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Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Help with strategy (or a lack thereof) rss

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Jon White
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After one solitaire play to get the rukes down a question arises:

What prevents the French, or allies for that matter, from making one or two HUGE force group(s) then sweeping the map??

There are no real stacking limitations beyond the first turn. Likewise, the major roads barely limit travel as to make 10+ unit groups possible. It would seem that this would work and make for a boring game.

thanks

 
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Jorge Montero
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It's been a while since I've played, but I think it goes like this:

If the French go for mass troops in one spot, the allies will see the plan, mass their troops around the area, and beat them due to superior numbers. The French just can't face both armies at once.

If the Allies mass their troops, the French won't follow suit, avoid combat, and try to attack the allied supply. After losing control of supply centers for a few turns, the allies are pretty much over.

This is a pretty historical situation too: Napoleon's whole plan was to separate both armies so that he could defeat them piecemeal. The early campaign was spent just trying to make sure the allies defended the entire border, making sure he'd never have to face the an entire army in the same battle, much less the combined armies of his enemies. It's probably the best plan available, but the execution was no good: Quatre Bras wasn't a victory by any stretch of the imagination, there was no real pursuit after Ligny, Wavre might have been a tactical win, but it was a strategic loss.
So France faced two armies on the field, and the rest is history.
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stuart cudahy
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River defence lines come into play if French go for Brussels. Going for Ghent and/or liege before taking on Brussels is an option but time and night are on the allies side. I consider this game harder for the french because brussels is surrounded by rivers.
The allies should always consider garrisoning ghent and Liege with 3 units to force the French to decide whether the indirect route (not Brussels) is worth it. Once the French commit to the Brussels attack use night (no engagement) and rivers ( half attack) to best effect. consider withdrawing from a place if you can attack the same place with greater strength the following turn.This may verily apply to Brussels.
I hope this helps. cheers Stu
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stuart cudahy
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I should also point out that if the French go for either the British or Prussians, meaning ghent or Liege the allies should try to save as much of their units as possible under attack ( meaning British or Prussian ) and fall back on Brussels leaving individual cav as screen. A final stand or counterattack at or near Brussels is therefore possible.
The French should always consider going for Ghent first because its closer and the roads between Liege and brussels are crossed by many rivers. If the French do go for Liege they will need to play a double pronged semi-simultaneous central strategy using the central major roads to approach brussels. This will fracture the French army and can be hard to manage against an aggressive British player who may very well know his enemy and choose to garrison Ghent with 1 unit initially instead of 3.
You should be aware this game has many avenues for both players and if you elect to play an experienced British/Prussian player your arse may be handed to you on a plate! lol
cheers Stu

Perhaps the Prussians should only garrison Ghent with one unit knowing this! lol. Have fun. This is a great game. Years ago I pulled it out at a stag party and my mates and friends few who have played wargames lined up to play it all nite!!! I woke up at dawn pissed off because someone shouted fucking French!!!
this game is a classic because the best can be beaten by the enthusiastic. Either way its bloody good fun.
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Tom Jensen
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I've got a couple things to add:

* IMO the French just don't have time to go to Liege then all the way back to the other side of the board. Going after all objectives only splits the French, something they NEED to do to the Allies. They should rush at Brussels/Ghent with at least one forced march to strike before the Prussians and the British can get their act togther. Sometimes I send some cavalry toward Liege to keep the Prussians worried-- but then rush them back where they might have a role in the big fight.

* Note that there can be NO combat during a night turn. So the Allied player should use their cavalry to "crowd" the French main body just before nightfall; it will cause a loss of a complete turn of movement! Then, hopefully, they can retreat without too much damage the next day. Position a couple cavalry units forward so you have this option.

* Remember that units adjacent to a battle are almost as good as units IN the battle. As reinforcements, they may give you enough staying power to win. So move along parallel roads and then adjacent when the big battle looms.

Hope this helps.
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Neil Whyman
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Tom Jensen wrote:
I've got a couple things to add:

* IMO the French just don't have time to go to Liege then all the way back to the other side of the board. Going after all objectives only splits the French, something they NEED to do to the Allies. They should rush at Brussels/Ghent with at least one forced march to strike before the Prussians and the British can get their act togther. Sometimes I send some cavalry toward Liege to keep the Prussians worried-- but then rush them back where they might have a role in the big fight. Hope this helps.


My own recollections are that the French can only afford to make one big army if they are facing an Allied army that has enough red and green blocks in it to ensure that all the French have to do is beat that army and then sit on Brussels. The Allied losses in the battle, coupled with the one red and one green lost per turn for French control of Brussels, needs to be enough to ensure 7 red pieces and 8 green pieces are eliminated before time is up.

As has been said before, the French don't have time to move a single large army to Liege and back to Brussels against a competant Allied player because of the relative ease with which night turns can be used to hinder French progress or force the their army's breakup. [Each French night turn is followed by an Allied day turn, so . . . ]

The Allies have more incentive to form a big mass, but they have to be careful. They simply can't effectively maneuovre a force containing all their blocks, and it would take too long to get them together anyway. So there are always going to be blocks left vulnerable. And because of the importance of Brussels, any Allied army containing the bulk of the blocks has to operate around Brussels.

A competant French commander would say thanks for the vulnerable blocks then take Liege with a reasonably weak force and wait for the Prussians to evaporate. Then, despite having spit his force, he can hit the British just hard enough to take 7 blocks.

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