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Battles of Napoleon

DOS - 1989

Also released on: Apple II - Commodore 64

Alt name Battles of Napoleon: A Construction Set
Year 1989
Platform DOS
Released in United States
Genre Strategy
Theme Historical Battle (specific/exact), Turn-based, Turn-based strategy
Publisher Strategic Simulations, Inc.
Developer Strategic Simulations, Inc.
Perspective Top-Down
Dosbox support Supported on 0.61
4.29 / 5 - 17 votes

Description of Battles of Napoleon

Released in 1991, this is a very realistic war game on the most famous battles of Napoleon's career -- the game comes with Borodino, Waterloo, Quatre Bras, and Auerstadt, but you can design your own ones. You have the ability to play as either the French or the Allies, and all aspects of the battles are here -- cavalry charges, artillery barrages, infantry squares, and so on.

The EGA Graphics are pretty good, despite the age of the game. Downsides to the game are the STEEP learning curve -- the manual is over 100 pages in length -- no mouse support, and horrible sounding PC Speaker sounds.

If you are looking for a good war game on Napoleon's battles, and have the patience to learn this, this is the best game out there.

Review By HOTUD

External links

Comments and reviews

Kondor999 2023-04-09 1 point

I’ve been playing Napoleonic wargames (board games and computer) for 40 years, and this is still the best. It actually has a very good UI (once you get past the archaic appearance), so it’s easy to issue orders to lots of units.

As far as a “tutorial”, the best one is to actually read about Napoleonic tactics. Not until I learned about how the real commanders used the combination of infantry, cavalry and artillery was I able to master this (or any other) Napoleonic wargame.

Such a tutorial is beyond the scope of this small review, but here’s some tips:

Infantry: Used to take and hold objectives. Only they can close assault, and then *hold* a piece of ground.

Cavalry: Used to threaten infantry, force it to form square and go on the defensive. Infantry in square is practically invulnerable to cavalry, but can’t move or effectively defend itself against infantry or (especially) artillery.

Artillery: Infantry may be the “Queen of the Battlefield”, but artillery is the “God of War”. To be effective, it needs to be focused on key enemy units (meaning: at a key part of the line) and is best employed in a grand battery (lots of them close together). Don’t bother with counterbattery fire in general. Use horse artillery in concert with your cavalry to blast enemy squares at close range.

So, to recap:

Use Cavalry to threaten infantry and kill their mobility by forcing them to worry they’ll get charged. When they form square, hit them with artillery fire and use horse artillery close up (they’ll fire canister, which is devastating). Meanwhile, move up your infantry to assault the enemy infantry, which has been worn down and harassed the entire time by your other forces.

Of course, there’s more to it, because the enemy will be trying to do the same to you. You’ll have to hold back some cavalry to countercharge and “cover” your infantry. And if the enemy has more cavalry, you’ll have to find a way to neutralize them (hint: drawing them into fruitless charges against infantry squares will cause them to become disordered, which takes time to recover from and will eventually render them ineffective).

The fact that all of this real-world tactical technique actually, you know, works within the game is the highest praise I can give this magisterial little DOS game. It has never been surpassed, except graphically.

I have no idea why someone doesn’t buy the game rights and simply repackage it with modern graphics. All the really hard work has been done already. Even the AI is (somehow) better than most modern wargames. If you’re into Napoleonic grand tactical, this is pretty much the pinnacle.

However, you can also check out the (vastly more expensive) Napoleonic series from WDS. They have a good system, but tbh I prefer the UI and fast play of Battles of Napoleon. I just wish the graphics weren’t so crude. An age which was conspicuous for its military gallantry and pageantry deserves better!

aaqarab 2023-02-06 0 point

Thank you , the Pilgrim, for your advices, you are right, still nowadays a difficult game but fantastic once you know how to play it.

The Pilgrim 2019-11-13 7 points DOS version

This little gem is still interesting nowadays, as no one makes turn-based operational-level tactical strategic games any longer.
The main problem of this game is the steep leaning curve. This game comes from before Tutorials were invented, and the scenario proposed by the game manual to begin, Borodino, is already a challenge. It is very easily to get wiped out in your first battle and get frustrated with the game. But if you manage to master Borodino, the learning curve goes downhill from there.
In order to help newcomers get the ropes of the game, I'll provide some advice:

1) The Borodino Scenario:
You have to lead an uphill charge against a heavily fortified enemy position. A hell of a way to introduce you to a game, doesn't it? The newbie mistake here is to charge across the open field and get all your units butchered and routed by the russian artillery fire.
Now, if you study the Line-of-Sight from the russian-held redoubt, you'll notice that there are a lot of blind spots you can use to bypass the Redoubt north and south, mass your forces in it's rear and launch a massive assault to overpower the Redoubt's defenses.
But before assaulting the Redoubt, there are a few things you must do. First, you must clear the hill from all other russian troops. Soften them with your artillery then evict them with cavalry charges. You need also to keep at bay the russian reinforcements coming from the west. Cavalry charges may buffer them down, but Cavalry can't hold ground in this game, so you will need a few infantry to take and hold the two victory objectives behind the Redoubt. Note that half your cavalry is armed with muskets and can dismount and act as infantry to help this purpose.
At the third turn you will get reinforcements, but you have no time to do much with them except launch them charging across the field directly to the Redoubt at turn 4. Time this charge with side and rear infantry charges from your surrounding forces (cavalry can't charge into redoubts, woods or towns). The russian artillery will be forced to fire either to your reinforcements or your encircling force, and the one that doesn't gets mauled will be able to overpower the Redoubt. Clearing the Redoubt and holding at least one of the objectives behind it should be enough to yeld you a Major Victory.

2) Auerstadt
This is basically a pursuit battle. You clash with the Prussian Army at the start, then after it melts down you must relentlessly chase it to the western edge of the map. In this battle you will learn to exploit gaps in the enemy formation, keep up pressure, and guard yourself from enemy cavalry charges.

3) Quatre-Bras
Your objective here is to take and hold the big town with the crossroads, at the north of the map. The initial dutch defenders are easy to overcome, but after you reach Quatre-Bras, the high quality british reinforcements can maul your tired troops if you overextend your offensive. Trying to go to the far-end victory objectives is a trap, you can get a Major Victory by just taking and holding Quatre-Bras. In this scenario you will learn to guard your advance from enemy counter-attacks, preventing yourself from overexhausting your troops.

4) Waterloo
Now it's time to put together everything you learnt from the previous four scenarios. At Waterloo, you need to storm two enemy strongholds, like you learnt at Borodino. You will clash head-on with the british and will have to create and exploit gaps, like in Auerstadt (tough the British line is way tougher to crack), and avoid fatigating your troops too much and hold against counter-attacks, like at Quatre-Bras.

After you have beaten all those four scenarios, you fully master the mechanics of the game and can proceed to the battles in the Scenario Disks.

MikeChicago 2018-04-27 0 point

You have to change the executable from r-bon to the actual game.

ia 2017-08-09 0 point

I can start it in DodBox, but it keeps asking me to insert floppy or game disk, but the file doesn't show up, so I'm stuck.

Any idea's?

Walter 2017-06-05 1 point DOS version

A crack is included in this download. Run "R-BON.COM" in the folder from DosBox. You only need to do it once. After that whenever you run "Start.exe" and is prompted for a password, just type in anything. How did I found out? I saw someone on YouTube starting this game by randomly typing anything, then I found the only executable beside Start.exe. Ran it, game don't start. But I don't need a password ever since! By the way, just got this to run from my android tablet. Now I'm a Napoleonic gameboy! Vive l'empereur!

admin 2017-05-10 2 points

Thx Arnie Frantz for scenario disks !

JoeBlow 2015-09-19 0 point Commodore 64 version

It looks better on the commodore 64 version.

Kevin 2014-04-15 0 point DOS version

I found the rule book on the internet. If you have not played you need to read it anyway. Very detailed. Graphics suck but it is a great game.

Gomer 2013-02-10 2 points DOS version

Can not play it keeps asking me for a first letter from the rule book and a random page each time I try to activate it from dos box. Please help it looks really cool.

Mike 2011-04-03 1 point DOS version

It was a good game. I played it a lot of times. Very realistic game system.

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