Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Napoleonic Wars (GMT) ~ 4-Player Scenario

Game: The Napoleonic Wars (GMT)
Scenario: 4-Player
Participants: Matt "BA" W, Bob H, Jim "HeavyD" D, Myself
Time: Sat, 9/24 ~ 12.00PM - 2.45PM

The Napoleonic Wars has long been the standard to which all other multi player games has been measured against here in our local group. We have been playing it regularly since its release in 2002. When the game was released we climbed the learning curve quickly rules-wise, it took a bit longer to figure out how to play it well. One of the challenges with this curve is how it treats new players that have not played the game before. It's long been our practice to introduce new players to the game as either Russia or Prussia depending on how many players we have at the time. This valuable lesson was learned over many painful games where a new player was randomly given a side to play and quickly made some of the mistakes that we have long since taken for granted. In short, if the coalition is not all on the same side in its efforts to get the game to the 2nd or 3rd turn, its very easy for the French player to win. We have had some very interesting and exciting "adventures" with new players playing the game for the first time.

Luckily over the past 5-6 years we've had a fairly stable group of players with roughly the same amount of experience. This is a great combination and has lead to some very memorable and satisfying gaming experiences. Today's game was sort of interesting in that it produced one of the more unexciting playings that we've had in several years. We are playing with the 2nd edition of the game and overall we are happy with this edition, we were equally happy with the 1st edition and spent most of our time playing it. The 2nd edition has added some new and interesting things to a true classic.

The Napoleonic Wars, Start of turn 1 (deluxe map)

Bob is the player with the least amount of TNW experience, so we gave him Russia and then drew for the rest of us. BA got France, HeavyD got the British and I got the Austrians. Bob has played the game several times and is well versed on what can happen if he doesn't move early to assist the Austrians.

Turn 1

BA opened by playing "War Without End" as the event. I don't recall him doing anything other then shift some forces around towards Austria with his CPs. The rest of us didn't do much out of the norm, that is I bought more guys to get killed by the French, Bob ran 5-6 units over into Austria from Russia and HeavyD went after the French and Spanish Fleet (taking them out). BA, with his second round started moving/gathering forces for the push into Austria. Then is happened, Bob played "Armistice", a new 2nd edition card (I think) which shuts down offensive operations until "War Without End" is player OR a player rolls a "6" at the end of his round (which we all had to do). This was huge as it shut down BA from taking keys from the Austrians (and anyone else for that matter) until the event ended. BA was already up in VPs (i.e. he would win if the game ended on the first turn) but was unable to add to that while he was strongest and we were the weakest.

Naval Sideshow, The French and Spanish are caught by the Royal Navy

Thus began a fairly quick and aside from some Naval actions a very boring turn. "Europe Exhausted" wasn't played, so we all knew that we would see a 2nd turn. BA mostly lost his entire fleet while taking some of the Royal Navy with it. HeavyD was saddled with a couple Foreign Wars while Bob and I continued to recruit and march troops into Austria. Before we knew it the turn was over and no one needed to offer up cards to influence the game end die roll.

Turn 2

The French chase Charles out of Venice at the start of Turn 2

So we started the turn with BA up one key due to Spain's taking of Lisbon on turn one prior to the Armistice breaking out. Bob and I had spent nearly all of our CPs from the last turn buying more troops and messing with BA on the diplomatic track. HeavyD was saddled with a couple of Foreign Wars and had lost a few ships and Lisbon, but was still in decent shape. BA had spent most of his turn buying troops and spending his extra CPs on Naval movement and small actions on the Diplomatic track. We were gearing up for a big fight on the Austrian Frontier as we (France, Russia and Austria) had amassed large forces there.

BA started things off by going after Naples and taking it. He then moved on Venice and kicked my forces out of that Key. He was quickly up two more keys. Then Armistice came out again! This was quickly followed by HeavyD trying to knock Spain out of the French camp with "Talleyrand", BA was forced to pay nine CPs to keep Spain in his camp, but with Armistice in play this was an easy decision for him to make. HeavyD then brought Sweden into the Coalition camp while Bob and I continued to site there and build new troops and counter BA's halfhearted moves on the Diplomatic Track. Another quick turn with only a few battles.
The situation near the end of Turn 2

BA was in an even stronger position at the end of this turn then he was at the end of the last turn. He had taken two more Keys with France at very little cost. Bob and I had built troops as fast as we could, but BA was easily matching these additions with new troops of his own. When it came time to bid cards to end the game, none of us (the Coalition) felt that we could part with the cards for a chance to prolong the game. BA was in too strong a position after two turns of growth at very little cost. The back to back Armistices were an omen. BA rolled for game end, needing a 4 or more and we were all secretly hoping that he'd get the win, which he did, rolling a resounding 6. We were facing an uphill battle at this point and knew that it was a long shot that we would be able to knock BA down to size over the course of the next couple turns.


  1. I like the potential of the game, but that replay shows everything that is wrong with it.

  2. It I was playing in this game as a non French player, I would have tried bringing Prussia into the war especially with the Talleyrand event. That would have open a northern front against the French.

  3. Sorry, If I* not it.

  4. Not sure the replay shows anything wrong with the game.