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trydling
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December 2006
Retrofitting Richard Borg's modern rules to make Memoir 44 deeper Wed, 13 July 2011 13:36
I think Memoir 44 is terrific as a basis to build upon, but I have a few gripes with it -- especially after playing the evolved games Battlelore and Battles of Westeros.

Here are a few ideas of how to house rule so Memoir 44 becomes more akin to Battlelore and Battles of Westeros in tactical depth. They are mostly rules that Richard Borg himself has introduced in later games in his system, so I think it makes sense to retrofit them to Memoir 44. Smile

It would be fun to hear your thoughts on these ideas. Have you tried any of them yourselves? Do you think they would break the balance in the game in any way? Thanks for reading!

1: HIGH MORALE UNITS IGNORE 1 FLAG
Troops who are adjacent to at least 2 other friendly troops are considered "bold" and can ignore 1 flag.

GRIPE SOLVED: Excessive troops lost because the map is narrow and a lot of troops attacked will never have moved from the baseline. Excessive back-and-forth at every flag rolled.

2: BATTLE BACK
Troops considered "bold" (see point 1 above) can battle back at an adjacent attacker after having resolved the original attack. A unit can only battle back once per turn. Flags are ignored on battle back, and units who have battled back cannot take ground or do armor overrun.

GRIPE SOLVED: You seldom have to fear any repercussions by storming headlessly into battle in M44. You can easily kill 3 full units in one single turn, which is very brutal and sudden in a 5-6 medal scenario. With battle backs, you know that potentially every attack against a "bold" unit could spell trouble for YOU. The solution is to focus attacks on troops who are not "bold" or to focus several attacks on the same "bold" unit, since they can only battle back once.

3: WEAKENED UNITS ARE WEAKENED Smile
Units who have lost at least half of their figures (round up) roll half the number of attack dice (round up). Example: A regular tank unit has lost 2 of its 3 figures and now rolls 2-2-2 instead of 3-3-3.

GRIPE SOLVED: No difference from an offensive perspective at the battlefield between player A having 4 1-figure units left and player B having 4 4-figure units left. Having units weaken means there will be more diversity at the battlefield and more tactical decisions to be made at every turn.

4: DISCARD TO ORDER 1 UNIT OF YOUR CHOICE
Discard any 1 card to order 1 unit of your choice.

GRIPE SOLVED: Not being able to order any units if cards are unlucky. Not being able to order that 1 unit that will lose the game for you if you don'r retreat this round. Note that this would still be a lesser card than the official Recon, since Recon lets you choose from 2 new command cards.
      
Nygaard
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Re:Retrofitting Richard Borg's modern rules to make Memoir 44 deeper Wed, 13 July 2011 14:46
Good points all - and many of them have been discussed several times here on the boards.
Please don't take this critique the wrong way, I personally love making up special rules, but only for particular scenarios, not as a way to make the game more complicated or "realistic".

trydling wrote on Wed, 13 July 2011 13:36

(snip)
1: HIGH MORALE UNITS IGNORE 1 FLAG
Troops who are adjacent to at least 2 other friendly troops are considered "bold" and can ignore 1 flag.

GRIPE SOLVED: Excessive troops lost because the map is narrow and a lot of troops attacked will never have moved from the baseline. Excessive back-and-forth at every flag rolled.


This is already part of the Japanese Imperial Army (Nations 3). I've often made scenarios where some units followed that rule, while others were "normal" units. They of course HAVE to ignore a flag, which is often a disadvantage, not an advantage.
Italian Artillery also ignore 1 flag (here it's a choice).

As a house or scenario rule this is a perfectly good idea.

trydling wrote on Wed, 13 July 2011 13:36



2: BATTLE BACK
Troops considered "bold" (see point 1 above) can battle back at an adjacent attacker after having resolved the original attack. A unit can only battle back once per turn. Flags are ignored on battle back, and units who have battled back cannot take ground or do armor overrun.

GRIPE SOLVED: You seldom have to fear any repercussions by storming headlessly into battle in M44. You can easily kill 3 full units in one single turn, which is very brutal and sudden in a 5-6 medal scenario. With battle backs, you know that potentially every attack against a "bold" unit could spell trouble for YOU. The solution is to focus attacks on troops who are not "bold" or to focus several attacks on the same "bold" unit, since they can only battle back once.


Any rule that would make the game MORE static is a bad rule, in my book.
I like the "Stiff Upper Lip" rule much better, and it could easily be used for other units than those of the Commonwealth.

trydling wrote on Wed, 13 July 2011 13:36


3: WEAKENED UNITS ARE WEAKENED Smile
Units who have lost at least half of their figures (round up) roll half the number of attack dice (round up). Example: A regular tank unit has lost 2 of its 3 figures and now rolls 2-2-2 instead of 3-3-3.

GRIPE SOLVED: No difference from an offensive perspective at the battlefield between player A having 4 1-figure units left and player B having 4 4-figure units left. Having units weaken means there will be more diversity at the battlefield and more tactical decisions to be made at every turn.


I really don't like this rule, and it makes very little sense on a modern battlefield. Mostly an infantry unit is as strong as the ammunition and weapons allow, not the actual number of men. 1 Machine Gun is worth a good many men with rifles.
This rule might make a lot of sense when you are talking about massed musket fire or ancient infantry, where numbers were vital.
But even here I prefer the simple "BattleCry" method, where the Figures represent a "morale breaking point" more than an effective fighting total.

trydling wrote on Wed, 13 July 2011 13:36


4: DISCARD TO ORDER 1 UNIT OF YOUR CHOICE
Discard any 1 card to order 1 unit of your choice.

GRIPE SOLVED: Not being able to order any units if cards are unlucky. Not being able to order that 1 unit that will lose the game for you if you don'r retreat this round. Note that this would still be a lesser card than the official Recon, since Recon lets you choose from 2 new command cards.


This is a common house-rule among many - and I've used it for tournaments here in DK. I agree that it's a good way to avoid the problem of somebody not having ANY card he can play. It's a very good rule for new players who are unfamiliar with Command and Colors and risk suddenly playing themselves into a corner, so to speak.
However, again I don't like it as a general rule. First off, if I deliberately eliminate my opponent's flank to effectively make about 1/4 of his cards useless - I don't want him to be able to play those cards in another flank, that would effectively ruin a lot of game play.
It also makes the element of "constructing your hand" slightly less interesting, since you can always play any card to activate 1 unit.

Any way, that's my 0.02 DKK
Magnus

PS: And welcome to the forums!
      
Sgt Storm
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Re:Retrofitting Richard Borg's modern rules to make Memoir 44 deeper Wed, 13 July 2011 22:18
My comments on these proposed rules are below. Don't take offense as they are just my opinions. Without knowing anything about how Battlelore or Battles of Westeros are played, I can't comment on why these rules were added to those games, but I wonder if there may have been differences with Memoir '44 that account for them not being as applicable.

trydling wrote on Wed, 13 July 2011 07:36



1: HIGH MORALE UNITS IGNORE 1 FLAG
Troops who are adjacent to at least 2 other friendly troops are considered "bold" and can ignore 1 flag.

GRIPE SOLVED: Excessive troops lost because the map is narrow and a lot of troops attacked will never have moved from the baseline. Excessive back-and-forth at every flag rolled.



I think this would be an okay house rule, however, I don't particularly agree with the gripe. I don't think there is excessive back and forth, as I rather enjoy that part of the battle, especially when fighting for objectives. Also, for the baseline attacks, you have to believe that some scenarios (with excessive units on baseline) were balanced based on units being killed on the baseline.

Quote:


2: BATTLE BACK
Troops considered "bold" (see point 1 above) can battle back at an adjacent attacker after having resolved the original attack. A unit can only battle back once per turn. Flags are ignored on battle back, and units who have battled back cannot take ground or do armor overrun.

GRIPE SOLVED: You seldom have to fear any repercussions by storming headlessly into battle in M44. You can easily kill 3 full units in one single turn, which is very brutal and sudden in a 5-6 medal scenario. With battle backs, you know that potentially every attack against a "bold" unit could spell trouble for YOU. The solution is to focus attacks on troops who are not "bold" or to focus several attacks on the same "bold" unit, since they can only battle back once.



I don't think I would use this house rule. I don't agree with the gripe (i.e., I think its a non-issue). More often than not, I have attacked with a large number of units, only to be beaten back and eventually smashed. So IMO there are repercussions in most scenarios resulting from attacking positions that are defended by terrain and being exposed to a counter-attack in the opponent's turn.

Quote:


3: WEAKENED UNITS ARE WEAKENED Smile
Units who have lost at least half of their figures (round up) roll half the number of attack dice (round up). Example: A regular tank unit has lost 2 of its 3 figures and now rolls 2-2-2 instead of 3-3-3.

GRIPE SOLVED: No difference from an offensive perspective at the battlefield between player A having 4 1-figure units left and player B having 4 4-figure units left. Having units weaken means there will be more diversity at the battlefield and more tactical decisions to be made at every turn.



I wouldn't use this house rule either. Weakened units are already weakened, simply because they are more vulnerable to becoming a medal. In your example, the 1 figure tank is an easy target and I am less likely to order it in an attack and will quite likely retreat them (this is an offensive difference as it changes my offensive tactics). So IMO There is a big difference from an offensive perspective between 4 1-figure units and the same number of full strength units: As an attacker I would rarely order them to assault a position. And from a defensive position these four 1-figure units are most likely going to lose the game as they are 4 easy medals.

Quote:


4: DISCARD TO ORDER 1 UNIT OF YOUR CHOICE
Discard any 1 card to order 1 unit of your choice.

GRIPE SOLVED: Not being able to order any units if cards are unlucky. Not being able to order that 1 unit that will lose the game for you if you don't retreat this round. Note that this would still be a lesser card than the official Recon, since Recon lets you choose from 2 new command cards.


This is an okay house rule. However, if a scenario was designed and "balanced" with the idea you would be stuck with useless cards, then using the rule will unbalance the scenario (there a quite a few official scenarios with 4 cards that I am sure had this useless card gripe in mind in the design).

I prefer to play scenarios with the rules as written (the scenario should outline the special rules under which it was designed and balanced) and don't particularly have too many gripes about the rules. My gripes with the game are mainly with regard to scenario balance (e.g., many scenarios are not well balanced, the unbalanced Air Power card).

[Updated on: Wed, 13 July 2011 22:20]

      
player guy
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Re:Retrofitting Richard Borg's modern rules to make Memoir 44 deeper Thu, 14 July 2011 06:03
I myself, along with my dad who I play with a lot, have tossed most of these ideas around. They are not written anywhere, but it's the general idea.

For the first one, we don't use it, and I don't expect we will. This is because it can become more of a handicap instead of a good thing, partly because you're units are in danger for longer.

For the second one, we haven't really thought much about it, but I have some, but not much. I've thought about it mainly because if in real combat, a defending unit is not just going to get attacked without trying to defend itself. My idea is to toss the dice at 1/2 of what the attacker rolled unless in a position that enables defensive positions.

The third one I defiantly agree with. I mean, you've got 1 tank left. Sure, you're probably going to send it to the rear, but it still battles at 3-3-3 with only 1 gun, same with infantry. I understand that thing called machine guns, but what if the machine gunner is knocked out?

The fourth one is almost exactly like our rule. Our rule is that if you have a section card with 2 or less units in that section, you may trade in that one card for another at no cost. If you get another one for that, trade it in again. However, we may only do this once per game, so it adds strategy to this.

Player guy

      
Nygaard
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Re:Retrofitting Richard Borg's modern rules to make Memoir 44 deeper Thu, 14 July 2011 09:28
player guy wrote on Thu, 14 July 2011 06:03

(snip)The third one I defiantly agree with. I mean, you've got 1 tank left. Sure, you're probably going to send it to the rear, but it still battles at 3-3-3 with only 1 gun, same with infantry. I understand that thing called machine guns, but what if the machine gunner is knocked out? (snip)


It's a question of how you look at it. In my book an armor unit is not "three tanks", or almost never. On very small scaled maps they might represent as little as a single vehicle, where as on very large scaled maps they might represent an entire armored division projecting it's dominance over dozens of kilometers.

So I don't see the destruction of a figure to be actually killing or destroying it (very rarely do units fight to the last man) - but simply to remove it's ability to be any significant threat. The figures represent something like "hit points" or "morale points" for the unit, at least in my head.

Some games do very well with more detailed squad building and 1 to 1 vehicles (Tide of Iron for instance) - but I think Mem44's strong side is partly it's basic simplicity.
      
trydling
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Re:Retrofitting Richard Borg's modern rules to make Memoir 44 deeper Thu, 14 July 2011 11:10
Hi all and thanks for the warm welcome, Magnus! It's exciting to hear your thoughts on these rules.

I guess part of what I am looking for is more ways to strategize. Part of it is also I feel a lot of scenarios are over very quickly and suddenly. I have ordered the BT pack and hoping that the larger maps and higher medal counts will suit my tastes.

I definitely enjoy the more advanced scenarios with lots of special units and winning conditions, such as Reds Barricades Factory.

Hope to see you on M44 Online in the future. Cheers!
/trydling
      
Elendil90
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Re:Retrofitting Richard Borg's modern rules to make Memoir 44 deeper Thu, 14 July 2011 21:51
trydling wrote on Thu, 14 July 2011 10:10

Hi all and thanks for the warm welcome, Magnus! It's exciting to hear your thoughts on these rules.

I guess part of what I am looking for is more ways to strategize. Part of it is also I feel a lot of scenarios are over very quickly and suddenly. I have ordered the BT pack and hoping that the larger maps and higher medal counts will suit my tastes.

I definitely enjoy the more advanced scenarios with lots of special units and winning conditions, such as Reds Barricades Factory.

Hope to see you on M44 Online in the future. Cheers!
/trydling


Have you played other wargames before? I think M44 is designed to be quicker and less strategic than conventional wargames.

I agree some scenarios end very abruptly, sometimes while the outcome of the battle is still in doubt! I am testing a rule whereby the game does not end immediately when the medal requirement is attained. Instead we continue to the "loser's" turn, and if he/she draws level or even overtakes, the game continues. A player then wins by starting a turn with more medals than their opponent. So far it has produced some very exciting finishes! And it produces a clear decision in every battle.

Of course it can extend the game a bit, but I think it's worth it. Very Happy

PS: I'm distinguishing the game, which of course is decided by medals, from the battle, the actual situation "on the ground". In my experience the game often ends with the outcome of the battle still uncertain... Hopefully that's understandable. Confused
      
Nygaard
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Re:Retrofitting Richard Borg's modern rules to make Memoir 44 deeper Thu, 14 July 2011 22:35
trydling wrote on Thu, 14 July 2011 11:10

Hi all and thanks for the warm welcome, Magnus! It's exciting to hear your thoughts on these rules.

I guess part of what I am looking for is more ways to strategize. Part of it is also I feel a lot of scenarios are over very quickly and suddenly. I have ordered the BT pack and hoping that the larger maps and higher medal counts will suit my tastes.

I definitely enjoy the more advanced scenarios with lots of special units and winning conditions, such as Reds Barricades Factory.

Hope to see you on M44 Online in the future. Cheers!
/trydling


You're welcome - and I look forward to crossing you on the virtual battlefield.

Not to toot my own horn... (ok, just a little *tooot*) but if you are interested in lots of special circumstances and rules to make the scenarios interesting take a look at some of mine.
Also, have you got the Campaign Book? Because you'll find a metric s**t-ton of good scenarios tied together to make quite interesting winning conditions overall.

Carry on,
Lt-Col Nygaard

[Updated on: Thu, 14 July 2011 22:36]

      
trydling
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Re:Retrofitting Richard Borg's modern rules to make Memoir 44 deeper Fri, 15 July 2011 00:10
Excellent! CB1 is in the same shipment as BT. Smile Playing linked scenarios sounds like my cup of board gaming tea. And I will check your homemade ones. Thanks for the tip!
      
RonB
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Re:Retrofitting Richard Borg's modern rules to make Memoir 44 deeper Fri, 15 July 2011 14:18
You want more realism? Try this once and you'll get a better "feel" for the way the battles really went and why. Don't use the cards. Let units move/fight as normal every turn. If you want to go one further, allow any attacked unit to fire back. This is more "real". However......

The card system is what makes it a game, not a simulation. Once you start down the slope to "realism", there is no end to the number of rules that can be added and then you've taken away the heart of the game, the fun. I even have trouble with all the added on rules in the expansions. It now takes a multi-page rule book (or rule books) to do something on the board.

But then again, in your own house, you can do whatever you like.
      
trydling
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Re:Retrofitting Richard Borg's modern rules to make Memoir 44 deeper Fri, 15 July 2011 15:04
@RonB: I'm not after more realism, just more ways in which my tactical thinking becomes a bigger factor in deciding the outcome, e.g. In judging how to move troops to keep morale high, which units to attack and how to keep risk for my own troops minimal, etc. IMO both Battlelore and Battles of Westeros are more interesting systems because they allow the players to take more parameters into the equation at every move. I sometimes feel the cards in M44 are more decisive than the limited tactical choices you can make.

It would be interesting to hear players of both Battlelore/BoW/ToI and M44 explain how they feel the rudimentary system of M44 is better. Better because it's simpler/faster/easier? Maybe. I will soon try some extended campaigns in M44 and see where I end up with this game.

At any rate, thanks for your thoughts! Smile
      
    
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