Saturday, June 1, 2013

Anticipating -- Napoleon 4th Edition. Some thoughts on the new box

We appear to be just days away from having the new, 4th Edition of Napoleon in our hands. An eagerly anticipated development, to be sure.

Today Columbia Games revealed the new box art -- and I have mixed feeling, to tell the truth.

New Cover
 It's not that there's anything wrong with the new box art, although it doesn't knock me out, it is more consistent with the style of more recent Columbia box art.

And it's not that the old box art was great. Indeed,

AH edition
the image used most previous editions of Napoleon is actually a pretty odd one to use for a game about the Hundred Days campaign, which was Napoleon in the twilight of his career. The painting used as the basis for the earlier Napoleon games shows the very young General Bonaparte at the very beginning of his career. Painted by Jacques-Louis David in five versions between 1800 and 1805, it shows Napoleon Crossing The Alps. It's quite the famous painting, but it rather obviously has nothing to do with the Waterloo campaign.

Still, it's a very dramatic and well-known image and has been associated with the game for more than 30 years, so the change is kind of surprising.

Jacque-Louis David: Napoleon Crossing the Alps
4th Edition
The new image is similar to the portrait style covers we have seen in many recent Columbia titles such as Crusader Rex and Richard III and not one of the the the "battle scene" covers that have also been pretty common in CG offerings of late such as Julius Caesar. Nearly all recent Columbia Games have emphasized the "Great man" at the center of the game's theme and when older games such as Napoleon and Quebec 1759 have been updated the trend has been to add leaders to the order of battle when they didn't exist before. One of the major design elements of the 3rd Edition which was retained for the 4th Edition are leader blocks for Napoleon, Blucher and Wellington.

I'm enough of a traditionalist that I think I would have preferred to see the old, iconic if anachronistic, Napoleon cover retained for the new edition, but I don't think the idea of a change is unwarranted. That said, the new cover doesn't really win me over, either and if there had to be achange I would have preferred something a little more dynamic.

No comments:

Post a Comment