August 13, 2008

Memoir '44 Shifts Gears with Operation Overload and Hedgrow Hill Expansions

Memoir44OperationOverlord.jpgDays of Wonder's World War II board game system Memoir '44 [Amazon, Funagain] has been one of the most approachable and popular tactical war board game system around. The system started with operations surrounding the D-Day invasion of June 1944, and then expanded into the Eastern Front, the Pacific Theater, and even into the air with the Memoir '44 Airpack.

The system has grown a lot over the years, however the gamedesign remained focused on delivering only a two-player experience. There was some effort to break out of this narrow focus when Days of Wonder released a downloadable variant named Overlord in 2004, where players could combine sets of Memoir '44 to create multiplayer battles.

The obvious downside to this free supplement was that players needed numerous copies of the game, which was a pretty expensive proposition for gaming groups.

However, the newly announced Memoir '44 Operation Overlord Expansion [Funagain] ships with all the materials you need to play a 2-8 battle with a single Memoir '44 base set. Sweet.

There is a catch, though. The Operation Overlord Expansion was designed to work with a new series of products called BattleMaps, the first of which being Hedgerow Hell [Funagain] which is scheduled for an October.

The BattleMap expansions are little more than maps and a few pieces to be played with the combination of the Overlord Expansion set and Memoir '44, as a one-two punch to bring the series into a more robust and streamlined mulitplayer experience. And to that end the BattleMaps have been printed with fixed starting location of units to speed up setup time.

We haven't yet heard what the target price is for either of these expansions, but we assume they'll be relatively cheap considering that most of the materials should be contained with the in the Operation Overlord Expansion base set. Here's hoping anyway. And if true, then the relatively pricey Tide of Iron better watch out, 'cause it looks like Days of Wonder has made a nice maneuver to reposition and freshen its established tactical WWII board game franchise, while making it cheap for those consumers to remain up to date in the process.

For more information on Operation Overlord, checkout its official website. Here are details on the first of the BattleMap series, Hedgerow Hell:

"The Hedgerow Hell Memoir '44 Overlord BattleMap expansion includes a large-scale, double-sided map with two new Memoir '44 Overlord Scenarios -- Hedgerow Hell and The Cadets of Saumur, plus 6 new Dodge Truck miniature figures. The oversized map, which is 57 x 27.5 inches in size, is ready-to-play with all terrain, obstacles and unit positions pre-printed -- just add figures! It also features the scenario rules, terrain and unit summary cards, and historical background.

Perfect for group play at home or gaming events with fellow Memoir '44 friends, the Overlord BattleMap series is designed for 2 to 8 players and requires either 1 copy of the original Memoir '44 board game, plus the Operation Overlord Expansion; or 2 copies of the board game."

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Posted by Critical Gamers Staff at August 13, 2008 5:28 PM

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