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Subject: The Third Coalition rss

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Olivier Clementin
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Turn 1 (1805-1806): Napoléon on vacation. French setbacks in Italy and Germany

While Napoléon remains on the Channel coast with the Grande Armée, Marshall Davout takes command of the Armée d'Allemagne, but his operations are plagued by bad luck. First, stragglers force him to stop his march in Wurtemberg, which give time to the Austrians to reinforce Linz. When Davout finally attacks Linz, he is routed by Archduke Ferdinand and pursued all the way to Munich. Austria gains a resource in this magnificent victory. In Italy, Marshall Masséna is also beaten by Archduke Charles and retreats to Milan, while British-backed Neapolitans take Rome. On the Diplomatic front, Sweden and Turkey join the Coalition, alongside respectively Britain and Russia. Yusuf lands in Spain at Barcelona with 60,000 Barbaresques: despite 50% casualties in the landing, Barcelona falls. Russia mobilizes 90,000 peasants at Grodno under Prince Bagration.

On the positive side for Napoleon, his Spanish allies overrun Portugal and take Lisbon and Denmark allies with France. In the Autumn of 1806, reinforced by new recruits from France, Davout is able to sneak past the Austrians through Ratisbon into Prague, where he enters Winter quarters. Kutuzov's 90,000 Russians march to Moravia to stop him.



At the end of 1806, the Allies look set to beat Napoleon, which convinces neutral Prussia to enter the war on the side of France in order to maintain the balance of power. Britain spends a card to prevent a Russian victory (2 VP).

During the reinforcement phase, the French raise a large army under Marshall Lannes in Franche-Comté, the Russians concentrate troops on the Niemen under Bagration and Constantin with mission to 'crush Prussia in a lightning campaign', the Turks march an army to Galicia, and Austria raises 90,000 soldiers in Vienna under Charles who has just been recalled from Italy.

VP totals: Russia +2, Austria +2, Britain +2, France +2, Prussia +1

Turn 2 (1807-1808): Exit Prussia, pursued by a bear


Ater Marshall Masséna's defeats in Italy last turn, Napoléon places Marshall Lannes in charge. In the Spring of 1807, Lannes enters Italy with 60,000 men, recaptures Rome from the Neapolitans and takes Naples, before joining Masséna in Milan. The combined Armée d'Italie attacks Venice and routs the Austrians. Things are going better for the Coalition in the North, where the new Army of Bohemia (90,000 Russians under Kutuzov and 90,000 Austrians under Archduke Charles) defeats Davout. Only a brave rearguard action by French lancers (card played by Denmark) saves the French from another shameful rout.

Meanwhile, strong Russian forces enter East Prussia: after raising 60,000 conscripts by calling up the next class, Bragation and Benningsen with 135,000 men storm Königsberg (playing Depot Captured to get an additional card) and capture Danzig, while Ali Pasha and 60,000 Turks take Warsaw with Constantin and 60,000 Russians. On Austrian instances, Russia rejects the Tilsit treaty with France (played by Prussia). Prussia reacts by sending an army of 60,000 men under Kleist to help Davout in Bavaria and desperately calling Napoléon for help.



In Spain, things initially look bad for Napoléon as a Spanish attack on Gibraltar in May 1807 fails miserably, Talleyrand's twisted diplomacy (card played by Sweden) forces France to play two cards to keep Spain in the French alliance, and Yusuf's Barbaresque cross the Pyrénées and ravage Southern France as far North as Toulouse, which is sacked. Fortunately for the French, a Serbian revolt forces all Turkish troops to return home (regroup) until the end of the turn. Napoléon' stepson Prince Eugene enters Naples with an Army, to be crowned as the new King of Naples.

The 1808 campaign in Prussia

Kutuzov opens the 1808 campaign season by taking Breslau after a bloody battle, barely beating Brunswick who had intercepted him from Lodz. The Czar offers peace to Prussia in the form of submission without cession of territory (Prussia has already lost three keys). After pondering the Russian proposal, the King of Prussia finally decides to fight and spends his resource to take an additional card. Blücher and Brunswick with 135,000 Prussians unite to attack Kutuzov, who evades to Krakow, being outnumbered more than 2 to 1. Blücher thus recaptures Breslau from the Russians, and Brunswick crosses the pass into Bohemia and captures Prague. Prussian territory is still shrinking however, as Bagration occupies Pomerania and threatens Berlin, which prompts Kleist to leave Davout in order to return to Berlin, a Swedish corps from Straslund takes Mecklemburg and Hanover, and Kutuzov captures Thorn in Poland.



Vienna and Berlin fall

Operations have also resumed in Italy, where in May 1808 Marshall Lannes and 90,000 soldiers enter Dalmatia from Venice, where they are intercepted by Archduke Charles with 105,000 Austrians. The odds of the battle of Trieste are perfectly even (10 dice on each side), but the battle is a disaster for Charles who loses 75,000 men and routs, while the French suffer no loss. Napoléon has a brief moment of triumph, but at this point Austria plays Dos de Mayo, and Spain leaves the French camp. Portugal is restored to British control. The Austrian situation still looks desperate though, as Prussia seizes Krakow and Davout attacks Munich, which the Austrians abandon in a hurry. Lannes continues his victorious march in Austria helped by disastrous Austrian rolls, crushing Archduke Charles in Zagreb and taking Vienna just in time for the winter. However, in Prussia, Kutuzov, Bennigsen and Bagration unite to attack Berlin defended by Kleist and Blucher. In the largest battle ever seen so far, pitting 165,000 Russians against 165,000 Prussians (17 dice to 15), the Prussians are beaten with heavy losses and Berlin finally falls in September 1808. In Apulia, a British-Neapolitan army is being raised by a little-known general named Arthur Wellesley.

The conquest roll for Prussia succeeds and Russia takes 5 duchies in addition to Warsaw and Thorn: Konigsberg, Leipzig, Breslau, Munster and Oldenburg. Sweden annexes Mecklemburg and Hanover. The entire Prussian army goes to regroup. Prague and Krakow return to Austrian control. The conquest roll for Austria subsequently fails, and Austria continues the fight.

The game doesn't end in a Russian victory despite the +1 modifier for the Talleyrand card. Austria offers to join the Imperial side if France returns all captured Austrian territory and commits to sending the Grande Armée against Russia, which Napoléon accepts. In a major reversal of alliances, Prussia joins the Coalition.

Austria redeploys Archduke Charles with 75,000 troops to Lemberg, Russia raises an army at St Petersburg under Barclay de Tolly and deploys Bagration to Breslau. Prussia regroups Blücher and 105,000 soldiers. The Grande Armée concentrates in Bavaria, with Napoléon, Davout and 210,000 French soldiers between Munich and Ratisbon in addition to Lanne's 75,000-strong corps still in Vienna. Napoléon has finally left the comfort of Paris. Moore lands in Malta with 60,000 British troops.

VP totals: Russia +7, France +7, Britain +1, Austria -1, Prussia -4

to be continued...
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Olivier Clementin
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Turn 3 (1809-1810): Napoléon takes to the field

Catholics of all countries unite

With Austria already in the Imperial camp, France starts the turn by playing Papal Bull to form a Very Catholic union between France, Austria and Spain, and Spain returns to the French camp. The Spaniards duly retake Lisbon from the British while a Spanish expeditionary corps under Blake marches North to help France on its Northern frontier. Britain reacts by seizing Granada with 60,000 soldiers from Gibraltar.

Russian offensive against Vienna (1809)

Kutuzov opens the 1809 campaign with an offensive towards Vienna (since Turkey holds the Capitulation card). He crosses the moutain from Breslau to attack Marshall Lannes in Moravia, but Lannes withdraws to Vienna where the big battle takes place: 180,000 Russians with Kutuzov and Bagration attack Lannes's 75,000 Frenchmen. Archdukes Ferdinand and John fail to reinforce Lannes from Budapest. Unfortunately for the coalition, Lannes plays two battle cards: Dysentery and Panic, causing a Russian rout with 105,000 Russian casualties against 30,000 dead Frenchmen. The Russian offensive is stopped cold as Kutuzov takes winter quarters in Moravia, and Austria is saved for now.

Napoléon against Prussia (1809)

Meanwhile, Napoléon and Soult attacks Prussia: Thuringia and Leipzig are swiftly conquered and Napoléon attacks Kleist and Bülow in Berlin. With 120,000 soldiers on each side, French tactical superiority prevails and the Prussian retreat with light losses on both sides.



Unfortunately, suicidal efforts over the rest of the turn by Prussia to retake Berlin result only in more Prussian disasters, and the Prussian rescue army is eventually wiped out in two more battles. Further West, Soult attacks Blücher in Hesse and routs him, takes Hanover from the Swedes and beats Blücher again in Münster. Blücher retreats to Brussels with 15,000 remaining soldiers and flags it before being annihilated by Soult. Prussia ends the turn with only one leader on the map and no key.

Turks invade Hungary (1810)

Having spent the last year repressing the Serbian revolt and recruiting emigrés and exiles, the Turks are once again on the warpath. In March 1810, two Turkish armies invade Hungary: 60,000 Turks under Ali Pasha enter Slavonia while Yusuf, Mustapha and 45,000 Turks conquer Bucovina.



Austrian troops are raised in Kosloszvar and Archduke John marches from Budapest against Ali Pasha, inflicting a major defeat on the Turks who are routed and flee across the Danube to Belgrade. Having foiled the Ottoman threat, John returns to Budapest. Marshal Davout then marches from Vienna to Belgrade with 90,000 troops and successfully besieges it as Ali Pasha retreats to Nis.

Kutuzov marches East into Krakow from Moravia, where he is intercepted by Archudke Charles' Army of Galicia. The battle of Krakow is a minor Russian victory and Krakow falls. At this point, France plays Persian War and Bennigsen goes to the Caucasus front with 30,000 soldiers taken from the garrison of Saint-Petersburg.

Wellington's 1810 campaign in Italy

Wellington and Moore are now ready to move against the French in Italy. Wellington crosses the mountains into Rome, flags Rome and marches south to Naples where the French Army is annihilated. King Eugene I of Naples himself is reported to have fallen into the Vesuvio. The Kingdom of Sicily is liberated. Wellington then marches to Rome and flags Florence.



Prussia surrenders, having no key left. France annexes Anhalt and Masuria in addition to Leipzig, Hesse, Hanover and Thuringia which are already French. Russia is still is the lead but fails to roll a 6 for victory. Austria remains in the French alliance.

In the reinforcement phase, Field-Marshal Schwarzenberg and 90,000 Austrians join Davout's Army in Belgrade against the Turks, the Russians reinforce Kiev, Napoléon moves to Danzig with 120,000 men, perhaps in preparation for a campaign in Russia, and Moore lands in Gibraltar.

Russia: 9 VP, France: 7 VP Britain: 3 VP, Austria: 1 VP, Prussia -5 VP
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Olivier Clementin
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Turn 4 (1811-1812): French supremacy

With Prussia out of the game and Austria allied with France for a second turn, Europe gets ready for a French military promenade. At Belgrade, a French-Austrian force of 180,000 Crusaders under Davout and Schwarzenberg is ready to march to Constantinople, while at Danzig Napoléon is planning his Russian campaign.

The Last Crusade (1811)

The Turkish army (120,000 Ottomans under Ali Pasha and Mustapha) withdraw before the advancing Crusaders, but they are caught by Davout at Sofia and routed with 75,000 casualties. Further North, Yusuf is beaten by Archduke Charles in a most anticlimactic battle at Lemberg, lasting two days but inflicting almost no casualties on either side. After receiving some new recruits, Ali Pasha is caught again by Schwartzenberg at Edirne, but unexpectly wins the battle as both sides lose 30,000 men. However, one month later the second battle of Edirne is an Austrian victory and Ali Pasha retreats to Bucharest while Schwartzenberg camps under the walls of Constantinople and starts a long siege.



The Russian campaign (1811)

Meanwhile, Napoléon has stormed Königsberg, played "Dépôt captured" for an additional card and is threatening Russia, facing no opposition since the Russian field armies are currently in Poland (under Kutuzov, Bagration and Konstantin), in the Ukraine (under Barclay) and in Persia (under Bennigsen). Fortunately, the Persian war is quickly put to an end and Russia is able to retake Zhitomir and play its reserve card before Napoléon enters Russia. Bennigsen returns to Russia from Persia to prepare the defense of Saint-Petersburg. In the Baltic, the Danish fleet sorties but is beaten back by the Swedish-Russian squadron, and a Danish squadron is sunk. Napoléon crosses the Niemen, takes Kovno, Riga, Polotsk, and flags Smolensk, threatening Moscow directly. From Krakow, Kutuzov's Army of Poland starts marching towards Russia, taking Lublin from the Austrians. Leaving Bagration in charge of Poland, Kutuzov then takes command of Barclays' force at Zhitomir and reaches Borodino in two impulses, while the British Parliament subsidizes and additional card for Russia, which now looks safer.



Elsewhere in Europe, the most saliant event of 1811 is the neutrality of Spain, thanks to the Talleyrand card played by Prussia. Spanish troops from all over Napoléonic Europe regroup to Spain.

The year 1812

Operations slow down in 1812. In Germany, the Swedes keep Soult busy by capturing Hanover and Anhalt. Soult recaptures Hanover and Anhalt and takes Münster (from Russia). Leipzig and Smolensk experience nationalist uprising against the French. Cossacks briefly recapture Riga. The siege of Constantinople drags on forever, attriting away the Austrian besiegers.

In Italy, Wellington resumes his Italian operations, capturing Urbino and Romagna before being stopped by Masséna before the walls of Milan. Moore lands at Naples to reinforce him with 60,000 troops from Spain, and Masséna is attacked a second and a third time at Milan before finally retreating to Zurich. Wellington flags Venice and Genoa.



The fate of Poland

At the beginning of 1812, Russia still controls Moravia, Silesia (Breslau), Galicia (Lublin and Krakow) and Masuria (Thorn and Warsaw) with 180,000 troops under Bagration and Konstantin, a large area in the middle of French and Austrian lines. In April 1812, Archduke Charles makes a first attempt at recapturing Krakow but he is intercepted by Bagration. After an indecisive two-day battle in which both side lose 45,000 men, he has to retreat to Lemberg. At about this time, Napoléon decides to leave the camp de Polotsk where the Grande Armée has been staying for one year, and exit Russia via Vilna and the fortress of Grodno, which is promptly stormed. Marshal Lannes marches from Vienna to Moravia and Breslau.



During the interphase, France plays a card to get a 1-in-2 chance of victory (there is already a +1 for the Talleyrand card played by Prussia), but rolls a 3 and fails. The game continues. A major reversal of alliances then occurs as Austria joins the Coalition in exchange for the return of Krakow, Lublin, Venice and Bucovina, and Russia subsequently joins the French side in exchange for the restitution of Grodno and Riga ! The game is starting to look like Diplomacy... Finally, Prussia joins the Coalition, a very bold move considering that 240,000 French soldiers are camping on the Prussia border in three armies under Napoléon, Soult and Lannes.

VP: France +9, Russia +7, Britain +5, Austria -1, Prussia -4
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Olivier Clementin
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Turn 5 (1813-1814): The Fall of France
Entering the last turn, French forces are all over Europe: Napoléon is in Russia with 120,000 men, Lannes and Soult in Prussia with 135,000, Davout in Turkey with 15,000, and Masséna with Victor in Switzerland with 150,000. Eugène, the Prince formerly known as the King of Naples, whom everyone thought dead after the Neapolitan disaster, has mysteriously reappeared in Paris where he takes command of a Garde Nationale of 45,000 recruits. Britain opens the turn with an invasion of France from Italy: Hill invades Provence, conquers Marseilles with 60,000 men and flags Lyon.

The fate of Poland - continued

Attention now turns to Galicia (Krakow, Lublin and Lemberg) which is nominally under Austrian control since Russia returned it to Austria last turn, but which is very threatened by huge French and Russian Armies. Russia plays "Steal a March" to preempt France and captures both Galician keys under the nose of Napoléon's Grande Armée ! Once more, Russia controls most of Poland. Russian imperialism doesn't stop there: during the regular Russian turn, Prince Bagration enters Finland from Petersburg and conquers it from Sweden after a quick siege of the fortress of Nystadt.

Austria and Prussia resurgent

Austria flags Munich and Ratisbon, conquering Bavaria from France, while Prussia attacks Breslau: after two defeats, Blücher finally beats Lannes who retreats to Krakow. Further North, a Swedish force recaptures Hanover but is quickly scattered by a strong Danish force under Frederick of Denmark.

Napoléon returns

In France, Prince Eugène reoccupies Lyon with 60,000 new recruits, leaving Paris empty, while Napoléon starts a long march home across enemy territory: preempting Russia, the Grande Armée crosses the Carpathian mountains from Bucovina, captures Koloszvar, and enters the Hungarian plains. The Austrians decide make a stand at Budapest: in a two-day battle, the Archdukes' Army under Charles, John and Ferdinand are beaten with 60,000 casualties while the Napoléon loses 30,000 men. Budapest is flagged and the Emperor continues his march to Zagreb, Dalmatia and Venice, oblivious of the British Expeditionary Force gathering in Cornwall under Beresford.

Wellington's 200,000-strong British Army of Italy is now faced with 300,000 French troops in the three Armies of Napoléon, Masséna and Prince Eugène.



The Campaign in France

Coup de théâtre: Beresford lands in Artois and flags Paris and Picardy. Perhaps fearing a possible Capitulation card play, Marshal Masséna preempts Austria and retakes Paris and Artois, while Beresford escapes to Picardy, where he is finally beaten by Massena. Then Archduke Charles flags Wurtemberg, moves to Baden with 60,000 men, defeats Marshal Victor who was trying to block him, and flags Nassau, while other Austrian units unflag Budapest and Zagreb. Wellington makes the final move of the game, routing Prince Eugène, annihilating his army and capturing Lyon. Thus ends the game.

Final VP count:

Russia 11 VP (6 resource, +Lublin, +Krakow, +Nystadt, +Warsaw, Turkey)

Britain 7 VP (2 resources, +Milan, +Rome, +Marseille, +Lyon, Sweden)

France 3 VP (3 resources, -Milan, -Rome, -Marseille, -Lyon, -Nassau, -Munich, +Konigsberg, +Belgrade, +Koloszvar, +Sofia, +Venice, Denmark)

Austria 0 VP (2 resources, +Nassau, +Munich, -Venice, -Koloszvar, -Lublin, -Krakow)

Prussia -3 VP (-Konigsberg, -Warsaw, -Hanover)

The Congress of Vienna

Diplomats of all countries meet at Vienna to decide the fate of Europe. The Czar is the big winner of the war as Russia annexes Finland and Greater Poland with Warsaw, Lemberg, Krakow, Lublin, Masuria and Thorn. In exchange for losing its share of Poland, Austria become the dominant power in Germany. The Holy Roman Empire is reinstated under Franz I of Austria with Nassau, Bavaria, Baden and Wurtemberg under direct Austrian influence. France keeps influence in Thuringia, Hesse and Franconia, Denmark annexes Hanover, Sweden takes Mecklemburg and Münster and Russia takes Oldenburg, which she exchanges with France for Bucovina. Prussia is reduced to its historical provinces of Brandeburg, Pomerania, Silesia and Prussia plus Posen and Lodz in Poland and influence over Saxony. The Kingdom of Italy is unified under the Protectorate of Britain, and Wellington is appointed Viceroy of Italy. Marshal Davout is crowned Louis-Nicolas I of Greater Serbia at Belgrade.

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Cole Wehrle
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One of the best session reports on BGGs, bravo.
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John McCoy
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Thanks for the excellent session report Olivier!

I was Austria in this game. It proved an interesting power to play. Russia's total victory over Prussia during Turn 2, including the acquistion of several resources, gave them a very strong position. And during that same turn, France crushed my armies and nearly conquered Austria.

Given all of this I concluded that my only hope of victory lay in switching camps during the interphase. My hope was that this woudl then bring France and Russia into direct conflict. If they wore each other down I might be able to catch up somehow. It certainly seemed preferable to what I envisioned occuring if I stayed in the Coalition in Turn 3: France strugglignt o capture enough Austrian keys to catch up with Russia's victory point lead, with Russia helping me defend them and thereby maintaining its huge lead over me.

Had I known that Prussia would join the Coalition during the interhapse I might have acted differently. My hope had been that France would take Russia down a key or two. Instead Prussia was just strong enough to pin my own troops down for a bit, before losing a bunch of keys to France. So the end result was France gained on me and Russia remained well ahead of me.

Now I knew it'd take some sort of a gamble for me to even come close to winning. I decided to try and conquer Turkey with French help--risky since France could end up conquering it instead. So I devoted most of my men and cards towards the southern front rather than trying to defend my own borders against Russia.

My thinking was that if I could conquer Turkey and get a good conquest die roll I'd gain several victory points and cause France to lose some of their captured Turkish territory. And if I was really lucky, Russia wouldn't hold a grudge and would accept me back into the Coalition.

I think I actually came reasonably close to pulling that plan off, considering that it was a long-shot at best. The first battle of Edirne was extremely frustrating. Ali Pasha tried to evade to Bucharest but failed. It would have been great for my plan had he successeded since I could have left the French behind at Edirne while I immediately besieged Constantinople with a full strength army. Instead we not only fought but I managed to lose a battle where the odds were something like 2:1 in my favor. So it cost me another turn and card to get to Constantinople, by which time it had fleets off shore and my army was weaker, and I couldn't quite take it.

That failure was coupled with the predictable loss of some of my keys to Russia. I asked to change camps figuring my best hope of getting territory back would be for Russia to give some to me and for everyone to pile on France. Russia's switching of camps immediately after me was masterful. I had absolutely zero chance of making headway into Russia. Not with France to worry about as well. And Britain was too far away to be a threat to russia either. So he got to basically sit backa nd watch the rest of us pile onto France. Which kind of makes you wonder why France agreed to bring him on board, but then again would France have been any better off having to fight Russia as well? Presumably not.

France expressed some furstration in the last turn that we were beating on him and leaving Russia pretty much a free hand. But given the disposition of forces (strong French and Russian armies in Poland at the start of the turn, weak French forces elsewhere) the only thing that made any sense was to push west. Really my only hope to even come out with positive victory points was for France to be conquered outright, which is why my efforts to defend Austria against Napoleon were halfhearted when compared to the reckless abandon with which I attacked in Germany. If Paris fell then I;d get back all of the territory Napoleon took anyway.
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Nick Banta
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I have been considering purchasing this game for a while now. This session report sold me on it. I am on my way out the door to drive 45 minutes to a shop where I know there is a copy on the shelf.

Bravo sir, if only all session reports were this good.
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