Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Game Expansion Preview: Memoir '44 Equipment Pack

Many years ago, Jason Matthews (the co-designer of Twilight Struggle, Founding Fathers & 1960: Making of a President) called me a "closet toy soldier collector" based on my enjoyment of the Gamemaster series of games (Axis & Allies, Fortress America, etc.) and the Hasbro/Avalon Hill edition of History of the World. I was compelled to mention my addiction to Heroscape & my budding collection of Attacktix figures to support his accusation.

Well, for all the closet toy soldier collectors (like me!) out there, the folks at Days of Wonder have decided to throw you a bone. Well, actually, 185 bones. The newest Memoir '44 expansion set is called the Equipment Pack - and it's basically a pile of wonderful plastic pieces to spice up your Memoir '44 set.

There are some new vehicles:

  • Hobart's Funnies - complete with interchangeable accessories!
  • Screaming Meemies (with Smoke Shell capability)
  • Tank Destroyers
  • Kubelwagen (command cars)
As well as some new troops:
  • French infantry
  • Polish cavalry
  • Finnish ski troops
  • Italian artillery
In addition, there are a number of figures that replace certain badges (some with updated information cards):
  • special weapons assets like machine guns & mortars
  • Long Tom (Big Guns)
  • Landing Craft
  • Tank Destroyers
  • Snipers
And as a thoughtful addition for newer closet toy soldier collectors, the vehicles that were originally published with the Battle Map series:
  • Supply Trucks
  • Half Tracks
  • Long Range Patrol Cars ("jeeps")
  • Tiger tanks

While you can retrofit these nifty new pieces into earlier scenarios, the good folks at Days of Wonder thoughtfully have provided 11 new "regular" scenarios, 2 Breakthrough scenarios, 3 Overlord scenarios... and, for good measure, a way to combine two of the smaller scenarios into one large Overlord battle.

The appropriate new information cards are in the box (along with a set in French for those of you who "Parlez-vous fran├žais". There is a rulebook (in multiple languages) and a scenario book (similar in format to the last few expansions).

I was surprised to find no new terrain, badges or tokens in this set - but in many cases, that's exactly what these figures are replacing.

There are always two questions when dealing with Memoir '44 expansions that have to be answered:
  • Which expansions do I need to make this expansion playable?
    • The BGG entry has an extensive list (under the More Information tab) scenario by scenario, but if you'll need at least a base game & the Terrain Pack. A Winter/Desert board (or two) as well as Winter Wars & the Mediterranean Theater would be nice as well... and you'll wanted the Overlord & Breakthrough expansion for those scenarios. Finally, the Urban Combat deck from Battle Map #3 is used in one of the Overlord scenarios.
  • Is this expansion an essential part of my Memoir '44 collection?
    • I don't know that I'd use the word "essential" - but if you enjoy the high "toy factor" of Memoir '44, this adds some wonderful bits to the game along with some really nifty new rules & unit types. I'd feel sad if I didn't have it in my collection.
So far, I've played 3 of the one board scenarios and one of the Overlord scenarios (with a fifth scenario set up in my game room, waiting for my son & I!). The scenarios are not perfectly balanced but they have all been very enjoyable to play, even on the losing side. (Yes, I've lost 3 of the 4. Don't rub it in.)

This post was originally written in August of 2012 - but somehow missed getting published. My apologies both to Days of Wonder (who thoughtfully provided the review copy) and to my readers.

1 comment:

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