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Subject: Win early, or not at all - contrasting experiences for Nappy rss

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Bruce Walton
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Banbury
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My regular ftf opponent and I had been eyeing up the unpunched copy of Napoleonic Wars on my study shelf for ages. I had bought it just before the birth of my delightful but time-consuming children, but at last the time had come for it to make its way onto the table. We resolved each to take a turn as the mighty Napoleon, and see what his chances of conquering Eurpoe would have been, if we had been in charge ...

In the first game (last week) I took the French, and holding a good hand with lots of high CP cards I profited early from a slip by my opponent. Intent on bringing the French fleet to book at Trafalgar he left only one fleet on blockade in Biscay, and with a bit of luck the French navy were able to establish control of La Manche. Napoleon landed in Cornwall and stormed into London, routing Moore's defenders and flagging the whole GB mainland. The Spanish added to Britain's misery by capturing Lisbon, and just when it looked like it couldn't get any worse for the coalition a series of unfortunate failed interceptions for Army Group Kutzkov combined with a nice battle card resulted in Vienna falling to Davout on the very last card play of the turn. Although peace did not break out, bad luck continued to haunt my opponent as Austria surrendered on a 1 in 6 chance, and with Britain crippled we decided that this war was over. It looks like most of Europe will be speaking French for some time ...

Keen for revenge, my opponent tried to replicate my invasion of Blighty when the roles were reversed, but I had a more substantial fleet on blockade and when the smoke cleared a spirited French attempt to storm the channel had proved no more successful than the Spanish Armada of two centuries earlier. In the meantime, a large Russo-Austrian Army Group had formed, and when Napoleon attacked at Linz a blitz of response cards from all three allies saw him sent packing, Kutzkov following up as far as Munich by the turn's end. Britain found just enough time after sinking the French navy for Moore's Peninsular Army to relieve the Spanish siege of Lisbon.

In turn two (1807), Boney sought to turn the flank of the ponderous coalition army, but a combination of successful interceptions and the arrival of Prussia into the war (following intense Russo-Austrian diplomacy) saw him distracted into an attack on Berlin. Although initially successful, a Prussian counterattack drove him back and Russian and Austrian army detachments cut him off from possible reinforcement, flagging two more French keys in the process. In the meantime, Britain had enjoyed further success against the hapless Spanish, and with Madrid in British hands alongside a united coalition, there was no question who the winner was when an exhausted Europe agreed the peace.

Having now played this excellent game twice, I can see that we've only scratched the surface of the possibilites. however, it has convinced me that France has to be decisive, agressive and somewhat lucky to prevail in a two-player game. In the long term, the card power of the coalition seems to put her at a disadvantage and she must make the most of the early initiative to make substantial inroads quickly. I look forward to seeing how the dynamic changes when I finally get the chance to play with four players ...
 
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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Plymouth
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Re: Win early, or not at all - contrasting experiences for N
Great stories, thanks! BTW, there is a rule about Britain being conquered ending the game automatically - I don't remember exactly what it is, but if France has X VP AND conquer GB, they win regardless of the peace roll.

Yes, luck of the cards and dice being equal, I feel France has an edge in turns 1 & 2, while the Coalition has the edge in turns 4 & 5. Turn 3 could go either way.

Of course, if you get all the good cards and roll all the fives and sixes, you've got the edge no matter who you are playing and which turn it is ...

This is my favorite card-driven wargame, but only in the two-player version. I've tried it 3-player, 4-player, and 5-player, but it really shines as a 2-player game to me.
 
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Kristian
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Re: Win early, or not at all - contrasting experiences for N
Quote:
This is my favorite card-driven wargame, but only in the two-player version. I've tried it 3-player, 4-player, and 5-player, but it really shines as a 2-player game to me.


Even though I haven't played it as a two-player, I would agree. Three and four player reminds me of Axis & Allies (especially when you know where your allies should be placing their armies and what they should be doing) and why that's a much better two player game. Although, you do get the flavour of the different powers having their own 'agenda'. As a five player game, Prussia basically stays on the fence until they can see who's going to lose, and cut through the back door and start caiming keys (whether it's Russia or France). Not a particularly fun power to play, but there's usually a good chance for winning. Best limited to four - as I believe the 2nd edition will be.
 
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Matthew Barratt
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The long game gets a lot easier for France if they can get and keep Prussia. Earlier this year I won as France despite having trailed at the end of turns 1 to 3 due to Prussia helping to conquer Austria in turn 4.

Given average cards the French should be able to get Prussia on side on the second round of turn one by preempting the neutrals so as to get multiple rounds to diplome without coalition interference. However it is not a given that you will be able to defend all the Prussian keys on turn one, so this strategy involves giving up your short term advantage in return for a better long game.
 
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