I find Memoir 44 very interesting and exciting, but it seems everyone I introduce it to has the same gripe. They (and I) don't like having a unit getting pummeled by the opposing force without being able to fight back. It doesn't fit in with the game's realistic/historical feel, and/or it weakens the game's element of strategy.

I'm not sure how to fix this issue with a rule modification without undermining some of the basic elements of the game like the luck of the draw.

3 Answers 3


It sure is frustrating when this happens to one or more sections of an army, I agree. I wonder though, if it would actually decrease historical realism if it was somehow removed or mitigated. The lack of order cards in a certain section could be analogous to:

  • The commander losing radio contact with his troops. He is then unable to tell them when or where to fight back.
  • A unit experiencing mechanical difficulties and is unable to move or return fire.
  • A unit having run out of ammunition.

BattleLore, which also uses the Command and Colors system, has a "battle back" rule. Perhaps the rule could be adapted like so:

Fight Back

When an Infantry or Armor unit is attacked in close combat, a player may choose to have the attacked unit Fight Back if it did not retreat and was not eliminated. Armor units, however, may not Fight Back if the attacking unit is Infantry. To Fight Back, roll the appropriate number of dice, checking for unit, terrain, and other effects. Resolve combat as usual. A unit that Fights Back may not Take Ground or Armor Overrun afterward even if the attacking unit retreats or is eliminated.

Only one round of fighting back may occur per attack order (e.g., the attacking unit can't "fight back" after having attacked, even if the target fights back). A unit may, however, fight back more than once in a turn if it is attacked by multiple units in close combat (once for each unit that attacked it in close combat).

The Fight Back tactic may neither be used against or by Aircraft. Air Checks are resolved as usual.

It seems reasonable to eliminate the restriction preventing a unit from fighting back unless it has a friendly unit adjacent to it (one example of "bold" morale in BattleLore) because close combat is much less common in Memoir 44 than the equivalent in BattleLore.

It also seems realistic. Units would not always shoot back when taking fire from the enemy (e.g., seeking to gain ground, keeping cover, pinned down, saving ammo, or orders). However, when in close combat, it becomes fight-or-die and (depending on the scale of distance represented by a hex) ammo becomes less of a question (knives, bayonets, fistfights, or picking up ammo from fallen soldiers). Tanks would have a much more difficult time fighting back when attacked by soldiers, and artillery would be difficult to aim quickly and safely enough in the duress of close combat.

  • If you're wondering "Why did he ask the question if he had an answer?", I'm not sure how much this rule would have an effect on the other mechanics of the game. This isn't necessarily the best solution, and I'd love to hear other gamers' points of view. If you think it's a good solution that doesn't break the game, please vote it up and/or comment. If you see flaws, please comment and let me know. Nov 10, 2010 at 18:15
  • I also thought of this answer after I had had a couple answers already. Nov 29, 2010 at 0:46

I personally like this element of the game. If you know your opponent doesn't have cards for a section then pounce on it. Also changing these rules would take away from the historical advantage/disadvantage of sides in terms of number of commands cards.

Here are a couple of ideas I could come up with:

  • Play a card and instead of doing what the card says, activate one unit in the section of your choice
  • Do not play a card and have a rule saying you can activate one unit in the section of your choice.
  • Have a rule where you can skip your turn and instead discard and replace any number of command cards of your choice.
  • Have a rule where you can play any card or no card and instead of doing what the card says allow 1 or 2 units to a section of your choice to retreat 1 or 2 spots to a more defensive position and not allow any forward movement or attacking.

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