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Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815» Forums » General

Subject: 2nd or 3rd Edition? rss

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Tanner Martin
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I just discovered that this game exists, and I'm very eager to pick up a copy and give it a try. But... with 4 (functionally, 3) editions to choose from, there's still a major decision to be made. The 4th edition is way out of my budget at present, so I'm choosing between 2nd and 3rd editions.

I just finished skimming the threads and reading everything that compares the editions. I'm not an experienced wargamer, and this will be the first game of this type that I'll have tried. So, simpler is probably better. 2nd editions also looks to be a bit cheaper, and does seem to be generally more popular. That is where I am leaning at the moment.

Any recommendations between 2nd and 3rd edition for a rookie? Is either one somewhat more approachable and easier to learn? Does one have a better-written and clearer ruleset? Is there anything else that I should consider before buying?

Thanks in advance for your insights.
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Bob S.
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I have the second edition (the Avalon Hill one). It is an excellent game.

My understanding is that the third edition made several changes, the largest being to substantially enlarge the number of units (by altering the size of military unit represented). Then, with the fourth edition, Columbia went back to the original (and second edition) arrangement of units in the game, keeping a few rules clarifications and updates.

So, at the least, the second edition appears to represent a version of the game that is more "current" than the third edition.

Cheers.
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Evil Bob
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I had both the 2nd and 3rd editions of the game (I have the 4th now). I loved them all but I found that the 3rd edition was the easiest to learn. For me, the most difficult concept with the 2nd edition was the convoluted Battle Board, which was greatly simplified in the 3rd edition.

Regardless, both editions are fine games and I'm sure you'll enjoy either of them.
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Donald Everett
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I have played editions 2, 3, and 4. Fourth is my favorite, but if too expensive for you, then second is the one you want. All are good, but third added too many blocks for a small map, and is just missing some of the elegant simplicity of second edition. Fourth edition goes back to fewer blocks and adds some extra "chrome" to the rules, but all the changes are good ones, imho.
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Barry Kendall
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I have the same editions as Donald, and agree with his evaluation.
The AH edition was very pretty with its embossed pieces, and was a finely-honed match of wits and maneuver management with its limited piece count.

The next edition should have had a larger map, to begin with, just to contain the horde of additional blocks. The significant increase in quantity of units, along with the battle board changes, made it cumbersome and more work than fun.

The most recent edition has, in my view, reached the perfect sweet spot. But if this is out of fiscal reach, original AH "Napoleon" is the one to play.
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Bob S.
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bbhalla wrote:
I had both the 2nd and 3rd editions of the game (I have the 4th now). I loved them all but I found that the 3rd edition was the easiest to learn. For me, the most difficult concept with the 2nd edition was the convoluted Battle Board, which was greatly simplified in the 3rd edition.


Evil Bob (aren't we all?): How did they simplify the Battle Board (which was a bit cumbersome)? And that change then stayed with the 4th edition?
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Evil Bob
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2nd edition Battleboard


3rd edition Battleboard


I found that the 3rd edition (and later 4th edition) battleboard to be simpler to understand, almost intuitive. It uses the same battleboard as the other Columbia block games, with an uncluttered look and feel. For a beginner block game player or someone new to this game, I would suggest the 3rd or 4th version over the 2nd, although the 2nd has its own charms which were carried into the 4th.
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Caleb
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The design on the 2nd edition battle board is pretty poor; however, once you understand that, in each column, only 1 side can have a unit moved forward to engage, it all becomes much more understandable. The original AH battle board design made it seem like BOTH sides could move units forward to engage at the SAME TIME in the SAME COLUMN, which is not true.

Other than that weird idiosyncrasy, the 3rd edition rules are very clear and the relatively small number of blocks makes it a fantastic short game, well worth getting.
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Mike Hoyt

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I've only ever played 3rd edition, but I loved it and it started an on-going appreciation for Columbia's games.

I don't find the number of blocks in 3rd edition to be an issue, but then I've tried anything else. But, for those who've played both, does the fewer blocks in 4th edition make each hit in combat that much more important? Do you lose a certain amount of flexibility on the battle board with how you arrange your troops?
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Tanner Martin
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Great insights—Thank you everyone. I’m going to go ahead and purchase the 2nd edition as I can get it for very reasonable money; if I fall in love with the game, then I can save for the 4th edition.

On the subject of the battle board, is there a functional difference between the 2nd and 3rd/4th edition boards or is the difference basically just layout and design? Could I download and print the newer board and just use it, or would that require shoe-horning in newer battle rules as well?
 
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Shayne Richards
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dont be silly, its a block war game, get them all!!!!!!!!
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Mark Kwasny
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mrgeneraldude wrote:

On the subject of the battle board, is there a functional difference between the 2nd and 3rd/4th edition boards or is the difference basically just layout and design? Could I download and print the newer board and just use it, or would that require shoe-horning in newer battle rules as well?


I once asked Tom Dalgliesh that question, and he basically said he had no control over what AH did and they came up with that battle board and he did not like it or how it worked. I believe Tom intended battles to be fought as they are in the 3rd and 4th edition on a simple battle board. The AH battle board offers some confusing directions on it. Our main confusion had to do with the middle ground. We wondered if a player could fire artillery past units in the "Advance to Engage" slot. We always played that artillery could. But on the simple Columbia battle board, there is no middle ground. A unit moves across the board and enters the enemy position immediately. This has a large impact on battles.

I suspect you could use the rules and the simple battle boards from the 3rd and 4th editions very easily with the AH version of the game, and perhaps would actually be following Columbia Games' intent even more closely!
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Kurt Weihs
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In order of preference:
1. 4th (save up, it's worth it)
2. 2nd
3. 1st
4. 3rd

I have them all and have only played 3rd 2 times. 2nd has well over a hundred plays and 4th is creeping it's way up past 20. 1st doesn't get played as that would mean removing it from its hermetically sealed glass case and breaking the shrink wrap.
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