CHAOTIC GRAVITAS

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Battle of the Nations 1813

Captain Nemo
United Kingdom
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Note the term Army is used by the game but should probably more accurately be described as Corps. The description of the rules is general rather than specific thus it might be noted that placing an army also scores a Victory Point. Please read other posts for more details.

I had the opportunity to try this game and fought as the Allied commander Schwarzenberg. Initially there are no armies down on the table but Napoleon is dealt five objective cards, which will be the main source of victory points; therefore at the start only he will now what is being fought over. Each turn a player can take five actions such as picking up or playing cards. Introducing an army is one action but when putting an army down a player will (normally) place three tokens in adjacent areas. The Allied armies encircle Leipzig at the edge of the board while the French armies will go down around Leipzig itself. During play cards can be played to move tokens, which advances the clock, and to remove tokens: when there is only one token left for an army the actual army is placed on the board and fixed in place. As time goes on there are two combat rounds during which armies inflict damage before the final victory point scoring. After each day has elapsed one of the objectives is revealed by Napoleon, with the game/battle finishing at the conclusion of the final fifth day.

There is considerable subtlety in play and commanders have to balance (1) the need to get armies on the board, with (2) moving tokens, and (3) fixing their position by removing marker tokens before the enemy does the same with his own, with (4) the French trying to hide their intentions as they slowly reveal the locations of the objective markers. In this game the early interest was at the extreme Western and Eastern sections of the board but Napoleon discovered that the play had advanced so swiftly that one of his armies could not be deployed because there were already armies in all the areas the tokens would initially go in and the only area left for Napoleon’s Army was Leipzig itself, where his army had little influence on the battlefield. After this the French player ran off time as fast as he could, which proved erroneously quickly, as Napoleon could only advance time slowly: the morale of the story being that you have to be careful to allow yourself the ability to run down time swiftly by having tokens left to move. In the event the Allies were able to get further armies in from North and South but still had one army not even on the table in terms of tokens and two on the table that were yet to deploy, still having all three tokens deployed.

At the end all armies on the victory objectives and those next to them are involved in determining who has greater ‘firepower’ to claim the objective, which scores different victory points for the Allies or French. In this case the Allies had actually got an army on one victory objective, by accident, but could also claim more troops contesting objectives on two other ones that had French armies on them; there were two objectives clearly held by French armies. Thus the Allies could claim to hold three of the five objectives and had a clear VP win.

This is definitely from the Euro-game style and is not anything like a traditional hex and counter wargame, although it has (quality) large counters and hexes! It does have some clever mechanisms and requires some challenging thinking.

I enjoyed it but would caution grognards to think carefully before investing in it, which I will NOT be doing. It reminded me of games such as Race to the Rhine or God’s Playground, games that are clever and innovative, which I have enjoyed, but well outside normal hobby expectations in terms of hex and counter gaming.
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