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Subject: Review after 100 plays rss

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Z A
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I'm not a wargamer. I have played a number of different wargames over the years but they never really excited me. Napoleon's Triumph on the other hand makes my blood boil. It's frustrating and exciting and it makes my brain hurt. I love this game!

The Box
Yep, it's good. Been opened lots, hasn't broke. Still looks just as pretty as the day I got it. Still love looking at the little battle sequence on the inside.

The Board
Well, I broke my board not long after I got it. I wasn't paying attention and bent it the wrong way, hard, and snapped it in two. By that time however, I had already resigned myself to picking up another copy if the board got destroyed. So I started taping the board down to my table each time we played, and tearing it off afterwards. Did that probably 25-30 times before inevitably tearing a huge chunk of the backing off one of the sections. Then I just taped it to my kitchen table and left it there, for something like 18 months. My kitchen table doesn't get used for eating, it is the biggest shelf in my house though. Groceries, boxes, ashtrays, laundry, and a plethora of other items have rested upon the Austerlitz battlefield over the years. Troy and I also like to drag our pieces across the board, you can hear the wood grinding away at the board's surface. It has stood the test of time however, and is just as usable today as the day I got it.

The Blocks
They have stood the test of time as readily as the board has. Haven't lost any to chipping or flaking. The symbols as well have stood up, none of them have faded or been worn off. Good quality I would say. Ditto for the little round markers.

The Commanders
Well the commander "pieces" are made of steel or something so unless I mash them with a hammer or drive over them with my car I think they will be fine.

The Stickers
I still have my spare sticker sheet tucked away in the bottom of the box. All of the original stickers are used and still in place. I must admit that the original set of stickers have begun to show their age. Most of the flags suffer from permanent edge or corner peel and a number of the base stickers perma-peel on one side. Now this is totally my fault. I don't store my commanders in some nifty fashion, I just dump them in a pile in the box beside the bags I keep the blocks in. To be honest, I'm not gentle with any of the components.

The Book
I like the "stereo instructions" way of presenting a rule set. If I am unsure of what I should do in a situation I simply read the rule and interpret it literally. This makes rules discussions virtually unneeded as there is rarely room for argument. I like that. The book I have is still together and in good shape, I gave the other one away, to, someone...

The Experience
Napoleon's Triumph makes me mentally exhausted. Not a lot of games do that to me. A good 8 hour session of an RPG I'm GMing will, but boardgames, not so much. Hell, that is the primary reason I like the boardgames I like, a good fun night without the brain fogging. Part of the reason for this is my inability to fully invest my brainspace into the game. It's because of the dice prevalent in most games. I love dice, I own lots, but they hate me. When I GM this doesn't matter, my team is supposed to lose. With boardgames however I simply resign myself to losing at the onset because I know the dice will fail me, they always do. Now I'm not saying that I "give up" and don't even try to win, I don't, I try to beat the odds as victory is even sweeter. But for the most part if a game has dice, I will lose.

This makes wargames in particular quite frustrating. Now I realize that there have been some instances in history where the outcome of a battle hinged "on the roll of a die" but for the most part this isn't the norm. Battles are won by making good strategic decisions and using the right tactics at the right times. We have many examples of armies, vastly outnumbered by the enemy, prevailing not because of luck, but through use of superior strategies, tactics, training, and discipline. Napoleon's Triumph makes me responsible for the outcome of the battle. If I make good strategic decisions and employ the proper tactics I will prevail. If I make poor strategic decisions and fail to use sound tactics against my enemy I will fail. What I don't need to do is roll five "successes" in a row.

Now I'm not saying "luck" is not involved either, the game is not deterministic or mechanical, at least not in a greater sense. For me the game flows very eloquently. My corps move across the battlefield, projecting their power as they push the enemy cavalry aside, threatening to engage my enemy's corps if they approach to close. My cavalry screen forms a defensive line holding the enemy advance at bay, always searching for an opportunity to exploit a weakness in the enemy line. My line advances pressuring the enemy line to shift in response, luckily they have left a weakly defended point in the center. Is it an oversight? Did the enemy general fall for my ruse and expects me to attack in the south? Or is this a trap? I shift my line, readying my heavy corps for a push. The enemy shifts their line in response, luckily they do not reinforce the center. I press forward with my line, the enemy resists, they form a line of regulars between the towns, an unknown contingent of troops remains just behind the line ready to counter-attack. I sally forth a contingent of regulars from my corps to pressure the enemy line. Our troops exchange fire and both sides take casualties, my troops are unable to break the enemy, they withdraw, disorganized. The enemy line shifts, luckily they still do not reinforce the center. Again my line presses the center. The enemy infantry, still holding the ground between the towns, takes the assault. I gamble, and see if my luck will hold. I rush forth with my entire corps, my regular cavalry as the vanguard, charges the enemy line. Luckily the contingent of counter-attackers are regular cavalry as well and are unable to beat off my assault. The enemy is routed and I press forth...

The Attack Sequence is mechanical, but no more than any other wargame I've played, it just works differently. In fact, because of it's non-randomness, it is quite intuitive and easy to use. For example, the above "fights" would have gone something like this:

Round 1...Fight!
Me: "Attack that approach" pointing to approach.
Troy: "Defend...with the corps"
Me: "It's not a feint"
Troy: "Lead Defenders...these two" flips up two 2 infantry.
Me: "Detach Move" detaches and flips up two 2 infantry.
Troy: "No Counter"
Me: "My 4 to your 4, you have more units, you win, we each lose 1 off each lead, I lose 2 morale" we replace respective units with weaker ones, and flip them down.
Troy: "Move the corps into the approach" moves units onto the line.
Round 2
Me: "Attack that approach" pointing to approach.
Troy: "Defend" flips up two 1 infantry.
Me: "Corps move" flips up two 2 cavalry, leaving them attached to the corps.
Troy: "Counter-Attack" flips up 2 cavalry and reduces it to a 1 cavalry.
Me: "My 4 to your 3, I win, I lose 1 off my leads, you lose everything and 3 morale" my units are reduced and move into the locale.

I guess it really comes down to the different "kinds" of luck I want prevalent in a game. I like a string of "bad luck" that is really my opponent simply making better strategic and tactical choices than I do. I don't really like it when my forces continuously lose, even though my opponent is making poor strategical and tactical decisions, simply because I can't stop rolling ones.

Conclusion
There are not a lot of games of any kind that I have invested as much time in as NT. AD&D 2nd Ed. and WEG Star Wars, both RPGs, are the only ones I can think of that have used up as many hours of my time. Troy and I have barely touched the long game so I can definitely see many more games in the future, at least till GoG is on my table. Even then, I think NT will hold a special place.
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Ken Crangle
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Thanks for this. I love hearing about how a game stands up to a large number of repeated plays.
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Larry Doherty
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Not a bad review of a wargame for:

Zarion of Arabel wrote:
I'm not a wargamer.


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Rusty McFisticuffs
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Zarion of Arabel wrote:
Troy and I also like to drag our pieces across the board, you can hear the wood grinding away at the board's surface. It has stood the test of time however, and is just as usable today as the day I got it.

Although it'll likely make grown men weep at the horror & injustice, I want to see this board! You have to take pictures next time you play.
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Jay Sheely
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I have only 5 plays. However it's one of my most favorite games!
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"L'état, c'est moi."
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Roger's Reviews: check out my reviews page, right here on BGG!
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Caution: May contain wargame like substance
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kuhrusty wrote:
Although it'll likely make grown men weep at the horror & injustice, I want to see this board! You have to take pictures next time you play.
I second this!

And 100 plays of this game is impressive - my list of games I've played 100+ times is very short.
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Rachel Simmons
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100 plays? Rather a lot, really.

I have to ask:

How many (if any) have been team games?

How many (if any) have been 2-day scenario games?

And of course, how many (if any) have been team 2-day scenario games?

(FYI - I don't think I've ever seen anyone reporting that they've played a team 2-day scenario game.)
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Scipio O.
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Zarion of Arabel wrote:
Napoleon's Triumph makes me mentally exhausted.

Very well put. After a late-night finish to this recent session I could hardly sleep. http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/770141/a-close-game-in-which...

Thank you Bowen Simmons for this excellent game.
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Nagato Fujibayashi

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Your review has an aura of celebration. Well done for providing the final proof for the top quality of this game, both in terms of production and gameplay. I am still very far from reaching 100 plays but eventually I'm sure I'll do it sometime.


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Robert Carroll
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Nice review. Here is to the next 100 plays . . .
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Jan Ozimek
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Must resist M:tG. Boardgames are my methadone :)
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Great anniversary review!

The video section seems to missing some 97 videos of accelerated game play.
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John McD
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It’s a very frustrating review. For the umpteenth time I’d just resolved not to buy this game and now I find myself putting it back on my ‘must buy’ list.

I should stop reading reviews of it.
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Will Green
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BlackSpy wrote:
It’s a very frustrating review. For the umpteenth time I’d just resolved not to buy this game and now I find myself putting it back on my ‘must buy’ list.

I should stop reading reviews of it.


Actually, no, you should not stop reading reviews of it, nor should you return it to your "must buy" list...you should simply BUY IT! Then PLAY IT! Your enjoyment of games will be factored by 10.

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John McD
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tyvek wrote:
BlackSpy wrote:
It’s a very frustrating review. For the umpteenth time I’d just resolved not to buy this game and now I find myself putting it back on my ‘must buy’ list.

I should stop reading reviews of it.


Actually, no, you should not stop reading reviews of it, nor should you return it to your "must buy" list...you should simply BUY IT! Then PLAY IT! Your enjoyment of games will be factored by 10.



I first didn't buy it three years ago. I had been following NT and Maria and was pretty 50/50 on which to get. In the end I settled on NT and went to buy it online. But, my shop of choice had a deal on Maria + King of Siam and so at the last minute I was swayed.

Since then, I've had it in shopping carts on about a dozen occassions, far more than any other game, and never pulled the trigger. It has lost out to variously: Caylus, Phantom Leader, Race for the Galaxy, Farmers of the Moor, Where There Is Discord and Space Alert.

Most recently I'd been telling myself that if I really wanted it I'd have already got it and so I should forget it and take it off my wish list.

Right now, I'm sort of weighing it against Through the Ages...
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Z A
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bowen wrote:
100 plays? Rather a lot, really.

I have to ask:

How many (if any) have been team games?

How many (if any) have been 2-day scenario games?

And of course, how many (if any) have been team 2-day scenario games?

(FYI - I don't think I've ever seen anyone reporting that they've played a team 2-day scenario game.)


0 team games.

Now, 22 long games.

0 team long games.
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John McD
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BlackSpy wrote:
tyvek wrote:
BlackSpy wrote:
It’s a very frustrating review. For the umpteenth time I’d just resolved not to buy this game and now I find myself putting it back on my ‘must buy’ list.

I should stop reading reviews of it.


Actually, no, you should not stop reading reviews of it, nor should you return it to your "must buy" list...you should simply BUY IT! Then PLAY IT! Your enjoyment of games will be factored by 10.



I first didn't buy it three years ago. I had been following NT and Maria and was pretty 50/50 on which to get. In the end I settled on NT and went to buy it online. But, my shop of choice had a deal on Maria + King of Siam and so at the last minute I was swayed.

Since then, I've had it in shopping carts on about a dozen occassions, far more than any other game, and never pulled the trigger. It has lost out to variously: Caylus, Phantom Leader, Race for the Galaxy, Farmers of the Moor, Where There Is Discord and Space Alert.

Most recently I'd been telling myself that if I really wanted it I'd have already got it and so I should forget it and take it off my wish list.

Right now, I'm sort of weighing it against Through the Ages...


Cracked.
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