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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Napoleon's War Volume I: The 100 Days is a simple wargame that expands upon the system from Hold the Line. The game covers Napoleon's last battles: Quatre Bras, Ligny, Wavre, and Waterloo. This review will be less a detailed survey of play, and more about how the system has been successfully adapted for the Napoleonic Wars. This game has come out at the perfect time, arriving just before the highly anticipated Battles of Napoleon: The Eagle and the Lion, and many months before Commands & Colors: Napoleonics is expected to hit the shelves.

Gameplay (26 out of 28): Each side uses miniatures that represent a unit's morale, with Dutch infantry having only two models to represent their questionable quality, while the British infantry have four. The units represent infantry, cavalry, and artillery. All of these units can fire at various ranges, but infantry and cavalry can initiate shock combat, which is powerful because the chance of making hits improves and it gives them the chance of seizing an enemy position.

Unlike Hold the Line, these units interact in very special ways. Infantry are the basic unit, since you have a lot of them and they can usually take more hits than the other units. However, they move slowly, do not have much range, and they only hit on a six unless they engage in shock combat. Unlike Hold the Line they can move 2 hexes without a leaders, but at quite a cost in command points. However, having a high morale makes them good for defensive missions, and against cavalry they can form square. This is important as cavalry, while having a low firing range, and unless heavy, have a low morale, are swift and can hit hard. Artillery have range and are very powerful in this game but also quite fragile. Further rules add even more nuisance. Cavalry that attack cavalry is not only less effective, but can be counter-charged, which in game terms has the same effect as infantry forming square.

Counters are important to this game. Leaders, with ratings from 1-3, are represented by counters. These leaders help in shock combat, force marching, and rallying (healing) damaged units . Other counters are used to signify elite infantry and heavy cavalry, which in both cases means the units can take a lot of hits. Also, the optional rules give players the chance to use light infantry, skirmishers, and rifles for the British. Then there is horse artillery, highly mobile guns with decreased range and firepower. These units add even more depth and for the experienced wargamer, they are a treat.

The Counters:
External image


The units move and fight using action points. Each side has a set number, which can be reduced when leaders are lost. In addition, a die roll gives each side extra action points. These points give you flexibility in terms of use, but you'll never be able to order everyone. In addition, shock combat and force marching costs 2 points for infantry, further weakening their offensive punch as using infantry to swiftly attack can be quite expensive. Cavalry shock costs 2 AP, but they swifter and if they catch a unit out of position, quite lethal.

The scenarios are each quite different, and aid playability. Quatre Bras is a race against time, as the French must hit hard before Coalition reinforcements arrive, while the Coalition must hold with the weak Dutch. Ligny is a slugging match and Waterloo offering an exciting holding action. However, Wavre is a flop. Unless the Prussians are idiots or unlucky in the Job sense of the word, they cannot lose. If someone thinks I'm wrong please explain, because after playing this one I wondered how it passed playtesting. Perhaps if the results were connected directly to Waterloo, and both battles were played simultaneously, it could be fun, but I don't see any rules for this.

Tactical (4 out of 5): Napoleon's War is a game that is simple but requires some intelligent decision making. A player who makes piecemeal attacks will be rewarded with heavy losses and it is rarely advisable to make suicidal charges for the sake of eliminating an enemy unit. Because you must either move or fire, your men will most likely come under fire before they have a chance to fire back, so careful and powerful attacks are encouraged. A big difference from Hold the Line is the application of combat modifiers. In Hold the Line you always fired three dice, but with cumulative negatives. Here, you instead lose a die, but can keep firing. This makes artillery more lethal, as they can shell well protected positions and have a chance, however faint, of hitting the enemy.

Action at Hougomont:
External image


However, I find with the game favors the defender, since he does not have to move attack formations, which expend a lot more action points, and he can use his infantry to shock attack the enemy's infantry before they can strike. This might be disadvantageous if the attacker had to occupy the hex containing his victim, but this is not the case, so I find infantry are often counter charging instead of holding the line. So far though, this is the gamest element in Napoleon's War, but thankfully the high price in action points can make it prohibitive.

Accessibility (4 out of 5): The rules are clearly presented and with little fuss, but I can't say this game is as light as similar fare. There is a lot more rules here than in Hold the Line, and I found myself messing them up in the first two sessions. I can say this, unless you are used to complexity, forgo Kevin Duke's advanced skirmisher rules during your first few sessions. They add a lot more tactical depth, but are best used once you have a feel for the game.

Components (4 out of 5): Instead of thick counters in the style of Hold the Line, Napoleon's War uses miniatures from Viktory II. At first I was skeptical, but now I love the idea. The minis look good and can be ordered from here: http://www.viktorygame.com/components.htm

This allows you to expand your armies, but also use the orange and black pieces for minor nations. Orange is of course the obvious choice for the Dutch, while black can be used for the Brunswick troops.

If I do have a problem it is with the maps. They look good, but the card stock does not easily fold after playing. I think a player aid card with many of the additional rules would have been nice, but it is not necessary. While a minor gripe, I wish the box art had a more flattering picture of Napoleon. He sort of reminds me of Littleface from Dick Tracy. I'm glad they didn't use the over the top picture of him riding a charger across the Alps, but he looks very unimpressive on the cover.

Quatre Bras Map:
External image


Originality (2 out of 2): While the game is certainly using the same general system as Hold the Line this is no mere clone, with unit interaction adding a tactical depth lacking in Hold the Line.

Historical Quality (4 out of 5): When it comes to simple wargames I am for the most part not a stickler for history because these games put play above realism and they should. However, Napoleon's War has done a fine job of balancing both realism and play. However, I have one problem. The Dutch are perhaps rated too low. I'm a believer that the British overstated Dutch unreliability to benefit themselves. Clearly they fought hard at Quatre Bras and prevented a disaster, but this is a minor gripe, and most likely done for balance reasons. However, if so inclined one could increase Dutch morale and decrease British morale each by one, or make Dutch morale variable before fighting at Quatre Bras.

The tactical interplay among units is realistic, as artillery are vulnerable, but can be protected within a square, while cavalry either shred infantry or are stopped cold by a square. The action points limit the number of moves but not the options available. This reasonably simulates the agonies of coordination in this era of warfare. Unlike Battle Cry, units cannot move and shoot, and this discourages unsupported attacks. I don't mean to say that this game can compare with something like Wellington's Victory: Battle of Waterloo Game – June 18th, 1815, but it packs a lot of historical punch in a simple package.

The Prussians Arrive!
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Overall (44 out of 50): The relation between Napoleon's War and Hold the Line reminds me of that between Bonaparte at Marengo and Napoleon's Triumph. In both cases, the later game is an offshoot of the original concept, but with tactical differences and a grander scale that makes each a different experience, even if many of the rules are the same. Napoleon's War has more rules than Hold the Line, but the differences are more than skin deep. The fire and shock combat tables are extremely different. Infantry are more brittle in Napoleon's War, while artillery is weaker, and cavalry is more important. Small rules are different as well. In Hold the Line rallying was automatic. In Napoleon's War rallying is not a sure thing.

Napoleon's War is a simple game, but much more involved than I was expecting. This is not a problem, as it still plays swiftly and is nail-biting throughout. I confess I prefer Hold the Line, but I plan to buy every battle pack and expansion for Napoleon's War. I chose this game over Battles of Napoleon: The Eagle and the Lion and Commands & Colors: Napoleonics because Napoleon's War came from a proven system that I admire. It also helps that it is cheaper than Battles of Napoleon: The Eagle and the Lion, and has hit the shelves months before Commands & Colors: Napoleonics will. I'll certainly give Battles of Napoleon: The Eagle and the Lion and Commands & Colors: Napoleonics a chance, but Napoleon's War is something I bought on faith, and that faith has been affirmed.
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gittes wrote:
[i]Napoleon's War is a simple game, but much more involved than I was expecting. This is not a problem, as it still plays swiftly and is nail-biting throughout. I confess I prefer Hold the Line, but I plan to buy every battle pack and expansion for Napoleon's War. I chose this game over Battles of Napoleon: The Eagle and the Lion and Commands & Colors: Napoleonics because Napoleon's War came from a proven system that I admire. It also helps that it is cheaper than Battles of Napoleon: The Eagle and the Lion, and has hit the shelves months before Commands & Colors: Napoleonics will. I'll certainly give Battles of Napoleon: The Eagle and the Lion and Commands & Colors: Napoleonics a chance, but Napoleon's War is something I bought on faith, and that faith has been affirmed.
Come on admit it, we all know we're buying all three.
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jrescan wrote:
gittes wrote:
[i]Napoleon's War is a simple game, but much more involved than I was expecting. This is not a problem, as it still plays swiftly and is nail-biting throughout. I confess I prefer Hold the Line, but I plan to buy every battle pack and expansion for Napoleon's War. I chose this game over Battles of Napoleon: The Eagle and the Lion and Commands & Colors: Napoleonics because Napoleon's War came from a proven system that I admire. It also helps that it is cheaper than Battles of Napoleon: The Eagle and the Lion, and has hit the shelves months before Commands & Colors: Napoleonics will. I'll certainly give Battles of Napoleon: The Eagle and the Lion and Commands & Colors: Napoleonics a chance, but Napoleon's War is something I bought on faith, and that faith has been affirmed.
Come on admit it, we all know we're buying all three.
For sure
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gittes wrote:

Components (4 out of 5): Instead of thick counters in the style of Hold the Line, Napoleon's War uses miniatures from Viktory II. At first I was skeptical, but now I love the idea. The minis look good and can be ordered from here: http://www.viktorygame.com/components.htm
Thanks for this review. I am not sure if you are saying that the Viktory II pieces come in the box or that these need to be ordered separately from the link you give. Can you clarify?

The second question I have is whether anyone knows if/where I can get this in the UK.

Ta
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Thanks for this review. I am not sure if you are saying that the Viktory II pieces come in the box or that these need to be ordered separately from the link you give. Can you clarify?
The pieces come with the game, but if you want extra pieces, you can order them through the link provided.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Come on admit it, we all know we're buying all three.
If only my pocket book would let me.
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Great review as always. Thanks for posting the link to Viktory II site. I just ordered some blue American, green Militia and red British minis for Hold the Line.

Hopefully, I'll get my act together and post a review for Napoleon - 100 Days soon. The pressure off me now that you posted your review.
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Thanks for the review Sean. We hope to have some nice suprises for gamers with some of the battle packs planned. Volume 2 and 3 will add other colors (green, white, yellow, and of course more red and blue).



Happy Nappy Gaming!!!
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Thanks for the review Sean. We hope to have some nice suprises for gamers with some of the battle packs planned. Volume 2 and 3 will add other colors (green, white, yellow, and of course more red and blue).



Happy Nappy Gaming!!!
Grant,

I'm looking forward to each new entry. Also, I'm liking the phrase "Happy Nappy Gaming."
 
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Great review as always. Thanks for posting the link to Viktory II site. I just ordered some blue American, green Militia and red British minis for Hold the Line.
Not a bad idea. Perhaps white for the French and yellow for the loyalist militia and/or Indians?

btw, great avatar.
 
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cartking24 wrote:
Happy Nappy Gaming!!!
I can only imagine what our British friends picture when they hear this phrase...
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Hopefully, I'll get my act together and post a review for Napoleon - 100 Days soon. The pressure off me now that you posted your review.
I look forward to this Peter.

btw, today I received a Worthington Games e-mail which included my review. I am flattered. Thank you Grant.
 
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Thank you Sean, it was a nice review. We appreciate it when we get lengthy reviews because you explained what you liked and why and what you didn't like and why.

Happy Nappy Gaming!!!!
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Just a little insight into the "Kevin Duke Skirmisher Rules"...
I spoke to Kevin at Origins after connecting his name to the game I had just received. He said he submitted a sheet of "ideas" after being requested to do so. The next thing he knew, they were in the game just as he had submitted them, with no feedback or questions.
I wonder how often THAT happens when games are published?

Minor quibble with the rules presentation evaluation. Do you realize that nowhere in the rules folder does it definitely tell you how many dice to roll for each unit? It is only on the chart and easily missed by 2 veteran gamers trying it out the first time. One of the examples mentions an artillery rolling 3 dice, but nothing definite. I knew the principle from "Battle Cry", but how many newbies assume 1 figure/one die?

Honestly, after setting it up the first time, I resolved to go through the rules and make up my own, thorough, logically. collected rules set. My other Grognard had the same opinion as we constantly flipped pages.
That said it looks to be a fine game.
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kenstein wrote:
Just a little insight into the "Kevin Duke Skirmisher Rules"...
I spoke to Kevin at Origins after connecting his name to the game I had just received. He said he submitted a sheet of "ideas" after being requested to do so. The next thing he knew, they were in the game just as he had submitted them, with no feedback or questions.
I wonder how often THAT happens when games are published?
That makes me wonder whether the ideas were perfect as first conceived, or accepted without much, if any, testing, or both.
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OOPS! My mistake! There IS a small chart in the rule book that shows (3 dice) next to each unit type. However it just says "Range", nothing explicit , like "always roll 3 dice to start no matter how many figures are left". There is a laughable statement early on that is something like "The number of dice rolled is the proper number of dice allowed."

Still can't wait to set up and play again.
 
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Honestly, after setting it up the first time, I resolved to go through the rules and make up my own, thorough, logically. collected rules set. My other Grognard had the same opinion as we constantly flipped pages.
That said it looks to be a fine game.
I had the same problem on the first two sessions. When I found the rule I had no problems understanding it, but it was a tough going at times. Also I had to unlearn certain things from Hold The Line.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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That makes me wonder whether the ideas were perfect as first conceived, or accepted without much, if any, testing, or both.
If true about how Duke's rules were accepted, then I too am wondering what you are wondering. I used the rules at Waterloo and Quatre Bras and so far so good, but obviously my experience was too limited to say anything more in the review.
 
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Actually, the rules were play tested. Kevin has proofread a number of rules for us and we hope to have him continue to do so. When he submitted the ideas they were in a rule format, we read them, played them, they tested well the system, and we liked them. They were more advanced than our intermediate rule for Skirmishers, so they became our advanced rules for skirmishers.

Kevin is a very prolific gamer and we find has great insight, he also proofs for other companies so we trust his judgement even making changes at times that we don't agree with but after thinking about it see his ideas as good.

I'm sorry it took you a while to find the chart in the rules, but they were there in the large table that runs across the top of the rule book on page 6. It's suprising how you can read rules and miss things. Heck, I go back and read our rules from Victoria Cross and Forged in Fire and miss things, and I wrote them!!!

I believe the quote you are referring to is in 8.21, "Dice rolled is the number of dice the unit rolls when conducting combat. This number does not change based on the unit MP, but it can be affected by terrain and other factors." Probably worded a little oddly but we were trying to explain what you do with the chart and the units.

Anyways, I hope you enjoy the game.

Happy Nappy Gaming!!!!

Grant Wylie


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Thanks for the explanation about the "Kevin Duke " rules and for reproducing the awkward die rolling sentence. But it does illustrate a point. "..doesn't change based on the Unit MP." is accurate, but means the reader now has to determine what the MP is. Yes, they should know by this point, but it's still "off" and indirect and means page turning.

Please don't misunderstand. Not ranting here. Just a suggestion to have a proofreader who is not so close to the game or is at the level of experience you're aiming at to try the rules. The 2 of us who started this at Origins are VERY experienced gamers yet we were scratching our heads and frustrated. Just some hopeful, helpful suggestions.
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grant wylie
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No offense was taken and I hope I didn't offend. Your right about wording, being close to projects does make it hard sometimes. Players that have experience with HOLD THE LINE or CLASH FOR A CONTINENT could probably pick this up quickly with just a few changes. If you've never played those games it is different.

Hope you enjoy the game,

Grant
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gnomus wrote:
gittes wrote:

Components (4 out of 5): Instead of thick counters in the style of Hold the Line, Napoleon's War uses miniatures from Viktory II. At first I was skeptical, but now I love the idea. The minis look good and can be ordered from here: http://www.viktorygame.com/components.htm
Thanks for this review. I am not sure if you are saying that the Viktory II pieces come in the box or that these need to be ordered separately from the link you give. Can you clarify?

The second question I have is whether anyone knows if/where I can get this in the UK.

Ta
You can now get it from Gameslore.
 
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8 armies is $30, and while I know thats expensive it comes with ships, and 8 different colors. I know Seth Owens mentioned using different colors for diff types of units (http://pawnderings.blogspot.com/) and his ideas are really good. I gotta get this back on the table. Ive been really into Warriors of God: The Wars of England & France, 1135-1453 lately.


KingPut wrote:
Great review as always. Thanks for posting the link to Viktory II site. I just ordered some blue American, green Militia and red British minis for Hold the Line.

Hopefully, I'll get my act together and post a review for Napoleon - 100 Days soon. The pressure off me now that you posted your review.
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After reading the reviews, I am still on the edge with this one. I did however already pre-order C&C Napoleonics (CCN).

I have read the rules and main differences to CCN seem to be:
- Actions are done by CAP + randomly added some more, no "fog of war simulating" cards and sectors here
- Victory conditions are similar to Memoir44 where locations are also included (C&C Ancients (CCA) has very little location based victory points). CCN still open on this.
- Square formation included (CCN has it too) but how it is done might be different (no CCN rules yet available.)
- Leaders may rally units ("reserves are called")
- Premade scenario maps make setup easier
- I like visual issues so I probably prefer specific dice instead of d6 dice....and I probably prefer blocks if miniatures seem "unrealistic"...and I do love Simmons Games Napoleonic titles.
- Intermediate rules add new units which may or may not exist in CCN
- No session reports seem to indicate that community for this game seems quite small...and interest tends to vanish after some time.

Am I missing something vital here? If I compare memoir44 and CCA I very well realize that even subtle changes can make huge differences. However, I am not at all sure whether I will need two very similar games on Napoleon era.

So fellow gamers, can you describe how YOU feel if you have played C&C type of games and Nap's War?


 
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Matias wrote:
- No session reports seem to indicate that community for this game seems quite small...and interest tends to vanish after some time.
To get a very good feel for the system, you could go back and read session reports for Clash for a Continent, For Honor and Glory and Hold the Line. The DNA runs true through those games; Nappy's War adds cavalry charges and skirmishers.

I've been testing variant rules of my own devising, and will likely post those before too long (and perhaps a session report showing them in action as well).
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