Napoleon in Europe (game)

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Napoleon in Europe
Stephen Hawking
A game of Napoleon in Europe

Napoleon in Europe (abbreviated NiE) is a board wargame produced by Eagle Games in 2001. It combines elements of economy, politics, and military into victory. The map for the game was illustrated by the artist Paul Niemeyer.[1]

There are seven major nations to play as in NiE: France, Great Britain, Russia, Austria, Prussia, Spain, and the Ottoman Empire. When games are played, most of the time each country is given (in relative terms) the amount of troops it had historically. So France and Russia vastly outnumber the forces of second-stringer powers like the Ottomans.

Gameplay is similar to Risk, at least at the very bare bones. Each player has their own designated turn where they move, and then fight any combats that result from it. But there, the similarities end. Rather than randomly roll huge fistfuls of dice as Risk players do, fighting troops are transferred over to another, smaller board that simulates a battlefield, allowing for the game to be played on both a tactical and strategic level.

Noteworthy to mention are Political Action Points (PAPs). Unlike in other strategy games where one can randomly declare alliances and war, PAPs are a system that prevents such a thing from happening so easily. It costs one to do things like establish alliances, declare war, sue for peace, or even something as simple as annexing new territories into your empire. It also makes it harder for one to backstab an ally or declare war randomly, making for more historically accurate gameplay.

Unit types[edit]

Infantry: The mainstay of many armies, these doughty troops are moderately priced and can fulfill a wide variety of roles on the battlefield.

Cavalry: Fast and mobile, these troops are ideal to send out in large numbers to annex territories for your empire. On the battlefield, they make good shock troops.

Artillery: There's nothing quite so satisfying as having the power of a huge battery at your fingertips and blasting apart enemy troops. These units are fairly slow and expensive, but can have a devastating effect when used in conjunction with Cavalry effectively.

Leaders: Able to rally retreating troops or heroically lead charges, Leaders have a very defined, but useful, role in the game.

Naval Squadrons: These are used to transport troops and control the seas. This is Britain's area of expertise.

Elite Infantry: Bigger, better infantry, but also more expensive.

Militia: Cannon fodder, these troops are dirt cheap. However, you get what you pay for.

Light Infantry: Infantry with increased firepower, but vulnerable to charge combat.

Heavy Cavalry: Bigger, better cavalry, but also more expensive.

Irregular Cavalry: Cavalry that can't charge quite as well. Good for easy pursuit rolls.

Horse Artillery: Mobile cannons. Although these units can't fire quite as well as regular artillery, they're useful for getting the battle going quickly when used with Cavalry on the first battle turn.

Admirals: Ships with a bonus. Nothing too special here either.


France has the most manpower readily available, as is fitting its status in the Napoleonic Era. Its navy is moderate, and it is surrounded on all sides by enemies, with Austria to the east, Spain to the southwest, and Britain in the north. It is imperative to grab much of the land between France and Austria to act as a buffer zone of sorts and discourage Austrian aggression near the border. Similarly, Spain must be dealt with, either by allying with them early on or by sparing troops to guard the border. As for Britain, one must play like Napoleon, and get the help of other nations by turning them against the British, as Napoleon attempted to do.

Great Britain is another popular choice for a country. It has a solid economy, a great defensive position, and the best navy in the game. A British player is best suited to slowly building up on the island while playing the other nations off each other. Since most of Britain's money went to its navy rather than its army, the British can only build two land units per production turn, so your army will grow slowly. However, with all the bonuses attached to your navy, you can make a difference by controlling the seas. Also, Britain is the only country that can give money to other nations. Use this ability to finance a war you yourself don't want to fight in.

Russia, clear on the other side of the map, takes time to get going, but once it does, it's very hard to stop. Invaders will tend to stay out of Russia, especially early on thanks to Russia's attrition rule, which can cause invading armies to take casualties by remaining in Russia for too long. Use this to fortify yourself accordingly, and when the time is right, spill out of Russia and with the aid of either Prussia, Austria, and/or the Ottomans, move westward and grab any land you can. Don't draw yourself too far out, though, and always have troops guarding Moscow and St. Petersburg. Your navy will be minor at best, so it is best to use this force to guard the port at St. Petersburg from invading armies.

Austria is the fourth major power, and is often taken quickly. Despite its position between Prussia, France, the Ottomans, and Russia, Austria has advantages in its manpower and the great amount of land up for grabs between it and France. Early on in the game, the entire Italian peninsula more often than not falls to Austria. Invest your money in land units and PAPs rather than navies. In addition to having only one port, it's natural to have Britain as an ally anyway and their navies can take care of things. Prussia is the one to watch, as the two are so close to each other.

Prussia is often overlooked as a good Power, and in some respects they should be. With only four territories, they are the smallest country, making it easy to defend, but even easier to be conquered. The saving grace is in how valuable the capital of Berlin is. Thanks to its worth, Prussia is able to compete economically with Spain, a country twice its size with a capital worth not even a quarter as much. Recommended offensives would be against Austria, whose capital of Vienna sits very close to your own, and France, who might not expect such a backlash from such a small nation.

Spain shares Russia's attrition rule, starts out with a semi-solid navy, and moderate amounts of troops. But there, the usefulness ends. Spain's position is truly terrible, and only a skilled politician and strategist will be able to survive with them. Early on, one has to choose their loyalty: will it be to France, or to Britain? Many choose France, as the land troops are a more immediate threat, but having Britain blockade you is not a very comforting thought either. A favored tactic is to ally with France, and when troops are taken away from the Franco-Spanish border, blitz the capital of Paris.

The Ottoman Empire has a terrible economy, a rickety navy, and can only purchase militia and irregular cavalry for its armies. Yet, they are still a fighting contender. Their troops are cheap, and therefore numerous, and if the Ottomans enter a war at the right time, they can be precisely what tips the scales in favor of one side. It is almost always certain that in a seven-player game and there are two three-person alliances, whoever the Ottomans join will win through sheer numbers. Starting off with a sizeable cavalry force, the prime target for the Ottoman Empire should be northern Africa, which most of the other countries will avoid, save for Spain.


  1. ^ Baran-Unland, Denise (January 12, 2012), "Homer Glen man's art part of video games, board games", The Herald-News, archived from the original on October 18, 2012, retrieved 2012-01-15 

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