Memoir '44: Campaign Bag

Reviewer Reviewed On Publisher Designer Published In Rating
August 9, 2008 Days of Wonder Unknown 2008 9
Buy It Now More Info
So I'm writing a review of a bag - never thought that one was going to happen! At the same time, if ever there was a game that needed its own carrying case, Memoir '44 was certainly it. I own two copies of the basic game (so I can play the Overlord scenarios), all five expansions (Eastern Front, Terrain Pack, Winter/Desert Board Map, Pacific Theater, and Air Pack), and a bag of zombies (a Wolfenstein scenario). Keeping everything inside the original boxes was a pain; so I finally graduated to a computer box, which was sad looking, to say the least. The Campaign Bag (Days of Wonder, 2008) manages to fit everything inside, with room to spare, but also includes a new type of scenario - the first Breakthrough scenario of the game.

I'm not the sort of person who really cares what other people think about my accessories, but I have to say that I'm happy with the compliments that everyone gives me when I carry the bag around. Most of the folks who have seen it lavish praise upon it, and several have determined to get their own. But looks will only get you so far - just how useful is the bag?

Originally, the bag was actually advertised as a carrying case, which would be a useful item for sorting the tons of tiles and units in the game. So to some, the bag may be a bit of a letdown. Personally, I prefer the bag - it's very comfortable to carry - and I can get everything in quickly. The bag has several side pockets, and I manage to put everything I need in the different compartments.

I was somewhat disappointed by the fact that the bag is best designed to hold all the boxes and compartments from the different boxes and expansions. I had already thrown away one of my boxes and all the expansion boxes, choosing instead to keep everything in the hideous aforementioned computer box. Since I don't have all the boxes, the bag doesn't "fill out" as nicely as it should, but I still managed to put everything in it with no problems - but a lot of plastic bags! There's plenty of room left for another expansion or two - so no worries here.

The bag also comes with a large paper map that has a built-in scenario, Gembloux. My first reactions to this were negative, because the paper map was such a contrast to everything that Days of Wonder has produced for the game thus far. But when I heard about their plans to release such maps regularly, it made a lot more sense - who wants a board for a simple scenario map, anyway?

The paper map is twice as deep as a typical Memoir map and features a built in scenario on one side and blank map on the other. The built in scenario has the terrain pieces printed right on the map, and also shows exactly where the forces for each side go. As setup goes, this is a wonderful thing, and we can put up scenario together in less than five minutes. Don't get me wrong - the variable scenarios are one of my biggest draws to Memoir '44, but having a preset scenario helps lower the total time for the game.

This scenario is a big one; it's actually the first in the "breakthrough" scenarios. The largest two-player scenario thus far (it even rivals some of the Overlord scenarios), it has the Germans pushing across a board full of French units - with one of the requirements for the German victory being that they exit one unit off the board. Because there are tons of units on both sides, the scenario is a brutal one, with multiple losses on both sides. Forcing the Germans to drive through the French lines is a good idea, and it keeps the scenario close in terms of balance.

The reference cards necessary for this scenario are actually printed on the paper next to the map, although half of them are in French (the players simply place the reference cards from the game on top). Not too much information is given about the breakthrough scenarios in general, but this particular one is simple, and a nice addition to getting the bag.

The Campaign Bag is definitely worth picking up, especially if you are as big a Memoir fanatic as I am, with all the expansions. While it won't change much, other than making the game fairly easy to transport, the breakthrough map is a useful inclusion; and it's a scenario that seems to have a high level of playability.

Tom Vasel
"Real men play board games"