War and Peace
Game Design by Grant Wylie and Mike Wylie
Available from Worthington Games
War and Peace is a game that covers the Napoleonic Wars from the Wars of the Third Coalition in 1805 through the Seventh Coalition in 1815. This was a tumultuous time in Europe as Napoleon faced off against various enemies on sea and on land. Throughout this time the countries of Europe were sometimes allied with and often allied against the French. It was also a time of great Diplomatic Politics between all the countries. War and Peace provides gamers with a taste of what war and politics were like during the Napoleonic era.
For a change, I want to start with some comments from the games Designers Notes to provide readers with a glimpse of the design background of War and Peace. Some of the original design concepts of this game date back to the early 1990’s as the game designers wanted to create an Axis and Allies type of design. However, the one thing missing from Axis and Allies are shifting alliances and politics thereof. Well, it may have taken some time, but we finally have War and Peace, a Napoleonic game with miniatures complete with shifting alliances and politics.
Game Components and Specifications
The game components in War and Peace are very well made. When you purchase the game you receive the following items:
- 1 – Mounted Mapboard
- 1 sheet of die cut counters for markers (64 of 72 used)
- 6 six sided dice
- 1 Rule booklet
- 1 Game Setup Chart/Tactical Battle Chart
- 140+ Custom Made Plastic Napoleonic Miniatures and tokens
The game can be played with 2 to 5 players and a complete game can be played in 2 or 3 hours. This is an overall low level complexity game where players will have a lot of fun moving their pieces across the map, performing naval invasions and negotiating for a country to join your alliance. Each and every turn will provide players with new challenges and opportunities as they try and rule Europe or find a way to stop the French egomaniac.
The Rules Booklet is a total of only 16 pages long. However, if we look at just the rules detailing how the game is played, that is only about 7.5 of the 16 pages. However, in those 7.5 pages the rules are well written and contain many examples to help clarify how a rule operates. The rules that are covered are:
- Game Components
- Game Board
- Game Units
- Game Setup
- Game Turn Sequence
- How to Move Game Units
- Control of Land and Sea Zones
- Resource Point (RP) Phase
- Purchase Phase
- Combat Movement
- Non-Combat Movement
- Unit Placement Phase
- How to Win
Now, if you should match the rules with this review you will notice that there is a discrepancy. The Rules have 15 Sections and the review notes that there are 16 Sections. This is because the rules use the number 8 twice, once for Control for Land and Sea Zones and the RP Phase. Now, this is an extremely minor item and in no way affects the game or its play.
Following the rules areas, there are more detailed examples. In this area very detailed full color examples of play covering the following rules are provided:
- Amphibious Assault Example
- Combat Movement and Combat Examples
- Non-Combat Movement Example
- Combat Movement Example
- Combat and Unit Placement Example
These 3.5 pages full of full color examples add additional clarification to clear up any minor misunderstandings that may still be with you as you read the rules.
Finally, if that is not enough, a full 3 pages are devoted to a detailed turn example. At this stage the designer recommends that the gamer sets up the example game and play along so that they can fully benefit from all the information provided.
Each country has a set number of plastic miniatures that they can use to represent their infantry, cavalry, artillery and shipping. Each country in the game is limited to four artillery, four cavalry armies and twelve infantry armies. The Naval fleets are also limited to a maximum of four except for England which has a limit of 8 fleets. While the plastic miniature limits define the maximum number of armies a country can have on the board, it does not define the size of that army. The size of a countries army is defined by the number of plastic chips that are placed under the miniature. For example, if Britain has a Naval ship in the English Channel and there were 2 plastic chips under the ship the total strength of the English Naval ship would be 3. While the countries plastic miniatures are all different colors, they all share the red and white plastic chips. The colors of the country armies are:
- French – Blue
- British – Red
- Russia – Green
- Prussia – Gray
- Austria – White
- Spain – Yellow
The counter markers have their nation’s flag and name on it and are used to declare which side an area or zone is allied to, so that country can receive the correct Resource Points. Finally there are counters representing Napoleon and Wellington which can aid in combat resolution.
Game Turn Sequence
The Game Turn Sequence while simple, provides the gamer with some interesting challenges. The Game Turn Sequence is:
- Resource Point Phase
- Purchase Phase
- Combat Movement
- Combat Phase
- Non-Combat Movement
- Unit Placement Phase
You can think of the Resource Point Phase, the Purchase Phase and the Unit Placement Phase as the administrative phases of a game turn. The Resource Points are acquired from all the areas they control. During the Purchase Phase players can purchase army and navy units of their choice. Also, players can perform political actions by spending Resource Points. These administrative phases are as important as the combat phases as it is the planning and the political spending of Resource Points that can spell the difference between defeat and victory. However, it is the Combat Movement, Combat and Non-Combat Movement that will keep players busy during the turn
Combat Movement/Combat/Non-Combat Movement
Combat Movement is the act of moving units into an enemy controlled land area or sea zone. Once a unit is moved into an area containing an enemy unit they must stop and combat is mandatory. This mandatory combat is the same whether the units are army or naval units or units performing amphibious assaults. One thing you should note is that you must perform all Combat Movement before you move onto the Combat Phase of the turn.
During the Combat Phase, units of the same type must perform combat with the same type of unit. Hence, Naval units will fight Naval Units and Land units will fight land units. The currently active player is considered the attacker and the other player is the defender. Combat is fought in rounds with each unit rolling a die in a round of combat. After all units have rolled their dice, the round is over and if units remain in an area another round of combat will commence.
After all Combat is completed, we now move to the Active Players Non-Combat Movement. This type of movement is from units that have not previously moved this turn. Players may not enter any area occupied by enemy units. It is also at this time that units will check for attrition and check their supply status which can affect the number of units that are in play the next turn.
War and Peace is an Axis and Allies type of game but with additional features that add depth without the complexity. On the back of the box, Worthington Games rates War and Peace as a 3 out of 10 complexity and I would have to agree with them 100%. I would go so far as saying that War and Peace is an excellent cross over game from Axis and Allies type of gaming to strategy wargaming. It is simple enough to teach someone while playing and plays quickly enough that you can get a few games into a full afternoon or evening of gaming. Combine this with the fact the War and Peace is based on a historical situation and the gamers are provided with platform that provides fast and fun games. So, in closing let’s say that weather you are an experienced gamer, an Axis and Allies gamer, or someone who is new and just getting into strategy gaming, War Peace will provide hours of enjoyable gaming and provide gamers with new challenges in a game system that is simple to learn but will be difficult to master.