Marengo Errata

We are usually really good about Errata.  We try very hard to keep it to a minimum.  A few last minute changes with Marengo resulted in a few glitches.

The most important is the French reinforcements:

Reinforcements should come in 1 turn later than listed. 

You can find the Errata at the bottom of the Marengo page:  here

Tube Box

Why the new tube boxes?

Price wise, they are about the same.  We could use the smaller cardboard tubes on Brandywine because it fit.  We can get longer cardboard tubes made but they are going to  be a problem.  When pieces get wedged and stuck in the bottom, there is no way to get them out!  It is too long and narrow to reach with your hand and you can’t remove the bottom.  Huge problem.  This is going to be a bigger problem with bigger battles and more pieces.  I’m thinking we are going to need bigger bags to fit all the Gettysburg pieces in!


It’s not just Marengo either.  Gettysburg will have huge maps.  Chancellorsville.  Waterloo if we include all the matching campaign maps.  Our Pirate game.  Dracula.  Our strategic game in Europe. 


It will greatly streamline production and inventory if we have 1 system that is versatile and works for everything.  There are other advantages as well:


  • Air tight, helps prevent yellowing with age
  • Water tight, helps prevent damage
  • Lighter, decreased shipping & packaging costs.  This is a big deal for our international orders.  We’ve been trying to absorb most of the extra charges but it really adds up.
  • Bigger diameter which reduces the rules ‘curl’ effect.  That helps.
  • Virtually no shelf wear on the box because everything is protected on the inside. 


This type of storage is nearly bomb proof.  The game should look virtually brand new in 50 years with this.


The downside is that it looks more modern.  Not period like the cardboard and metal.   …but then we got to thinking.  Industrial cardboard tubes with pressed metal caps aren’t really ‘period’ either.  They couldn’t make those back then. 


That got us thinking about what would be period?  Probably something leather or wood like these.

So maybe it would be better to go with light and efficient and then offer the fancy tubes as extras for the people that want them.  We might be able to get them in bulk from India / China.  What do you guys think?


Bigger is Better -Marengo

Design Notes:

Compared to Brandywine, the Marengo map is huge!  There are pros and cons.  This was our assessment. 


Wide Open Feel

My favorite games are usually strategic.  Why?  I always wonder what is past the edge of the map?  Why can’t I go there?  I know.  I probably wouldn’t go there anyways but still. 

We started play testing on the full big map.  We figured at some point we would crop it down to a more manageable size.  What stood out to me most about Marengo is how fluid the battle was.  This is a battle of maneuver over a wide field of mostly clear terrain.  Refreshing!  I loved that feel.  Very spacious.  Luxurious.  Very Napoleonic.  Cropping it down would cut costs and save space but it also makes you feel more boxed in.

Beautiful Artwork

One of the most striking and detailed parts of the map was Alexandrie.  The problem is, that wasn’t really part of the battle.  Still, it seemed a shame to just hack that and the river off.  We noticed that by leaving it on, it opens up several strategic options for the Austrians.  They could attack straight up the center.  They also have maneuver options to the north and south.  Even combinations of the three.  There we go.  Now we have some justification for beauty. 


If that wasn’t enough to convince you, consider the historical value.  This is based on the real French map of the period on the battle.  It felt wrong to cut off and just provide part of the historical map.  Wouldn’t it be more historically accurate to have the full map?  This adds extra value to the game.  A minor quibble perhaps but it is kind of nice to be able to tell people that this is the real map from the real campaign!  Full size in all its Napoleonic glory. 

In fact, we’ve had people ordering extra maps.  One to play the game and one to frame and hang up. 


Increased Cost

The maps are more.  About twice the size of Brandywine.  We also need bigger tubes.  The small cardboard format won’t work with this size.  Shipping is more. 

True, true, true but it felt wrong to skimp when it comes to Napoleon.  We decided to just absorb the extra expense.  It’s worth it preserve Napoleonic glory!   

Playing Out

This battle still plays fast but can you fit that huge map on the bar?  Well, this is a downside.  It won’t fit on the bar.  It does fit on a normal sized booth table.  We tested it at several different bars.  (just to make sure!) 

It is easier to accommodate this than you might think.  The French can just setup Victor and Lannes.  Let the east edge of the map hang over the table edge for turn 0.  The French can’t move anyways.  The Austrians quickly cross the river and deploy on the field.  For turn 1, you can slide the map over and let the west edge drape over the table edge.  Now you can setup the rest of the French and fight out the rest of the battle normally. 


Lots of good pros.  We took care of 1 con, so all you have to do is be willing to slide the map once on turn 1 IF you are playing on a small table.  That’s not too much to ask.  In the end, this seems like a small price to pay for all the great advantages. 



Computer Assisted Wargames

Computer games vs board games.  Which is better?  They both have their strengths and weaknesses.  I always like the “idea” of a computer wargame but I usually don’t like them.  All my favorite wargames are board games.


Computers excel at video and live animation graphics.  This is great if you are playing tactical or first person shooter but my favorite games are operational / strategic.

Board game ‘graphics’ win hands down on this.


You can instantly see the entire map.  No zooming or scrolling around.  You can instantly inspect stacks of units and move all the pieces.  No fuss.  I can’t explain it but there is something important about being able to touch and move the pieces by hand.  

Is it possible to marry the two?  Use the best of both formats, combined into 1 system?  It would be ideal if the computer could handle limited intelligence, complex combat, logistics and order delays.

What is your experience with Computer Assisted Wargames?  Does it work?  Have you ever seen an example of it working well?  Is this an impossible pursuit?