Recommend
17 
 Thumb up
 Hide
13 Posts

Napoleon's Triumph» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Very Close Game with Impressions After Session rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
James Hemsley
Italy
Desio
MB
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Session
Joel had mentioned this game at one of the game day's that we both frequent. He had said it was one of the best games, and really had a lot thematic mechanics that were difficult to understand, but once you started playing, you would fall in love with.

I proposed a time to play, and we gathered at my house for a game. The board and pieces are absolutely stunning! The board covered the entire coffee bar table, I have in my kitchen area. The wooden pieces really evoke feeling of being a general or supreme commander moving armies across a front. I told Joel, that I felt like I need a horse whip to move the pieces around and a monocle would have been cool, too!

Joel took the French, because he had played before, and thought that they had more difficult decisions to make, that he would be better at, since he had at least one game under his belt. I took the allies. After a brief rules overview, we created our armies. I really had no idea what I was doing. I spread out my armies' strength across a host. Looking back, it probably would have been more effective, if I had concentrated strength with one or two of my commanders, and left the others intentionally weakened, but Joel wouldn't have known that, right?

We started playing, and as Joel had said, the Allies start off very aggressive, as they are trying to capture and hold one of the territories with a blue star. I moved strongly on my left flank, trying to dislodge one of Joel's armies from a small town on a river. I was fairly successful, and even had one of them pass behind his army and move onto a blue star.

Joel took up defensive positions along his entire line. I moved up cautiously. My army that had captured a key position started to worry Joel, I think, and I also had multiple armies move up the center. We never really fought each other, just moving around and avoiding conflict as much as possible.

Finally, I initiated an attack on his center, and caused one of his armies to retreat and be broken up. He thought that was a good time to bring in his two reinforcement armies, which changes the game to a defensive one for the French to an offensive one. He now had to capture enough territory to own three different colored stars. He suggested that the allies, now only needed to defend.

I started by pulling back my armies carefully, never really letting him get near enough to do any damage. When his cavalry units would harass my armies, I would break off one or two units to protect the pass, but ultimately, my armies pulled back until most of them were occupying coveted, colored star spots.

Joel hesitated a few times and mis-managed his moves, as he tried to gain enough ground to grab the necessary three stars. One of his armies even snuck around a defensive line I had set up on my left flank. He was moving as fast as he could for those spaces, but night was approaching fast. I kept nervously trying to figure out if he could actually get to the stars and assumed he couldn't.

Right at the end, I realized that two armies he had, could indeed seize the last of the stars he needed. We battled, but his armies were weakened from previous skirmishes and we ended the game with the allies hanging on by the skin of their teeth.

Impressions
This is the first "hard core" war game, I've ever played. When I was in high school I played a little Federation Commander, but by "played," I mean, I read the rules, and hoped (prayed) for an opponent.

I have to admit, that this game was difficult for me to grasp. I had to constantly ask Joel questions about "what-if" scenarios. I don't think it's entirely intuitive, but ultimately, taken into consideration with the theme, the mechanics really do work very well.

This game felt like chess, in the amount of energy I had to invest to make my moves (I take chess quite seriously and will often think about a move for longer than most people would like). After playing the game, I felt exhausted. It did take us about 4 hours to complete, but I haven't played too many 4 hour games, where so much thought is required. I really felt worn out after playing.

And I think because of the intensity of the game, I will have to say that I don't think I'll play this too much. Don't get me wrong, the game is fantastic as a great simulation of Napoleonic style fighting and tactics, but it is so intense, and after 4 hours, so much is on the line, that it really wears me out. I didn't feel like I had used the time wisely. Even though I had won, it wasn't satisfying, because I still felt like I didn't totally understand the game after completing it. I think I would much rather prefer playing a couple games of Power Grid or Imperial. Those games seem so much more strategic and less complicated, that I don't feel like my brain is on fire, like I do with Napoleon's Triumph.

That being said, even as I write this, I'm looking forward to playing it again and trying some different strategies/tactics. Arggh! I don't know what to do!
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Was George Orwell an Optimist?
United States
Corvallis
Oregon
flag msg tools
John Coltrane - Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Iceberg1 wrote:
I don't know what to do!


I'm going to pretend this question wasn't rhetorical, and suggest that you fight more and maneuver less in your next game. Not that maneuver isn't important, but as both of you get better you'll find that combat plays a decisive role. Get familiar with the wrinkles of how large battles play out, and you'll see the whole elephant much more quickly.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim Patterson
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I guess Joel got tired of waiting for me. cry

Oh, well. My track record with heavier wargames isn't so hot.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Hemsley
Italy
Desio
MB
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jpat wrote:
I guess Joel got tired of waiting for me. cry

Oh, well. My track record with heavier wargames isn't so hot.


No, Joel is still waiting. I think he could play this at the drop of a hat!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
United States
New Orleans
Louisiana
flag msg tools
designer
Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
badge
Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
Those games seem so much more strategic and less complicated, that I don't feel like my brain is on fire, like I do with Napoleon's Triumph.


So more strategy means less brain fire?

My experience with the system is a little limited but I think it is the first time I've liked luckless combat.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
flag msg tools
Dear Geek: Please insert the wittiest comment you can think of in this text pop-up. Then times it by seven.
badge
The Coat of Arms of Clan Montgomery - Scotland. Yes, that's a woman with the head of a savage in her hand, and an anchor. No clue what it means, but it's cool.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have few things about this thread:

1. Thanks for the review! It points out plusses and minuses about the game, and too many wargame reviews on BGG are all flowers and perfume and love while being short on criticism. I guilty of this, too. So thanks for a review that has a couple negative points to make.

2. I would hesitate to call Napoleon's Triumph a "heavy" wargame. I see it as a high-level thinking game (what with luckless combat, you have to think carefully), but I don't see it as a heavy game. Of course those types of labels are intensely subjective. I just wanted to point out that some wargamers (especially grognards, of which I am not one, I don't think) might disagree with you about the classification of this game as "heavy" or "heavier" (whatever words you used). My personal opinion is that Napoleon's Triumph is a light-medium wargame with high complexity. I think the game is too abstract to qualify as a heavy wargame... but to each their own! :-)

3. I have to say that I think NT DOES have a good amount of "luck" in it, and by that I mean a random element. Instead of dice or pull-chits, though, the random element is human decision making--and while some people may argue that human decision making is not random (and I agree), two humans making independent decisions have the result of random unit encounters in this game... you never are really sure what type of strategy your opponent has come up with, and in that sense, when combat occurs, it is random as to what elements are plugged into the non-random formula. I think that this is one of the mechanics that makes NT shine, as, it appears do many players.

And of course, I understand that I am parsing hairs with the random element. I understand what you're saying, Paul. I just wanted to make my nuanced point about the "randomness" of human decisions (which exists in every wargame, I suppose!).

Chris
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Hemsley
Italy
Desio
MB
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
cmontgo2 wrote:
I have few things about this thread:

1. Thanks for the review! It points out plusses and minuses about the game, and too many wargame reviews on BGG are all flowers and perfume and love while being short on criticism. I guilty of this, too. So thanks for a review that has a couple negative points to make.

Thanks! I just try to be honest. Hence the odd way I ended the session report.

cmontgo2 wrote:
2. I would hesitate to call Napoleon's Triumph a "heavy" wargame. I see it as a high-level thinking game (what with luckless combat, you have to think carefully), but I don't see it as a heavy game. Of course those types of labels are intensely subjective. I just wanted to point out that some wargamers (especially grognards, of which I am not one, I don't think) might disagree with you about the classification of this game as "heavy" or "heavier" (whatever words you used). My personal opinion is that Napoleon's Triumph is a light-medium wargame with high complexity. I think the game is too abstract to qualify as a heavy wargame... but to each their own! :-)

Definitely in my experience, this is probably the most heavy game I've played. And it's not that it is necessarily hard to learn, but that the rules make it un-intuitive. The attacking, defense, modifiers, etc. were what I kept having questions about. There have to be simpler ways to simulate combat. However, like I said in the report, I think that these complicated rules ultimately add a tremendous amount of feeling and thematic air to this otherwise "abstract-ish" game.

One example, is that I didn't want to attack, because it would have cost too much in attrition if I didn't win, and that makes every decision even more deliberate. I don't just throw my armies into the fray willy-nilly, because I know there's a significant cost.

cmontgo2 wrote:
3. I have to say that I think NT DOES have a good amount of "luck" in it, and by that I mean a random element. Instead of dice or pull-chits, though, the random element is human decision making--and while some people may argue that human decision making is not random (and I agree), two humans making independent decisions have the result of random unit encounters in this game... you never are really sure what type of strategy your opponent has come up with, and in that sense, when combat occurs, it is random as to what elements are plugged into the non-random formula. I think that this is one of the mechanics that makes NT shine, as, it appears do many players.

And of course, I understand that I am parsing hairs with the random element. I understand what you're saying, Paul. I just wanted to make my nuanced point about the "randomness" of human decisions (which exists in every wargame, I suppose!).
Chris

Just for the sake of discussion, I'll disagree. I wouldn't classify this as luck, as much as human interaction. Everything is a result of human decision, it's just that you don't have perfect information to make your decisions.

Thanks for the comments.

--James
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Hemsley
Italy
Desio
MB
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I mentioned in the session report that the only other war game I've had experience with is Federation Commander. I have been corrected. It was actually StarFleet Battles, I had read the rules to a long time ago!

--James
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
United States
New Orleans
Louisiana
flag msg tools
designer
Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
badge
Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
3. I have to say that I think NT DOES have a good amount of "luck" in it, and by that I mean a random element. Instead of dice or pull-chits, though, the random element is human decision making--and while some people may argue that human decision making is not random (and I agree), two humans making independent decisions have the result of random unit encounters in this game... you never are really sure what type of strategy your opponent has come up with, and in that sense, when combat occurs, it is random as to what elements are plugged into the non-random formula. I think that this is one of the mechanics that makes NT shine, as, it appears do many players.

And of course, I understand that I am parsing hairs with the random element. I understand what you're saying, Paul. I just wanted to make my nuanced point about the "randomness" of human decisions (which exists in every wargame, I suppose!).


An excellent point that I didn't consider. The same is true of good Euros: the random element is your opponents and how their actions will affect yours. True most euros don't have fog of war except for auction games I guess but I think it is the same principle. However, the combat in this game is luckless and usually I DETEST luckless combat.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
flag msg tools
Dear Geek: Please insert the wittiest comment you can think of in this text pop-up. Then times it by seven.
badge
The Coat of Arms of Clan Montgomery - Scotland. Yes, that's a woman with the head of a savage in her hand, and an anchor. No clue what it means, but it's cool.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I must say that I am more of a "limited luck" combat player. I, too, normally detest luckless combat, but similarly, I detest unlimited luck combat. To put it another way, I do not like combat in which every force, no matter how small, always has a chance to destroy a superior force, no matter how large. Hannibal: Rome v Carthage, while I love it as a game, I do detest those (rather too common) battles in which one side loses all it's forces, even though it may outnumber the enemy 3:1. Maybe it should be defeated, maybe suffer horrific losses, but be eliminated? Erg.

So I prefer a slightly more predictable exposure to risk. While I love the luck element (and random element) in games, TOO MUCH luck can likewise make a good game unfun in those situations where you get stung by an overly-loaded luck-based combat system.

Cheers!

Chris
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
United States
New Orleans
Louisiana
flag msg tools
designer
Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
badge
Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
Hannibal: Rome v Carthage, while I love it as a game, I do detest those (rather too common) battles in which one side loses all it's forces, even though it may outnumber the enemy 3:1. Maybe it should be defeated, maybe suffer horrific losses, but be eliminated? Erg.


I don't see that as a problem in ancient warfare because outnumbered armies frequently defeated and even eliminated massive opposing hordes. I'd have a problem with it though if it was applied to say a Napoleonic battle.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
cmontgo2 wrote:
...I do not like combat in which every force, no matter how small, always has a chance to destroy a superior force, no matter how large. Hannibal: Rome v Carthage, while I love it as a game, I do detest those (rather too common) battles in which one side loses all it's forces, even though it may outnumber the enemy 3:1. Maybe it should be defeated, maybe suffer horrific losses, but be eliminated? Erg...

The problem lies in the level of military confrontation. Hannibal and NT belong to two different levels of war, so the comparison is not appropriate.

NT attempts to reproduces the battle of Austerlitz. In this game, each "combat" or confrontation represents a single armed engagement within a limited space. In such encounters, you are right in saying that the larger army usually if not always wins.

On the other hand, each "combat" in Hannibal represents a single battle. Such battles can be as large as the entire battle of Austerlitz. As the size of the battle field and armies increases, factors like fog-of-war, command & control, and communication come into play. The winner of a battle is the one that is more efficient in managing these factors -- size can be as much harm as it is help. NT captures all these factors well -- Napoleon is able to defeat the larger Austro-Russian ally.

The die-roll and card-draw in Hannibal are simulations of the factors in a battle field. If it allows an army of inferior size to come out victorious, it is doing a good job in simulating battles the size of Austerlitz.

Hannibal is a game of strategic scope. It would be clumsy for it to try and represents these factors in NT's style. By rule-of-thumb, increase in scope warrants sacrifice in details. A strategic level game that ask players to play out single battles on a separate table is call a super monster game.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Hemsley
Italy
Desio
MB
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Strategy Game vs Tactics Game.

--James
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.