Napoleon Returns, Triumphant
Phil Rennert vs Ron Fisher.
Phil's son David observes.
Doug Bryant peels labels to
prepare his troops.
Jeff Cornett takes down Scott
Brad Raszewski's French fall
before Doug Brant's thin red line.
The arrival of the new fourth edition of Napoleon ended
a six-year WBC absence in 2013. The new version is a modern and
fresh upgrade to the previous rules, adding many historical enhancements,
while greatly reducing the number of units and game length. The
game components and map have been greatly upgraded.
games were played with an average duration of just under two
hours. Games varied from one to nearly three hours in duration.
Games are now quite decisive with the French inclined to quickly
attack to force a decisive battle or seize a supply city. The
Allies tend to counter by force marching to the sound of the
guns, often leading to a single, decisive battle early in the
The new edition is a blend of the best of the earlier editions,
while adding many new features that add historical realism to
game mechanics. The most intriguing addition is battle terrain.
Random placement of woods, hills, farm houses, and rivers creates
very diverse battlefields leading to exciting new tactical dimensions
Tournament rules include bidding for sides. In the early rounds,
the Allies were favored by more experienced players. Free deployment
setup was used. The Allies won most of these games, in which
there was very little bidding. As the playoff rounds began, play
switched to the historical setup, thus leaving the Allies out
of place and somewhat scattered. Bidding for the right to play
the Allies was aggressive with seven or eight step reductions
becoming the norm. Both semifinals were won by the Allies, but
the Final was taken by the French.
The Final pit three-time champion, Jeff Cornett, as the French
against newcomer, Doug Bryant. Both players had won three previous
games, with five of these wins achieved as the Allies. Jeff had
won once as the French against the most recent champion, James
Miller, who had victorious in the 2006 event. The bid of seven
was enough to encourage Jeff to play the French, although these
step reductions (taken by remote units) had little effect on
At the outset, Jeff pounced upon the Prussian Corps, historically
isolated in Charleroi. Doug quickly retreated, getting away with
very few losses. He then counterattacked with a heavily reinforced
Prussian army. Being able to out-reinforce the French early,
the battle was very much in doubt. The French barely held, yet
eventually out-reinforced the Prussians, forcing their defeat.
The French then surrounded and mopped up the straggling Prussians,
causing the entire army to surrender. With most of the French
still intact, bruised but together, the British would not have
been able to withstand the eventual French assault. The Allies
conceded after a decisive two-hour match.
The overall lessons learned were:
1) The new edition is a fresh and exciting update that has a
lot to offer both new and experienced Napoleon players.
2) If players are mismatched, less experienced players should
play the Allies.
3) If players are well matched, use the historical setup. The
French may be preferred because of the greater challenge.
4) Bidding for sides should be reversed so as to add step increases
for the French, rather than step reductions for the Allies. Just
a few "super units" would make the French command very
Brit Graeme Tate is on the wrong
side of the board vs Barry Smith.
Jeff Cornett downs Doug Bryant
in the Final.