From: Phalanx Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Waterloo is a new board game from Phalanx Games.

For me, nothing compares to a historic battle game that simulates the harsh struggle in tactics and planning of the battle it represents.  I love to look over the board, envision the battle field and hash out the tactical decisions the original leaders must have made. I like a good-looking war game, with a lot of subtle complexities and intense intellectual challenges.  I like a game that is fun to play.  Waterloo, upon opening and skimming the rules, looked like one of those games despite the simplicity.  

From the front cover of the rulebook: “Napoleon’s Last Battle. June 18, 1815.”

Appearance & Presentation:  Opening the box, I am impressed by the quality of the board and pieces, the organization of the box and the overall look of the game.  It is a quality game.   The pieces are high-quality card board squares with great art.  They are clear, detailed and understandable.  I can not say enough about the pieces or the board.  The cards are also of the same quality.

The rulebooks is quite complex, although it is thorough and concise.  The rules are hard to follow because of all the references to previous or forthcoming pages.  It reads a lot like some of the old Avalon Hill games, but shorter.  Much shorter.  

From the website: “ Waterloo: Napoleon´s last Battle is an exciting tactical boardgame that simulates one of the most important battles of all time.”

Game Play: Despite the appearance of apparent complexity of the rules, the game is really simple while at the same time challenging.  The only challenge is set up, which might take beginners a little while.  The armies are represented by cardboard square pieces and have two sides – undamaged and damaged side.  There are other game pieces for moved units, disordered units and rallying units. 

It is intended to be a short game but as we played it, we realized that it can be longer when played by highly strategic-minded gamers.  However, in comparison to other strategic and war-type games, it is still pretty short.  The game mechanic is really simple, each turn consisting of card play.  The cards are used for either movement, attack or action purposes.  Artillery is handled through card play as well, in a cool and very simple manner.  Artillery causes damage as well as disorder, and the player must spend an action to rally to gather his remaining forces of the unit or risk losing it completely.  

Each side has basic victory conditions based on which version of the game you play – basic or advanced.  If you play the advanced, the Prussians enter the battle to reinforce the British.  Otherwise, it is straight forward – the Brits vs. the French.  To win, you have to capture and hold certain places on the map.  The tactics involve using the units, their strengths, positioning on the board, and features on the board to the units advantage to wipe out the other side.  Features on the board include forests, towns, hills and other obstacles.  Movement across the map is done in movement points allocated from the cards.  Some terrain on the map cost more movement than others.  Facing is a big aspect of the tactics as well as unit types and strength.  There is a cavalry charge mechanic as well as a retreat mechanic.

Combat is a matter of adding up your battle points determined by the strength of your units modified by terrain advantages or disadvantages as well as flanking.  The random element is the cards, which can add a certain amount of battle points.  The interesting and sometimes frustrating aspect is the retreat option which allows the defender to save his unit from an utter annihilation.  It is a matter of tactics for the attacker to basically corner his enemy, not allowing him an retreat option.

The system is smooth and really easy to pick up, as is the strategy.  It is amazingly challenging and it has enough variety that replayability is not a problem.  It makes a strong attempt at being historically accurate with each unit as well as the layout of the battlefield.  It even has a short history lesson in the rulebook for those that are not familiar with the battle and its place in history.

In conclusion, without a doubt, this is a quality board game for the war game enthusiast and is perfect for a quick pick-up game.  It is not long and drawn out, it is simple enough to teach to just about anyone, and is a perfect way to bring in new players to the war gaming hobby.  It is a well-made game with a good solid design.

For more details on Phalanx Games and their new Board game “Waterloo” check them out at their website http://www.phalanxgames.nl and at all of your local game stores.

From: Phalanx Games
Type of Game: Board Game
Game Design by: Alexander S. Berg
Developed by: Ulrich Blennemann
Cover Art by: Franz Vohwinkel
Number of Pages: 15 page rulebook
Game Components Included: Board, rulebook, 55 command cards, 50 cardboard unit pieces, 2 standup leader pieces, 58 other tiles, 1 Player Aid Card, 1 Game Turn Indicator
Retail Price: 39.95 (Euro)
Number of Players: 2-3
Player Ages: 12+
Play Time: 2 hours
Item Number: PHA-US.WAT01 
Email: info@phalanxgames.nl
Website: www.phalanxgames.nl

Reviewed by: Ron McClung