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The Napoleonic Wars (Second Edition)» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Some Basic Thoughts on Strategy rss

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John Kantor
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Despite what some may think (based on the inherent randomness of a card game and the combat system), it's not all just tactics. Here are my thoughts on longer term concerns.

1. The Allies have to put Continental System Fails into play. Without that, the French can use any card advantage they have to completely dominate the game via Preemptions.

2. For the Allies to win, Britain needs to get a significant presence on the continent (outside of Spain) by turn 4 or 5. But if France is allowed to Preempt freely, they can easily defeat the British in Spain and frustrate them with Foreign wars and other Events. The Allies can't win if Britain is limited to only using its cards to support the other players - and Britain is probably not going to win with only a couple of keys.

3. France must not be allowed to gain any additional allies beyond Spain and Denmark. And Spain needs to be neutralized as soon as possible.

4. Both sides need to be highly aggressive - the French in order to keep the Allies off balance - and the Allies to keep the French from sitting on a small lead and working from a card advantage until the end. The Allies need to make the French spend cards for CPs to maneuver and build on-the-spot reinforcements. The French need to cripple the Allied armies quickly. If the Allies are tentative, the French can easily take a few keys from the Austrians, so the Allies can't afford to wait to build up an army big enough to challenge Napoleon (an impossible task anyway). If the Allies have a Battle or Response card and 1 to 1 odds, they need to take the chance. The French need to use their leader advantage and take any battle at 1 to 1 + 3 odds or so that they can.

5. Britain needs to neutralize Spain - either conquer it or force the French to tie up a fair number of forces there. You can't give the French those keys and you can't allow Spanish armies to reinforce their continental forces. And if Britain conquers Spain, they might be able to win on that basis alone.

6. Britain needs to control the seas - and that means ensuring against a run of bad luck. Build that last fleet. Make sure that all enemy fleets are blockaded - but don't pick a fight unless you have overwhelming odds.

7. Britain mustn't get sidetracked by Foreign Wars. Cards and CPs are more important than the small amount of forces Britain is required to allocate to them. The best way to stop the Turkish war from happening is to get them on the Allied side.

8. Russia is only going to be a strong Ally for the first half of the game. After that, it's to their advantage to hang back and make Resource rolls. The best way to keep them honest is to add Sweden to the Allied Camp.

9. Southern Italy is important! The Allies just can't ignore it and let the French consolidate control of the two keys there and close off the potential threat.

10. Austria can only react to what the French (and Russians) are doing for the first couple of turns. They will not be in charge of their own destiny unless they can survive to reach the end game - in which case Turkey is probably going to be their best target.

11. Prussia needs to bide its time, and realize that its destiny really comes down to aiding France or aiding Russia. If France is on the ropes, they can move into the Low Countries. If France is ascendant, they can head towards St. Petersburg.
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John Kantor
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I think that a close analysis of both individual events and the statistics involved will yield some important card play and management strategies too. I'll start looking into those when I get a chance.

Here are a couple of more play hints that I think should be valid:

France - Use your Preemptions! Although you theoretically can gain from holding on to them, you need to keep the Allies off balance, so preempt while you can. Stop an Allied threat before it gets any momentum.

France - Be aggressive! Use cards for CPs to attack and build on-the-spot reinforcements. Don't rely on Events and mediocre Response or Battle cards to win you the game. You can afford to use multipronged campaigns because your forces can both easily Evade and support each other via Interception.

France - Mulligan unless you have sufficient CP cards to really implement an aggressive strategy.

Britain - Don't play cards in support of your allies. You can help best by triumphing in Spain quickly and building up for an invasion later. (And put an army in Ireland!)
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John McCoy
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There is some interesting advice here. However I think it is an exageration to say that Continental System Fails is essential. If Britain plays its cards wisely France is unlikely to get more than one or two preempts a turn. That's significant but hardly enables them to run away with the entire game.

It is worth bearing in mind that there are several events that can break a minor's pact status. The odds of one or more of them being drawn in any given turn are pretty high. Spain is especially vulnerable, since there's an event that affects it specifically. So commiting substantial resources to a capturing minors' keys and/or defending the same is a calculated risk.
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Erwin Lau
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jkantor wrote:

Britain - Don't play cards in support of your allies. You can help best by triumphing in Spain quickly and building up for an invasion later. (And put an army in Ireland!)


Hmmm...shake I always think that Britain should help her allies when opportunities arise. Can you elaborate more?
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John Kantor
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There's short-term help and long-term help. Short-term help can be shortsighted. If Britain plays cards as events or battle modifiers to help allies early, she won't have enough CPs to do what she needs to do to first, ensure that Continental System Fails gets into play (controlling the seas), second take Spain, and third, get a presence on the Continent by the end of the game (and maybe in Italy earlier). And without those three things, the Allies can't win.

In general, I think players play too many cards as events or battle modifiers and forget how important the CPs are.

And I think that even one or two preempts per turn will let a good (meaning aggressive) French player control the game.

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Jason Cawley
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In my experience, there are certain things the Brits need to get done on turn 1. Normally they preclude giving Parliament to another power; the Brits just can't afford it.

They need to spend on naval maneuvers to clean up the initial naval situation. Typically this takes a card but is nit otherwise hard.

They need to buy a leader and build up his force to 4SPs. This takes two cards.

They usually need a naval move of that army, mist often to relieve Portugal. This takes a card.

They need to spend at least one card in southern Italy, to make trouble there if the French neglect it and to force the French to send a full army with a Marshal if they try to handle it on the cheap.

If possible, they want to spend a card on diplomacy, to Pact the Swedes or to counteract a French move to sway Prussia, or a combo of making the Danes more expensive and swaying the Prussians themselves, etc.

And all that still leaves nothing for important events...
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