Memoir ’44 – Wargames as Education

Earlier this spring I picked up a copy of Days of Wonders Memoir ’44 game at Barnes & Noble on a Red Dot 50% discount. I have Battlelore but rarely played it so I have a bit of familiarity with the basic game system.

The game has proven a big hit with the boys. At first it was the “toy factor” of the little plastic bits that lured the youngest one in. Since I was too busy, they took it upon themselves to learn the rules. I sat down with them today and we played the Sainte-Mère-Église scenario. We discovered that they had missed a few of the more subtle parts of the rules but were generally playing as the rules direct.

Last night, the boys chose to watch The Longest Day for their Friday night movie. They had seen it before but after playing Memoir  ’44 they wanted to see it again. The game has done exactly what the wife and I hope games do for the kids; it got them thinking. In this case it is the history of World War II.

The boys have already burned through the scenario book and are itching to spend their money on expansion maps and equipment packs and the like. They have even pulled out some of my old Osprey Publishing books with their great battle maps and started making their own scenarios.

To me, with my more simulationist-bent for gaming, Memoir ’44 is more “game” than I usually prefer. But it has fired the imagination of my boys and for that I can only thank Richard Borg and Days of Wonder.

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