From the Champion's viewpoint
The following report was submitted by Ken Lee.
Half of the 20 players in the field were new to the game.
Having played it on five or six occassions, I was one of the
more "experienced" players and ended up explaining
the rules at the introductory session. Thanks to the help of
other experienced players I think I managed to give a pretty
good overview in about 45 minutes.
Jim Vroom was the gamemaster and he did a good job of organizing
things especially since he and most of the players had very little
experience with the game. Between myself and Jim, I think we
were able to correctly interpret the numerous questions relating
to card effects. Three that I am not sure of:
1) Can a moving army unit use a "Forced March" card
to avoid interception? (We assumed yes) 2) Can an Insurrection
Corp move outside its home country if it can be intercepted and
thus forced to attack? (I assumed yes) 3) Manoever Sur Les Arrieres
- Can the army being overrun "Intercept" into its own
area? (I assumed yes, my opponent assumed no - I agreed to play
Play throughout the tourney was the 1813 scenario which I
believe almost no one, including myself, had played prior to
the tourney. As such, there was a great deal of uncertainty relating
to play balance. It was decided that the Coalition would win
if they could manage a Decisive or Marginal victory while the
French would win in all other circumstances. Sides would be decided
by bidding the number of cards one would give up from their initial
hand in order to get the side of their choice.
Based upon the rulebook statement that the French would be
fortunate to win the 1813 scenario, the assumption going in was
that the Coalition would have the advantage. As such, I believe
that most players bid for the coalition in the first round. As
it worked out, the scenario turned out to be very well balanced.
By the third round I was actually willing to bid to get the French.
In general, I believe the French are at a disadvantage in the
Campaign phase since they are vastly outnumbered by the Coalition
and have no ability to rebuild their forces since they have but
a single unit (Grouchy) left in their reserve. However, in my
opinion, the Coalition's advantage in the Campaign phase is made
up by the French side's advantage in the Diplomatic Phase since
they are the only side that can realistically benefit from the
play of diplomatic cards (Napoleon I, Tallyrand). This reasoning
proved its worth to me in the Finals when I got the French and
was able to play "Napoleon I" twice in the 1815 Diplomatic
Phase (thanks to a Napoleonica card). The result was that during
the crucial 1815 turn, I was able to remove both the Austrians
and the Russians from the game. (Even with this I almost ended
up losing) In all, I played four times - winning twice with the
Coalition and twice with the French. I believe my experience
Overall I found the 1813 scenario to be extremely interesting
and enjoyable. Both sides have the opportunity to adopt a number
of tactics and strategies. For example, the French can try for
a knock out blow on turn 1; adopt a forward defensive position;
or fall back to France to defend on their home soil. The Coalition
can attempt to wear down the French army via combat;try for a
lightning strike at Paris; or attempt to attrite the French army
by taking away its minor ally corps. They also have the option
of attacking with a number of armies from a number of directions.
Based upon my four playings I did not see any "sure fire"
strategies. However, I do have a few tips for the Coalition and
1) Let the French go first.
2) Use the first turn to try to maneuver the French out of
Prussia and Spain and thus free their forces to invade France.
3) Pay attention to the minor countries that supply corps
to the French and to the British and attempt to conquer them
4) Remember the use of sea movement; that it can be used by
non-British units; and that Paris is in a coastal space.
1) Never, never, never leave Paris ungarrisoned. (I was able
to steal a victory in the semi-finals by sneaking a single Austrian
unit into Paris while paralyzing the French with "Indecision"
and "Winter Quarters".)
2) Preserve as many forces as possible - you will need them
3) If you are going to lose a unit due to the loss of its
minor, utilize it in a suicide attack. At the very least you
will force the use of a card to reflip.
As far as the tournament is concerned a total of eight players
continued into the second round. I was fortunate to have some
excellent luck and ended up winning come Sunday morning. All
in all a very nice time and a great chance to test the game system
out under fire. I am happy to report that it passed the test
with flying colors.
I hope to see you all in Lancaster next summer when I defend
This event needs a GM in 2005.