Game Spotlights

Published: January 18, 2023


Grand Empires Series from Wargame Shop

The Grand Empires from Wargame Shop

British indie war game publisher Wargame Shop‘s Grand Empires series expertly balances history and playability. The series of games covers some of the landmark conflicts of the Napoleonic Era. Grand Empires features war games contained fully in hardcover books. The books contain historical context, rules, and components.

Each book depicts a famous large scale battle fought within the era.  And each contains a brief history, gameplay rules, game board, counters and bound tracking accessories. Just add a few d6 dice and a tabletop, and you’re ready to go!

Painting of Napoleon on horseback at Austerlitz battle

Designed on the principles of wargaming, these multifaceted historic games are based on a single set of battle rules that are deliberately engineered to give an astonishing impression and taste of the Napoleonic period of warfare for a tabletop board game.  Once you’ve mastered the rules they are the same throughout the whole series.

Incorporating a basic and advanced level of gameplay, it can be enjoyed by beginners and seasoned gamers alike. Let’s take a quick look at each game!

The Battle of the Three Emperors — Austerlitz 1805

The Battle of the Three Emperors — Austerlitz 1805.

Play Time: 3-4 hours

Monday 2nd December 1805: the night had been freezing and a fog now lingered across the battlefield. Napoleon Bonaparte had purposely drawn the enemy—the Austro-Russian army—towards him, even giving up the most favorable high ground of the Pratzen Heights, in a ruse to gain battle. His only command to his Marshals was “to study this ground, for you will fight upon it” and they did just that.

Appearing weak, the Austro-Russian army attacked, rolling down from the heights, but overnight new French reserves had force-marched to swell their numbers. This was one of Napoleon’s finest hours: the battle of the three emperors, a great tactical victory.

It all started with the French suddenly appearing out of the fog…

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The Bloodiest Day in Napoleonic History — Borodino 1812

The Bloodiest Day in Napoleonic History — Borodino 1812.

Play Time: 6-8 hours

Monday 7th September 1812: the French Grande Armée has chased the Russian army back towards Moscow. They have stopped with their right flank defended by the River Kolocha, just outside the little unknown village of Borodino. Great redoubts and fleches have been constructed for defense, allowing artillery emplacement to fire across a wide open field.

Napoleon Bonaparte has lost vast amounts of troops to attrition and minor battles, but his main army remains intact. This is going to be the bloodiest day in Napoleonic history.

The board game includes an optional rear guard action fought on the 5th, and a night time phase that links the two-day battle together.

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The Prussians Stand Alone — Ligny 1815

The Prussians Stand Alone — Ligny 1815.

Play time: 3-4 hours

Friday 16th June 1815: Napoleon Bonaparte—not waiting for the Allies to group against him—has launched an all out assault into Belgium. He is now looking at the vista of hamlets from the windmill on the hill above the town of Fleurus. At the center is the village of Ligny and the Prussian army commanded by Field Marshal Blücher.

Napoleon must engage the Prussians before the British Allies send reserves. These promised reserves will never arrive—since Marshal Nay has been dispatched to Quatre Bras to stop them—so the Prussians must stand alone against the French.

At the sound of the guns, Napoleon issues forth around two o’clock in the afternoon. Is there time for a decisive victory or has he left it to late in the day?

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Napoleon’s Final Hours of Conflict — Waterloo 1815

Napoleon’s Final Hours of Conflict — Waterloo 1815.

Play time: 3-4 hours

Sunday 18th June 1815: the British Allies are defending the escarpment of Mont St. Jean, a position that their commander, the Duke of Wellington had seen some years previously. Against him marches the Monster of Europe, Napoleon Bonaparte and his Grande Armée. Recently escaped from Elba, he now quickly pushes to defeat the Allies before they can combine forces with the rest of Europe.

Field Marshal Blücher is marching with his Prussian army to come to the aid of Wellington. Will he arrive in time, or can Napoleon win the battle outright before they reach the field?

This is Napoleon’s final hours of conflict. Can history be changed and the Allies defeated, or was it always meant to be? Only you can decide!

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