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29 June 2006

 Products Napoleon’s Triumph Design Diary Picture Show

Napoleon’s Triumph Design Diary: Picture Show

The last week has been occupied largely with tying up loose ends. There are a lot of little things that need to be done in order to get a game ready for the printer. Presented just as my "to-do" list, it would be rather dull, so I thought I’d give you a picture show of all the game components. Most of these have been presented before in one form or another in previous diary entries, but there are a few new things to show, and besides, this is the first time that it is all being put together in one place, so here we go:

Box Top The box top (click on the thumbnail to the left to open) was one of the first things covered by the design diary for this game, and is largely unchanged. One new thing here though is that you can now see all five external faces. This change allows you to see the only significant layout difference between this box and Bonaparte at Marengo, that the title text for Napoleon’s Triumph is on all five sides, whereas in Bonaparte at Marengo, it was only on three sides. The change was made so that the game would identifiable on a shelf no matter which side was facing out. Not a big deal; just a convenience feature that really should have been done for Bonaparte at Marengo as well.

Box Top The back of the box (click on the thumbnail to the left to open) is new. The text describes nothing that readers of this diary don’t already know, although I hope that you’ll think the picture of the game looks cool. That the text should have no new content is unsurprising when you consider that the back of the box and this website serve the same function: to give customers information about the product, although of course the back of the box has much less space in which to do it. This lack of space severely constrains what can be said, but the main things I wanted to hit were that the game is large, yet fast, and that it really looks nifty. Both points are conveyed in breathless prose intended to leave the reader with the conviction that life is not worth living unless he has a copy of the game of his very own (not that you, the reader of this diary, haven’t already reached that conclusion without even seeing the back of the box).

Box Top Also new are these images of the four sides of the bottom of the box (click on the thumbnail to the left to open). Friedrich used this space (which you can only see when the top is lifted off) to present some historical background information about the game, which I rather liked. (Friedrich’s designer said that he did not invent it, and I’m not sure who did, but whoever you are, good idea!) This surface has to be printed on anyway, since it is on the same sheet as the back of the box, so it might as well be put to some practical use. I decided to use it for a mini-history of the battle of Austerlitz, cut into four sections each of which is of correct length for the side of the box on which it is printed, and each accompanied by a tiny thumbnail map.

Stickers The sticker sheet (click on the thumbnail to the left to open) has been shown before. It is the same as last time, except that the intervals between the stickers have been opened up to make writing the spec for the die easier. (For those who don’t know, a die is a piece of metal used for stamping cuts into some material. “Die-cut” means just what you’d think: cut by a die.) The sticker sheet, incidentally, is 6" x 5". Two copies will be provided because it isn’t terribly difficult to mess up a sticker, and I thought that spares would save customers some stress.

Rules The rules (click on the thumbnail to the left to open) are an old and familiar friend by now to habitual readers of this diary. I’ve gotten very little feedback on the last draft of the rules (which I’m not sure is good or bad: it might mean that people can find very little wrong with them, or it might mean that people are just tired of proof-reading). One revision that I’ve made has been to replace a couple of the illustrations to prep the rules for printing. The two illustrations with command pieces in them were done in the 3D software I was using for development, but the application does a simply dreadful job of preparing anything for print, and so I traced over the images in the illustration program I used to get some that better matched the color and style of the other rules illustrations. There are, as with Bonaparte at Marengo, two copies of the rules in each game.

Map The map (click on the thumbnail to the left to open) is an even older and more familiar friend than the rules. The only change from last time is that the positions of the commanders in the forces displays have been moved from below the units to above them. The reason for this is that the command pieces don’t stand up by themselves (by design), and when placed too close to the edge of the board they tended to fall off it, which was rather a nuisance. This change corrects that small problem. Otherwise, same old, same old.

Marker The marker inventory for the game is 13 black markers, 1 blue, and 1 red. The spec for the markers is very loose (0.33" to 0.75" in diameter, .05" to .20" in thickness); for cost reasons I will be using some off-the-shelf component, but I don’t yet know what my choices will be or what the prices are. My first choice is to use wood, and if the cost is acceptable, that’s what I’ll do, otherwise, it will likely be plastic.

Command Piece The command piece (click on the thumbnail to the left to open) inventory for the game is 18 (9 Allied, 8 French, and 1 spare). The illustration is the one I drew up for the rules, and is a little rough as it was not intended to be shown at high magnification, but it does give you a good idea of the appearance of the pieces. I would have shown you a photograph, except for two problems: first, my camera really can’t do a satisfactory job of photographing such a small object, and second, the prototype pieces are quasi hand-made and deviate from the spec in several small ways that don’t matter for the purposes for which they were made, but which are quite apparent if closely examined. The production pieces will be made to much more exacting tolerances, but I have none of those to photograph (even if I had a camera that could take good pictures of them).

Wood Pieces The wooden pieces (click on the thumbnail to the left to open) for the game are very much the same design as was used in Bonaparte at Marengo, except for the presence of two new types of pieces: heavy cavalry and guard infantry. The total number of pieces in the game is 140 (67 French and 73 Allied), which includes spares for all the types of full-strength units. The wood pieces and the sticker sheet will be one of the more challenging parts of manufacturing the game, as the blue and red used in the commander name stickers will need to match the color used on the wooden pieces very closely or the resulting appearance will be off. (At least one person noticed that the prototype labels I printed don’t quite match the color of the units: never underestimate the sensitivity of the human eye to color changes!)

That’s about it for this diary entry. As always, I would still like to invite anyone who cares to do so to proof-read the above materials for errors. Feedback is welcome (comments can be sent by email to or posted to the Simmons Games thread at talk.consimworld.com).