I've owned this game for a few months now and played about a dozen times. I'm not going to do a full review, since someone already did that. This is just some observations from someone who has played more than a couple of times - not going through each nuance of the game.
Quality: The artwork is very good. I like the board a lot and the tiles are thick and well made. Cards have good art on them. No complaints about the quality except that the trey to hold the components is very poor. It's not tailored for the game - just a generic trey that will hold all components just fine, in whatever haphazard way you organize them.
Concept: The broad concept is not original. But it does take give you a very different take from a traditional war game. Overall, much luck is eliminated. There are no huge stacks of armies. You're not constantly rolling the dice. If you grew up playing a lot more chess than risk, you will enjoy this game a lot more.
Time: I have to say that it takes a whole lot more time to play than you would think (unless someone gets lucky early). It's going to be 4hrs. if it goes from start to a victory at or near the end of the 10-year set time limit. Also, if both players play well then there is a lot of "you know, that I know, that if I do X, then you will do Y... etc." deliberations. Also, game slows down because the rule are complicated. Even after playing a dozen times, we still need to open the manual repeatedly during the game. It also sucks if one player is building a strategy and then later learns that their understanding of the rule was incorrect.
Luck Factor: Luck really does balance out nicely in this game. Every time I play, I feel like the other side has a huge advantage - in fact each side has very distinct advantages and disadvantages. Unless your army is vastly superior to your opponents, neither side has a very big advantage. In fact, many large battles end with both sides losing one or two units. You also get cards, which are stacked in favor of the Coalition player, but not greatly so. French have much better armies. So the French get the guaranteed army advantage, but the Coalition could run bad on the cards and never be able to realize any headway.
The Armies, Movement, and Battles: Each corps tile represents a general and a full compliment of 20K troops, support, etc. The tile shows the corps' strength, mobility, and the number of other corps that the general may command as a stack of tiles in an army. This is both good and a little odd. The corps is basically alive and fully kicking, or it's off the board. There is no wearing down of your opponent. Also, each corps with same or greater mobility as the opponent may intercept movements or withdraw without a fight. Since most corps have mobility of "3", there is a lot of withdrawing and posturing.
Why This Turns Into a Chess Game: As I have played more and more, I see fewer and fewer battles. It's more like chess. The combination of the mobility situation, inability to lose troops slowly, and method to resolve battles (which rarely crush your opponent), leads this to a game of lots of posturing, just waiting for a quality hand that will allow you to deal the enemy a crushing blow. But it can get monotonous if neither side is going to make a silly mistake.
Why I Like the Game: I still enjoy the game a lot, if I have the time. There is a whole lot of strategy, and I think that I can come up with a couple of house rules to negate the stalemate factors. It's also fun because you are constantly trying to solve the puzzle of how to make significant headway when neither side is getting a lucky hand of cards.
Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
Graduate of Barlinnie
VENI, VIDI, VISA - my reaction on entering my FLGS.
Like a good red wine, I improve with age... and being laid.
...The corps is basically alive and fully kicking, or it's off the board.
Actually, that sums up Napoleonic warfare beautifully. Great review.
- Last edited Sun Apr 7, 2013 6:09 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Mar 8, 2011 7:18 pm
Trying to figure out how to play this, but I've got the German language version and allthough that shouldn't be a problem, I find the example of play only confuses me.
Good components, pitty they made a major cock up on the map as they show the Netherlands as the are now, which is very different as it was back than.
That's allways something they trip about, these board makers, they apparenlty model them on modern day maps, which is no problem with the rest of Europe (they usually figure out for themselfs the channel tunnel is a definate no no) but with the Netherlands, a country that has constantly been building itself by making land out sea, it is Obvious when they get it wrong.
Just checked Jim and you're allright..
no Sky road bridge...