Napoleon 1807 on Kickstarter: Where History and Gaming Meet | Casual Game Revolution

Napoleon 1807 on Kickstarter: Where History and Gaming Meet

Napoleon 1807

Napoleon has invaded Poland, and the Russians have arrived to drive back him back. Which side will you lead to victory or defeat?

Currently on Kickstarter, Napoléon 1807 is a wargame steeped in history, strategy, and the need to tactically maneuver you troops around Poland.


One player takes on the role of the Russians and one player takes on that of the French. The board is placed on the table. Each player controls multiple corps of units. These are represented by tiles that are placed on the board according to the scenario you have selected. Each player also has an order of battle sheet that tracks each corps’ strength (how many units are in it) using blue cubes for infantry and yellow cubes for cavalry, and each corps’ fatigue. Control markers for each player and citadel markers for each player are also placed on the board according to the scenario. Each player then takes their side’s player deck and the game begins.

Each round, players start by drawing three cards from their deck. If any player draws a card with a red background, it is immediately played and its effect occurs. If more red cards are drawn, they are discarded.

Next, players move on to the initiative phase. If players have cards with blue backgrounds, they may choose to play them now for their special effect. Each player then draws one card and compares the number on them. The player whose card has the higher value will go first during the next phase.

Players then move onto the operations phase. During the operations phase, players take turns choosing from one of four actions. You may pass (once passed you may not take any more actions during this phase); you may move, attack, or attack and move. After any corps takes an action, you flip it over to show that it has been activated this round.

To move, you select either one corps tile, or a stack of corps tiles on a single location. You, or your opponent, may then choose to play a card that is eligible to be played during your army’s movement phase. You then draw a card. You take that card's value, subtract or add any numbers from cards being played, and subtract a number of movement points based on how many tiles you are moving together, and the resulting number is your movement points. You may move your stack up to that many connected locations. Your stack must end its movement if it arrives at a location with either an enemy or friendly corps. The corps you moved then earns fatigue points based on the number of points they moved and the number of corps moving. Cards played during the movement may also affect fatigue.

When attacking, you choose one or more corps that are on a location with one or more enemy corps. Each player may play one card from their hand with the correct symbol on it. Then each player determines the number of cards they will draw. Depending on the strength of each corps you are controlling in the fight, you draw either one or two cards. You subtract one card for each corps you control with more than four points of fatigue. The defender draws an extra card if the location is in a wooded area, a fortified town they control, or a citadel. Cards drawn will show the number of losses inflicted on the opponent and the number of fatigue points they will suffer. The player who inflicted the most losses is the winner, and the losing corps must retreat, moving a number of spaces equal to the difference in units lost on each side. Defending corps are flipped to over to show they have been used this round as well as the attacking ones.

Moving attacks work the same as a movement action and attack action combined, however the attacking player draws one less card during the battle. Each player also has a special commander who moves together with at least one corps tile and offers them special advantages.

After each player has finished activing all their corps or decided to pass, the round moves into the final phase: recovery. Each corps that has not been activated loses all its fatigue points. For each corps that was used, you may play one card and remove from that corps the number of fatigue points shown on the card. Each corps that still has over five points of fatigue loses one point of strength. If a corpse ever reaches zero strength they are defeated, and if a corps ever has more than eight fatigue points it is defeated.

Players earn one victory point for each point of strength eliminated from an opponent’s corps and one victory point when placing a control marker on a fortified town, which you do by moving a corps onto it when there is no opponent present. At the end of the game you also earn points for occupying an enemy citadel or if it is besieged (siege markers are placed at the beginning of the game according to the scenario and removed if a corps whose side owns the citadel occupies the space with no enemy present). Players win the game when they reach a certain number of victory points. If they do not reach the necessary point goal after a certain number of turns, the game ends and you consult the victory conditions for the scenario.

Napoleon 1807 components

First Impressions

Napoléon 1807 is the sequel to Napoléon 1806, following much the same rules but introducing a few new concepts to help capture the theme of the evolving war. In general, the game appears to be highly thematic, with the event cards allowing weather to affect the battlefield and each player’s deck being quite specific to the side and army they are controlling.

There is also a nice ability to customize the game to your preference. For example, if players wish to run through the decks less quickly, at the start of the game they can opt to use dice in combat rather than drawing cards. There is also an additional rule set that adds complexity to the game by introducing fog of war elements, and the game has seven scenarios proposed which can either be played as standalone games or in campaign form.

The standard play time for Napoléon 1807 does run between one to two hours, so it’s longer than your average casual game, but the rules themselves are relatively straightforward and easy to grasp, particularly since a large portion of the action is determined by drawing and playing cards, and your units’ health and fatigue are easily tracked on your order of battle. There is also a 30-minute quick-start mode if you're looking for a shorter game.

There is plenty of strategy packed into the game, as you maneuver your troops around the board, choosing when to group corps together, when to split them, where to send your commander, and which fights to take. But there are also certain push your luck elements. For example, you’ll never know exactly how many movement points your troops will have, and moving multiple groups together will slow them down. Do you risk it and hope you draw a card with a high value? Or send fewer troops closer to the front?

If you enjoy history, and love strategy, Napoléon 1807 looks to be an elegant combination of the two. If you enjoy longer games, it is well worth checking out on Kickstarter, as its simple rules keep the complexity down while still offering a challenging gaming experience.

Pros: Combines history with strategy, can be customized for different groups and preferences, includes a quick play mode

Cons: In standard mode, the play time runs up to two hours

Disclosure: this preview is based on our first impressions of a draft of the rulebook and game components, which are subject to change prior to publication. We received a modest payment to write this article.