Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
Scotland
Motherwell
Graduate of Barlinnie
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Disclaimer:

This is the second time that I have used the above title for a review and for that, I make no apologies. The first was for Bitter Woods (fourth edition). Please also take note that I am not employed by www.rdoxx.com and have no affiliation with this company, save buying copious amounts of their product. More about that product later.

Introduction:

The designer, Rob Beyma, establishes clearly his intent in the designer’s notes section of the rulebook when he states: "Waterloo: Fate of France[/b] started out in the late 1990s as an upgrade to the Avalon Hill classic Waterloo game. My objective was to design a good operational game on the Waterloo Campaign not just the famous Mont St. Jean battle." In this he has succeeded admirably. Waterloo: Fate of France is not Avalon Hill’s Waterloo. It plays, looks and feels different. I would say better.

Anticipation:

I first heard of this game on BGG and then visited L2’s website. The only other L2 game I own is Bitter Woods (fourth edition) and when I saw that this also had 5/8 counters, my mind was made up. Then came the problems: this is not an easy game to obtain in the UK and the combination of cost of postage and the fact that L2 use surface mail prohibited me from ordering it direct from the manufacturer. To pass the time away, I calculated how many counter sleds I would need from www.rdoxx.com, ordered and painted these.


These were to provide the Fog of War.

Contents:

When the game finally arrived, I took stock of what I got for my £55 including postage:

A large 24x36" heavy board map
Twelve battle boards 8.5x11" each
Two sheets of 5/8" counters totalling 384 including blanks
A deck of 70 cards to be punched out
Rule book, scenario book, charts and three dice

Quality here is of the essence. The board, although not mounted, is printed on very heavy stock and the 5/8" counters are colourful and a joy to my eyes as I have given up on trying to read 1/2" counters long ago. The counters have some printing issues in that the colour of the print used for titles does not contrast enough with the background colours but, this has been covered in a review by Kevin Duke. The cards are printed on rather thin stock and need to be protected. I have also found a suitable box in which to store them.


As usual, the counters were circumcised and stored in pill boxes that can be purchased from most pharmacies.


Gameplay:

This has been covered admirably in a previous review by Roberto Guijarro, so I am only going to give a brief description. The large board is used for making campaign moves and is an area mapboard. A detail is shown below.


When opposing armies enter the same area, the action is transferred to one of the twelve smaller boards and it is here that the fun begins. Terrain is largely abstracted, but it does represent the area over which the battle took place.


Using counter sleds, it means that you can’t see your opponents set up or pieces and this provides a fog of war not inherent in the original game. It also, in my opinion, looks better.


Combat involves using hit markers to show damage inflicted. The morale rules mean that units can flee the battle to return later. I appreciate this mechanism. When d'Erlon's I Corps were repulsed around 2.00pm at Waterloo, they did come back to support the final attacks made later in the day. A corps just doesn't vanish. I think this is the one mechanism that Rob Beyma should be proud of.

Orders of Battle:

I am an unashamed Napoleonic buff and if Brian Morris knows the names of the brigade commanders at Gettysburg by heart, then I can say the same practically for the battalion commanders at Waterloo. And their mistresses. Two things are needed for a wargame to work for me: accurate representation of the terrain and an accurate OOB.




The designer has got his OOB to a tee and provides two counters for the larger divisions so that, when casualties are incurred, they are first flipped and then replaced with the second counter which can also be flipped. As I said, Corps don't just vanish. Another advantage is that brigade sized counters are provided for certain French Old Guard and Anglo-Allied divisions so that they can be fielded in their constituent parts.


Conclusion:

As you have probably gathered I am more than enamoured by this game and find that it scratches the Waterloo itch. I would not be so precocious as to recommend it to everyone and I have taken the time to direct people to a less than complimentary review, however, I LOVE IT. That does not mean to say that I have no criticisms. Three of the counters are misprinted (Ross's artillery should be horse and not foot and two others have the flip side missed altogether) and for £55 I expect the producers to have at least proof read the bloody thing. The other minor irk is that the image of Waterloo on the front of the scenario book is the worst representation of Waterloo that I have seen.


I mean, just what are Ney and Kellerman doing stuck out in front? Ney commanded the left wing, not a bunch of nags.

I have put a wee bit of money and effort into this game and it has paid dividends. Should you buy it, I sincerely hope you get as much pleasure out of it as I do.

I do believe it also plays well without my "improvements."

Kindest regards,

Jim
Est. 1949

Continuously edited as I discover the usual geriatric spelling and grammar errors. blush


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Martin Gallo
United States
O'Fallon
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Thanks for this review. I have this game punched and prepared, but have not yet had a chance to play it. It is on the list and should see the table soon.

I have played The Battles of Waterloo and enjoyed it a lot (with the Bill Ramsay rules).

Since I am by no means an expert on this stuff, I wonder if you have played both and could comment or contrast them?
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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
Scotland
Motherwell
Graduate of Barlinnie
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Martin,

I'm afraid I haven't played that game but I can recommend Berg's Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle for a light well produced session and of course Columbia's Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815 for a block game.

Regards,


Jim
Est. 1949

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ian morris
United Kingdom
Birmingham
West Mids
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"and their mistresses"


laugh


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Steve Herron
United States
Johnson City
Tennessee
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It is on my like to have game list but the price is so high. The old AH Waterloo game was my favorite of the old classics. Thanks for a good review.
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john f stup
United States
damascus
Maryland
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QUESTION; where would you rate it compared to ATTACTIX's game of VICTORY AT WATERLOO?
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Martin Gallo
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oneilljgf wrote:
[i][b]Martin,

I'm afraid I haven't played that game but I can recommend Berg's Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle for a light well produced session and of course Columbia's Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815 for a block game.


The block game is simply brilliant. Have not tried the other.

Thanks.
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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
Scotland
Motherwell
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nhojput wrote:
QUESTION; where would you rate it compared to ATTACTIX's game of VICTORY AT WATERLOO?


John,

It's on a totally different scale from Victory at Waterloo in that Waterloo: The Fate of France covers the whole Belgian scenario, whereas the former concentrates on the action at Mont St Jean. Unfortunately, I have not had the chance to get a hold of Attactix's game so I can't comment on the mechanisms or gameplay but, from a quick look at the game's entry, the counters and mapboards of Waterloo: The Fate of France are a lot better produced. This is to be expected though, since the former predates the latter by some twenty-odd years.

Regards,


Jim
Est. 1949


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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
Scotland
Motherwell
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sherron wrote:
It is on my like to have game list but the price is so high. The old AH Waterloo game was my favorite of the old classics. Thanks for a good review.


Steve,

That and Gettysburg (125th Anniversary edition) were the first two hex and counter games I owned. I still have and play them. A tip of the hat to your new avatar, Sir. I like the sentiment there.

Regards,


Jim
Est. 1949

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Will Green
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Great review! A question for you that I didn't see in your review...How are the rules? Are they clear, are they laid out well?
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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
Scotland
Motherwell
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tyvek wrote:

Great review! A question for you that I didn't see in your review...How are the rules? Are they clear, are they laid out well?


Will,

They aren't too bad. They use the legal rather than the narrative style. I must admit though that I read through them four or five times before I started on my first solo game. There is a page of errata now published that is an absolute necessity. You can find the rules here on BGG as a download courtesy of Art Lupinacci, the publisher.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/28766

Regards,


Jim
Est. 1949

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Andrew C
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Great review Jim - you really know how to make the most of a game!
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john f stup
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It's on a totally different scale from Victory at Waterloo in that Waterloo: Fate of France covers the whole Belgian scenario, whereas the former concentrates on the action at Mont St Jean. Unfortunately, I have not had the chance to get a hold of Attactix's game so I can't comment on the mechanics or gameplay but, from a quick look at the game's entry, the counters and mapboards of Waterloo: Fate of France are a lot better produced. This is to be expected though, since the former predates the latter by some twenty-odd years.
thank's Jim, so it's on the scale of NAPOLEON by columbia games. The ATTACTIX game has a morale track which helps decide the victor. there's probably a little more to it than some of the simple waterloo games of it's time. but the component's are pretty good in that it has a mounted board and large counters. sounds like the reviewed game would be fun as the waterloo campaign is as interesting as the main battle itself.
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Kevin Duke
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So, Jim, have you had a chance to try the Martin Wallace W'loo yet? That one should be easier for you to get than on our side of the pond.
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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
Scotland
Motherwell
Graduate of Barlinnie
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kduke wrote:
So, Jim, have you had a chance to try the Martin Wallace W'loo yet? That one should be easier for you to get than on our side of the pond.


Not only have I bought it, Kevin, I have even taken the paintbrush to it.

Jim
Est. 1949

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Soon Louis
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A quick question about the counter sleds. Are there fog of war rules in the game? Otherwise other then looking better and maybe protecting the counters what do the counter sleds accomplish? Thanks.
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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
Scotland
Motherwell
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There are no Fog of War rules as such but, by mounting the counters on sleds, your opponent can only see the back of the sled and not the actual counter.

This creates a limited FoW.

See the images above.

Regards,


Jim
Est. 1949

 
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Bob
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Thanks for the well written review Jim! thumbsup

I've never played this one before, but we may have to correct that having read your comments. cool
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Dave Langdon
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I love your style Jim, i turned up here wondering about a new wargame for myself based around needing bigger counters. Sometimes on boardgamegeek i feel like you're an old guard at the front of the column leading the way, and i'm trudging along eating a baguette somewhere near the back agreeing with alot of what you say
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