Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle
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In 1814, the withered French army, led by the brilliant and always inspiring strategist Napoleon Bonaparte, was finally defeated by the combined forces of Great Britain, Prussia, Russia and Austria. The army was disbanded and the emperor exiled to Elba. He soon escaped and on March 1, 1815, he landed in Marseilles and marched on Paris. The people hailed him as a hero, and he was soon reinstated as their leader. His New Empire was to last only 100 days...
Bonaparte quickly called up all army veterans and rebuilt his Imperial Army. He could count on magnificent leaders such as Ney, Grouchy and d'Erlon. For a decisive punch in any battles to come, he bolstered his army with his elite Imperial Guard. For when they moved in for the kill, the battle was usually soon over...
Napoleon decided to race north in the general direction of Brussels, between the British/Dutch and the Prussian armies, and destroy them piecemeal. After battles at Ligny and Quatre Bras the armies finally met at the small town of Mont St. Jean near Waterloo on June 18, 1815.
Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle is an exciting tactical boardgame that simulates one of the most important battles of all time. Two (French vs. British and Prussian) or three (French, British, Prussian) players step into the shoes of their historical counterparts and decide how to defeat the opposition and win the battle.
The game contains 2 scenarios: one with 4 game turns and the whole battle with 7 game turns.
This isn't the first-class wargame that Phalanx's other Napoleonic offering, Age of Napoleon, is. Still, like Age of Napoleon, this is another game that works both as a wargame and as a quality 'German' gamers' game. Simple rules and card-driven play keep the game moving. Card play and alternating player rounds keep player interaction high. And the abstract geometry of maneuver, especially as it interacts with the need to conserve the cards used for movement for other purposes, creates the kinds of puzzles that even hardcore gamers will enjoy.
This game is not up to the standards of Age of Napoleon in terms of rules quality or as a wargame. But these shortcomings do not really detract from the kind of recreational play this game should attract, and they are hardly enough to sink it to the level of the few other (miserable) battle 'wargames' (like Battle Cry) aimed at non-wargamers. There are a few serious rules ambiguities (with regard to the timing of card play) but these are easily resolved by house rules (there is, sadly, no coherent 'official' resolution for these; see resources on BoardgameGeek); and the surprising lack of rules for forming square (which seem easy enough to add) and a few map omissions (the starting CDP numbers, for example, really ought to be printed on the map) are easily remedied. There game is reasonably balanced, but if you find the French seem to have too easy a time, by all means bring the Prussians in a turn early.