Commands & Colors Napoleonics Review | Board Games

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    Awards

    95%

    Rating

    • Artwork
    • Complexity
    • Replayability
    • Player Interaction
    • Component Quality

    You Might Like

    • Its utilisation of the Commands & Colors system
    • Gameplay that conforms to tactics of the era

    Might Not Like

    • The long setup and play time
    • The need to consult reference charts

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    Commands & Colors Napoleonics Review

    C&C-Feature-Image

    Nightmare of Europe

    From 1799 to 1815 the shadow of Napoleon Bonaparte loomed large over Europe. As First Consul, and then Emperor of France, Napoleon masterminded decisive victories over every major power on the continent. His ambition knew no bounds. The military machine he created seemed unstoppable.

    Spain 1808: Unhappy with the capitulation of their government and the crowning of Joseph Bonaparte, local populations rebel. A series of setbacks and defeats checked the French. Inspired by Spanish victories, Austria and Great Britain form a Fifth Coalition against Napoleon. Britain sends an army to support its ally, Portugal, who has followed Spain in rebellion against the French occupiers.

    Commands and Colors

    Napoleonics is a war game based on the Commands & Colors (C&C) game system designed by Richard Borg. C&C is essentially a system that enables simplified yet compelling war gaming. It will be familiar to players of games such as Memoir '44, Battlelore, Battlecry, and Red Alert.

    The system is recognisable for utilising battle dice and a shared deck of command cards. The battle dice enable combat to be resolved efficiently. The command cards form the game engine, driving movement and providing orders for Units. They also serve to create a fog of war effect which add to the realism. Games utilising the C&C system also have a game board that is a hex grid. This grid is divided into three sections: Left flank, Centre, and Right flank.

    Napoleonics overlays this system with game concepts inspired by the era in which it is set. Aside from providing new challenges to veteran players, it adds historical depth to the game. This creates compelling gameplay that succeeds in simulating Napoleonic warfare.

    Napoleonics

    The focus here is on confrontations between The First French Empire and Great Britain. Fifteen scenarios are included, showcasing engagements from Rolica in August 1808 to Waterloo in June 1815.

    The game comes with eight Battle dice and 70 Command cards, which will drive movement and combat. There are also 56 double sided terrain tiles which players will use to enhance the battlefield.

    Units are represented by 340 wooden blocks, to which illustrated stickers can be attached. There are three types of block included: Small squares (193) for Infantry, bigger squares (87) for Cavalry and rectangular blocks (60) for Artillery and Leaders. Blocks representing French units are Dark Blue, those representing British units are Red and Portuguese units are Brown.

    I find assembling these pieces on the battlefield to be reminiscent of certain scenes in old war films. Scenes where aides drive blocks around huge maps representing a theatre of war, whilst the general assesses the whole picture. As fun as that is, setup can be a little time consuming. Players will need to decide on a scenario, set the terrain, and then place the units in their starting positions.

    The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?

    Prepare for battle

    A typical turn consists of the active player revealing a Command card from their hand and carrying out the instruction(s). In rare instances the player may be unable (or unwilling) to play a card. At that point, the player discards a Command card, draws a new one then ends their turn.

    There are two types of Command card: Section cards and Tactic cards.

    • Section cards allow the player to activate one or more units in a specific section (or sections) of the battlefield.
    • Tactic cards allow the player to take a special action or activate units from any section(s) of the battlefield.

     

    After revealing a Command card, the player will nominate units to activate, then proceed to movement and combat. This is where gameplay becomes slightly less straightforward, at least initially.

    Each unit has a set of rules governing its movement and combat attributes. In addition, each type of terrain tile has attributes which may affect a unit’s movement and/or combat effectiveness. This information is presented to players in the form of double sided A4 reference charts.

    Whilst these charts are well laid out, it will take new players time to become familiar with key information. This inevitably slows down the game in early plays.

    The player has the option to move activated units and then engage in combat. Movement is always completed first. The reference charts will enable the player to determine how many battle dice to roll for each combat. Combat itself, thanks to the battle dice, is resolved efficiently.

    Once combat has been resolved, players will check the win conditions for the scenario. If either player can satisfy them, the game ends. The victor will revel in the spoils and the loser will put the kettle on (optional rule!). If neither player can satisfy the win conditions, the active player passes play to their opponent. Play continues until one player can claim victory.

    The battlefield is a scene of constant chaos. The winner will be the one who controls that chaos, both his own and the enemies. - Napoleon Bonaparte.

    Summary

    Napoleonics is a welcome addition to the C&C family of games. It has enough depth to engage veteran players without, I feel, being overwhelming to new ones. The game mechanics lend themselves brilliantly to replicate the combined arms tactics (Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery) of the era.

    This is a personal favourite of mine. It is highly regarded amongst my wargaming friends as one of, if not, the best war games available.

    But it won't be for everyone. Scenarios can easily take over an hour to play through once, not accounting for set up and clear up time. The need (initially) to check reference charts for movement and combat may also put some players off.

    If you like Memoir '44, Red Alert or Command & Colors Ancients, I would recommend Napoleonics.

    Zatu Score

    95%

    Rating

    • Artwork
    • Complexity
    • Replayability
    • Player Interaction
    • Component Quality

    You might like

    • Its utilisation of the Commands & Colors system
    • Gameplay that conforms to tactics of the era

    Might not like

    • The long setup and play time
    • The need to consult reference charts

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    First foray into board games - going on the reviews of Zatu in regard to the games. So far so good. Easy process, reasonable prices. Will see how the delivery and the products pan out.

    First foray into board games - going on the reviews of Zatu in regard to the games. So far so good. Easy process, reasonable prices. Will see how the delivery and the products pan out.

    I like that I can get games here, but would like the date of release on pre-order things, so i know how long I have to wait.

    I like that I can get games here, but would like the date of release on pre-order things, so i know how long I have to wait.

    Cheaper than everyone else. Fast delivery. Excellent service. My first stop for board games.

    Cheaper than everyone else. Fast delivery. Excellent service. My first stop for board games.

    Ordered an expansion pack and card sleeves from the online store. There was a slight delay with the former order but this would have been due to the CVD-19 situation so no fault with vendor. Customer service gave swift reply so that was a plus. The prices are competitive and even in cases that they aren't I would pay more to support a business like this vs Amazon or the equivalent, the justification being that the service is great and they do a really good job with stock requisition. I'll be buying all my board game related stuff from them in future. Keep up the good work!

    Ordered an expansion pack and card sleeves from the online store. There was a slight delay with the former order but this would have been due to the CVD-19 situation so no fault with vendor. Customer service gave swift reply so that was a plus. The prices are competitive and even in cases that they aren't I would pay more to support a business like this vs Amazon or the equivalent, the justification being that the service is great and they do a really good job with stock requisition. I'll be buying all my board game related stuff from them in future. Keep up the good work!

    Very prompt delivery and great prices. I was very pleased, will definitely be ordering again in the future

    Very prompt delivery and great prices. I was very pleased, will definitely be ordering again in the future

    Product arrived on time and in good quality. Would definitely recommend Catan, Takenoko and Forbidden Desert!

    Product arrived on time and in good quality. Would definitely recommend Catan, Takenoko and Forbidden Desert!

    My housemates and I were so enamoured with our first batch of games that I had to order more - good prices, easy website to use and all round great online shopping experiences. I have previously posted a review in which I said I was unhappy with my previous delivery time - on this occasion, delivery was fast and as stated, very happy all round.

    My housemates and I were so enamoured with our first batch of games that I had to order more - good prices, easy website to use and all round great online shopping experiences. I have previously posted a review in which I said I was unhappy with my previous delivery time - on this occasion, delivery was fast and as stated, very happy all round.

    Zatu website has lots of good info to help choose games along with customer and video reviews. My games arrived in excellent condition, carefully packaged and delivered on time. I recommend them and will use again.

    Zatu website has lots of good info to help choose games along with customer and video reviews. My games arrived in excellent condition, carefully packaged and delivered on time. I recommend them and will use again.

    Excellent selection of games at very reasonable prices. Always deliver quickly and excellent customer service to boot. Fantastic.

    Excellent selection of games at very reasonable prices. Always deliver quickly and excellent customer service to boot. Fantastic.

    Game delivered on time, and enjoyed by those to whom it was given

    Game delivered on time, and enjoyed by those to whom it was given

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