What stops you from playing? (and how can we resolve that?)

I’m an enthusiastic player when I have the chance, but with a small child and busy work life, plus living in a country where the majority of people speak a different language to my own, I sometimes find it difficult to squeeze the time in. When I do, it tends to be a late night solo game, and sometimes a long time can pass between games.
I’m sure others have different problems and reasons, for example they may not have the space to play, or they may not have access to one or more of the expansions that they wish to play. Some people may have wandered or lost interest, some may have lost their gaming partner or perhaps covid-19 has put a stop to it. I’m curious to see what keeps others from the table, and as a group, I wonder if there are some suggestions to remedy these problems.


I have a set play date with a friend each week. We play on VASSAL and so there is no time wasted setting up the board. We use video Skype, he is in Europe, I am in the US. We could be finished in about an hour, but we usually chat and visit for awhile before and after play.
My wife plans for this each week and she accepts my time commitment and I give her a break also when she has plans.
My friend and I agree that family comes first, so if there is a conflict in schedules we don’t play that week. I have been doing this for several years now. It is a great setup.

In the past I had a similar setup with an acquaintance in Australia and one in Malaysia in years past


Covid actually revived my ‘‘attendance’’. Initially, it was my own quarantine after catching it, then various lockdowns and family in semi-quarantine (i.e., daughter’s classmate got it, so rest of class off for a few days.).

I don’t think lack of expansions is an issue - I only have the base game! (Actually 2: 1 English, 1 Czech).

mzungu’s idea of a regular date sounds good. It’s in your diary, so stick to it! Unfortunately, in the modern mobile/digital age, we have become accustomed to cancelling/rearranging at the last minute. (Remember the good old days when a date was a date?!)

How about joining/setting up a group?
I just had a look on Facebook:
Memoir '44 Fans Japan Group

OMG! I just found one for Czechia too!

Doesn’t have to be FB. Remember the rules crib sheet? That was from the Dutch group m44brigade.

There is also Meet Up, which I have been a member of for a while, but that was for walks and cycling trips.

As an English teacher here in Prague, I know the value of games and meetings for practicing a language. There are various board game clubs here.
I often ask my students where and how they learn/practice their English: ‘‘online games’’!

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Really great topic and it’s relevant to me today. I am able to find 3 pain points when it comes to me trying to play Memoir '44:

Finding a person to play with.

Often times in the past this person was my wife, but recently she’s often tired at the time of the day we used to play, so this is difficult to work around. I have not found a way to play solitaire that excites me.

Setting up the board and desk space.

If I had a corner of the house all to myself I might set up a foldable table with a board and a couple of armies and would be able to run campaigns with multiple scenarios. Unfortunately, living in a small flat in Europe, for me this means that I have to set up and teardown to clear the table for the next day. Additionally, I do have some of the printed maps (Jungle and Desert, Khalkhin Gol) but most of the playthroughs I want to do are on battles where I need to set up the board and usually the setup + teardown time is very close to the time I actually spend playing, so this is definitely in my mind when I think whether to go on my computer vs playing Memoir '44.

Obsolete Computer App

Days of Wonder has unfortunately dropped support for the desktop game as far as I can tell, and the problem with that is that you have to jump through several hoops to get that running. I often switch between 2 operating systems and have to format my disks often, and this just makes the computer game a non-option for me. I have not tried out Vassal, I tried using it for another game and unfortunately the interface also looks ancient to me. Vassal also does not have a lobby, so I would have to find someone to play with another way and schedule periodic calls.

Final thoughts

When people come to my house for dinner for example, I might seldom get asked to play it, always say yes to that, but these are the issues that are present for me at the moment. Wished that Vassal had a more modern look and/or a revamp of the computer game!

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Do you have family nearby? (Same question for Ben_Phillis) My wife’s family also live in Prague. I get on well with them, but sometimes just my wife and daughter go to visit them for a couple of days, leaving me to have a lad’s / MM44 weekend! (Having great inlaws nearby is also a God-send for raising kids in general!)

'I have not found a way to play solitaire that excites me.’’
How about focusing on a campaign?
Recently I took a great interest in Pegasus Bridge - not just for MM44, but as a general topic. I decided to try out various scenarios to see which were the best; sometimes I didn’t even need to change the board layout for the next scenario. And now I am finalising my own scenario, which is a hybrid of two or three of them.
I have also played a lot of solo secenarios from the Invasion of Crete. I have always been fascinated by this battle (and remember painting some 1/32 Airfix German Paras years ago!).
So I am not necesarily playing a lot, but also researching, reading, and printing scenarios, all of which gets me excited and ready to play (which I will do just as soon as I have finished typing this!)

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I have family very close by, so much so that it wouldn’t be exactly normal for my wife to take the kid and go for a sleepover there. I usually make most of the last hours of the day when there’s peace and quiet!

I’ve been through a separate phase where I would be more than happy to bring out the boxes and set up a game but to be honest it became tiring to me to search for the terrain I needed and set the map up when I’m only going to play myself. I don’t know if I’m able to convey exactly what I feel, but I think for solo play I’d rather play a digital version that didn’t need any work setting up.

This isn’t to say my interest for the game has waned, but I certainly value practicality and ease! :slight_smile:


That sounds like a good system. I’ll see what I can do! How does it work with Skype? I assume you’re mostly showing your face on the camera rather than the board?

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Absolutely. I’ve played various boardgames over the years, but I’ve found Memoir 44 has an exceptionally helpful, polite and fun fanbase community. I’m on the Japan facebook and I have played online (via facebook messenger on phones) late at night with one of the main members.
I taught for ten years and game absolutely have fantastic benefits in a teaching environment. I cobbled together all sorts of ripped-off games to play with the students over the years. Its a way of learning without realizing. I can’t wait until my kid is old enough to join me.

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Completely sympathize with you. Its tough sometimes to fit in hobbies together. My wife will occasionally join me for a game, but she prefers to play non-brainer games that end quickly. She somehow always wins while messing about on her phone at the same time!
I have a little room to myself that I predominantly play in, and it means I can leave the board set up for the next time. If I didn’t have my room, I can totally see that setting up the board each time would be a pain.

I work with computers all day, so one of the appeals of playing a board game is being away from the screen. If I did feel like more screen time I would probably play PS4 anyway, so I haven’t been attracted to playing on the computer yet.
Years ago I had a friend who was difficult to meet because he was being busy being a father, and I was in the same boat. We talked about the best time to get together, and it turned out that Saturday morning at 7AM was the best time. We did it a few times and played until maybe 10 when we went back into dad mode. He lives 90 mins away by car, so it meant a very early start for him, which is why it ended.

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I’ve got no family here, so my wife never goes anywhere! A lads weekend would be absolutely heaven. I played a game of Dungeons and Dragons with close friends online this week and I couldn’t even have an hour before my wife and son came knocking. Totally distracted from the game and I couldn’t really enjoy it.

I think your idea of the campaigns is excellent. It would also help with putting the necessary things to one side and having them ready for a game when the time was right. Interesting that you mentioned the Airfix models, another aspect of Memoir for some people is customizing and painting their gear. A friend of mine who is a long-term wargamer paints and does research in the snatches of time during the week, and plans for gaming events for three day weekends etc. We once had 10 people all together for a gaming session because he had begun preparation well in advance of the day itself.

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I am one of those who loves to paint stuff for MM44!
I have done loads of infantry as well as weapons.
Done much more since those two posts, but haven’t had time to add more online.

Maybe we should add a page called something like ‘‘Quick and easy game’’, ‘‘30-minute games’’, or ‘‘Quick solo scenarios’’?

We should somehow encourage more people to add to After Action Review with their recommendations - even if it is just the title of the scenario rather than a full review.

The one I played last night from Crete was great - look at how little terrain there is. Everything comes from the base game, no complex extra rules. 12 minutes to set up. Give it a go!

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We use video Skype to see each other and to facilitate communication.
We use VASSAL Memoir 44 module because we both see the board in real time. The board is on our computer screen adjacent to our video. So we see everything in real time. We have no actual board. The module has all the scenarios preloaded we just bring them up with the program.

I learned Memoir’44 originally on Vassal 15 years ago before the online version came out. It is a much better platform for group and doubles play. I think folks would find it saves so much time on setup and also there is no automation and hence no computer miss clicks that can’t be corrected.

I have played folks all over the world on it and if any of you would like to learn to use it, I hope I could be of assistance.

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Currently what is stopping me from playing as much as I’d like is painting. M44 was an impulsive project I added into my current list of projects, powered through close to halfway, then paused it, but it’s one that I’m going to see through to the end.

Just finished up This War of Mine, 1/3 of the way through Space Cadets Away Missions, and still have Commands & Colors Ancients, C&C Medieval, and Arcadia Quest on the to do list.

I’m convinced eventually they will release a mobile friendly app, or BGA alpha, and be able to play with the people on here. If I can’t attend the DDay game in Chattanooga this year I’ll arrange an Overlord game closer to home.

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I have just played another quick and easy game - less than 10 minutes to set up, 30 minutes to play.
A straightforward infantry fight by jdrommel on Crete called 42 Street.
Give it a go!