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Bonaparte at Marengo» Forums » General

Subject: Wargame or Abstract (not in the strict sense) rss

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Keith Anderson
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I really enjoy this game and my opponent and I have enjoyed our games. However, it seems to feel far more abstract to him than it does to me. Then again, I see a lot of theme in Tigris and Euphrates. So this got me to thinking what does this game capture / model about Napoleonic battles and also about its specific battle. Is there anyone who knows more about the game and its subject who would like to create a list?
 
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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You probably have read the design notes; not really an answer to your question, but you will probably find the design diaries for Napoleon's Triumph and the Guns of Gettysburg really interesting. (Under "Design" at that link.)
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Rod Bauer
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GamePlayer wrote:
I really enjoy this game and my opponent and I have enjoyed our games. However, it seems to feel far more abstract to him than it does to me. Then again, I see a lot of theme in Tigris and Euphrates. So this got me to thinking what does this game capture / model about Napoleonic battles and also about its specific battle. Is there anyone who knows more about the game and its subject who would like to create a list?


It is a great game and I really enjoy it, but I don't believe it models this particular battle well at all. It probably does a better job of modeling Napoleonic tactics(although abstract) to some extent, but if you are interested in trying to recreate the historical flow and events of the Battle of Marengo, it just isn't going to do that. I would say it is more like Chess than an historical simulation of the actual battle.
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Jon Gautier

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Well put.
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Scrumpy Jack
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rod3556lhs wrote:
GamePlayer wrote:
I really enjoy this game and my opponent and I have enjoyed our games. However, it seems to feel far more abstract to him than it does to me. Then again, I see a lot of theme in Tigris and Euphrates. So this got me to thinking what does this game capture / model about Napoleonic battles and also about its specific battle. Is there anyone who knows more about the game and its subject who would like to create a list?


It is a great game and I really enjoy it, but I don't believe it models this particular battle well at all. It probably does a better job of modeling Napoleonic tactics(although abstract) to some extent, but if you are interested in trying to recreate the historical flow and events of the Battle of Marengo, it just isn't going to do that. I would say it is more like Chess than an historical simulation of the actual battle.


how about Napoleon's triumph?
 
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Jon Gautier

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Never played it, but you'll see a similar range of comments. It has ardent fans who love the game play, but many others don't like the history.

Come to think about it, that's how I feel about Guns of Gettysburg as well. Fun, fun game, but certain aspects of it leave me very cold from a historical perspective.
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Scrumpy Jack
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a little bit off topic, but I'm interested in what sort of (recentish) tactical war game are immersive/instructive/engaging from a historical perspective?
 
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Jon Gautier

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Recently published or recent era?
 
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Scrumpy Jack
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published in the last 15 years
 
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Jon Gautier

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I think Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles and its sister games get WWII tactical stuff right. The jury is still out for me as to how much I like to play it, though.
 
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Rod Bauer
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SJack wrote:
rod3556lhs wrote:
GamePlayer wrote:
I really enjoy this game and my opponent and I have enjoyed our games. However, it seems to feel far more abstract to him than it does to me. Then again, I see a lot of theme in Tigris and Euphrates. So this got me to thinking what does this game capture / model about Napoleonic battles and also about its specific battle. Is there anyone who knows more about the game and its subject who would like to create a list?


It is a great game and I really enjoy it, but I don't believe it models this particular battle well at all. It probably does a better job of modeling Napoleonic tactics(although abstract) to some extent, but if you are interested in trying to recreate the historical flow and events of the Battle of Marengo, it just isn't going to do that. I would say it is more like Chess than an historical simulation of the actual battle.


how about Napoleon's triumph?

I feel very much the same about NT. The 'game play' is great (I actually like it even better than BaM), but the history not so much. If you read accounts of the actual battle, and then play game after game (and even read all the after-action reports and/or posts, or articles on various strategies used or suggested by different players, you come away realizing that the game has very little that is recognizable with the actual Battle of Austerlitz. As a history teacher for many years, I was able to use parts of the game to demonstrate to my students certain aspects of the battle (such as the Allied attack on the weak French right on the Goldbach) But playing the game as a whole was not a good teaching tool. Regardless of how good it is "as a game" it does not simulate the historical events or course of the actual battle.
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John Labelle
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I find that historical war games can fall into two categories.

One is a "free setup" type game.
You're allowed the freedom to setup your units anyway you want with just an outline of rules to guide you. Replay ability is usually greater with a free setup type game.

The second is a "dictated setup".
You must strictly follow the historical setup of units as they were originally positioned in the battle. Usually there is to be found the best opening moves you'll end up having to play each game from the dictated starting positions. Replay ability can suffer as a result.

The first is more common with games with an abstract historical approach. Replaying the historical battle as it happened is not as important as the exploration of possibilities of what "could" have happened with a totally different plan.

The second usually will do a better job replaying the actual battle as it happened to some extent. The variations possible are more controlled.

Napoleon's Triumph is a free setup type of game. The moment you place the first unit, history as it happened, goes out the window. Some of the very first Avalon Hill war games, D-Day, Stalingrad, shared this approach. As the hobby matured, more and more war games started to follow the less abstract dictated setup approach when simulating history.

In my opinion, free setup games are just more fun to play.
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Max Sewell
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Not all simulations simulate everything well. Some just get an aspect “right”, and that's probably all we can hope for. I would argue that the map for Guns of Gettysburg and the sense of it being a ”meeting engagement” is done especially well. Players may never fight over the roundtops, but you sure can imagine what Heth and Buford felt like.

History can be regulating or it can be a jumping off point. I really enjoy games that give a me a sense of what it was like (as much as sitting at a table can), but I don’t need to reenact Pickett’s charge, all the while knowing that for authenticity, I should fail too. What I want is a simulation of what might happen if things were different.

That’s why one of my absolute favorite games is Avalon Hill’s Napoleon. I get to conduct the campaign in a simple and straightforward way. I feel like I’m encountering the same issues of time and space. But I’m not stuck waiting for Grouchy unless I am the one responsible for it. As for its limitations, I’m in agreement with Paul Comben of The Boardgaming Life, who wrote: “I do not care what it does not have, because that is utterly secondary to the beautiful simplicity of a game that highlighted the essential campaign quandaries of all three armies.”

I’ve just now got my copy of BaM (at last), so I won’t argue it’s a good simulation on any point. Given Rachel Simmons’ reputation however, I fully expect it will prove to be.
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Scrumpy Jack
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MaxSewell wrote:

I’ve just now got my copy of BaM (at last)


isn't BaM getting republished soon?
 
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UA Darth
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SJack wrote:
MaxSewell wrote:

I’ve just now got my copy of BaM (at last)


isn't BaM getting republished soon?


There is absolutely no indication of such. There has been radio silence for years now.
 
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Scrumpy Jack
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http://simmonsgames.com/products/Marengo/index.html

That page states "2nd Edition in development". Has that been there for years?
 
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David "Brother" Eicher
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Soon may be a relative term. It may be a while until it happens, but the reprint is coming!

Maybe it's just blind faith, but we waited a long time for Guns of Gettysburg, years longer than expected, but it came!

No news doesn't mean the project is dead. It just means there's nothing new.
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Scipio O.
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SJack wrote:
Has that been there for years?


Yes.
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