Designer: Richard Borg
Publisher: Days of Wonder
Players: 2 (2-8)
Duration: 40-120 minutes
Reviewed by Andrea “Liga” Ligabue
I’m actually a real Memoir’44 Fan and I have at home almost everything published for this game system and also many scenarios downloaded from the net. So, of course, I was really thrilled reading the announce of this expansion and also really happy finding a preview copy in my mailbox!
The first things Memoir’44 Equipment Pack offers is an huge amount of plastic bits packed in a box in the standard Days of Wonder size. I’m been really happy discovering that the box also provides plastic zip locks in different sizes for all the pieces and, as usual for Days of Wonder games, no need to glue or cut. One of the vehicles in the box, the Hobart’s Funny, has several different accessories that you can use in different scenarios, from mine digger to assault bridge, just inserting the piece in small hole on the vehicle. They suggest to glue something but it is not really needed.
The complete list of bits (you can found it on the Days of Wonder website or in BGG) more than 100 miniatures from minor nation (I’m not so sure to be happy to be part of a “minor nation” but, I think, this is the History) including French Infantry, Polish Cavalry, Finnish Sky Troop and Italian Artillery and another 24 artilleries miniatures going from Long Tom Big Guns to Flak 88. I really like the Nebelwerfer figures and the smoke shells rules. Going on on the list of bit you get 6 Landing Crafts and the 6 Hobert’s Funnies with the accessories. Than a fistful of tanks: 3 Tigers, 3 Sd.Kfz 250 and 6 Elephant Panserjager; 12 veihicles including 6 Kubelwagen command cars; Snipers and special weapons.
Are all these figures new ? No, the pack also includes figures already published elsewhere in the years (like the Tigers or the Dodge WC-63).
Do you need these figures to play Memoir’44 ? Of course no, but you can also play the winter scenarios on the normal map using the US Army instead of the Russian soldiers. If you like to play a simple and easy tactical wargame like Memoir’44 diving in the atmosphere of the Second World War it is much better using the Long Tom figures instead of the yellow Long Tom Counter or having a real sniper figure in your Stalingrado battle instead of a normal figure with the sniper counter aside.
The pack also include summary cards. I’m not a real fan of summary cards. I really would prefer some day Days of Wonder will publish a compendium with all the special rules to use during the battle. But, of course, for people liking and using the cards (my kid really likes) is a nice add-on.
The pack includes two books in both English and French: a rulebook and a scenario book. The rulebook, of course, report how to use all the figures in the box and also a chapter about the different victory conditions.
This expansion not include any cardboard counter: of course, if you need to mark a special troop now you have the right figure to use!
The scenario book includes 11 Standard, 4 Overlord and 2 Breakthrough battles almost all requesting tiles from previous expansion. I think it is not a real problem because the main target of Memoir’44 Equipment Pack is the real Memoir’44 fan (like me) having at home most (or all) the expansions. Of course all the scenarios in this expansion are using some or more of the special figures included in the box.
I already played many of this scenarios: of course all the little special rules/tactics added by the special units make the game deeper but not suited for newbies and kid. I like the Half Traks resupply ability and also the possibility introduced by the Tank Destroyer in the Operation Epson Breakthrough scenario.
Before going to the conclusion the full list of the scenarios in this expansion (I copied for quick editing the list on BGG’s page)
10909 – Canal De La Haute Colme – May 30, 1940 (Mediterranean Theater, Terrain Pack)
10908 – The Bourbourg – Brouckerque Line – May 30, 1940 (Terrain Pack)
1408 – Operation Seydlitz – July 02, 1942 – (Terrain Pack)
8660 – The Maginot “Four a Chaux” – June 19, 1940 – (Terrain Pack)
10754 – Action At Zaporozhie – October 13, 1943 – (Terrain Pack)
8730 – Panzer Attack on Hill 140 – August 09, 1944 – (Mediterranean Theater)
5871 – Le Havre – September 11, 1944 – (Terrain Pack)
10924 – Fire Action at Singling – December 06, 1944 – (Winter Board Optional, Winter Wars, Terrain Pack)
7218 – Battle of Celles – Decemebr 25, 1944 – (Winter Board Optional, Terrain Pack, Winter Wars)
10922 – Winter Fight At Kuhmo – November 30, 1939 – (Winter Board Optional, Winter Wars)
4178 – Battle of Nezuet Ghirba – June 16, 1940 – (Desert Board Optional, Mediterranean Theater)
10962 – Operation Epsom – June 27, 1944 – (Breakthrough, Terrain Pack, Mediterranean Theater)
10925 – Out of Kemi – October 03, 1944 – (Breakthrough, Terrain Pack, Winter Wars)
7406 – Offensive on Saint-Lo – June 11-12, 1944 – (Overlord, Terrain Pack)
10937 – High Stake At Bruyeres – October 17, 1944 – (Overlord, Overlord Map #3 for Urban War Deck)
10932 – Twin Battles at Warnach & Bigonville (winter Overlord) – Decemebr 23, 1944 – (Overlord, Terrain Pack, Winter Wars, 2 Winter Maps Optional)
You can also play (and it is really nice) the first two scenarios combined in a Overlord game.
I really like this expansion and I’m sure all the Memoir’44 fan will be happy of this release. The new rules and scenarios provided are not enough to make the buy if you are not really interested in the fantastic amount of plastic figures included in the box. The presence of the ziplocks, the new summary cards and the “no need” of cut and glue to deploy the new units is great. For people like me preferring boardgames and not really happy about games where you need to cut, paste and glue to have a nice setting Memoir’44 is always a pleasure to play and this expansion is the cherry on the top.
Opinions for other Opinionated Gamers
Matt Carlson: As Liga states, the Equipment Pack is essentially a giant pile of plastic, with a heaping helping of scenarios tossed into the mix. To summarize, many of these units have been seen before, but up until now they have been represented on the game board by a regular unit and then identified with a cardboard token to denote their “extraordinary” status. With the Equipment pack, players can now dispense with the cardboard tokens.
A great boon for collectors of the game’s many expansions, as well as fans of the “minor nations” (French, Finnish, Italian, Polish) of WWII, the Equipment Pack technically brings very few new rules to the game. This is both good and bad. Bad for those who crave even more depth to their game, but also a good thing because one of the best things about Memoir ‘44 is its elegant simplicity of play. The plastic bits and artwork can attract casual gamers to the game (and this expansion has plastic bits in spades) while the ease of game play sets the hook to keep players interested in the system.
I must admit that I don’t currently own the Equipment Pack expansion and thus haven’t got it to the table for playtesting. However, I’ve examined it fairly closely (at GenCon) and am familiar with much of the material presented. My only concern (other than where will this fit on my Memoir ‘44 shelf) is if the new figures are not easily distinguishable from more “standard” units – for scenarios that contain a broad mix of special and normal units. I’m not too concerned. Worst case scenario would be to simply use the new fancy plastic figures AND break out the old school cardboard tokens just to help in identifying the unique units on the game board.
The cheapskate in me keeps saying that I can recreate nearly this entire expansion by simply continuing to use my cardboard tokens (and I don’t, at present, need any more scenarios), but my inner child continues to shout that I simply need more of those awfully cute plastic figures. I’m not an obsessive collector of Memoir ‘44 (there are a few expansions here or there I don’t own), but I think my inner child is going to win this one. I fully expect to pick this expansion up later this fall when I start to nail down my fall/holiday gaming purchases.
As an aside, anyone just coming into the Memoir ‘44 fold should be aware that Days of Wonder recommend the Terrain Pack and the Winter/Desert board expansions to make the best use of the included scenarios. While I suspect one could get by without the fancy/custom graphics of the winter/desert board, I would strongly suggest owners of the Equipment Pack also have the Terrain Pack on hand to make the included scenarios more playable. I’m off to go rearrange my Memoir ‘44 shelf to make room. I should be OK, at least until someone translates that 500+ page Memoir ‘44 strategy guide from French into English…
Ratings Review from the Opinionated Gamers
I love it!: Andrea “Liga” Ligabue
I like it. Matt Carlson
Not for me…