Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 2
Amount of time to play: 90-120 min
Age requirements: 12+
Set-up time: 10 – 15 minutes
Commands and Colors Napoleonics lets you reenact battles between the French and English. You must use cards to activate your units and roll dice to strike down your enemies. If your tactics and luck are better than your opponent’s, you’ll win.
Your starting units and their position are determined by the scenario. The scenario also gives you the victory condition and layout of the board. Terrain is placed on hexes and creates unique maps. This terrain will effect movement and combat both into and out of the hex.
This is the second game in the Commands and Colors line. The first is Commands and Colors Ancients. You can read my review of it here. Napoleonics uses the same main engine with only a few changes.
The Commands and Colors system uses cards that allow you to activate specific units on the board. Sometimes the cards allow you to activate a certain unit type and other times it lets you use a certain number of units in a specific area (or areas) of the board.
Combat is resolved by rolling dice. You hit if you roll the unit type you are targeting. The number of dice you roll depends on the units attacking and their quantity. You can combine attacks and add artillery fire to infantry or cavalry attacks. The more attackers the more dice you roll. You can perform special tactics and actions too. Calvary can retire and reform and infantry can form a defensive square.
If you eliminate an entire unit you get a victory banner. Units that are not eliminated may battle back eliminating blocks from the original attacking unit.
Leaders can influence the battlefield and bolster the morale of troops. Units with a leader attached to them do not flee as easily. They can even influence units that are adjacent to them if they are alone.
Each scenario requires a different number of victory banners to complete. Meet your side’s requirements and you win.
Commands and Colors Napoleonics is another fun game in this system. The rules are a bit more complex than Ancients but only slightly. While not a simulation war game this makes an excellent entry into war gaming.
The components for this game are really nice. The rules are well-written and have good examples. They may take a couple reads to grasp though. There are fifteen scenarios included in the scenario book and more can be found here. The game uses wood blocks to represent a unit which is fine, but be prepared to add stickers to them. The cards are high quality and look nice. And though I wish the terrain tiles were a bit thicker the ones included are good enough. The player aid are great to have and contain a ton of information.
I like the way Napoleonics builds the C&C system. The fact that damaged units roll less dice is nice to see. And though it is not as simple it adds more realism to the game.
Ranged units have a bigger impact in Napoleonics as they should. The ability to combine artillery attacks with melee is powerful. You will need to position your pieces correctly and read the battlefield to optimize this tactic.
If you enjoy the Commands and Colors series you should pick up Napoleonics. If you are a board gamer with little war gaming experience, this game is a great entry point. If you are not sure you want to add a game like this to your collection I suggest you try it (or any other in the Commands and Colors system). You may find you really enjoy it.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 4 out of 6
Luck 4 out of 6
Player Interaction 6 out of 6
Replay Value 5 out of 6
Complexity 4 out of 6
Fun 5 out of 6
Overall 5 out of 6