards very useful – the extra dice are useful in every game! £18.00 (£15.00 without tax outside the EU).
 

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Memoir '44 Pacific Theatre boxPacific Theatre

The Pacific Theatre pack takes Memoir '44 to the island battles in the Pacific. It contains infantry, tank and artillery pieces for the Japanese army and jungle terrain tiles. The scenarios cover battles on Guadalcanal, Guam and Iwo Jima, amongst others. £24.00 (£20.00 without tax outside the EU)

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Memoir '44 Terrain pack boxTerrain Pack

The Terrain pack provides additional landscape tiles to enhance the look of the battlefield and adds some special features. It includes some interesting scenarios that make use of these special features. In particular, it includes the Schwammenauel Dam scenario that I played at the 2012 UK Games Expo's Memoir '44 tournament (PDF, 400k). £25.00 (£20.83 without tax outside the EU).
 

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Winter/Desert board

The Winter/Desert board is a double-sided board – like the one in the base game. However, in this case one side is a sandy brown and the other off-white to provide a better back-drop for the battles in North Africa and Russia, respectively. £14.00 (£11.67 without tax outside the EU)
 

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Memoir '44 Winter Wars boxWinter Wars

The main subject of this expanion is the Battle of the Bulge, the German offensive through the forests of the Ardennes in the winter of 1944-45. It thus contains lots of snowy terrain tiles, rules for winter weather and ten battle of the Bulge scenarios. It introduces "late war" special weapons and adds a new feature: Combat cards. These are played alongside the usual Command card to give a unit a special advantage for this turn.

Equally important (as far as I'm concerned), this expansion contains a new deck of Command cards, specifically for use with the large, Breakthrough board. As well as identifying the units a player may move and attack with, these cards also designate additional units that can just move. This makes it easier to manoeuvre your reserves and set up an attack on the big board.

This expansion adds a lot to the game and I particularly recommend it to anyone using the Breakthrough format: £22.50 (£18.75 without tax outside the EU).
 

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Memoir '44 and the expansions were designed by Richard Borg and are published by Days of Wonder.

Other "Commands & Colors"-style games available from Games from Pevans are: Battle Cry (American Civil War), Commands & Colors: Napoleonics and The Great War (World War One)

More about Memoir '44 at the BoardGameGeek.
Pevans reported from the UK Games Expo on the 2012 Memoir '44 tournament (PDF, 0.4 Mb), the 2013 Memoir '44 Tournament (PDF, 0.8 Mb) and the 2014 Memoir '44 tournament.

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