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Subject: Winter Wars: best thing since TP rss

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Jfkoski
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Winter Wars, in my opinion, is the best expansion to Memoir '44 since the Terrain Pack. I've played all 6 of the regular scenarios once, which are for the Battle of the Bulge.

It comes with a number tiles for the Winter Board: roads, railroads, rivers, towns, hills and forests. They're grey and white so the scenarios don't look as pretty as ones on the Beach Board (which has yellow, green and blue hexagons), but they are fun. They've even added roads and Winter rules to my favorite scenario, Relief of Peiper (the one where you can blow-up bridges). Other expansions aren't required for the regular scenarios. It's too bad they don't give you a coupon for the Winter/Desert Board after buying this or other relevant expansions, since the board is principally for show and sold separately.

Two Winter rules are in all scenarios, and can be considered synonymous with the Winter Board, the way North African Desert Rules seems to be for the Desert Board. One is Winter Weather, the other is Winter Combat (Cards). The cards are quite fun; each player gets two cards at the start and another after they play a Recon, in addition to its normal draw. You play them mostly to enhance your movement or combat (e.g. Winter Forest) alongside your normal card play, or in response to your opponent's move or attack (e.g. Out of Ammo). Some match cards in the normal deck (Infiltrators=Behind Enemy Lines and Ambuscade=Ambush), so it's well worth playing a Recon to draw another Winter Combat Card. Some cards have a snowflake symbol which means they can be played to ignore a flag instead, and this changed the course of one of our earlier games.

The third new rule was introduced in the winter-themed scenario in the Breakthrough Expansion, Noville to Foy, and is called Reduced Visibility. It's in half the scenarios and really changes the game mechanics: you now have to be in Close Assault in order for a unit symbol to hit!

I loved the Terrain Pack, but there were only a few official scenarios that used it, until the Air Pack came out. There's really no Air Rules here. I plan to replay official scenarios shown with the Winter Board, (e.g. Bastogne East, Bastogne West, St. Vith and Twin Villages) this time using these new rules. Actually, I recommend playing these scenarios with Winter rules before the ones in the Winter Wars Pack to learn the rules: Bastogne E & W to learn Winter Weather & Winter Combat (Cards), and the latter to get familiar with Reduced Visibility.

In addition to these rule changes, the set includes badges for variants of the three standard units (but not figures). At least one is included in just about every Winter Wars Scenario, so this may be a lot to learn all at once. You may have seen these from other expansions.

Infantry variants:
----Engineers (upgraded to remove Roadblocks),
----Mortars,
----Machine Guns and
----Bazookas (Anti-Tank Guns).
Armor variants:
----Tank Destroyers and
----Half-Tracks.
Artillery variants:
----Mobile Artillery and
----88's (Heavy Anti-Tank Guns)

If you have or will get the Breakthrough Expansion, Winter Wars has 4 scenarios in that format. Here you may need another expansion, such as Eastern Front, to place all the winter tiles (I just use green forests and maybe a tile or two from the Air Pack). The Medal count for all Breakthrough scenarios is 6-12, but these are 9-11. Really desirable is the 60-count Breakthrough Combat Card Deck, which strengthens 4 cards (Air Power, Barrage, Dig-in and Medics) and improves its Section Cards. They first command units that can battle (as normal) plus additional ones that can't (they're: On the Move). So a Probe-Left would command 2 to battle from the Left, plus 2 On the Move from any section. Our first Breakthrough game was frustrating, when we couldn't activate units in a section, but with these cards you have greater mobility on the big board. So far we haven't used the Breakthrough Cards with the regular board, but they may be useful in an unbalanced scenario like First Wave at Omaha Beach or Arnhem Bridge.

There are a couple official scenarios on the Days of Wonder website worth mentioning. One is Firefight in Neffe, an Overlord (double-board) scenario, which I intend to play last after I'm familiar with all the rules, even though I don't have two Winter Boards.

The other is Counter-attack at Holtzwihr. It's not a Battle of the Bulge scenario and doesn't say it has Winter Rules, but it's on a Winter Board and I intend to play it with Winter Weather and Winter Combat Cards. It starts with 4 Allied units Camouflaged. Winter Wars contains -C- tokens for Camouflage, but none of the scenarios have camouflage. Yet one Winter Combat card is Camouflage to hide one unit. We played at least 4 games before either of us got the card, and I didn't use it to good effect. I think this too might be a good scenario to learn Winter Wars.

The next Memoir '44 product I would like to see is a better Overlord Pack. The current one only includes a Combat Deck (similar to Breakthrough cards) but no scenarios or figures! A new one should include all of the Overlord maps you had to buy separately (some are now out of print), as well as the figures they included (half-tracks, jeeps, trucks and Tiger tanks). One had city combat cards, perhaps similar to the Winter Combat Cards. To that I'd add some new scenarios and include figures for Tank Destroyers and Engineers (mine-sweeping guys, like you had in your army men).

Thanks for reading.
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Edward Woods
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This is a great expansion, especially the breakthrough scenarios which are really exciting and have some interesting tactical possibilities. While I do enjoy the regular maps and overlord maps (when I get the chance) I think Memoir really shines in Breakthrough mode.
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Brian Drabek
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Ha! I checked out this review because I wanted to see what the best thing since toilet paper (tp) was!
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Frank Swerda
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chearns wrote:
Ha! I wouldn't even use Winter Wars to wipe me arse with.


Stay classy, Hearns.
 
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George Husted
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This is TERRIFIC!

I have been pining for some better AT rules and the Tank Destroyer rules seem to really fit the bill. (I intend to combine them with the Tiger rules to beef up the Tiger's shooting abilities)

I am also very intrigued by the new mortars, bazookas, and HMG rules...and the 88s.

This is what I have been wanting! It really scratches the itch so to speak.

Thank you for your descriptions. Good job.
 
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Chad Hackman
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So, as a hexbased game designer, you would recommend Winter Wars and Terrain Pack to me?
 
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Jfkoski
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One thing I didn't mention is that it comes with a half-set of minefields. The Terrain Pack contains 10 minefields of strength 0-4; Winter Wars has 5 minefields of strength 0-2. These are more nuissance-value than threat.
 
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Ron H
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Sandal_Thong wrote:
One thing I didn't mention is that it comes with a half-set of minefields. The Terrain Pack contains 10 minefields of strength 0-4; Winter Wars has 5 minefields of strength 0-2. These are more nuissance-value than threat.


But many people who would buy WW already have other expansions that have minefields. Yes, it would have been great if WW would have contained 10 minefields like the Terrain Pack. But it sounds like you already have the TP, so why fight it? I would have liked to see figures for tank destroyers and heavy anti-tank guns. I bought some Tide of Iron miniatures on ebay and use these instead!


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"And while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still. It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle but in the home repeating with him our simple daily prayer, 'Our Father who art in heaven." Douglas MacArthur <
http://tincangeneral.com/forum/ (gaming and miniatures)
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Jfkoski
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Someone posted the minefield #'s for the expansions I don't have:
Eastern Front:
0,1,2,2,4
Pacific Theater:
0,1,2,2,4
Mediterranean:
0,0,0,1,2,2,3,4

So my minefields are:
Terrain Pack:
0,0,0,1,1,2,2,3,3,4
Winter Wars:
0,0,0,1,2
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Moomer Gamer
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This difference in minefields seems very odd to me.
If no minefields stronger than 2 are to be used, this should be pointed out in the scenarios.
 
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Ron H
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Ronnn wrote:
This difference in minefields seems very odd to me.
If no minefields stronger than 2 are to be used, this should be pointed out in the scenarios.


Oh, they probably figured that most of us already have the other expansions, (or at least EF!)

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"And while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still. It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle but in the home repeating with him our simple daily prayer, 'Our Father who art in heaven." Douglas MacArthur <
http://tincangeneral.com/forum/index.php War Gaming and Model Painting
 
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Ron H
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chearns wrote:
Ha! I wouldn't even use Winter Wars to wipe me arse with.


You don't play breakthrough scenarios? I ask because WW has the breakthrough deck. Also a winter combat deck, and more winter terrain to use with Eastern Front scenarios. Aren't those good enough reasons to get Winter Wars???

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"And while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still. It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle but in the home repeating with him our simple daily prayer, 'Our Father who art in heaven." Douglas MacArthur <
http://tincangeneral.com/forum/ (gaming and miniatures)
 
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Jfkoski
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For those interested, the expansion Disaster at Dieppe contains Half-track figures.
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