a sequel to Bonaparte at Marengo
List Price: $59.95
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On 2 December 1805, the Emperor Napoleon had lured the Allied Army under Czar Alexander into attacking him in one of the most famous traps in military history. The Allied army attacked but was split in two by a French counter-attack and disastrously defeated, giving Napoleon one of the greatest victories in the history of war -- Austerlitz.
Napoleon's Triumph is built on the same foundations as its acclaimed predecessor, Bonaparte at Marengo, but is bigger and grander in scale. It uses two boards to make a double-size 44 x 34-inch map of the Austerlitz battlefield and has twice as many pieces as the earlier game, but defying the tradition that big wargames must also take a long time to play, Napoleon's Triumph can be played from start to finish in a single evening.
Napoleon’s Triumph comes in a bookcase-style 11.25 x 8.75 x 3-inch box. The cover art is Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier's oil painting The Cuirassiers of 1805 which is now part of Musée Condé in Chantilly, France. The work was licensed for use in the game through Art Resource. During his life (1815-1891), Meissonier was not only a highly successful painter, he also obtained favor at the court of Napoleon III and accompanied the Emperor as a member of his staff during the Italian campaign. Further, Meissonier was the colonel of a regiment in the siege of Paris in 1871. This particular painting is of a French cuirassier regiment awaiting orders on the battlefield of Austerlitz. (For those interested, the depicted regiment is the 12th, which was under the command of Colonel Jacques Roland Belfort.)
On opening the box, the rules for Napoleon’s Triumph are revealed. The rule booklet is 12 pages long, bound with staples, and printed in full color (unusual for wargame rules which for cost reasons are almost always printed in black and white only) on 8.5 x 11-inch paper. The booklet includes the Designer's Notes for the game, and also includes numerous illustrations and examples of play. Because Napoleon’s Triumph is a two player game, and it is not uncommon for both players to be learning the game at the same time, two (2) copies of the rules booklet are provided, one for each player.
Underneath the rules are the game boards. Napoleon’s Triumph has two game boards that combine to form a double-size 44 x 34-inch playing area. Although the economics of publishing has long forced most wargame publishers to use stiff paper for their game boards, the boards for Napoleon's Triumph are hard-mounted and use European-folds so that there are no valleys breaking up the smooth playing surface. All the play aids the game requires are printed on the board itself (no need to find additional space for extra sheets of paper) as well as the map of the battlefield on which the game is played. Of particular interest is the map design. Forgoing the conventional hexagonal grid, the map uses a design unique to Simmons Games featuring polygons to regulate movement and combat.
Beneath the game board are the game pieces. Instead of cardboard, the Napoleon's Triumph game pieces consist of 140 wooden blocks representing the two armies, 18 metal command pieces representing the commanders and their staffs, and a dozen wooden markers for record-keeping. The wooden pieces are painted red (for the Allies) and blue (for the French). Silk-screened on one side of each wooden piece are symbols to indicate their type and strength. The metal command pieces come with stickers that identify the commander by name and which include flags based on the historical standards carried into battle by the opposing armies. The pieces combine the look of nineteenth century battle maps and Napoleonic miniatures.