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Subject: Expanded nationality rules for Memoir'44 rss

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John McLintock
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A thread over at the DoW M44 forum decided me to write and test some variant rules. If you follow the thread over at DoW you'll see that the discussion has prompted many suggestions. For my part, I'm going to start with new nationality rules. The new command rules in the 2 expansions work very well to make each army unique, something which is sadly lacking in the core game IMO. shake

Germans
'Saddle Orders'
Instead of playing a command card and ordering units, a German player may choose to discard 1 command card and order no units. The player may then draw 2 cards, choose 1 to keep, and discard the other.

'Kampfgruppe'
A German player may form a Kampgruppe- ie. combine 2 depleted units into 1 unit. The 2 depleted units must be of the same type: infantry, armour, or artillery. If a unit with a special ability combines with a unit without that special ability, that special ability is not retained by the Kampgruppe; ie. units must each have the same special ability for that ability to be retained by the Kampfgruppe.

Order both units. Move either or both units so that they are in the same hex as each other. Remove any models in excess of the unit's full strength. The opposing player does not gain a victory medal for the removal of the depleted German unit. Neither of the 2 depleted units forming the new Kampfgruppe, nor the newly formed Kampgruppe, may move any further or battle at all in the turn in which the Kampgruppe is formed.

The German player's hand capacity is reduced by 1 card for the rest of the game each and every time a Kampgruppe is formed; NB. the German player's hand capacity may not be reduced below 3 cards through the formation of Kampgruppe.

British
'Marksmanship'
A British infantry unit may always fire at an opposing infantry unit with a minimum of 1 battle dice after battle dice reductions are applied for the defending infantry unit's terrain. Battle dice reductions due to the attacking unit's terrain may reduce this as normal; eg. British infantry in wire firing at an infantry unit in woods at 3-hex range would have 1-1=0 battle dice and would therefore be unable to fire. Bonus battle dice gained via Tactics cards are always applied on top of this; eg. the aforementioned unit would fire with 1-1+1=1 battle dice if using the 'Their Finest Hour' card.

'Careful preparation'
Instead of playing a command card and ordering units as normal, a British player may choose to play a command card as a plan. The command card is played face-down in front of the British player. The British player does not draw a new card when he plays a card as a plan. In subsequent turns, the British player may either play command cards from his hand as normal; or he may develop his plan, by playing another card face down in front of himself as above.

When the British player starts a turn with 2 planning command cards face down in front of him, he must go ahead with the plan. Both command cards are revealed, and are executed in the same turn. The British player replenishes his hand to its full value after playing his planning cards.

US Army
'Logistical superiority'
Allow either:
the 'Medics and Mechanics' card to apply to 2 units instead of 1
'Recon 1' to be used as a 'Medics and Mechanics' card.

'Go, go, go!'
At the start of the game, and immediately after (ie. after resbefore the card's effects are resolved) the play of the 'Their Finest Hour' card, the US Army may 'mulligan'the US Army player may discard as many cards as he chooses
the US Army player then draws 1 card fewer than the number of cards he chose to discard
the US Army player then draws 1 extra card on the conclusion of his next turn, to refill his hand to its normal size.

Russians
'Russian command rule'
In late-war scenarios, in which the Russian command rule is taken as not applying:
the rule still applies
but the command cards which the Russian player may play from their hand now include all Tactics cards as well as those already specified.

I played 1 game of Pegasus Bridge, so Saddle Orders, Kampfgruppe, Riflemanship, and Careful Preparation were run out. The scenario was really too small (and too brutally short) to see clearly the impact of the new rules. They didn't break, and I did enjoy the sense of the British winding up for their 'big push' when I used the Careful Preparation rule.

Also, I'm not reponsible for all of these rules myself. Check out the DoW thread to see who's been suggesting what.

Here is the DoW thread
http://www.daysofwonder.com/index.php?t=msg&th=10734&start=0...
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Will Green
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Of these, the "Careful Preparation" ploy is the one that most satiates my appetite. I can see Montgomery meticulously detailing the smallest minutia, in order to capitalize on some element that will render the enemy void of a valid response. Thanks for posting this!
 
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John McLintock
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tyvek wrote:
Of these, the "Careful Preparation" ploy is the one that most satiates my appetite. I can see Montgomery meticulously detailing the smallest minutia, in order to capitalize on some element that will render the enemy void of a valid response. Thanks for posting this!

Thanks for the appreciation Will. I can't take full credit for the idea myself though. The version you see here was tweaked from an original idea by neil1967- which he called the 'Monty rule'!- over on the DoW: M44 forum. I like the idea as a rule for the British, but can imagine variations having a wider application than that. Oh, and 'Careful Preparations' seemed a bit bland to me, so I've renamed the rule: The Big Push.

Meanwhile, do try this- or any other- rule out, and let us know how they work. Cheers.
 
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Victor Garcia
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Now, we just need the british expansion :-)
 
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John McLintock
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Latest playtest report
Me and badger managed to get 5 games of M44 in last Thursday: 2 each of Sainte Mère-Eglise and Sword Beach, plus 1 of Omaha Beach. The results are listed in the AAR's. Here is what I thought of the various rules these games tested.

Saddle Orders
This was used a few times. I remember finding it helpful at Sword Beach, when I was holding on to 3 good cards to reply to the British, but my 4th card was useless. This aid to hand-building didn't seem overpowerful to me, because you have to pay the price of missing a turn.

Kampfgruppe
This was never used, although there were times in all 3 scenarios in which it could have come in useful.

Marksmanship
This rule probably saw the most use of all the expanded nationality rules. Its net effect is that British infantry can always fire against enemy infantry at range 3 with 1 dice. This proved useful against the pillboxes on Sword Beach. Badger and I discussed whether Marksmanship should work despite wire, but seeing how it was working, we decided that this would be a bit much.

The Big Push
Another rule that wasn't used. It would've been perfect right at the beginning of Sword Beach though: starting the game with a Big Push or two would've been a great way to get off the beach. I'm hoping to get a chance to try this sort of thing out myself sometime soon.

Logistical Superiority
'Recon 1' cards were used a few times for 'Medics and Mechanics'. This didn't seem overpowered.

Go! Go! Go!
This rule was used often at the start of a game. Because it can only be used so few times, we tweaked it to remove the reduced redraw. The rule proved useful and didn't seem overpowered. I'd really like a new name for this rule, perhaps even a new rule altogether. I chose this rule because I didn't want to give the US Army the Marines' 'Gung ho!', nor some variant of 'Saddle Orders' or 'The Big Push'- to keep all the special rules distinct; but I'm not sure this rule gives me what I'd like to see for the US Army. So far the most interesting idea I've seen in this thread is GeneCirone's suggestion (over on DoW:M44) that the US player could draw a card of choice. I'd want to tweak Gene's idea slightly- searching the discards instead of the draw pile being the most important, but this idea is one I'd be interested in trying out if I wanted an alternative US Army special rule.

All in all then, badger and I were pleased with how the new rules worked out. They all worked and none of them seemed overpowerful. In addition, even if a particular rule wasn't actually used, its existence as a mere possibility meant we both felt that each army had a different feel. We both enjoyed this. So the new rules have already delivered something important: they have revived our interest in this old favourite of ours.
 
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John McLintock
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Expanded nationality rules v3
Germans
Saddle Orders
Instead of playing a command card and ordering units, a German player may choose to discard 1 command card and order no units. The player may then draw 2 cards, choose 1 to keep, and discard the other.

Kampgruppe
A German player may form a Kampgruppe- ie. combine 2 depleted units into 1 unit. The 2 depleted units must be of the same type: infantry, armour, or artillery. If a unit with a special ability combines with a unit without that special ability, that special ability is not retained by the Kampgruppe; ie. units must each have the same special ability for that ability to be retained by the Kampfgruppe.

Order both units. Move either or both units so that they are in the same hex as each other. Remove any models in excess of the units full strength. The opposing player does not gain a victory medal for the removal of the depleted German unit. Neither of the 2 depleted units forming the new Kampfgruppe, nor the newly formed Kampgruppe, may move any further or battle at all in the turn in which the Kampgruppe is formed.

The German players hand capacity is reduced by 1 card for the rest of the game each and every time a Kampgruppe is formed; NB. the German players hand capacity may not be reduced below 3 cards through the formation of Kampgruppe.

British
Marksmanship
A British infantry unit may always fire at an opposing infantry unit with a minimum of 1 battle dice after battle dice reductions are applied for the defending infantry units terrain. Battle dice reductions due to the attacking units terrain may reduce this as normal; eg. British infantry in wire firing at an infantry unit in woods at 3-hex range would have 1-1=0 battle dice and would therefore be unable to fire. Bonus battle dice gained via Tactics cards are always applied on top of this; eg. the aforementioned unit would fire with 1-1+1=1 battle dice if using the Their Finest Hour card.

The Big Push
Instead of playing a command card and ordering units as normal, a British player may choose to play a command card as a plan. The command card is played face-down in front of the British player. The British player does not draw a new card when he plays a card as a plan. In subsequent turns, the British player may either play command cards from his hand as normal; or he may develop his plan, by playing another card face down in front of himself as above.

When the British player starts a turn with 2 planning command cards face down in front of him, he must go ahead with the plan. Both command cards are revealed, and are executed in the same turn. The British player replenishes his hand to its full value after playing his planning cards.

US Army
Logistical superiority
With the US Army:
- the printed 'Medics and Mechanics' card orders 2 units instead of 1
- 'Recon 1' may be used as a 'Medics and Mechanics' card, but can
only order units in their proper section.

Go, go, go!
At the start of the game, and immediately after the play of the 'Their Finest Hour' card (ie. before rolling any dice for the card), the US Army may mulligan:
- the US Army player may discard as many cards as he chooses
- the US Army player then redraws as many cards as he discarded.

Russians
Russian command rule
In late-war scenarios, in which the Russian command rule is taken as not applying:
- the rule still applies
- but the command cards which the Russian player may play from their hand now include all Tactics cards as well as those already specified.
 
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Fredrik Claesson
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This looks interesting. We´ll try them out in our upcoming mini-tournament. Ill give you some feedback after that.

Would be nice to have one more Russian nationality rule. 5 men in every infantry unit? Nah, that sounds unbalanced...
 
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Jackson Riker
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It seems to me that the German rules are underpowered...the saddle orders seems a bit too much like the recon card, without getting to move and fire a unit.
The kampfgroup looks good, but who would be willing to sacrifice a card? I say modify it to keep all of your hand size.

The british marksmanship is a bit light, and the planning one seems excellent--I like the idea of a useless turn followed by a massive turn-adds a lot of new potential strategy

the russian one-no way! By late war, russia was killing the nazis...I'd rather see a berserk rule (like the banzai one for the japanese)

us -very good for logistics, the GO GO GO could actually apply to any nation, and then all those folks complaining about having dead hands and disliking card based wargames will be happier....
 
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John McLintock
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First off, my apologies to posters here at the BGG for having taken so long to reply to your earlier encouraging posts. Real life got in the way and all. But the project to develop and test these Expanded Nationality rules is still alive and well.

OK, so after many moons Badger and I finally got the time to sit down to some M44 and some more testing of the new Expanded Nationality rules. We decided to work on the British and German rules, and to play one of the SftF so that we could make a small contribution to the SftF rating project. So we chose Brummbar's Scenario #1525. Operation Charnwood: Phase I - Drive on Caen, a choice which took us into the realms of testing out variant rules for AT artillery as well as the Expanded Nationality rules.

Meanwhile, this post is intended as an update on these rules, so you find my DoW battle report here; my DoW SftF rating here; further comments on RD/KA! (my blog) here; the discussion Brummbar and I had about his scenario and the variant AT rules in the comments section of RD/KA! here; and the M44oW thread where variant AT rules are being discussed in depth here.

Whew! OK, so now back to the Expanded Nationality rules. First off: the Kampfgruppe rule. Reflecting on this a bit after the comments of Jackson Riker and others, I started to feel that saving a VP and losing a card was wrong, that the Kampfgruppe rule should cost a VP for the unit removed. What was nagging at me most was the idea that it was just silly to leave the Germans less operationally flexible- ie. with less cards- thanks to their use of a rule whose purpose is to represent the superiority of their operational doctrines. So I put it to Badger that the rule should now entail losing a VP without loss of a card. He agreed. The rule still hasn't been tested in action though. I guess that might just mean that it's not completely overpowering, else we'd've been using it all the time? Mebbe not.

One rule which really is shining is the British Big Push rule, adapted from a idea put forward by neil1967 over at M44oW back in March. Badger and I both really enjoy playing with this rule. We find it fun to play, and powerful without being overpowering. In fact, the central concept of this rule- the use of planning cards to allow the play of 2 cards in 1 turn- is coming to dominate our thinking at the moment.

To cut a long story short: we've been finding that the German Saddle Orders rule was falling a bit flat- the ability to get a free Recon-type draw on a discard rarely seemed worth missing a turn's action. So we're beginning to think that we should adapt the planning aspect of the British Big Push rule to give the Germans the ability to play 2 cards in 1 turn, but with more flexibility than the British. We haven't fixed on a version to test yet, but I will return to post the details just as soon as we do. One point on which I was able to satisfy myself though was that this idea is well in keeping with the C&C system, since playing 2 cards in 1 turn is a crucial of Epic BL. Hence making the same thing happen due to planning in a WW2 game makes perfect sense to me.

Meanwhile the British Marksmanship rule too seems to be working out just fine. It seems to be just effective enough to be irritating without being overpowering. And the ability it gives the British to stand-off at a 3-hex range and whittle away at enemy infantry units in cover strikes me as exactly what the British riflemen should be feared for!

And that's it for now. I would be delighted and gratified if any fellow M44 fans were to take the time to try these rules out, and to report their findings. Go on, give it a go: you know it makes sense!
 
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John McLintock
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Grendel wrote:
This looks interesting. We´ll try them out in our upcoming mini-tournament. Ill give you some feedback after that.

Would be nice to have one more Russian nationality rule. 5 men in every infantry unit? Nah, that sounds unbalanced...

I'm pleased you like the look of this Grendel. Any news from your mini-tournament then?

And yes, it would be nice to give the Russians another rule. One which Badger and I are thinking about is Berserk, a rule which we would adapt following form of the British Big Push rule. This is still in the brainstorming stage though, and will stay there until we've got the German rules worked out to our satisfaction. Thanks again for your interest.
 
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John McLintock
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jacksonriker wrote:
It seems to me that the German rules are underpowered...the saddle orders seems a bit too much like the recon card, without getting to move and fire a unit.
The kampfgroup looks good, but who would be willing to sacrifice a card? I say modify it to keep all of your hand size.

You'll've read by now Jackson that our own thinking is following similar lines. Thanks for the input here, which planted a seed long since germinated.
Quote:
The british marksmanship is a bit light, and the planning one seems excellent--I like the idea of a useless turn followed by a massive turn-adds a lot of new potential strategy

These 2 rules are working so well that I think Badger and I will soon agree that they are developed to our satisfaction.
Quote:
the russian one-no way! By late war, russia was killing the nazis...I'd rather see a berserk rule (like the banzai one for the japanese)

I'm not persuaded here: for all that they improved, the Russians never really escaped the limitations of their bureaucratic command structures, because these were intrinsic to their bureaucratic command economy. I like the Russian command rule as it exists in the EF expansion, and I would like to think that my late-war variant would still be fun to play. But there is a perceived need for the Russians to have something else. Badger and I are thinking about this.
Quote:
us -very good for logistics, the GO GO GO could actually apply to any nation, and then all those folks complaining about having dead hands and disliking card based wargames will be happier....

Yes, the Logistics should be OK. And yes, the Go, Go, Go! is my least favourite of all the rules. It's a good enough application of a rule of hand management to provide a special rule for M44, but I'm still not convinced that it captures what I want it to capture in respect of US army doctrines in WW2. Badger and I are giving this some thought.

Meanwhile, thanks again for your comments Jackson. They have proved a great help in our project already.
 
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John McLintock
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Yay! The PDF of v4 of the Expanded nationality rules is now available to download at M44:BGG. This is first fully-developed version. You can also find some notes on the contents of the v4 draft here at my blog.

As for the rules themselves? Badger and I are pretty satisfied with the British rules as they stand- they have stood the test of more games (8-10 games) than any other rules. We think the German rules are pretty good too, although they have been subject to more recent revisions, so the existing version hasn't been tested as thoroughly as the British rules. The U.S. Army rules are shaping up well, but need more testing. Meanwhile the Russian rules haven't been tested at all, although we like the look of them based on how the Commissar rules and the variant Plan rules have worked out in practice so far.

One final note: in my rush to get the PDF uploaded, I forgot to add acknowledgement of the support of the M44:BGG community more widely. I will amend this in a later version. Meanwhile, thanks to you all for your support in this thread.
 
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Eric Atmaja
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Hey John, kudos to all of you involved in the project !

I already had it downloaded and will try it the next time I play m44

by reading the rules I'm pretty satisfied with markmanship rules for the British. and IMO the Mulligan rule for US is good for those who complained about getting bad cards draw.

thx very much for your effortslaugh !
 
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John McLintock
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Thank you for your kind words Eric. I'll pass the kudos on to Badger too. I look forward to reading your opinions about how the rules work for you in actual play. Thanks again.
 
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Kenneth Wofford
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An additional COmmissar rue for the Soviets would be to allow the placement of tokens to represent the "Corset Stiffening" of the Commissars on the battlefield; any flags rolled MUST be taken as losses without retreat.
 
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John McLintock
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southseasnurse wrote:
An additional COmmissar rue for the Soviets would be to allow the placement of tokens to represent the "Corset Stiffening" of the Commissars on the battlefield; any flags rolled MUST be taken as losses without retreat.

Ah yes, the old 'murderous Commissar' rule. The thing is southseasnurse that this was apparently rarer than is popularly imagined. So even though I can see the appeal of such a rule, I have to say that I think it should be a scenario special rule instead of a general Russian nationality rule. So your idea of placing tokens would be useful for that purpose, to indicate which units were subject to this special rule.

I also feel that I would prefer to leave the choice to retreat or not up to the player. That is: they can retreat as normal, with no further effect; or they can ignore flags at a cost of 1 model/flag ignored. I think that this would reflect the reality of the Commissars a bit more neatly. This one is definitely worth including as a special rule in a Scenario from the Front. That way it'd be more likely to be tried out.
 
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John McLintock
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I've added a post to RD/KA! in which I report on 5 games Badger and I played testing the Russian Expanded Nationality rules. Everything went rather well we thought (I mean with the rules- both of us weren't too pleased with some of what happened with the games!). I hope members of BGG:M44 will enjoy reading it.

More importantly for this post: I'm making an appeal for feedback. A previous comment from Brummbär in my DoW:M44 thread made me wonder how clearly I'd explained the rules. And my friends Gav and Badger have commented that they don't think v4 of the rules is that clear. So I'm hoping that any BGG:M44 members who've downloaded the Expanded Nationality rules v4 might post their thoughts on this.

I'm not necessarily asking for people to play games using the rules, although that would be nice. What I really need right now is comments on how clear the rules are from the existing draft. If there is a consensus that the rules are too difficult to understand, then I'm going to have seriously to rethink how I present them. Thanks in advance.
 
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