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 Moravian Sun December 2nd, 1805 Battle of Austerlitz by Acies Edizioni   The Battle of Austerlitz has a lot of games based on it. Not as ma...

Moravian Sun: December 2nd, 1805 Battle of Austerlitz by Acies Edizioni Moravian Sun: December 2nd, 1805 Battle of Austerlitz by Acies Edizioni

Moravian Sun: December 2nd, 1805 Battle of Austerlitz by Acies Edizioni

Moravian Sun: December 2nd, 1805 Battle of Austerlitz by Acies Edizioni

 Moravian Sun

December 2nd, 1805 Battle of Austerlitz


Acies Edizioni

 The Battle of Austerlitz has a lot of games based on it. Not as many as Waterloo as far as Napoleonic games (The Bulge of Napoleonic games), but a still a good number of them have been made. Even the newest of tyros to Napoleonic warfare knows at least something about it. It was nicknamed 'The Battle of the Three Emperors" (Napoleon, Francis I of Austria, and Alexander I of Russia). In reality it was not that much of a battle. Napoleon's Grande Armee was honed to a fine point, and his way of warfare was still unknown to most of Europe. On the French side, there was some doubt about Davout (The Iron Marshal) being to able to march his troops fast enough to be present for the start of the battle. Besides that fact, the French had everything in their favor. The Allied Coalition, number 3 out of 7, attempted to do a mirror image oblique attack of what Frederick the Great used in his battles. In reality, it became a parody of an attack by Frederick, much like the French at Rossbach. The Allies leisurely set up their attack, and slowly marched to attack Napoleon's right flank. Davout having appeared on time due to the incredible marching power of his 3rd Corps, 68 miles in 48 hours, was able to fend off the attacking Allies. Marshal Soult was then commanded to take the Pratzen Heights in the Allies' center, which they had thoughtfully left almost empty of troops. The battle was a foregone conclusion. Napoleon's Grande Armee destroyed the Allies, and the history of Europe was changed for the next nine years. So, let us see what Acies Edizioni has done with this famous battle.

 Here is what comes with the game:

One Game Map - 85 x 60 cm.

216 Counters  - 5/8" Sized

280 Counters - 1/2" Sized

Five Player Aid Cards

One Rule and Scenario Manual

Two Six-sided Die

 The game is designed by Enrico Acerbi. The game system is called "Vive La France - Empire", and has been used in the games 'Massena at Loano, and Wise Bayonets. I did a review earlier of Wise Bayonets, and the link will be below. Hexes are meant to be 450-500 meters and the turns represent one hour of time. 

 The components are well done as a whole. The map is a colorful, much like a traveler's map, representation of just the main area of the battlefield. The different terrain is easy to distinguish for the player. The unit counters are the 1/2" sized ones. They use the normal NATO designations, are easy to read, and the colors are pleasing, at least to my eyes. The 5/8" counters are used for the commanders and the administrative counters. The commander counters have a small picture of the commander in question on them. The administrative, rout, force march etc., counters are small, but still easily readable. All of the counters are easily disconnected from the cardboard sprue. As a matter of fact, most of them had popped out during shipping. The Rule Manual is in color and is done in large print, thank you. It is twenty pages long, but pages 16-20 are the scenario rules and a concise but well written Historical Background. The five player aid cards are full sized and in color. Four of them are double-sided with the fifth being a single page. All in all, the production quality is right up to par for what I expect of Acies Edizioni games. 

 The game comes with two scenarios:

Campaign Game - Begins at 07:00 on the 1st of December and ends at 18:00 of December 2nd

Battle game: Begins at 06:00 of December 2nd and ends at 16:00 at the same day 

In the Campaign Game scenario there is a Night Turn

 This is the Sequence of Play:

A. Command Phase

 1. Weather

 2. Orders

 3. Initiative and Priority

 3.1. Initiative Test Die Rolls to Change Orders

B. Action Phase

 1. Rally

 2. Reinforcements and Reconstituted Units

 3. Movement

 4. Bombardment

 5. Combat

 6. End of Phase

c. End of Turn Phase

 The game uses the term Efficiency in the rules, roughly the same way other games use the term Morale.

 Austerlitz is a hard game for a designer to make a game out of, simply because the two sides are so disparate in terms of efficiency, morale, and generalship. The Allies attack on his right flank, which is exactly what Napoleon wanted the Allies to do. It is almost as if Napoleon were in the Allied late night commanders meeting of December 2nd. This was the Napoleon of old with an undiluted and fully trained Grande Armee at his back. No one could have withstood the Grande Armee that day. The designer has made the game as historically accurate as possible. Therein lies the crux. How to make the game enjoyable for two players. The first obvious choice is for the players themselves to pick the less skillful of them to play the French. The Battle Scenario pretty much forces the Allied Player's hand as far as following the historical plan. However the addition of the Campaign Scenario mitigates the uneven playing field a bit. The Campaign Scenario does not force the Allied Player to do anything and so they are given a clean slate. It is true that the Allies are marching to the battlefield, and not set up and ready to attack. They are, however, given a full day without the French Player having Davout's Corps and some other troops. The Allied Player must use this extra day to its full advantage. How does the game play? In my eyes it shows exactly what the Allies were up against going at France's First Team. In some ways the Allied Player is really just trying to do better than his historical counterparts. The French Player can win, but should in my mind at least try to do as well as Napoleon or better to really consider the game 'won'.

 The game system does a good job of showing how Napoleonic battles were actually fought. They have been described as 'Rock, Paper, and Scissors' on a grand scale. The play centers around you giving 'Orders' to your different organizations, and how that either helps you or hampers you to deal with the developing battle. The chance to change or ignore the order originally given at the beginning of each turn gives a player the ability to possibly pull his irons from the fire. The game shows that command and control was not only the key to Napoleonic warfare, but could be the weak link in the chain during it. As the Allies, your Generals are pretty much 'fire and forget' weapons. They will usually not be able to adjust on the fly. The French Generals mostly have the ability to adjust to new situations and exploit them.

Thank you Acies Edizioni for letting me review this very good game about a battle that before this I had no real interest in. As usual, with a game about a battle or campaign I do not know enough about, I was forced to hit the books. This is the wonderful part of games that try to give the player exactly as it was historically, and not try to skew everything so that it is 'gamey'. 


Acies Edizioni:

Moravian Sun:

AWNT review of Wise Bayonets: