Game review: Memoir ’44 and Tide of Iron: Stalingrad offer WWII adventures
TOI: Stalingrad takes the core rules from the original TOI and offers new, inventive scenarios and game play. To simulate the gritty city fighting of the battle, TOI: Stalingrad introduces elevations (floors) for buildings, movement through sewers, snipers and more. Railroad tracks, collapsed buildings and bombarded terrain all add to the theme of the desperate battle.
The TOI system allows two players to place plastic infantry units such as riflemen, machine-gunners, mortar crews and officers upon bases as they take on the role of the German Wehrmacht or Soviet Red Army. Players can also specialize units and turn them into assault engineers, mounted troops and political commissars, each with their own unique abilities. This squad creation aspect is a lot of fun and comes in useful during combat. Players also have the ability to draw special cards to aid them in combat.
In battle, players have a certain number of actions each turn, selecting units to move and fight, and must pay attention to range, line of sight and terrain. Dice are used in combat, with attackers rolling for hits and defenders rolling for cover, if any. TOI: Stalingrad's unique scenarios are where this game really shines. “The Iron Horsemen” offer a mad dash to the center of the board for both sides with only infantry units, while “Shot for Shot” and “Terminal Station” offer heavier battles with armor units and varied infantry. Additionally, TOI: Stalingrad offers a campaign mode with evolving units over the course of several scenarios.
Not only is TOI: Stalingrad a worthy expansion to Fantasy Flight Games' original game, it may be the best TOI expansion yet. The new units, abilities, terrain and scenarios will suck players in, and like Memoir ’44, they will walk away with a better appreciation for the men who fought the Second World War.
Also, 1A Games has announced that in addition to a reprint of the original TOI in a smaller package (the Fantasy Flight Games version was offered in a long box), future TOI expansions are in the works. An expansion pitting the U.S. Marine Corps against the Japanese empire is up next — a cause for celebration considering TOI: Stalingrad's achievement.
Tide of Iron: Stalingrad is recommended for players ages 13 and up. Like Memoir ’44, team play is also an option and play time varies with each scenario.
Cody K. Carlson holds a master's degree in history from the University of Utah and currently teaches at SLCC. He has also appeared on many local stages, including Hale Centre Theatre and Off Broadway Theatre. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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