A biased review of the best Napoleonic wargame available
Age of Napoleon is a two-player game that covers the Napoleonic wars from 1805 to 1815.
If The War of the Ring plays like the Tolkien trilogy, then Age of Napoleon plays like David Chandler's masterpiece "The Campaigns of Napoleon." There is not a nuance of the Napoleonic wars that is missed save maybe an insurrection piece for The Vendee, although the card "Republicans and Royalists" covers this somewhat.
Manouevre, battle and political intrigue combine to make this a fascinating journey through the Napoleonic era from Ulm and Austerlitz to Waterloo via Jena-Auerstadt, Eylau, Friedland, Wagram, Leipzig and as many intermediate points as you have the appetite for.
The second version of the rules is a godsend and Renaud Verlaque seems always to be on hand in the BGG forums to answer any queries. The first version actually went through a living-rules phase on the BGG forums under the author's guidance before evolving into the currect edition. This shows an outstanding committment on Mr Verlaque's part.
I do not intend to go into the mechanics in any detail save to say that this is a card driven game where the cards, as well as being used for the mundane tasks of moving, battling and political back-stabbing, tell a story and that story is Napoleon's journey through the years 1805 to 1815. But never fear, for those who need their regular fix, the protagonists are provided with one die apiece; red for the Allies and blue for the French.
One of the strongest points is the beautifully produced components. The map is both excellent and functional, the artwork on the cards is outstanding and finally the pieces representing the corps and their leaders make you feel that you are actually ordering a Massena or a Davout on that all important campaign rather than just pushing cardboard.
I purchased some counter sleds (see the image above and others I have uploaded for this game) and painted them to give an extra visual and tactile dimension, not to mention a fog of war and would recommend this to anyone who has purchased this work.
If I have one gripe, it is that I would have to buy a brand new copy of the second edition to bring my original up to date and would wish that an upgrade pack consistiong of the rule books, cards and charts only were available. I am sure that some of the seven-hundred-odd owners here on BGG would appreciate that.
In summary I have to declare that I am a lover of Napoleonic history and an avid wargamer. This game fulfills both my needs admirably.
Verdict: A Masterpiece.