Bigger is Better -Marengo | Command Post Games
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Bigger is Better -Marengo

Design Notes:

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

Pros


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. 

Historical

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. 

 

Cons


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. 

 

Conclusion


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. 

  

 

6 thoughts on “Bigger is Better -Marengo

  1. It is indeed a trade off with the components. I much prefer the small Brandywine map, but the Marengo map is stunning and maybe necessary for the proper feel of a wide open battle. The plastic versus cardboard tube is a similar situation. I like the cardboard much more, but I suppose it just wasn’t possible to do at this size.

    Interesting that when I got Brandywine I played it several times in the first few days. With Marengo, the larger size is a bit more discouraging. I have played once. That is a personal matter that may not effect everyone. Footprint is big for me in my current situation. Even so, I didn’t find the extra size to cumbersome or inconvenient once I had it set up.

    The game plays much different than Brandywine and I would say from my limited gaming with it, that is more difficult than the earlier production. Players must use extreme caution and foresight or they will be surprised by sudden flanks attacks and charges. I think this goes double for the French actually because of their precarious position at the start. The field of battle is so wide open that one wrong move leads to trouble. This is more of an advanced version of Pub battles than Brandywine.

    • Just for clarification: only the French can charge. So only the Austrians have to worry about this.

      As you point out though, the French have to worry about getting flanked, crushed and overrun!

      Same rules pretty much. The only real difference is the ‘charge’ rules. It is surprising how much difference a new battle can make. Most of this is just the OB, map and situation.

  2. Have been playing it almost constantly for a few weeks now. Love it. The only drawback may be that I may never play Brandywine again! This game, despite its larger map size, sets up and plays really quickly. The rules are simple enough that a minor tweak, like the new charge rule, makes a huge difference. Without it, the French really don’t have a prayer. With it, the Austrians have to be careful…very careful.

    Great game and thoroughly addictive.

    • Yep, this is my new favorite. I really like the clear open terrain. You aren’t constantly slogging through the woods, up hills and across streams. It is hard to describe how huge this charge mechanic is.

      Imagine we are trading punches boxing. You throw a punch. I block. I throw a punch. You block. Then all the sudden, you throw 3 rapid punches at once and I have no time to block at all. Bam, bam, bam. Knock out. It’s battle over.

      If it hasn’t happened yet, there is the threat of it happening, at any moment. Very tense.

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