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Subject: Best Napoleonic-Era Game for a Non-Napoleonic-Era Gamer? rss

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Jim Ransom
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I've always been primarily a WW2 gamer, and enjoy both ground and naval games. Occasionally I like to cleanse the palate with something different, but I have one glaring omission from my shelf -- no Napoleonic ground games. Just never dove into that pool.

I wouldn't exactly call it a New Year's resolution, but I'm considering it. So, if I were to make the leap, what game do you think I should try? I'll try most anything, but usually shy away from block games.

Thanks, and a healthy, happy, and fun year of wargaming to all!!

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Edmund Hon
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La Bataille de la Moscowa (third edition) whistle

(OK just kidding.)

You might want to take a look at GMT's Triumph & Glory: Battles of the Napoleonic Wars 1796-1809, and Borodino: Battle of the Moskova, 1812, both use a same system of chit draw activation (draw a chit and activate that command). Most battles are half or one map affairs, except Wagram in T&G which is a two-mapper. Unfortunately both are out of print for now.
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Joseph Boeke
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jpr755 wrote:
I've always been primarily a WW2 gamer, and enjoy both ground and naval games. Occasionally I like to cleanse the palate with something different, but I have one glaring omission from my shelf -- no Napoleonic ground games. Just never dove into that pool.

I wouldn't exactly call it a New Year's resolution, but I'm considering it. So, if I were to make the leap, what game do you think I should try? I'll try most anything, but usually shy away from block games.

Thanks, and a healthy, happy, and fun year of wargaming to all!!

I'm like you (never been much of a Napoleonic gamer) but I have enjoyed Columbia's Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815. It is a block game so if that isn't your fancy, then you may want to try something else.

I also have played the old SPI starter game, Napoleon at Waterloo. But for an "old hand" grognard, this probably isn't a title you'll play a lot (unless you have kids you are trying to teach to become wargamers
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Enrico Viglino
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Talavera - NBS' final offering.
The third edition rules really capture the feeling
better than earlier ones. There are a couple PnP
games for 3rd edition to taste it. And, one can
convert 2nd edition versions (Marengo, Aspern-Essling)
easily enough, once familiar with the rules.

Austerlitz requires some counter changes, so it's
more painful.
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Warren Bruhn
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Empires in Arms
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Clay Cooper
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GMT's "Commands & Colors: Napoleonics" is good for simulating battles of the era. It does have blocks, but both sides know what the blocks represent due to them having unit type stickers on both sides, so there is no fog of war like with conventional block games. If you want operational-scale games, check out Victory Point Games' "Napoleonic 20" Series.
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Pete Pariseau
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Jours de Gloire Series.

From the same family as Triumph & Glory: Battles of the Napoleonic Wars 1796-1809 & Borodino: Battle of the Moskova, 1812, but mostly still in print, with more coming out, and covering some smaller battles, so very playable.
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Michele Cafagna
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Peter Pariseau wrote:
Jours de Gloire Series.

From the same family as Triumph & Glory: Battles of the Napoleonic Wars 1796-1809 & Borodino: Battle of the Moskova, 1812, but mostly still in print, with more coming out, and covering some smaller battles, so very playable.


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Jim F
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Napoleon's Triumph rates pretty highly. CC Napoleonics is just pretty. I really liked CC Ancients but thought the system didn't translate well to the First Empire. Not picking a fight, just saying.
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Moshe Callen
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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If you like the grand strategic scale, I'd nominate Age of Napoleon.

EDIT:
Yes, some claim this isn't really a wargame but it's enough of one that my review of it has been mirrored on CSW.
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Ted Spencer
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jpr755 wrote:
I've always been primarily a WW2 gamer, and enjoy both ground and naval games. Occasionally I like to cleanse the palate with something different, but I have one glaring omission from my shelf -- no Napoleonic ground games. Just never dove into that pool.
You describe me to a "t," but I make only concessions to my Napoleonicist gamebuds.

GMT's Fading Glory seems to be what you're looking for. These are actual, on the ground battles. Manoeuvre is too abstract and contains no actual battles.

Not a wargame, but I and my most fervent Napoleonicist friend like Age of Napoleon (not a wargame, but all about card management and strategy) and Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815, a block game I was lucky enough to grab.

So, there are things out there. If you're looking for hex & coutner, though, the Victory Point Games Napoleonic 20 will satisfy.

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Enrico Viglino
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whac3 wrote:

Yes, some claim this isn't really a wargame but it's enough of one that my review of it has been mirrored on CSW.


I think I refrained from doing so, because contrary to
its name, CSW does seem to be more about wargames than
the broader category of conflict simulations.
 
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Steve Carey
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One of my all-time favorite series:

Napoleonic 20



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Mike Whittemore
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Quote:
If you like the grand strategic scale, I'd nominate Age of Napoleon.
...
Yes, some claim this isn't really a wargame...


I know everyone has different criteria for what makes a game a "wargame" or not and that certain games are borderline wargames/non-wargame or "war themed" non-wargames, but I would not have thought Age of Napoleon would fall into this category. For those that consider it "not a wargame" I'm interested in learning what attributes make it not a wargame in your opinion.

My take is that it is a wargame because it 1) attempts to model a war/battle (well, technically not one war, but the series of wars collectively called "the napoleonic wars", and of those only the land portion) 2) the bulk of the game involves moving combat units around a map, often into battle. It also has some non-war (largely political) aspects, and it is card-driven (with some hand management aspects), but I don't think these things convert it into a non-wargame in this case. By the way, I also consider Memoir '44 "a wargame", but consider Twilight Struggle "not a wargame", both of which I know are often debated and almost a joke to even bring up, but I mention them so you know my take on the subject.

Anyway, I recommend Age of Napoleon to the original poster. I bought it for the same reason he is asking, plus I really didn't know much about this era. After playing a few games and not really knowing what many of the cards represented I ended up reading several books on the Napoleonic wars to learn more, which gave me even more appreciation for this game.
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I don't know anything about Napoleonics, but I'm just venturing into Field Commander: Napoleon. Lovely components, rules seem pretty straightforward, actually has me interested in reading a little on the man himself.
 
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weateallthepies wrote:
I don't know anything about Napoleonics, but I'm just venturing into Field Commander: Napoleon. Lovely components, rules seem pretty straightforward, actually has me interested in reading a little on the man himself.

I did a term paper in high school on Napoleon during the term we were required to use a biography as a basis. I've forgotten most of it after a quarter century but find the history pretty fascinating. The major caveat though is that the man has become so shrouded in legend that an objective history or biography is hard to come by. Too many books paint him as either hero or villain.
 
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whac3 wrote:
weateallthepies wrote:
I don't know anything about Napoleonics, but I'm just venturing into Field Commander: Napoleon. Lovely components, rules seem pretty straightforward, actually has me interested in reading a little on the man himself.

I did a term paper in high school on Napoleon during the term we were required to use a biography as a basis. I've forgotten most of it after a quarter century but find the history pretty fascinating. The major caveat though is that the man has become so shrouded in legend that an objective history or biography is hard to come by. Too many books paint him as either hero or villain.


If you have any recommendations of reading material, I'd be interested to hear.
 
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weateallthepies wrote:
whac3 wrote:
weateallthepies wrote:
I don't know anything about Napoleonics, but I'm just venturing into Field Commander: Napoleon. Lovely components, rules seem pretty straightforward, actually has me interested in reading a little on the man himself.

I did a term paper in high school on Napoleon during the term we were required to use a biography as a basis. I've forgotten most of it after a quarter century but find the history pretty fascinating. The major caveat though is that the man has become so shrouded in legend that an objective history or biography is hard to come by. Too many books paint him as either hero or villain.


If you have any recommendations of reading material, I'd be interested to hear.

I've not really read much in a couple of decades now.

I do remember I found the French histories more likely to have a middle of the road perspective. Look for someone who deals with the fact that his secret police were the model on which the Gestapo was originally build and yet also discusses how he did things like giving Jews equal rights. I can't remember specific authors. My tastes in the last couple of decades tend more towards antiquity.
 
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Enrico Viglino
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MikeWhit wrote:
Quote:
If you like the grand strategic scale, I'd nominate Age of Napoleon.
...
Yes, some claim this isn't really a wargame...


I know everyone has different criteria for what makes a game a "wargame" or not and that certain games are borderline wargames/non-wargame or "war themed" non-wargames, but I would not have thought Age of Napoleon would fall into this category. For those that consider it "not a wargame" I'm interested in learning what attributes make it not a wargame in your opinion.


Actually, I think the game has enough of a focus on combat
to qualify it as a pretty good light wargame, in the A&A
tradition - which is to say it's more about war than not.
My only hesitancy is that it may be too accessible and
approachable by non-wargamers to qualify for the 'warning'
nature that the term 'wargame' once provided - in a case like
this, it likely would have kept players who might have enjoyed
it away; not sure that's a problem these days though, with
how degraded the term's become.
 
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Jeb
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You should google OSG.

Kevin ONLY does Napoleonic games. GMT will be publishing OSG games moving forward.
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Thomas Marshall
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Steve Carey wrote:
One of my all-time favorite series:

Napoleonic 20





A big Second for this one. And I'm rarely a Nappy gamer. GMT will be publishing VPG's Nappy 20 system this year, giving it the GMT treatment in terms of graphics and components.
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If you want a CDG then Wellington is really good in my opinion. From the same system is also The Napoleonic Wars (Second Edition) which covers a larger scale.
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Why not try The Coming Strom? The box contains four battles from years 1806 and 1807. The set is part of The Library of Napoleonic Battles so there is (a lot) more to explore if you get hooked.
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Jim, you could read some sessions reports to see if you like the story arc of a particular wargame. Here's one for EiA:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/505256/aar-2010-portland

Are you intending to play solitaire? with a face to face opponent? over the internet? Are you more interested in tactics? operations? strategy?
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Jim Ransom
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Warren Bruhn wrote:
Jim, you could read some sessions reports to see if you like the story arc of a particular wargame. Here's one for EiA:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/505256/aar-2010-portland

Are you intending to play solitaire? with a face to face opponent? over the internet? Are you more interested in tactics? operations? strategy?


Thanks Warren. I am usually drawn to Tactical and Operational scenarios. In this case maybe tactical would be interesting to me -- ie: one specific battle, just to whet my appetite. And I usually like prefer something with a little bit of meat to it.

First would be solitaire, then Vassal after that.

Thanks to all for your suggestions. I've been looking at each recommendation that has been posted.
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