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Subject: Napoleon's Triumph Vet Considering CCN rss

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David Martin
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Hi, all!

I'm a Napoleonic history 'buff', and a veteran of Bowen Simmons's Napoleon's Triumph, which I absolutely adore. I've been looking for a new Napoleonic war-game to add to my collection, and introduce to my modest-sized group of gamers.

I stumbled across Mr. Borg's Commands & Colors: Napoleonics, and was most intrigued. I was particularly taken with the game's ability to allow for numerous battles to be fought within the same game. However, I remain a bit uncertain if it's the right fit for me, as I suppose I lean a bit more toward the grognard side of the spectrum. I'm hoping some CCN vets might be able to help me out here.

While it no doubt looks like a fun game to play, I'm wondering how well it accurately simulates Napoleonic era warfare. My biggest concerns are:
(1.) there doesn't seem to be any fog of war;
(2.) the extent to which the command-by-card concept stifles tactical flexibility; and
(3.) the effect of random chance on combat resolution (i.e., dice-roll dependent combat).

In sum, do battles outcomes tend to feel more like the product of random chance or good tactics? Also, how does knowing exactly what your opponent has where affect gameplay? Finally, does the player feel like he or she has autonomy of command, or is there a sense that he or she is at the mercy of the command cards?

Any light you CCN vets could shed on the above would be greatly appreciated. I'd be especially interested in hearing from veterans of both CCN and NT, as to how the game experiences compare and differ. Above all, I'd like to know how well you feel CCN simulates Napoleonic era warfare.

Thanks in advance for any thoughtful responses to my inquiry. I really look forward to hearing from you all.
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Jeff Kayati
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The fog of war lies in the cards. Not knowing your opponents hand provides the uncertainty you're looking for. Is that attack on the left a beginning to an all out assault? Is it a feint for another maneuver? Perhaps my opponent has a poor hand and is simply buying time.

The card play and hand management are tge game. The dice driven combat allows enough variables to provide unexpected outcomes without being overly random.

The beauty in the system is that is fairly simple, as far as wargames go, but has depth.

Highly recommended from a grognard Napoleonic miniatures player.
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Michael Dippel
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Quote:
I'm wondering how well it accurately simulates Napoleonic era warfare.


If you are the kind of players which want an exact wargame simulation as possible, then the only answer i can give you is,
the CC series is absolute nothing for you.
The CC series have there strength on the opposite of complex boardgames rules.
Fast playing before simulation.

And here are some other threads, with same content (you can found it
with search function)

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/12097535#12097535

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/814976/how-does-game-si...

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/19108634#19108634

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/663614/light-one-sided-...

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Don Smith
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Hello David,

I have played and enjoyed The Guns of Gettysburg and Bonaparte at Marengo (Napoleon's Triumph sits unplayed - my bad).

CCN is not really a grognard's game. It is a playable system which recreates or will eventually recreate nearly all Napoleonic battles in about an hour's playing time. The system focuses on command and control as well as the differences between the various national armies, their leadership, and the terrain and special conditions of each battlefield.

The beauty of CCN, and why I rate it so highly, is that it "feels" right. To play well you must manipulate your forces (mass) and your cards (velocity) to get the maximum effect (momentum). There is also a "critical moment" (or two) in each battle which usually determines the outcome - a massive charge by bayonet or cavalry, a sweeping manuever etc...

Each national army plays differently and if you play the Spanish the same way as the French you will get crushed! Also, people who play this like CCAncients tend to get destroyed - there is more of a necessity for careful buildup in CCN.

I can't say that a grognard would like this but it is a VERY good system for simulating (design for effect) the feel of a Napoleonic battle.
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Mark McG
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dmartin1982 wrote:


While it no doubt looks like a fun game to play, I'm wondering how well it accurately simulates Napoleonic era warfare. My biggest concerns are:
(1.) there doesn't seem to be any fog of war;
(2.) the extent to which the command-by-card concept stifles tactical flexibility; and
(3.) the effect of random chance on combat resolution (i.e., dice-roll dependent combat).

In sum, do battles outcomes tend to feel more like the product of random chance or good tactics? Also, how does knowing exactly what your opponent has where affect gameplay? Finally, does the player feel like he or she has autonomy of command, or is there a sense that he or she is at the mercy of the command cards?


1. Fog is in the cards

2. Command control is well represented. What you want to happen, and what your subordinates will do is controlled by the cards. This means that to plan attacks you need to manage your Command cards sustain an attack. However, the card limit means sustain an attack on you Left for example means being dormant on other sections. You are at the mercy of the cards, but with better Commanders having more cards (and more Command span) this does a pretty good job or reflecting Commander ability.

3. Dice results effect the combat, but you can also reasonably work out what an average result will be an plan accordingly.

The game is tactical in scope, there is no grand manoeuvre les derrieres, it is about winning the battle. There is also no formation minutae, forming column or lines etc. The units tend to be at least brigade or divisional in size, and the tactics are more about putting power into the right spot. Terrain counts for a lot. There are cards that move units around quite far, so positions can be fluid sometimes.

On the whole the system plays like the battle narratives sound. Cavalry charges, infantry assaults and artillery bombardments. It's easy to see Chandler come to life. There is a constant struggle with trying to do the best with the cards you have, versus what you would wish to do. The player is the Commanding general (Napoleon, Wellington), but the subordinates are not always as useful as you might wish.

Combat power is reflected in the dice, and whilst the dice can be disappointing, or occasionally very sweet, it is not overly complicated to calculate average results, and you can realistically plan on outcomes.

Worse case, the game re-sells pretty well.
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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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C&C:N will also shine even brighter with the 5th expansion Commands & Colors: Napoleonics Expansion #5 – Generals, Marshals, Tacticians to be released this year.
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Øivind Karlsrud
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I have never played Command & Colors, but I have played Memoir '44 and Battle Cry. Although I know Command & Colors is more serious than those, I would say it's very different from Napoleon's Triumph, and knowing that you like Napoleon's Triumph tells me nothing about whether or not you will like Command & Colors. Napoleon's Triumph is a really tight battle between two minds, just like Chess and Go. Command & Colors is certainly much more random. Whether or not there is too much randomness is up to you. But you will not get anything even remotely like the experience you get from Napoleon's Triumph.
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David Martin
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Don Smith wrote:
CCN is not really a grognard's game. It is a playable system which recreates or will eventually recreate nearly all Napoleonic battles in about an hour's playing time. The system focuses on command and control as well as the differences between the various national armies, their leadership, and the terrain and special conditions of each battlefield.

The beauty of CCN, and why I rate it so highly, is that it "feels" right. To play well you must manipulate your forces (mass) and your cards (velocity) to get the maximum effect (momentum). There is also a "critical moment" (ot two) in each battle which usually determines the outcome - a massive charge by bayonet or cavalry, a sweeping manuever etc...


Thanks for the thoughtful response, Don. It was very helpful as far as what to expect from CCN.

Right now, I'm leaning towards picking it up because of what you just described. While I doubt I'll like it as much as Napoleon's Triumph, I can see myself having fun with it. It also seems like it offers faster play, and likely appeals to a broader audience than NT. That means I can play it with more casual players, and new war-gamers. The ability to play numerous battles via the same system is also a big selling point for me.

Again, thanks for chiming it. Your thoughts were very helpful.
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David Martin
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StevenE wrote:
C&C:N will also shine even brighter with the 5th expansion Commands & Colors: Napoleonics Expansion #5 – Generals, Marshals, Tacticians to be released this year.


If I end up getting CCN, I'll definitely be planning to pick up this expansion. It sounds great!
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dmartin1982 wrote:
It also seems like it offers faster play, and likely appeals to a broader audience than NT. That means I can play it with more casual players, and new war-gamers.


This sounds to me like the right reasons to get CCN.
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David Martin
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Minedog3 wrote:
The game is tactical in scope, there is no grand manoeuvre les derrieres, it is about winning the battle. There is also no formation minutae, forming column or lines etc. The units tend to be at least brigade or divisional in size, and the tactics are more about putting power into the right spot. Terrain counts for a lot. There are cards that move units around quite far, so positions can be fluid sometimes.

On the whole the system plays like the battle narratives sound. Cavalry charges, infantry assaults and artillery bombardments. It's easy to see Chandler come to life. There is a constant struggle with trying to do the best with the cards you have, versus what you would wish to do. The player is the Commanding general (Napoleon, Wellington), but the subordinates are not always as useful as you might wish.


Thank you, Mark, for a very informative and illustrative response. I'm starting to think I'll have to pick up a copy of CCN sooner, rather than later.
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Ben Bosmans
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The 2 games use complete different systems.

Napoleon at Marengo, which was the first system of NT, did not convince us for several reasons: lack of historical unit ID's and in the Napoleonic era ... legendary UNITS are sometimes important, both in an historical narrative way as in simulating value.


"THE" important roles of the 5th and 11th French Cuirassiers at Quatre Bras are important for miniature gamers and those players searching for historical recounts.

You can't find that in both mentioned systems really.

In a napoleonic miniature game losing designated units hurts within a Brigade, this is not simulated in these systems.



That said ... I think the C&C version can lend itself to add unit ID's per scenario IF you do your homework. In most scenario's you can deduct the used scale of the different battles (which change from Regiments to even Divisions in some cases).

So for anyone wanting to have a great fun Nap game with a very sketchy map and rather vague scales, he will have fun. And it can be tuned well with some added research.

You should try it and adapt the C&C system to your own liking and research which will grow over the next few years. It certainly is better than basic Memoir 44 which saw a comparable transition after 8 more expansions (DDay Landings - Breakthrough rules etc ...).

Tldr: the C&C system will never give you a real simulation but it can be fun. Actually the better C&C systems are those where specific terrain, unit ID and history are rather vague (Ancients) or bland/irrelevant any way (The Great War's trench warfare).

If I were you I would buy the Nap basic box and see if you want to invest more.


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I am a veteran player of clash of arms games La Bataille system. those games represent for me the ideal Napoleonic warfare simulations and studies.

but, those games require dedicated players, space, and time. Commodities which have been harder to find at this stage in life with kids, wife, job, need for reading glasses, etc.

The command and colors game system scratches the Napoleonic itch. it is certainly not a simulation but has an excellent big picture feel of the battles. after over 100 plays of this game System I can honestly say that I leave the table feeling just as satisfied as I did years ago finishing a true grognard feast.

each battle can tell a good story and each offers a challenge. The level of detail is far shy of a complicated wargame but includes enough detail to be satisfying.

most pleasing for me, is that I can introduce just about anyone to the game system and get them understanding it with just a few plays.

do not get this game system if you want details and realism.

do get this game system if you like the Napoleonic era, want a quick satisfying play that feels thematically rich, and want to be able to find opponents that will come to the table without being kidnapped.

after years of playing very complicated games, I have come to the realization that this game reflects my current ideal.
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tarheel wrote:
do not get this game system if you want details and realism.


I would argue do not get any board game (at least one that does not involve teams, umpires and a "double blind" mechanic) if you want realism. But that said, CCN is pretty much the exact opposite of the Napoleon's Triumph system, in the level of detail, the manner in which it depicts fog of war, the amount of random chance etc. If you are just looking for a faster version of Napoleon's Triumph, you will probably be disappointed.

However, CCN is an excellent system for replicating, in a very abstract fashion, the decision making and command and control challenges at the tactical/grand tactical level in Napoleonic Warfare, and one that is extremely accessible. I found it scratches my war game itch so well that I have become almost a Borg-game player exclusively, while at the same time I can convince my wife or my sister to play, and they can, after minimal teaching enjoy the games and become competitive at them.
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Don Smith
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Thanks for your kind words, David.

Make sure to buy the expansions which provide the armies/battles which inspire you the most!

The basic game is pretty darn good at showing the British and French in various situations, but for some, the Napoleonic wars were those where Napoleon was in command, and in most battles in the Peninsular Campaign, L'Empereur was not present. Waterloo is, of course, in the base game (sans Prussians).
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I feel the C&C system is an abstract tactical battle interface that simulates generic ground battles. The geniusness of the system is how that interface is implemented and how adaptable it is. It's why early reports of The Great War are so surprisingly positive, considering that that war is largely ignored in gaming due to the utter confusion of many of the battles leading to a relative lack of interesting scenarios to simulate. It's why it works so well with battles set in High-Fantasy.

C&C:Napoleonics takes the interface and adds Napoleonic flavor to it. It has Cavalry, Artillery, and Infantry, and even militia. The terrain details are fairly involved. The game is not a luckfest, despite the card draw and dice. The game is all about formations and maneuvering, setting up a wall of units with interlocking fields of fire and support, all while trying to find the cracks in your opponent's wall. I'm a casual historian who finds it incredibly interesting but hasn't pursued it as much as others here, but I feel this game could have easily been adapted to almost any battle from the age of gunpowder up to the late 19th century, any battle during the time period the square formation was feared by cavalry.

Of course, I may be completely wrong. Retheming this in the American Revolutionary War might not work, with my limited knowledge of the specifics of warfare. At the end of the day, I love this game. It feels akin to chess as you attempt to position your units to move in for the kill. While your decisions won't always go your way, neither will your opponent's. Losing to the luck of the dice or a bad hand is a rare occurrence.
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NimitsTexan wrote:
I would argue do not get any board game (at least one that does not involve teams, umpires and a "double blind" mechanic) if you want realism.


That may be so, but some games are better at recreating the right feel. I don't know the battle of Austerlitz enough to judge Napoleon's Triumph (although it's an excellent game which I've rated 10) and I haven't played Command & Colors. But I know a bit about the battle of Gettysburg, and I've played Battle Cry, so let's compare Guns of Gettysburg (by the same designer as NT) and Battle Cry. GoG is very good at recreating the battle of Gettysburg. Everything feels right. Buford delaying the confederates, the union often choosing to defend in the same fish hook formation they did historically, the confederates trying to get the hills first or waiting for their hard-hitting 1. corps to arrive, etc. The game is so evocative. Battle Cry, OTOH, does lots of battles, but none of them feel remotely like the real thing. The game is just a generic system with scenarios that give you the starting forces and the terrain, but once you start playing, there is no feel for the real issues in the battle you are supposedly recreating. I would expect the same to be true, although to a lesser degree, for Command & Colors. I could be wrong.
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Moe45673
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And you would be. BattleCry is extremely simplistic. Napoleonics, well, you'd be surprised. Comes with charts galore as each side not only has different units (Line Infantry, Riflemen, Heavy Cavalry, Guard Cavalry, etc) but the Line Infantry of one side don't have the same stats as the line infantry of the other sides. There are rules about moving and firing vs just firing vs just moving, rules about attacking up a hill vs attacking down a hill and which type of unit is doing so (plus rules about attacking from hill to hill, firing over the heads of friendly units, etc), rules about melee attack vs ranged, combined arms, cavalry retreat and regroup, infantry square........ There are a lot of things going on in this game.
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Brad Hurst
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BattleCry is entry level. I dont feel the civil war when playing.

Napoleonics is very mature. There are enough details in special rules and unit differentiation and terrain to feel like the Napoleonic battlefield.

CCN has walked the tightrope between playability and complexity very very nicely, while maintaining thematic purpose.
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Love CCN, but I won't play Battle Cry. Just too simplistic. On the other side of the coin, I couldn't stand Guns of Gettysburg simply due to the horrendous rules.
 
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Moe45673 wrote:
And you would be.


I'm happy to be.
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jkayati wrote:
Love CCN, but I won't play Battle Cry. Just too simplistic. On the other side of the coin, I couldn't stand Guns of Gettysburg simply due to the horrendous rules.


Yeah, it is hard to play right. It takes several games before you don't make any mistakes. NT is better in that sense, although it is also somewhat difficult to learn.
 
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Mark McG
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So a couple of things from points above.

American War of Independence scenarios done using CCN
http://www.ccnapoleonics.net/Maps/American-Revolutionary-War...

A re-write of the BattleCry rules to adapt BattleCry to CCN style
http://ccbattlecry.net/index.php?option=com_kunena&view=topi...

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Derry Salewski
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I have CCN (though I haven't actually played it yet, but I expect to enjoy it.) Battles of Napoleon which I like. Columbia's Napoleonic games, which I like. Napoleon's Triumph, which I like. Battle cry, which I like. I expect to like Sea of Glory and Age of Napoleon. I want to get a bunch more Napoleonic games.

Anyway, My point is: if you really love Napoleon in general, and really love great playing games in general, there's a good chance you'd be like me and like it.

feel free to come to my house and play any of the above!
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David Martin
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tarheel wrote:
The command and colors game system scratches the Napoleonic itch. it is certainly not a simulation but has an excellent big picture feel of the battles. after over 100 plays of this game System I can honestly say that I leave the table feeling just as satisfied as I did years ago finishing a true grognard feast.


That's really good to know. I don't have enough Napoleon's Triumph players to scratch the Napoleonic itch as often as I'd like, which is part of what led me here to Commands & Colors: Napoleonics. I'm glad to know CCN "satisfies" in such a way.

tarheel wrote:
do get this game system if you like the Napoleonic era, want a quick satisfying play that feels thematically rich, and want to be able to find opponents that will come to the table without being kidnapped.


Hahaha... It's always we good when one doesn't have to resort to kidnapping to find opponents.
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