Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 1
Amount of time to play: 90-180 minutes
Age requirements: 12+
Set-up time: 10-15 minutes
Field Commander Napoleon is a solo war game that plays through Napoleon’s war campaigns. You are playing against the board and scoring against the clock. Can you lead the French army more efficiently than Napoleon?
Field Commander Napoleon comes with seven maps and eleven campaigns. To win you’ll need to think strategically and tactically. Your turns consist of moving units, resolving battles and resupplying your forces.
A large part of your turn is the battles. Your forces will fight better if Napoleon is present, but he cannot be everywhere at once. So how you divide and move your units is important. During battles you give your units battle plans. These battle plans simulate combat maneuvers used by Napoleon and his troops. You can have units in a column or line formation and some battle plans are more easily attempted based on a unit’s formation.
There are 5 types of units in Field Commander Napoleon: Infantry, Calvary, Canons, Garrisons and Fortifications. Each fights differently and can attempt different battle plans. Units are represented by chits that show combat and activation values.
Your enemy is the game and it becomes more difficult to win in later campaigns. You will roll a die to determine the enemies’ moves on the board. To control the enemy on the battlefield you will randomly draw battle plans for them.
Each campaign uses its own units and has unique objectives. You score points based on how quickly you can meet you objectives.
Field Commander Napoleon has a lot going on. There are lots of chits and a good bit of information to keep track and be aware of. The battle system itself is straightforward and not overly complex, but will take a few plays to get right.
The components for this game are very high quality. The chits are thick and laminated and you get a ton of them. The artwork is good and pertinent information is easy to read and access. The rules are a mixed bag. Not horrible but not stellar either. You should read through them once, read the extended play example and then read the rules again. I also recommend having them open and close for your first couple campaigns.
The battle system is well-balanced between thematic accuracy and the time it takes to resolves battles. This is not a simulation game. You must have sound tactics but the details are not so nitty gritty that the fights bog you down. You need to decide the best use of your units and where to strike next on the map. This game has a nice mix of strategy and tactics.
Like I said above you get a ton of high quality chits. Unfortunately the box doesn’t help you organize them. I high suggest getting baggies or a chit tray. Proper organization of the chits will reduce your set-up time significantly.
If you like the Napoleonic Era or historical war games then you’ll really enjoy Field Commander Napoleon. If you are looking for a fun replayable solo war game you should also consider this game.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 4 out of 6
Luck 4 out of 6
Player Interaction N/A
Replay Value 4 out of 6
Complexity 4 out of 6
Fun 4 out of 6
Overall 4 out of 6 (This is easily a 5 if you like the Napoleonic Era or solo war games)