Memoir ’44: Air Pack - Board Game Box Shot

Memoir ’44: Air Pack

| Published: 2007
Expansion for Memoir '44
36 2 0

From the Battle of Britain in the summer and fall of 1940, to the air bombing raids deep into Nazi territory and over Japanese cities in mid-1945 - the airplanes, pilots and the men and women who kept them flying, all had a profound impact on the outcome of the War and the bitterly fought ground battles thousands of feet beneath them.

The painted airplane miniatures that come with this expansion and the Air rules that accompany them invite you to climb in your seat, strap on your harness and take to the skies! Equipped with them, you will relive all the battles you've played to date, but with a twist; this time around, you will experience first-hand of how different a fight can be, when seen and fought from the skies!

User Reviews (2)

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8
Professional Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Silver Supporter
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
5
13 of 15 gamers found this helpful
“Over complicates a very simple game, but the scenario book and rules summary cards rock!”

Overview
Memoir’44 Air Pack brings the power of air forces to this predominantly ground pounding warfare game. This expansion comes with good components in spades, but the added rules make the game suffer.

Pros
WWII miniature planes look great!
Scenario book is SO AWESOME!
Tons of new rules summary cards for helping track rules

Con
Gameplay is clunky and harder to track with air units.
Out of Print (except scenario book)

Gameplay
Where do I begin? I’m not sure I want to do this, because even thinking about “air rules” makes my brain hurt. You get seven new planes in this expansion: P-38 Lightning, F-34 Corsair, P40 Warhawk, Supermarine Spitfire, Messerschmitt ME 109, Mitsubishi Zero, Yak, and the German Storch. Each one has their own separate set of the following abilities:

Strafing – basically, for ever unit a plane flies over, roll one die for attack. Resolve like “Air Power” card.
Ground Interdiction – Any enemy unit next to a plane doing interdiction cannot move nor add die to “air check” roll, but they can still do normal attacks.
Ground Support – negate the terrain effects of all enemy units next to the plane that are being attack in close assault.
Kamikaze (Zero only) – attack a unit for two die ignoring terrain effects, flags, and stars. Remove plane from play and only give a medal to opponent if grenade was rolled.
Recon – draw an extra command card when next to an enemy unit
Rescue – allows you to move ground unit off the field at no medal cost

If the scenario doesn’t designate any planes already on the map (like an airfield), players have to use “Air Power” or “Air Sortie” to bring a plane out onto the board. Admitted, I’m glossing over some of the goofyness of the when and how this happens, but the overall gist is that you have to use one of your ground unit orders and substitute it for your airplane that is now in play. So, to keep the plane going, you constantly have to give it an order each turn, so make sure you get your plane into a region you can order the next turn. If you fail to give that plane an order, it will be removed from play (ran out of gas?).

To further complicates things, you have to roll die every time you activate an air plane for it’s next move. This is called an “air check roll”. Based on the type of unit that is adjacent to the plane and what kind of terrain is below the plane, determines number of die you roll. If you roll a star, the plane is hit and is taken off the board. I guess this is to simulate ground fire and …running out of gas is nothing is around?. I find the air check roll not very thematic and quite strange. To answer a question that maybe in your head by now, no, you cannot attack planes directly with other units (other planes included).

Conclusion
Even though the WWII planes are very cool looking and I’m a huge fan of WWII planes, this expansion really over complicates what makes M44 shine …its simplicity. The play with air rules just feels clunky with how you bring a plane onto the board, how you keep it on the board, and how many die you roll based on your plane’s location. Having to remember what type of actions the plane does based on it’s type is never easy to remember even with the helper cards. It just feels like the designer forgot about what made M44 so great and pandered to more hardcore wargamers. I’m not saying he did, but that’s what it feels like.

If it weren’t for the awesome rules summary cards and scenario book, I would almost not recommend it based on the overall gameplay alone. However, the scenario book is so awesome, because it goes back to the older base game, Pacific Theater, and Eastern Front missions and updates them with Terrain Pack items. Also, having almost all those missions in one book is very sweet. Thankfully, you don’t have to buy the now out of print expansion to get the scenarios, but you can buy a PDF of the scenario book from the Days of Wonder website now.

The downside is that you’ll lose out on all those wonderful cards that come with the expansion that have rules summary for just about everything in the M44 system up to the printing of air pack. This is very handy to have for keeping track of what each unit and soldier type does along with special rules additions in certain scenarios.

Given that you can purchase the scenario book online, I’m going to have to say that you should really only track down this expansion if you must have the rules summary cards or the cool minis! Other than that, pass on it.

Gamer Recommendations
Family Gamer: NO kids like the planes, but don’t…just don’t.
Social Gamer: NO nope
Casual Gamer: NO too hard
Strategy Gamer: NO run away
Avid Gamer: YES brings a new experience, better scenario book
Power Gamer:YES adds more depth

 
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5
Tide of Iron fan
6
6 of 16 gamers found this helpful
“Like the terrain and cards, Airplane rules are terrible.”

I once heard at a convention that Richard Borg didn’t like the air pack rules because there was no way for ground forces to shoot at the airplanes. I also didn’t like that the air unit moved only one hex more than armor. Excuse me! A airplane moving at at least two hundred miles per hour only moves one more hex than armor moving at twenty to thirty miles per hour?! I also didn’t like the fact that, under these rules an air unit has to make an air check to fly over a minefield successfully! So I sat down and in an hour I created my own air rules. The first edition was two pages, but in time and after adding real ground interdiction and air interdiction rules, it is currently at six pages. It is available on BGG under air pack files.

 

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