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 Post subject: Worthy Napoleonic boardgame series?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:07 pm 
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Gentlemen, does anyone know a worthy series of Napoleonic boardgames?
The only one that caught my attention was the "La Bataille" series of Marshal Enterprises.
http://www.labataille.me/Home_Page.php
It seems rather detailed for a boardgame.
Besides infos about the games there are also many interesting articles spread over the webpage regarding many aspects of the Napoleonic period, surely worth to read.

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 Post subject: Re: Worthy Napoleonic boardgame series?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:47 am 
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Christian Hecht wrote:
Gentlemen, does anyone know a worthy series of Napoleonic boardgames?
The only one that caught my attention was the "La Bataille" series of Marshal Enterprises.
http://www.labataille.me/Home_Page.php
It seems rather detailed for a boardgame.
Besides infos about the games there are also many interesting articles spread over the webpage regarding many aspects of the Napoleonic period, surely worth to read.


It depends what level you're looking for...tactical, grand-tactical or operational. I've never played the La Bataille series, but I've looked at it and it seems to be the best fit in the tactical/grand tactical space, outside of miniatures rules.

There are others such as Napoleon's Last Battles, I think. Boardgamegeek would probably be the best place to look: https://boardgamegeek.com/ .

If I was in the market for a Napoleonic grand tactical baordgame, though, I'd be looking at Simmons Games' "Bonaparte at Marengo" and "Napoleon's Triumph" (Austerlitz). It's a real departure from the hex-based factor-counting and column-shifting traditionally associated with board wargames and is well worth a look, particularly since the map and if I remember correctly, the rules, can be viewed before purchasing.

Avalon Hill also produced "Napoleon's Battles" which would be the nearest thing I've seen to Squad Leader for Napoleonics, (but without the mind-crushing complexity) Although it came with sample cardboard counters it's a miniatures rules set, but if you're into solo play it can played out in the JTS NBs editor (with a few tweaks), thanks to its 1" = 100 meters scale (as can the similarly-scaled "Age of Eagles" rules). Both use the brigade (or "brigade equivalent" e.g. small division, large regiment) as the basic manoeuvre unit, so the big battles can play out surprisingly quickly.

Hope this helps...

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 Post subject: Re: Worthy Napoleonic boardgame series?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:19 pm 
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Thanks for the replay, the Simmons Games' seem to be an unusual but interesting approach.

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 Post subject: Re: Worthy Napoleonic boardgame series?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:38 am 
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Here you go:

Vae Victis publishes good Napoleonic battle games. Rivoli 1797, 2nd Zurich 1799, etc. You have to hunt for the issue and then see if its still in print. if not check Ebay. You can get the rules in English.

https://www.vaevictismag.fr/en/

Enrico Acerbi designed a board game on the Battle of Loano, 1795.

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/108 ... sena-loano

I used a lot of his info for the Loano scenario in Campaign Marengo.

He also designed a game about the Battle of the Trebia 1799:

http://www.aciesedizioni.it/Giochi/trebbia-eng.htm

Enrico is an excellent historian/designer. I wouldn't hesitate to buy anything that has his name on it. He was very helpful during the production of Marengo sharing a lot of good information on the battles. His help with the "Neapolitan Chasseurs" which turned out to be heavy cavalry (at Lodi) was a big help. He wrote some excellent articles on the 1799 campaign in Italy. Much more accurate than the Duffy book on the topic.

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 Post subject: Re: Worthy Napoleonic boardgame series?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:45 pm 
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Want to revive this thread, maybe any newcomer has something to add here.

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 Post subject: Re: Worthy Napoleonic boardgame series?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:22 am 
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I enjoyed the La Bataille series games when I was younger IF you can figure out the rules. The counters with their regimental uniform image on the front and the values on the back gave the game some measure of "Fog of War."

The guys I gamed with played the designers one time. They were changing the rules at like 3am during an early morning session of the game! At that point my friends decided to call it. They had been winning up to that point but the designers thought that the rules needed changing "in session." ROFL

Still the series did come out with Austerlitz which I thought was their best title. Wagram was just too large for a board game and their attempt left off a lot of battlefield area that we get in Campaign Wagram. I dont remember if they ever did Leipzig.

Played the Borodino game several times. It was their original game and it was one of their best.

I tried Rich Berg's Napoleonic series published by GMT Games. Very complex for what it was trying to accomplish. Well that's Berg for ya. His Ancients series that GMT published is still considered to be a 9 on the complexity scale. (1-9 with 9 being the hardest)

Enrico Acerbi worked on two board games for an Italian company. He designed the Trebbia and Loano battle games. Here is the company link:

http://www.aciesedizioni.it/ingresso-eng.htm

Trebbia is "Wise Bayonets"

Loano is "Massena at Loano" and is out of print currently

Enrico does a great job of researching his games. He has published a number of articles on the Napoleon Series website. He was very helpful during the development of the Campaign Marengo game.

:thumbsup:

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 Post subject: Re: Worthy Napoleonic boardgame series?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:45 am 
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https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgamecate ... napoleonic
Sort by rank. This seems like the most popular BGG Napoleonic series; http://www.commandsandcolors.net/napoleonics/ ... casual crap. Board/miniature games cannot compare to the FoW and code complexity of computer games.

Here's a thread I like from BGG:
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/139078 ... s-get-wron
Cawley comes off overly opinionated and arrogant (remind you of anyone?) but, he's essentially correct. Designer's never consider the target dimensions during their firing resolutions. The most popular boardgames and computer games are for casual play without significant historic realism applied. There is hope though, the last post in that thread is a guy building a company level tactical set. If something like that could be generated to a program allowing for interlocking company movement, command point system, and complex combat formulae than I guarantee at least $10M in first years sales. Another basic feature would be to allow function scripting at least as detailed as Civilization 2. Dropping customization, detail, and making a pretty computer game or boardgame set is a sure way to mediocrity and failure.

NBs claim to fame for me is the hex vertex facing. I've never seen it before but, assume boardgames have been using it. It does present an easily defined firing arc which works well with line infantry firing. Although if I designed a tactical wargame it would be based on square grids and pixel ranges. No reason to limit your efforts to any boargame genre ease of use mechanics other than pathing I guess.

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 Post subject: Re: Worthy Napoleonic boardgame series?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:32 am 
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I only was ever able to solo them, but I enjoyed the Zucker operational games, especially the Italian minigame and 1809. (His 1813 game was a bit too massive for my humble tastes). Part of it is that I'm often more interested in operational level concerns than the fine tactical niceties.

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 Post subject: Re: Worthy Napoleonic boardgame series?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:26 am 
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Wow... Jason Cawley, there's a name I've not thought of for a long, long time. By the way, you can blame him for me, he's the one who gave me the address to the club lo those many long years ago. (I knew him from the Stars! community, a long forgotten space 4x).

That said, I'm going to disagree with him, because he's reduced everything to firepower. Warfare has always been a gigantic Psyop as much as anything. It could be blue painted barbarian warriors on the Roman frontiers or simple harassment fire in the middle of the night, things are done to get into people's heads.

People may not have thought in the terms of Psychology in those days, but they knew what it meant to get into someone's head. A great deal of the warfare of this era counted in that as well.

Why was the column a successful formation? The "weight" of the column wasn't because that guy in the middle of the back row was able to effectively jump into the fight and make himself known. It's because being on the receiving end of that monstrosity on the field was a pretty frightening experience. Infantry exceedingly rarely got into bayonet range in the open field, Sharpe novels notwithstanding. When troops saw the column crawl towards them, they would take their shots, and then often melt (or run) away.

To circle it back to the real topic here, I've not seen a great number of games that really do well with modeling the relationship between that intimidation factor and firepower. (Both are important, my issue with Jason is that he soaked everything down to firepower.)

I recall a series of games back in the old Wargamer mag on Abensberg, Eckmuhl and Aspern-Essling where you would copy off a sheet and as a unit took losses, its morale would progressively weaken. That's about as close as I can recall.

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 Post subject: Re: Worthy Napoleonic boardgame series?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:57 am 
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Gary McClellan wrote:
Wow... Jason Cawley, there's a name I've not thought of for a long, long time. By the way, you can blame him for me, he's the one who gave me the address to the club lo those many long years ago. (I knew him from the Stars! community, a long forgotten space 4x).

That said, I'm going to disagree with him, because he's reduced everything to firepower. Warfare has always been a gigantic Psyop as much as anything. It could be blue painted barbarian warriors on the Roman frontiers or simple harassment fire in the middle of the night, things are done to get into people's heads.

People may not have thought in the terms of Psychology in those days, but they knew what it meant to get into someone's head. A great deal of the warfare of this era counted in that as well.

Why was the column a successful formation? The "weight" of the column wasn't because that guy in the middle of the back row was able to effectively jump into the fight and make himself known. It's because being on the receiving end of that monstrosity on the field was a pretty frightening experience. Infantry exceedingly rarely got into bayonet range in the open field, Sharpe novels notwithstanding. When troops saw the column crawl towards them, they would take their shots, and then often melt (or run) away.

To circle it back to the real topic here, I've not seen a great number of games that really do well with modeling the relationship between that intimidation factor and firepower. (Both are important, my issue with Jason is that he soaked everything down to firepower.)

I recall a series of games back in the old Wargamer mag on Abensberg, Eckmuhl and Aspern-Essling where you would copy off a sheet and as a unit took losses, its morale would progressively weaken. That's about as close as I can recall.


Totally agree with you on the "get in their heads" thinking. Its how melees were won AND also how commanders were lured into attacking or moving troops away to other areas of the battlefield on a pretext.

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Scenario Designer for Napoleonic Battles series - John Tiller Software
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 Post subject: Re: Worthy Napoleonic boardgame series?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:14 pm 
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I read the entire thread some time ago but, believe Cawley was just going into detail about firepower resolution alone. Naturally, fatigue/morale is a major factor in battle. I think Moylan captured unit and force morale aspects the best in his Combat Mission. Wary, Shaken, Fatigued, Broken, Routing, Routed.. Several factors not just a linear two step process to a unit being off to the woods. That would be very difficult to implement in a board game though. There don't seem to be a lot of boardgame/minature series that use a program interface for record keeping, random scripting, or compound resolutions. People want their ole' Kriegspiel straight up still.

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 Post subject: Re: Worthy Napoleonic boardgame series?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:19 pm 
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Here's the link to the Abensberg game I mentioned. My bad, it was in S&T, not Wargamer.

If you look, one of the pics is of the page you photocopied which show how as you mark off losses (the top line) the morale slowly crumbles.

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/106 ... -abensberg

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 Post subject: Re: Worthy Napoleonic boardgame series?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:24 pm 
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Ahh, combat resolution tables. 'Crown of the North' and the original Europa engine by Paradox were based on CRTs. Linear expressions with string modifiers as used in Tiller's games are much better. Its the progressive logical layers in attributes like morale loss that add flavor to a game. For that you need container modules like fatigue that trip the states. Another could be Charleville '77 charges, 6lb. case shots, bandages or, baguettes contained in each supply train unit. Material is to morale as 1 is to 0. :]

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 Post subject: Re: Worthy Napoleonic boardgame series?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 6:41 pm 
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https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/146 ... ipzig-1813

Looks like Leipzig was done, although I haven't actually seen a copy of it. I'm waiting on the reprints of Wavre and Mt St Jean -even if for no other reason than I want to put the maps together. I had all 4 at one point, but sold them -so the re-prints are a nice way to recover from a mistake on my part.

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