There's A Reason It's Called The
French Rule The Multi-Player Tournament
It took four days
and 16 games, but now 64 gamers know there is a reason that the
great conflict that raged across Europe from1805 to 1815 is called
the NAPOLEONIC Wars: it is because the French and the little
Corsican who led them were damn hard to beat.
The French won an unprecedented ten of those 16 games -- yet,
as in the historical contest, that did not include the last one.
First place honors in the multi-player tournament went to Great
Britain, which, under the leadership of David Gantt, emerged
victorious in the final, championship game.
John Emery proved the power of Prussia by finishing second
-- and with five Victory Points was only one point behind Gantt's
British, in the finals. Scott Pfeiffer held on to third place
with the French (with three VPs). Fourth went to Josh Githens
and his break-even Russians. Jesse Boomer may have come in fifth
in the five-player final, but he and his Austrians fought hard
all the way, holding on tenaciously for four turns before being
conquered by the French. Astute readers will note that four of
the five finalists are Greenville Mafia regulars. Yep, they came,
they saw, and they kicked butt again.
The final was closer than the scores show, as on each of the
four turns a different player had a chance to win on a peace
die roll. Gantt won on the fourth and last of those rolls, thus
ensuring the game did not go into a fifth turn. As there were
six plaques for the event, sixth place went to Ed Rothenheber.
He did not play in the five-player final, but was a runner-up
from the semi-finals.
Of the other 15 games played, all but two had the full five players.
The French won ten of those 15. The English and Prussians each
won two, and the Russians one. Austria, sadly, did not win a
single contest. Such results, it should be noted, are unusual.
At both the Waterloo mini-con and the WBC last year, the French
were lucky to win a third of the games, and the English, Russians
and Austrians split the remainder fairly evenly, with the Prussians
picking up a smaller but acceptable share of the rewards.
As Scott Pfeiffer, who gained the only Prussian win of this
tourney (in the semi-final round) noted, the French tend to have
a better chance in the early heats, which are open to less experienced
players. As in the real war, however, the French falter in the
semis and final, as they face more experienced, veterans.
In the three games in the semi-final round, for example, the
French won only once (John Emery, with an impressive eight VPs).
The other two semi-final games went to Scott and his Prussians
(who with eight VPs may have a record for points scored by Prussia
in this game), and to David Gantt, who took Russia to victory
with five VPs at his table.
One of the best things about The Napoleonic Wars game,
as the players agree, is that things do not necessarily turn
out historical. Some games can be very straight-forward, by the
numbers, and others well, can be a little strange and a lot of
fun. Some examples, from notes submitted by the players themselves,
- the Turkish conquest of Russia
- the elimination of the entire British fleet in a single turn
- the rout of Wellington from Spain and his subsequent death
- the acquisition AND retention of all four minor states by France
for an entire game
- six consecutive failures to take Gibraltar by a French army
- the British conquest of Sweden (which had become a Russian
ally under Bernadotte
- the defeat and elimination of three British squadrons by a
single Spanish squadron
- a French conquest of Russia and
- a pair of back-to-back battles in the same impulse in which
20 Austrian and Russian units were eliminated without the loss
of a single French unit.
Of the many comments provided by the players, the designer
takes great pleasure in repeating three in particular, each of
which speak volumes as to why people keep playing this game.
While the tournament was in progress,
many availed themselves of the chance to check out the Wellington
sequel on the big demo board with designer Mark and developer
Fred Schachter on hand to give a quick tour of the Peninsular
The first is by John Coussis, who as France in one game wrote
"I was down two Keys on turn 1, but came back and won on
turn 5 by ONE key."
The second is by Robert Chiasson, who although he did not win
on that particular table, wrote that his group played "a
roller coaster of a game!"
The third, and perhaps my favorite, comes from Darren Kilfara,
who at the end of his semi-final writes that "although I
finished in last place, I had a blast!"
In that particular contest Darren, like the man after whom the
game and the wars are named, played Napoleon.