Recommend
27 
 Thumb up
 Hide
42 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

Combat Commander: Europe» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Why CC is better than M44 rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Francis K. Lalumiere
Canada
Brossard
Quebec
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A non-wargaming friend of mine recently emailed me saying that he'd tried Memoir '44 and disliked it for a number of reasons.
I replied with a sort of quick review of Combat Commander, with the focus on the main differences between this and M44, and the reasons that made me fall in love with CC (and stop playing M44 altogether).
And after reading it over, I thought it might be of use to some of my fellow geeks.
So here it is. Not the type of review I usually write, but bear in mind it's basically an email plea for CC, sent to a friend who's wondering if wargames are for him (after giving M44 a shot and not liking it).

COMBAT COMMANDER: EUROPE
This was a revelation, and it quickly became, for my two wargaming friends and for me, the be all and end all of WWII tactical infantry games. (We actually have a hard time playing something else when two of us get together for a game.)
Among other things, CC completely blew M44 away.

Some highlights:
You control a squad of troopers in various historical WWII scenarios. You deal with the standard wargame concepts: line of sight, terrain that helps or hinders you, etc.
Each player draws from his own deck of cards (different decks for different nations), and the cards dictate what you can do. In M44, each card tells you in what section you can activate units; in CC, each card represents one order (move, fire, request artillery, etc.) you can give to the unit of your choice. So you can always ACT with the unit you want, but you can’t always do the exact thing you’d like to do, depending on the cards you hold at any given time.
Hand management becomes part of the problem-solving fun: “how can I achieve X with the cards I’m holding?”

It’s also a low-density game: you don’t have a ton of units stacked on top of each other all over the map. You have a few units to manage in each scenario, and the hexes are big enough for all units in a hex to lie side by side. No stacking (or very little of it).

It’s a fast game: once you know how to play, each scenario is done in under two hours. (We often play one-hour games, but then, we’ve played that one to death).

No dice per se: each card has a pair of dices in its bottom left corner. If you need to roll the dice, you flip the top card of your deck and look at the result.

You win by achieving precise goals: you have objectives to capture, areas to control, etc. (I always hated the way most M44 games end: because you win by getting medals, and you can only get medals by killing enemy units, your best bet at the very end of the game is to hunt down the weakest enemy unit on the board, no matter what the hell happens elsewhere. This doesn’t make sense, and it’s almost always anticlimactic.)

You can REACT to what your opponent does (something you can never do in M44). In M44, if you have one of your units move from one forest to another, you know that you’re absolutely safe. In CC? Well, if I have a Fire card in hand, I might very well play it during your turn to catch you in the open; so do you wait until you get a “Smoke Grenade” card (to provide some cover during your move), or do you decide to run out into the clearing anyway and hope I can’t react (or miss my attack roll)?
Or I could *not* have a Fire card in hand, but be holding a Hidden Mines card instead, and then you’d be in a whole different kind of trouble…


So those are all characteristics that made the game really appealing to me, but two elements totally sold me on CC.

1. RULES. This is the most user-friendly wargame I’ve ever met. It’s something like 25 pages of rules, but it’s all very intuitive and coherently organized, and with close to none of those typical wargame exceptions that you (and I) find irksome. The index is a killer: we’ve played close to 200 games of CC, and I think we came up with a question that the rulebook couldn’t answer (in less than one minute of looking around) in something like three occasions. That’s how solid those rules are (without being overwhelming when you first read them).
But for me, the real rules test is this: can I sit down and teach this game to someone who hasn’t read the rules for themselves? Usually, with wargames, this is a big NO. Not in this case: I’ve taught this game to plenty of people, many of them new to wargames, and it usually takes about 10 minutes to get going. I love that.

2. RANDOM EVENTS. The game is fun, the “engine” works well, the rules are superbly organized, the tension is there all the way to the end… and you can be sure that the same scenario will NEVER play out the same way twice. Why?
Each card features, at the bottom, an event of some sort. Fire breaks out in the woods somewhere (blocking line of sight and forcing units to move elsewhere), a medic heals a unit on the battlefield, the Commissar (for the Russians) eliminates a wounded unit (!), one objective suddenly becomes more important, reinforcements are brought forward, etc.
Whenever you make a “die roll,” you flip the card on top of your deck. Now if the picture of the dice is in a red box that says “Event,” you flip the NEXT card and implement the event at the bottom.
And this never fails to bring the house down. Whenever we play, we’re always looking forward to seeing what special events will pop up, because even though we try to plan for everything, those events will always throw a monkey in the wrench. And it’s just plain fun to have to work your way around the new problems that pop up (and oftentimes, as in the case of a medic, events can actually help you!).
We’ve had a few games where the battlefield was cut in half by a fire that wouldn’t stop spreading (thanks to repeated Breeze events), or where a Scrounge event allowed one of us to retrieve a vital weapon dropped earlier by an eliminated unit…
A fascinating side effect of events, for me, is the way it makes CC a very “narrative” game. At the end of every scenario, it really feels like you’ve just watched a war movie (or an episode of Band of Brothers…) because of the way the story evolved between the opening salvo and the final firefight. Stuff *happened* in the game, rather than it being you and your opponent rolling dice and pushing toy soldiers around.

In short, TRY IT.


43 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Juan F. Santana Miralles
Spain
San Juan de Aznalfarache
Seville
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Great review/analysis, it really highlights all the thing I like from CC!

But comparing it to M44... I´m not sure both games can be compared.. they´re just in different leagues IMHO, and I think both are good games but are aimed to different gamers.

15 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Francis K. Lalumiere
Canada
Brossard
Quebec
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Juaninka wrote:
Great review/analysis, it really highlights all the thing I like from CC!

But comparing it to M44... I´m not sure both games can be compared.. they´re just in different leagues IMHO, and I think both are good games but are aimed to different gamers.


I agree with you -- hence my "warning" at the top about the origin of this particular review.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Phil McDonald
England
Staffordshire
UK
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have and enjoy both games, but you're really comparing apples and oranges.

In any case, Memoir '44 in Overlord format with battlemaps and 6 or 8 players knocks Combat Commander into a cocked hat any day of the week... in my opinion... and that's all we can ever say.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ken Thibodeau
Canada
Quebec
Quebec
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Wow
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonathan "Spartan Spawn, Sworn, Raised for Warring!"
United States
Sellersburg
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ
badge
"By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Why Memoir '44 is better than CC:E in one word: tanks.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
S G
United States
Essex Junction
Vermont
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
One is a boardgame, the other is a toy (and a bad one, at that)...
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Phil McDonald
England
Staffordshire
UK
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
aerial7 wrote:
One is a boardgame, the other is a toy (and a bad one, at that)...


Oh come on ! I think Combat Commander is Ok
28 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chick Lewis
United States
Claremont
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice job, Weishaupt.

I really like the fact we have no tanks. At this scale the addition/loss of a tank would make just about any scenario either "unwinnable" or a "walkover".

"Is this horse dead yet? Dunno, hand me that stick over there."
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonathan "Spartan Spawn, Sworn, Raised for Warring!"
United States
Sellersburg
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ
badge
"By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
chicklewis wrote:
Nice job, Weishaupt.

I really like the fact we have no tanks. At this scale the addition/loss of a tank would make just about any scenario either "unwinnable" or a "walkover".


Yet it seems that the Conflict of Heroes series has somehow managed to make it work. It appears that both are in the same scale? Or am I wrong in that thinking? If Im wrong Im wrong (obviously), but after playing both it seemed both were squad level?
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Francis K. Lalumiere
Canada
Brossard
Quebec
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Luftwaffe Flak wrote:
chicklewis wrote:
Nice job, Weishaupt.

I really like the fact we have no tanks. At this scale the addition/loss of a tank would make just about any scenario either "unwinnable" or a "walkover".


Yet it seems that the Conflict of Heroes series has somehow managed to make it work. It appears that both are in the same scale? Or am I wrong in that thinking? If Im wrong Im wrong, after playing both it seemed both were squad level?

I've only played Conflict of Heroes a couple of times (and that was a while ago), but if I remember correctly, CoH scaled the effectiveness of tanks WAY down *and* all the scenarios I played were very unbalanced.
5 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Francis K. Lalumiere
Canada
Brossard
Quebec
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
chicklewis wrote:
Nice job, Weishaupt.

I really like the fact we have no tanks. At this scale the addition/loss of a tank would make just about any scenario either "unwinnable" or a "walkover".

"Is this horse dead yet? Dunno, hand me that stick over there."

Thanks, Chick!

As far as tanks go, we'll soon have Fighting Formations for that... so put that stick back in the wood shed.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James
Canada
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I enjoy playing both Memoir 44 and Combat Commander and I always look foreward to the next expansion.
I hope one day AFVs will be added to Combat Commander or that an only AFV Combat Commander game will be released.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John O'Haver
United States
Louisville
Kentucky
flag msg tools
badge
Pet photographer, that's me.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've played both and like both despite some logic disconnects with the cards in both games. In CC:E I've had German squads move adjacent to building (within 50 yards) I was in, dig entrenchments and then open fire while my units in the building watched the whole thing.

I've been hosed by cards in M'44 as well but in CC:E each chit is a single man or a squad and each hex is 50 yards (IIRC). Although the scale is nebulous in M'44, it "feels" like each unit is a company and each hex is 500 yards regardless of which scenario is being played. This is based on playing many other tactical games.

None of the above should be considered a criticism of your post, your opinion or your friend's opinion. I'll play either game most any day.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chad Jensen
United States
SANTA ROSA
CA
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
briansommers wrote:
fighting formations? please explain what is this coming in the future? some abstract way of bringing in tanks.

The search field at the top of your screen is your friend.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gregory Bay
United States
Kernersville
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mb
I ended up selling my Memoir 44 set because it was collecting dust. I liked the game but with both CC: E and Memoir on the shelf Memoir just was not getting played.

Thanks for the thoughts.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chad Jensen
United States
SANTA ROSA
CA
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Luftwaffe Flak wrote:
Yet it seems that the Conflict of Heroes series has somehow managed to make it work. It appears that both are in the same scale? Or am I wrong in that thinking?

Combat Commander = 30 meter hexes; Conflict of Heroes = about 45 meter hexes.

CC map = 10x15 hexgrid for a total of 150 hexes; CoH map = 12x17 hexgrid each, with up to 4 maps being used at a time: an average-sized 2-map scenario would have 408 hexes.

So CC always uses a 135,000 square meter area; CoH, for an mid-sized 2-map scenario, uses a 826,200 square meter area -- more than 6 times the area.

Yes, armored vehicles work better at CoH's scale than at CC's scale.

Plus, and this is the important part, I chose not to include vehicles in CC. I didn't fail to do so.
28 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aaron Silverman
United States
Halfway between Castro and Mickey Mouse
Florida (FL)
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Chad Jensen wrote:
Plus, and this is the important part, I chose not to include vehicles in CC. I didn't fail to do so.


You failed to choose to include vehicles! devil
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chad Jensen
United States
SANTA ROSA
CA
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Snookered by the English language again!
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pablo Merighi
Argentina
Mar del Plata
Buenos Aires
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I play both games, and think they are great games but diffrent flavors.
I think Memoir is a light playing game and very quick to teach to a non gamer.
cheers
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Buetow
United States
McHenry
Illinois
flag msg tools
Combat Commander Archivist
badge
Move! Advance! Fire! Rout! Recover! Artillery Denied! Artillery Request! Command Confusion...say what?!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
scribidinus wrote:
I've played both and like both despite some logic disconnects with the cards in both games. In CC:E I've had German squads move adjacent to building (within 50 yards) I was in, dig entrenchments and then open fire while my units in the building watched the whole thing.


Was that one of our games, Scrib? laugh
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John O'Haver
United States
Louisville
Kentucky
flag msg tools
badge
Pet photographer, that's me.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Malacandra wrote:
scribidinus wrote:
I've played both and like both despite some logic disconnects with the cards in both games. In CC:E I've had German squads move adjacent to building (within 50 yards) I was in, dig entrenchments and then open fire while my units in the building watched the whole thing.


Was that one of our games, Scrib? laugh


Yes! Next time can we play a scenario that starts AFTER tea time.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Frank Radoslovich
United States
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Seriously guys. One's a wargame for wargamers (CC); the other is a toy by Wham-O or Milton Bradley (M44).
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Buetow
United States
McHenry
Illinois
flag msg tools
Combat Commander Archivist
badge
Move! Advance! Fire! Rout! Recover! Artillery Denied! Artillery Request! Command Confusion...say what?!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Frankrad wrote:
Seriously guys. One's a wargame for wargamers (CC); the other is a toy by Wham-O or Milton Bradley (M44).


Seriously? CC is what I wanted instead of Memoir because something just didn't appeal to me about Memmoir; not enough "wargameness" for my taste, I guess. I enjoy C&C: Ancients much more in the system.

But come on, it's a game. A good game that a lot of people enjoy. And if they enjoy it while never "moving up" to "real wargames" well, good for them. If they have fun, isn't that the point?

It's comments like these that get wargamers labeled as niche snobs.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brad Miller
United States
Seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Frankrad wrote:
Seriously guys. One's a wargame for wargamers (CC); the other is a toy by Wham-O or Milton Bradley (M44).


They are both card games. One where you can't actually kill an unbroken unit with fire attacks, the other which bears no relation to WWII combat.

These are the types of comments that get one labeled a "niche snob".

The quoted comment is what gets one labeled a "fanboi"

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.