War and Peace
The game War & Peace by Mark McLaughlin ? according to BGG listings his first published game ? is a multi-player strategic war game from the early 1980s. Mr McLaughlin is also the publisher of several other titles in the Napoleonic period, including The Napoleonic Wars, Wellington, and (on the P500 list) Kutusov. Aside from War and Peace, Napoleonic Wars, and Wellington, his only other game that I’ve played is Holy Roman Empire, another multi-player game ? vastly underrated on BGG – which I enjoyed.
The functional unit counters, typical of the period, represent strengths of 5000 infantry, 5000 cavalry, or 6 ships. The art is very simple and anyone who has played a modern publication might dismiss the game just on this basis. The map board is divided into 4 individual pieces and many of the scenarios can be played on just one single small board. A hexagonal grid is printed on the map and it is common to reference each hex by a series of letters and numbers followed by the board number in parentheses. For example, Paris is CC9(2). Each is the same kind of simple, functional map that Avalon Hill is known for ? in fact, it is very similar to the 3rd Reich map. Colors are bright and the map is pretty ugly for today’s standards. There is at least one very well-known error on the board near Kiev. Aside from the counters and the board, there is a Campaign Game Card, a Player Aid Card, and the rules. There is a leader display on the player aid card, while the alliance chart, force pools, and prisoners are on the campaign game card.
There are 10 Scenarios in War & Peace, including an introductory scenario (Austerlitz-1805), two mid-war scenarios Jena to Friedland and Wagram, two Spanish scenarios, one glorious War of Liberation scenario, one scenario depicting the French invasion of Russia, two final chapter scenarios, and finally a campaign game. Some of the scenarios are unbalanced and some are very nicely balanced, and some of the smaller-scale scenarios that can be played in a night are the best ones. The campaign game is something much more heroic. There are 120 month-long turns and the game badly needs six players. Player sides are: France (blue), Spain (yellow), Britain (red), Austria (white), Prussia (gray), and Russia (green). The markers for Fortresses and demoralization are black. Tactical matrix markers are white. They are discussed in the optional rules section below.
Advance Turn Marker
Attrition is a simple case of rolling on the attrition table and then applying that result to all the hexes where you have forces. There is a column for every strength value. There are DRMs that apply. You do not make a separate roll for each hex, but you do modify the roll depending on the status of the units in the hex (for example, all units in home country get a -1 DRM whereas unsupplied units get a +1 DRM. For example, if you have 11-15 strength points in a hex and roll a 3. For the hex in your home country (say France) it would be treated as a ?2?, which means you would lose 1 SP, but the same units unsupplied in Prussia would be treated as a ?4? and you would lose 2 and have to take a cavalry loss if there is one in the hex.
Diplomacy takes place in the alliance phase. This system is used to allow nations to ally with one another. When there are not enough players to fill out each of the seats in the campaign game, there are rules for automatically determining the outcome of alliances. I personally don’t like this mechanism and know of a better one on the web (listed below). Alliances essentially allow you to acquire the use of another nation’s forces. Each scenario has its own effects chart. For example, a roll in the Napoleon in Russia table can allow the French to gain Austrians, cause Prussian and Austrians to desert, force Napoleon to return to Paris to stop a coup d’etat, or postpone more rolls on the table until November 1812.
Production ? There are reinforcements in every scenario, but production rules are only used in the campaign game. Essentially the number of production points you have is equal to the production cities that you control. You roll to find out whether you get zero, one production point or two production points in the reinforcement/replacement phase. Each type of unit has a different cost (2/ 1/ or 0.5) in production points.
Leaders have a movement allowance of 10 MP, cavalry have a movement allowance of 4 MP, and infantry cannot move without a leader. Infantry units can be dropped off but not picked up during movement. There is also a rule where you can attempt to increase movement by 1, 2, or 3 MP using Forced March which can also lead to loss of forces. Overrun attacks can occur during movement. If you spend 1 extra MP and have 4:1 odds (5:1 odds on a mountain hex), you destroy all enemy units without loss. If you have 6:1 odds you can overrun without spending a movement point.
Understanding the supply system is critical to playing the game well. Essentially, a supply chain of segments up to 3 hexes long are created. Each major city is a source of supply and any unit that is in supply that is the same color (you can’t trace through allies) is a source of supply. A supply chain cannot be traced through enemy units, but a unit in a city that is also occupied by enemies is always in supply. Unsupplied units’ combat strength is halved (round up) when attacking, they may not execute overruns, and there are adjustments to the attrition roll and the forced march roll.
Combats and Sieges:
The active player indicates which hexes he will attack before resolving any combat. If combat takes place in a non-city hex, it is automatically a field battle. A city-hex may have a field battle or a siege depending on the choice of the defending player. Once an attack is indicated at least one combat round must be fought. Between rounds the attacker may choose to bring up strength points from neighboring hexes to the fight (a 5 or greater with a leadership DRM is needed). That unit must be withdrawn from that combat first (you can withdraw after each round of combat). Thus, forces involved in a particular battle may change from round to round. To illustrate this consider that the French are being attacked by the British in EE7(2) and the Prussians are attacking the French in Lille EE6(2). In round 1, the British fight in EE7(2) and in round 2 the Prussians must fight in EE6(2), but in the next round, the British might withdraw some forces to Prussian-held FF6(2), which will then be available for Prussia in round 2 (assuming the 5 or greater roll succeeds). Round 2 consists of fights in both hexes EE6 and EE7, but now the Prussian siege in Lille is reinforced. This can go on for more rounds until one side is completely eliminated or the battle is broken off. If the attacker stops the fight, the defender (inactive player) can counterattack with the same method (note that in this case, the unsupplied forces of the counterattacking army are not halved). Forces that are adjacent to a battle can participate in the battle without moving to the battle hex. Being adjacent is enough.
Combat Resolution looks a little more complicated than it is. Essentially you total strength and the largest side divides its force by the smallest side. There are three odds ratios: 2:1 (and up), 3:2, and 1:1. There are rows for each of these in a CRT. After each round, the player with the strongest force rolls 2D6 applying modifiers for leader, morale, terrain effects, and (if using the optional rules) tactics. Then you find the resultant in the table. Above it will be two columns (like in the header of a table) and the left side applies to the larger force, the right side to the smaller force. As an example, suppose two armies clash, one led by Napoleon (leader rating 3) and one Bagration (leader rating 2). In the French army there are 20 forces and Bagration leads an army of 8. Odds then are 2:1 plus and there is a net 1 increase for Napoleon’s tactical advantage. Suppose it takes place in a forest hex though, so there is a -1 adjustment as well. Two dice are rolled and the result is an 8. There is no net adjustment so the result for 8 is searched for in the 2:1 row. The result for the larger force is ?1? and for the smaller force ?D1?. This means that the smaller force is immediately demoralized. The Combat Loss chart is then consulted. Bagrations army of 8 in the D1 Row means 2 SP are lost, whereas Napoleon’s 20 lose 2 as well.
Sieges work only slightly differently. In a major city, 6 forces may take refuge, whereas in a minor city 4 may withdraw to the relative safety. A city may be assaulted or besieged. If assaulted, units count as double (we actually triple them in our games). If besieged, a player puts a siege marker with a value of 1 the first combat phase and increases it each subsequent combat phase. The besieger may now roll and if the result is less than or equal to the marker the city falls and all units are lost. The value of siege points taken (which can never be greater than 5) is increased to the attrition roll of the besieged.
Naval Rules are skirmishes per sea zone. There is a separate chart to see what happens when fleets come together. Control of the seas is critical for transport in the campaign game.
Optional Rules: Play with the Tactical Matrix and each player can select a battlefield tactic which when combined gives a possibility of a positive (or negative) DRM to the combat roll. There are some other excellent optional rules, including a limited intelligence rule (where you don’t check stack contents until a battle takes place). There are also a number of variants and FAQs on the net. This old game is loved by many players.
Rules: The rules are your typical Avalon Hill jargon that reads very complicated for some, but to those who have seen it before, it seems pretty straight-forward. I haven’t read the rules (11 pages plus 20+ pages of scenario stuff) in a long time before tonight and I’m actually surprised to see they are so clear, but like many complex games (especially older ones), there is much errata. To help you sort it out, also read over the War and Peace kit from Dear Valley available here:
Improvements: Use the diplomacy table from www.grognard.com if you are going to try the campaign game with fewer than 6 players.
Recommendation: Definitely positive. I rank this game a 6 and I think that isn’t very generous. I’ve had a lot of fun playing the game before and the fact that I’ve moved on to other games doesn’t diminish the fact that this game was good in its time and there is still fun to be had.
Last edited on 2008-02-29 09:12:47 CST (Total Number of Edits: 1)
War and Peace ? una simulazione molto interessante; quando f? pubblicato, nel 1980 (!!!), era senza dubbio la migliore sul mercato che permettesse di ricreare a livello strategico le campagne napoleoniche dal 1805 al 1815. Se ben ricordo f? la simulazione che mi fece conoscere alcuni amici di Rimini trovati a qualche convention nazionale dell’epoca, forse Verona, quindi sono legato a W&P in maniera particolare.
Gioco assolutamente strategico, con unit? che rappresentano circa 5000 uomini per ogni punto forza e vari leaders famosi delle guerre napoleoniche che presentano valori da 0 a 3 intesi cone valori tattici/strategici.?
Le unit? muovono con i Leders; le battaglie si svolgono nello stesso esagono che contiene il nemico e le regole sul combattimento prevedono la possibilit? di escalation, tipica del periodo.
Morale e rifornimento sono punti critici del gioco; l’attrito ne ? una conseguenza drammatica.
Ci sono vari scenari riferiti alle campagne napoleoniche per finire con lo scenario campagna, che prevede alleanze, regole navali e ben 6 giocatori.
Sono anni che sinceramente non apro questa scatola, ma alcuni interessantissimi articoli apparsi di recente su siti specializzati mi hanno invogliato a scrivere questa recensione. In particolare ? veramente interessante la pubblicazione di una versione aggiornata del regolamento, che tiene conto di tutte le errata e le modifiche proposte nel corso degli anni, apparse in parte anche sui vecchi General. Bellissima anche la nuova proposta della mappa, vedi sotto.
4 mappe; “piccole” e cartonate, come ai bei tempi…….
La grafica, naturalmente, ? spartana ma assolutamente chiara e precisa. Pochi i tipi di terreno, buona la colorazione specifica; per una simulazione strategica ottima.
A proposito della mappa, come gi? anticipato sopra, ? in fase di progetto da parte di?John Gant, vedi http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/526235, una versione bellissima che sinceramente mi ha spinto a scrivere queste righe e a pensare di stamparla per giocare di nuovo a W&P su tale mappa!
2 le tabelle, di sintesi e aiuto ai giocatori per quanto riguarda i combattimenti, i movimenti, ecc. Utilissimo la tabella di piazzamento unit?, in modo da lasciare sulla mappa i counters dei leaders evitando gli immancabili stacking.
vari?set di counters, con belle pedine e markers. Anche in questo caso si sentono “gli anni” di W&P, ma dopotutto le immagini e i colori utilizzati sono sempre piacevoli. Le unit? inglesi, con il loro colore rosso fiammante sono fra le mie preferite; gli scenari che li vedono coinvolti non possono passare inosservati……..
1 regolamento; stampato ufficialmente come 2a edizione ? un buon prodotto, ancora oggi. Su vari General erano apparse le errata, le Q&A, le regole opzionali e nuovi scenari.
Anche in questo caso doveroso il riferimento a John Gant, che con la sua versione (3a edizione), incorpora gran parte di tali modifiche, vedihttp://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/40894.
Sempre una piacevolissima simulazione; a livello strategico viene superato dal celebre Empire in Arms, ma W&P ? un vero e proprio classico.