David G. Cox Esq.
Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are.
Hundred Days Battles
Two or Three-player Mini-game of the Waterloo Campaign
Designed by Kevin Zucker
Published by OSG (1979) and TAHGC (1983)
Hundred Days Battles was originally published by the Operational Studies Group in 1979 and then four years later by the Avalon Hill Game Company. The map was originally printed on paper and the game came in a zip-loc bag. The Avalon Hill version came with a mounted map and a box – I guess that makes it the deluxe edition.
Kevin Zucker made quite a name for himself when he published Napoleon at Bay – the first of the games in the Campaigns of Napoleon series. OSG later published Bonaparte in Italy – another game in the series that used the same basic system. Since then many other titles in the series have been published such as Struggle of Nations (Avalon Hill) and 1809 (Victory Games). The games in the series share a common core set of rules.
The only game in the series I have played is Bonaparte in Italy. In that game I was the Austrian player and Napoleon died on the field of battle. I pointed out to my opponent (a devotee of Napoleon) that the rules said that if Napoleon died then we didn’t have to play the other games in the series – so we didn’t.
Hundred Days Battles is a very small game which shares some of the systems used in the Campaigns of Napoleon series. Despite the smallness of Hundred Days Battles the systems that work so well in the larger games do a fine job in the small package as well – notes in the rules indicate that part of the function of Hundred Days Battles is to serve as an introduction to the series.
The components: the game comes with a small 11” by 17” map (it’s probably close to the same size as games that have large 11” by 17” maps). The game comes with 100 counters – most of them are combat units and leaders. The rules are 20 small pages in length but are very wordy which makes the game actually feel more complicated than it is.
The game systems: the game’s rules are quite different from your standard garden-variety hex-based war game. Leaders are very important. Leaders are rated for initiative – this means that to move a leader you have to roll the die and you need to roll equal or less than the initiative rating for the leader to move. Each turn the French player can issue orders to three leaders, ensuring that they will definitely move. The Prussian and Anglo-Dutch players each have two command orders than they may issue each turn.
The second main aspect of the game system is that each combat unit’s strength may change during the game. As units are involved in combat they lose individual strength points and become weaker due to the attrition of combat. Each combat unit also can reach a level where they become ineffective, which means they are no longer allowed to attack but they can still defend.
The situation: the game goes for four turns. The French win by eliminating 35 or more Prussian strength points OR by eliminating 30 or more Anglo-Dutch strength points OR by having Napoleon exit the northern edge of the map with 20 French strength points OR by having French leaders other than Napoleon exit the northern edge of the map with 30 strength points. The allied players win by eliminating 45 or more French strength points. If neither side achieves its victory conditions the game is an Allied victory.
The game is played on a small map, made smaller by a large number of command tracks on the sides of the board. There are a lot of units on the board and a lot of combats to be fought.
The French have the advantage of superior leadership and good mobility. They can try to take out one enemy army first and then the other. As in the actual situation the Allies have to fall back, conserve force and hope to have enough troops at the end of the game (in the right location) to be able to foil the French.
In principle I like the Campaigns of Napoleon system and I feel that Hundred Days Battles is a successful game both in its own right and as an introduction to the other games in the Campaigns of Napoleon series.
‘The Game is Afoot!’
- Last edited Fri Oct 9, 2009 10:07 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Fri Oct 9, 2009 8:28 am
You are a paradox to me, a contradiction You're a predicament for me, and a prediction
Nice review, as always..
I found that the mapboard with the tracks as is was too small and sacled up the map and copied seperate tracks for each player which made playing a bit easier. Interesting little game though. I prefer Arcola/Battle for Italy against this.