Yesterday, during the era of Napoleon's reign, two armies fought against each other. The hills were held by brave English soldiers. They were vastly outnumbered by the advancing French forces. Who would be victorious?
Napoleonics is a two player game where each player takes over the command of one side. From the accompanying material a scenario is picked and with tokens resembling terrain features the map is laid out. Then the starting lay out of each army is done, which can highly differ. Once that is done command cards are drawn from a pile.
Each turn a player can play one command card from their hand. This is the first time luck comes into play. The cards differ by either giving the commanding player the ability to order troops in a certain position, that is either left flank, middle or right flank (or any combination thereof) and limiting the amount of troops being ordered. Or by giving the ability to order troops of a kind.
Simplified example: "left flank (3)" would allow a player to order three troops from the left flank whilst "any 4 infantry" would allow a player to choose from any area of the battlefield.
This highly limits the possibilities a commander has available, obviously. In addition each troop has it's own features. Infantry can shoot at range two while cannons can target enemies up to range 5. Cavalry can be devastating against infantry, while having no possibility to shoot at range. Wounded troops are less effective than full strength units and so on.
Combat will be done by rolling six sided dice. The different units are resembled on the dice with some additions. To keep it simple: if the defending units symbol shows up they take one hit.
The turns alternate and new cards are drawn for every played card, refreshing the options one has. Victory conditions vary by scenario, either by defeating the enemy's forces or by gaining victory points.
A game lasts for about 45 to 60 minutes, if rules are known.
In this scenario historically the British forces were able to fend off the French and despite a very brave move by the French player, accumulating 4 victory points in one single move bringing them up to 6, the British player countered by gaining 3, thus moving up to 7 and winning.