Wargamer: Napoleon 1813

By Richard Moore


Austerlitz: The Rise of the Eagle - the premier play-by-email Napoleonic wargame


The year 1813 saw the war-weary France of Napoleon Bonaparte under siege, as the often-beaten armies of Russia, Prussia and Austria joined forces with Sweden to bring down the Great Thief of Europe once and for all.

After 20 years of almost constant warfare and the massive losses from the disastrous Invasion of Russia the previous year, France had been bled white.

Its feared armies were desperately short of equipment and manpower and, to make matters worse, the quality of the new recruits could not match the veteran grognards who had marched and died in previous campaigns.

As the vultures gathered, Napoleon could only hope to buy time to retrain his forces and try to give those with the smell of his regime's death some bloody noses - to make them remember that even a crippled eagle has sharp talons.

A series of battles followed - Lutzen, Bautzen, Dresden - and while the French took the honours in those, the weight of numbers became too great.

The 1813 campaign culminated at Leipzig, where almost 200,000 men under Napoleon faced off against 400,000 Russians, Swedes, Austrians and Prussians. Known as the Battle of Nations, Leipzig was a three-day clash of the Titans, in which the best the French could hope for was to hurt their enemies so much they would sue for peace.

Napoleon 1813 is a hugely ambitious project from Empire that tries to cover the massive scale of the strategic and tactical clash of military giants in central Europe.

There are two levels to the game - at the strategic army operation level - and down in the mud, where you become the battlefield general deciding on your force's tactics.

There are six campaigns - The Grand Campaign I (without Napoleon), Grand Campaign II (with Napoleon), Spring 1813, Napoleon Against Europe (where a new enemy Austria has joined the latest coalition), Autumn 1813 and the Roads to Leipzig.

Each campaign has you as the overall commander of either French or Allied forces and you can manoeuvre your forces around in real time to counter threats from the opposition and, when you are ready, hit them with an all-out assault.

Once battle is joined you get the choice of having the computer calculate the result, based on the leaders and troop numbers involved, or else moving to a tactical map where you can be hands on with the fighting.

The tactical map allows you to change formations and get stuck in to the nitty-gritty of warfare, but its control is very similar to some of the early sprites-on-battlefield days and, as such, the battles are somewhat unsatisfying.

Still, you can pick from a series of rarely covered battles - Lutzen, Bautzen, Katzbach, Dresden, Leipzig, Wauchau, Dennewitz and Liebertwolkwitz - and while they give you a pretty good work out, serious Napoleonic buffs will find the campaign details make for more interesting gameplay.

Moving units around is easy, just a drag and drop them across the map, then when you want to issue them orders right click on the icon.

From there it's a matter of working out whether you want your forces to attack, lay siege, build forts even force a march to assist a more-threatened area or garrison a town.

You can change the aggression levels - so that even your most historically agro commander turns tail and avoids the enemy, or a timid leader can be turned into a psycho run-through-anything type who will die rather than give ground.

Graphically, Napoleon 1813 is lovely. The screen is very well laid out and will give you not only an overview of the strategic situation, but also four levels of main-map detail allowing for close-in decision making.

It has a nice design touch that almost gives off the feel of a parchment map. The interface is a tad daunting at first - it is very detailed - but once you get the hang of it, operating within the system becomes pretty natural.

All up, Napoleon 1813 is a testing and addictive look at the Liberation of Germany and is a worthy addition to any Napoleonic software library.


Napoleon Bonaparte
Career Portraits
Quotes Family
Loves Letters
Plots Murdered?
His will Places
Era of Napoleon
Powers Opponents
Coalitions Allies
People Timelines
Key sites Shrapnel
Campaigns Battles
Armies Generals
Marshals Winners
Glossary Medical
Weapons 1812 War
Uniforms Battlefields
War at Sea
Naval War Heroes
Artworks Signals
Nelson Trafalgar
Key Maps Peninsula
Animated 1796/1800
1809 Russia
French Revolution
Revolution Guillotine
Posters People
Art, Film, Games
Education Goya
Sharpe Hornblower
Books Movies
DVDs Music
Wargames Images
Cartoons Caricatures
About Us Sources
Awards Sitemap
Links Militaria
Miniatures Reenactors
Forum Quizzes
Home Waterloo Diorama
Copyright Richard Moore 1999-2017 | Privacy Policy | Contact Us