Joseph
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A review of Tigers in the Snow.

*****

This is a two part review. The first part is a short “capsule” review, for people who
like to get right to the point. The second part of the review contains more depth, as
well as various musings and tips regarding this expansion and one map in particular.
(Saint-Aignan de Cramesnil)

Capsule review:

1. You get 6 tiger tanks, two new maps, and 4 scenarios. Two of the scenarios are
Overlord scenarios, requiring two maps.

2. The Tiger tanks are larger and beefier looking than other tanks, and have good
sculpts.

3. In play, the tiger tanks are somewhat tougher than the other tanks.

4. Playing with the tiger tanks, feels different than playing with the standard tanks.
It’s a nice change.

5. This is a decent expansion. I’d rank it below the Russian Front, Pacific expansion,
and the campaign book, but above the Med and Air Pack expansions.

6. I rate this game 6/10.

*******

Okay, now a longer and more chatty treatment. This article jumps around a bit, but
I’ll discuss the expansion itself, as well as some tips and strategy that you may find
useful. (Particularly for one scenario)

Background:
My geek buddy and I have been playing Memoir 44 together for a long while, and
have been enjoying almost weekly sessions of wargaming and goofing around. We’re
both grognards, and we cut our teeth on the classic hex and counter games, as well
as historical miniatures. Due to busy personal schedules, we can only play longer
games on occasion, so we chose the Command and Colors series for those nights
when we only had a few hours to play. We do enjoy heavier games, but time simply
does not permit us to indulge in these as much as we’d like.

Opening the Box!:

The Tigers themselves
They’re hefty. Almost twice as wide as a Sherman, and a little bit longer. Two tigers,
side by side, fill a hex nicely. I like the sculpt, and it’s a handsome unit. I wish that
they’d chosen a color other than white. Perhaps a shade of gray that is lighter than
the normal German units, would have been more appropriate. Otherwise, they’re
fine.

The Tigers – The Rules in Play
As I stated earlier, the tigers are more durable than normal tanks. Some people have
described them as being tougher, but more brittle. That might be a good enough
analogy for our purposes. In any case, the simplest way to describe how they work is
to say that you’ve got to kill them twice. The first time you get a hit on a tiger isn’t
enough to kill it. You immediately pick up the dice that caused the hit(s) on that tank,
and roll them again. You have to score a grenade on the second roll to finish the job.
(Tigers are only one model per unit) All other results are ignored. So if you hit the
tiger with 2 dice on the first roll, you pick up those two dice and roll them again.
(Trying to roll a grenade) Otherwise, no effect. This puts a little bit more tension into
the play, as the second roll is generally encouraged by exhortations of “Come on
baby, COME ON!”.

The Tigers – How they “feel” during play.
The units feel rugged during play, but they’re not invincible. That’s a good thing.
They’re just tough enough to strike apprehension into the heart of the guy sitting
across the table from you. That warms my heart. Facing the tigers, it’s easy to find
yourself thinking: “How am I going to kill these damn things?”. Playing with the
tigers, there’s a maniacal glory in running roughshod through the enemy ranks when
the dice go your way. Defensively, a tiger in favorable terrain can be very difficult to
root out. They’re nasty on the defensive. Don’t even try and crack that nut until you
can get some significant fire power lined up. A few favorable cards to follow up would
be helpful as well. Otherwise, you have to hope to get lucky.

As the German player, strategy depends largely on the scenario. Tigers are
significantly better on the defense than they are on the offense. A tiger hunkered
down in a wood, or on a hill, should be righteously feared. If the tigers have access
to good roads, or can advance under cover, they should do so. Jam the tigers down
your opponents throat, but only if you have the cards to continue the march onward.
In other words, don’t leave your units stranded out there to be picked apart. This is
one of the most common mistakes made by novice players. The other most common
mistake, is to not pull back units with only 1 figure left.

The Scenario we played. (Once from each side)
The scenario that Kent and I played was Saint-Aignan de Cramesnil, which is
intended to showcase the new recruits into the German tank corps. It’s a decent
scenario, and can be quite tough if you don’t keep on your toes. It’s got some nice
little twists and turns to it. The Tigers essentially catch the Canadians off guard,
launching their assault with 5 cards, versus the 4 cards of the allies. Thankfully for
the Allies, their hand grows to 6 cards over the course of the next two turns. The
Germans are also blessed with a “tank ace”, who gets +1 battle die if he doesn’t
move. He can also ignore the first flag result rolled against him.

The player controlling the Germans would be wise to make use of the convenient
roads that the scenario provides. They lead right into the allied side of the board.
Additionally, the allied card limit during the first two rounds, is a significant handicap.
While the allies occupy favorable terrain, they really don’t have anywhere to go if
pressed. Also, there are a few units that are out in the open and vulnerable. Look for
them. If the German player gets a few left flank cards, I’d suggest he use those
lovely roads to smash into the allies at full speed. Then, just turn right and keep
going. Sweep them all up like saw dust. Remember, roads permit tanks to move one
additional hex. (If the unit travels along its length the entire move) Combining road
use with an “Armored Assault” card is devastating. Try it as soon as you are able.

From the allied perspective, there is a fair amount of open expanse in the middle of
the board. This can be used as a good killing ground if you plan accordingly. One
possibility, is for the allied player to let the tigers come to him. To fight a static
defense with little or no movement. This is not optimal, as not all the allied units
enjoy favorable terrain. What’s more reasonable, is to advance “at risk” units into
good defensive positions in order to increase their survivability. So a hybrid plan is
called for. Protect vulnerable units by putting them in better terrain, whilst saving
cards that can be used for a devastating counter attack. In short, let the tigers
advance up to 2 moves, and then launch a coordinated attack while they’re out in
the open. The allied player may even consider throwing a sacrificial lamb out there to
act as bait. If the allied player has a mix of cards, it would be wise to transfer units
to more favorable sectors when able. If the cards fall in a annoyingly “non-clumped”
fashion, he may have to do some considerable shifting of units around. Personally, I
prefer clumps of cards rather than a good mix. This permits strong sustainable
attacks which crush entire sectors.

The allies have one beefy artillery piece, which probably won’t get used much.

The tigers are tougher than your own tanks, so I don’t advise taking risks by
launching out into the open. Those tigers will tear you to pieces. With a little bit of
skillful tank handling, the German player will chase you off of the board. If you’re
getting the idea that I’m advising a primarily defensive game, then you’re correct.
(At least in this scenario) I don’t advise going on the offensive until the tigers come
to you. Make them close to battle range, and then punish them for their impudence.

Tigers in the Snow: Compared to other expansions.
Here’s how I stack the expansions comparatively, in order of priority. (If you intend
on buying more than just a base set)

Eastern Front
Pacific Theatre
Campaign Book
>>>Tigers in the Snow
Air Pack
Med Theatre
Terrain Pack
Winter / Desert Board
Hedgerow Hell
Operation Overlord
Campaign bag

My recommendation
If you’re going beyond the original M44 box, and dip into the expansions, consider
purchasing “Tigers in the Snow” after the Eastern Front, Pacific Theatre, and the
campaign book. Otherwise, don’t bother. There’s not enough there otherwise to
justify the cost.

I rate the Tigers in the Snow expansion as a 6/10.
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René Christensen
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Nice review.
6/10 sounds a bit dissapointing to me, but I still need to have those Tigers!!!
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Jan van der Laan
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Just the other day I've played the "Market Garden"-scenario. Pretty well balanced and a joy to play (allthough just one Tiger appears on the battlefield). The Allies have lots of units (especially British XXXth Corps) but they are hard to manoeuver. The American 82nd Airborne can use inflattable boats to cross the Waal river. The one German Tiger is a hard nut to crack but as stated above: it is not indestructible. During play the Germans gain extra cards for every destroyed Allied unit (for which the Allied player will loose a card). So the German player will see his cardhand grow (and therefore his possibilities to react and direct his units) and will eventually overpower the Allied player by the shere amount of cards. The Allied player has to be agressive and take the bridges and the cities of Arnhem, Nijmegen, Eindhoven and Valkenswaard as quickly as possible. All in all: a very nice scenario to play!
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René Christensen
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That sure sounds fun!!
Hopefully they have placed the Tiger near Arnhem??
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0,07 Geek Gold
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6 it's a fair rate.. Tigers in the snow anyway is better than Hedgerow Hell
 
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Kent Reuber
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Falloutfan and I played the scenario twice the other night swapping sides, with very different results. As the Allies, he seemed to be able to roll those grenades on reroll: of the 5 medals he obtained, 4 were from Tigers! When it was my turn to play the Allies, I was only able to roll 1 Tiger kill.

My conclusion is that Tigers are tough but brittle. I think Joseph's comment about keeping Tigers in terrain is a good one.

I too wonder why DoW cast the Tigers in the "generic" color. Perhaps they're meant to represent heavy tanks regardless of nationality (e.g. Soviet KVI or JSII) in future scenarios.
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Michael Wheal
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To highlight that they are 'special' units.

Same for trucks, bazookas and the up-comming half-tracks
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Joseph
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Slotracer wrote:
Nice review.
6/10 sounds a bit dissapointing to me, but I still need to have those Tigers!!!


The tigers are certainly fun! They add some nice variance to the role of tanks, and I think it's a well engineered expansion. I struggled a bit with the rating, as I felt compelled to squeeze into an already established line up. The 6 rating is as much about the expansion's rank in the M44 portfolio, as it is about an objective analysis of it's value.

I guess what I'm saying is that if you're having a hard time choosing between Tigers and say, the airpack, choose the tigers first. (I'm a tank fan. I assume that fans of the air war will reverse those two)
The Airpack feels a bit fiddly to me. The mechanisms don't seem to mesh very well with the other rules.

Ranking the entire lineup would be be difficult, but it could be done. I would say rank the series like this: (This is a combination of stand alone value, and the priority within the series)

8 Core Game (A 9 when combined with the campaign book)
7 Eastern Front
7 Pacific Theatre
7 Campaign Book
6 Tigers in the Snow
5 Air Pack
5 Med Theatre
5 Terrain Pack
4 Winter / Desert Board
4 Hedgerow Hell
4 Operation Overlord
3 Campaign bag

Comments:

The campaign book adds considerable value to the series. I daresay adding another point to the rank of the entire portfolio. That's considerable.

I'd say that the core game, and the first 4 expansions give you the most value of any grouping of boxes. I'm quite down on the med theatre expansion, due to the sculpts. If the sculpts were better, than I'd rank the med theatre above the Tigers expansion.

Respectfully.



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Mik Svellov
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MWAlbion wrote:
To highlight that they are 'special' units.

Same for trucks, bazookas and the up-comming half-tracks

So now we need some white figures for all those Snipers, Engineers etc.
devil
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René Christensen
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Great Dane wrote:
So now we need some white figures for all those Snipers, Engineers etc.
devil


Buy some 1/72 Valiant figures (they are white/grey) fro special units.
I can't recommend them enough!
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Tanks Alot
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I really like this addition. Mainly because its very fresh in ideas. I really enjoyed operation market garden. The turn in events in that scenario made it very exciting. And just the overall idea of defeating the tigers made each roll a little more fun.

Great review but Ill have to give an 8.
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Joseph
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charlescab wrote:
I really like this addition. Mainly because its very fresh in ideas. I really enjoyed operation market garden. The turn in events in that scenario made it very exciting. And just the overall idea of defeating the tigers made each roll a little more fun.

Great review but Ill have to give an 8.


An 8 is certainly reasonable.

If I hadn't scaled the review to fit the expansion into the existing portfolio, the score would have been different. It's a timing thing.
If Tigers had been the first expansion, I'd have happily given it a 7 or 8.

Then I would have been stuck with some difficult decisions when Eastern front came out.

"Do I rate Eastern Front higher than Tigers, or do I lower the rating for Tigers comparatively?".

Things would have gotten worse when the Pacific Theatre and the Campaign Book came out.
 
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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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I gave Tiger's and 8 as well.

My thinking is that I would be more than happy to play a round or two of either of the 4 scenarios... I did not rate Tiger's higher because of the cost and quality of the map paper, the price should have been lower or used a higher quality paper.
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Robert Taylor-Smith
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Thanks falloutfan for your later elaboration posts on your rating and ranking of the expansion in context of the entire series. When I first read the review I disagreed on your ranking but after your later posts I understood the reasoning.
 
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