Monday, November 29, 2010

"Golden Age" blog post is harsh on Memoir '44

This interesting blog post maintains that today is the "Golden Age" of wargaming.

I generally agree with the blog -- and I think his criticisms of Memoir '44 are mostly valid. I just think its flaws bother me less.

To me games like the various Borg designs, Larry Harris' Axis & Allies board games and the Hasbro Axis & Allies land and naval minis, Wings of War, Worthington Games' Hold the Line series and so on fill a needed and valuable niche in the wargaming universe. I don't need any one wargame to be the "ultimate" wargame. There's a need for many different approaches.

To me these lighter wargames are much like a good painting, a television documentary or a comic book. They provide a vivid evocation of a topic, perhaps and insight or two, and with luck prompt a desire to learn more. Their constrained realism is not a bug, but a feature that, if well done, makes a topic accessible to a wider audience. They are no substitute for a detailed study, a book or a library.

Ideally when your new gaming partner starts to point out the unreality, compromises and general silliness that can crop up in a Memoir '44 or Axis & Allies game he/she is ready to move up to the next level. "Yeah, I agree that strategy wouldn't be possible in real life. Maybe you'd like to take a look at _________" and see how it turns out." Many people find all the strategy they want or can handle in a game of M44 or A&A. Indeed, for many people that desire is well-sated by Risk! But for those who are looking for more I think games like Memoir '44 are an excellent introduction. They're fun, colorful and quick and much more successful than SPI/AH era attempts to do the same thing.


  1. Do you have a link to the post you are referring to?

  2. I totally agree (even though I reposted it on Facebook Historical Board Gamers) but the article had some good points about games being reinvented. Memoir 44 is still a great game to me, and still gets me on the edge of my seat.
    I really enjoy the whole series

  3. I meant to link it and now I can't fine it. Maybe Charles can supply a link.

  4. Hello! I just found your blog and I wanted to extend my compliments to you!
    I completely agree with your post. Whenever I want a more complex wargame, I turn to other titles; but when I need a "quick fix" or when I have to introduce someone to the hobby, there is nothing better than a quick battle with M44 or A&A. And even if the realism is really abstarcted, they have an inner complexity in their choice of options that is undeniable.
    I think that these games have done a lot for our hobby, even if this has not been recognized by many gamers.

    Riccardo, from Italy (which explains my grammar mistakes! ^__-)