A periodic blog about Games, Books, Movies, Pop culture, Technology and whatever else I happen to feel like writing about...

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Memoir 44 and A&A D-Day

On Saturday evening, uber-spielfriek Mike is coming to play Memoir 44 and A&A D-Day. He is bringing M44, and I have a copy of A&A D-Day. I have been playing Battle Cry since it came out, and so am already very familiar with the system, and I am looking forward to seeing what effect the new cards and units have on what I think is a fundamentally good game.

Now, I don't want to open that old debate, "Is BC a wargame?" As far as I am concerned, it is a very fun game, and it plays a lot like a light wargame, even if one player can get severely hampered by poor card draws and bad dice rolls.

I am not a big fan of standard Axis and Allies. I always found it to be much too long for what it was, and the very large scale of the map makes strategic movement very abstracted. I read with much interest the reports on A&A D-Day while it was being produced, and I was very pleased with the direction that they took.

By restricting the map to the area around Normandy, and by adding clear objectives and removing the economic system, Hasbro has made D-Day the best of the A&A games. It is short, and it forces players to get right into the fight. Combat is simple, fast and bloody, and the different units really do have different benefits.

The addition of the Allied fighter and bomber units is a real treat, and they can exact a heavy toll from the Axis player.

I am anxious to try out M44, but I can't help but think that A&A D-Day is the better game at simulating the feel of D-Day. I think that M44 will come out as being more of a generic, fun, light wargame, which in itself isn't bad. It just doesn't seem to evoke that D-Day feel, at least from what I can see. In M44, you are usually trying to eliminate a set number of units, while in D-Day you have to either take or defend specific towns, which somehow to me feels more like a real battle. Also, the fact that a unit that is attacked gets an automatic defensive attack is a bonus.

Of course, the proof is in the pudding, as they say, and, to quote a certain Danish prince, "The play is the thing".


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