18 November 2019
Invested fans of Memoir ’44 will likely find this a worthwhile add-on.
‘Mechanized doom’ is how Ernest Hemingway described warplanes in For Whom the Bell Tolls. This doom rains from the sky in New Flight Plan, the latest expansion set for Memoir ’44, the World War II entry in the Commands & Colors series.
The rules have tackled planes by designing them as harassers, unloading onto enemy units as they sweep over them in an attack run. Whilst the box comes with 16 different plane models, in pure gameplay terms they fall into one of three types – fighters, fighter-bombers or bombers.
The planes all move the same distance and use the same amount of dice when attacking ground units – what distinguishes them is what dice symbol counts as a hit when attacking, how many dice each type rolls for dog fighting and the special effects that come from playing air combat cards, a new deck used alongside the main command pack. Planes are generally tough to take down, especially from the ground, but only have a limited amount of ammunition before they have to fly off the map and reload. Depending on the scenario, fighters feel like the most versatile of the three choices if only by dint of the fact that they come with the most ammunition.
Aesthetically speaking, the 16 plane figures have been sculpted as nation specific replicas rather than just generic tokens, which is a nice feature even if it’s one clearly designed to appeal to the historical wargaming and Airfix crowd.
The game comes with 21 new scenarios split between the Western Front, the Mediterranean theatre, the Eastern Front and the Pacific theatre. Some of the scenarios are designed specifically as air-heavy encounters (in the Luftwaffe Air Attack, for example, the German player uses a planes-only force to disrupt a convey) whilst others can be played with or without the air combat rules.
In short, New Flight Plan isn’t game-changing, but nor is it game breaking either. It integrates well with the main rules and adds new tactical decisions to an already solid core. The only real downside is the price point, as the box isn’t really revolutionary enough to justify it costing roughly the same amount as the base game. Nonetheless, invested fans of Memoir ’44 will likely find this a worthwhile add-on.
PLAY IT? YES
Designer: Richard Borg
Artist: Julien Delval
This review originally appeared in the July 2019 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.