Monthly Meeting Saturday 6 December 2003
after action report
"A man will fight harder for his interests than for his rights." ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
session report as was told by a British officer in 1805 - by Lawrence Hung
gathered a group of 7 to play "Soldier Emperor" (Avalanche
Press), a sequel system to the "Soldier's King" by the same
designer Rob Markham. It is a
grand strategic Napoleonic game and all major powers get played with these
7 guys - France,
played the 1805 scenario, i.e. the beginning of the Napoleon's aggression
The game does have a diplomacy phase but there's not much to do initially. The use of cards during battles is tricky because some of them do have significant effects on the battle outcome.
The concepts of Money and Manpower pull a string on everybody when planning their campaign, whereas everyone has to support their army in the winter phase. One strange rule that troubles players is the leader casualty rule. The rule makes leaders almost no hope of surviving from a grand battle where both sides have had serious damage inflicted in terms of troop step losses. Looks more like a grand finale every time you conduct a major battle. One tactic to counter this is to bring along another leader but this is quite absurd as soon you find no more leaders to call on after several battles. A deterrent to the use of Napoleon initially which is not historically convincing as Napoleon liked to be present at the battlefields commanding his generals and troops.
played the British and, worrying about the French might come across the
Strait, started the first Spring season doing nothing, overlooking what's
going to happen in Continental
was busy in setting up the Rhine Federation, hoping to take control of the
neutrals bloodlessly. The British did hold back the French army on the
Northern shore from intervening against the Prussians' moves, by deploying
a significant force under Jervis in
summer saw the campaign in
French also massed up an army to head to take back
to the continent, the Austrian counter-attacked the French near the city
The game ended in the winter phase with no one getting an automatic victory. We decided that the Prussian did the best in the game so far as he had avoided any major battle with the French and had set up the Rhine Federation successfully. The Turks, on the other hand, did not do many things except helping the Brits to grow their population (the Brits have the lowest manpower level) in return for money traded for recruiting contingents.
Overall, the game does present challenging options to all players (powers) and it can accommodate up to 7 players. On the downside, the more players you have, the longer the game takes. It took 6 hours for a 7-player game just to finish the first year. Some players could do little but sit there and wait for their turn to come. The use of cards that can help your allies did compensate this nothing-to-do time though. Buy extra dice before you play this game . . . only 4 dice are provided in the game and the fact that you need a lot of die-rolling during battles makes it impossible to live with that. (1 dice for every strength point you have, e.g. 20 die-rolls for 20 strength points participating in combat or 4 dice x 5 times). We did, however, enjoy the game as much as we could even though we could not finish the whole game.