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Bonaparte at Marengo: Questions and Answers

If you have any questions that aren't answered below, send them to .

BoxGeneral questions.

Is the game shipping now?


Can I buy the game in retail stores or other resellers?

Yes. Until recently the game was available only through direct sales, but sales through dealers and distributers have begun (contact the retail stores in your area to determine whether they stock the game). For all questions regarding direct order policies, go here.

Are there any more games using this system?

None available right now. There are others in various stages of development, but no specific games or dates have yet been announced.

How long does the game take to play?

On the order of two hours for a complete game. Less of course if one side loses early.

Can the game be played solitaire?

People are doing it. Solitaire playability is definitely reduced by the fact that the strengths and types of pieces are normally kept hidden from your opponent, but it still can be done.

Who is the designer?

Bowen Simmons.

In the rules languages links, why is the US flag used for English instead of the UK flag?

Because the English used is American, not British English (i.e. - ‘colour’ is misspelled as ‘color’, etc.).

BoardQuestions about the board.

Is the map white?

No. It is actually a light green. Color reproduction on computer displays is not completely accurate.

Which way on the map is north?

If you have the map oriented so that the names of the cities are right-side up, you have it oriented with north towards the top (more or less - the map is actually slightly angled and the direction to the top is actually closer to north-northwest).

PiecesQuestions about the pieces.

The Austrian army wore white uniforms. Why are the Austrian pieces red?

Several reasons. First, the general visual style of the game imitates 19th century battlefield maps, in which almost invariably one side was represented in blue and the other red. You can read more about the genesis of the game in the design notes here. Second, red and blue are high-contrast colors, whereas most other colors create visual problems with regard to the map. White pieces are especially problematic.

Couldn’t white pieces be made more visible by changing the color of the map?

Yes, a colored background can be used to bring out white, but if it is strongly colored enough for that to happen, the map becomes visually too loud - other map elements have to be strongly colored as well or they won’t show, and the map becomes just too visually strong: everything shouts “LOOK AT ME!” People look at game boards for hours at a time; you really want it to be restful looking. Strong colors should only be used in spots and only for important things. The most important things are the pieces, so they get the strong, high-contrast colors. One more thing to consider is that white shows minor manufacturing imperfections and dirt too easily. After a few games, the French might have a pretty good idea what the Austrians were doing.

RulesQuestions about the rules.

Are the rules available in any language besides English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Chinese?

Not at this time. No other languages are being actively sought, but if you'd like to volunteer to do a translation into some other language, contact . We’d like to hear from you.

What happens if a piece is blocking an approach and the enemy pieces vacate the opposite locale in the friendly player’s turn?

The printed rules are unclear on this point, and should be understood as follows:

A piece may not move to block an approach unless the locale opposite that approach is enemy-occupied. Should the enemy pieces later leave the opposite locale, the blocking pieces must move into reserve - they cannot remain and continue to block the approach. Such blocking pieces may move into reserve in the same locale without it counting against the command limit, but if they move into the opposite locale, the move does count against the command limit. If the enemy pieces left in the enemy turn, the blocking pieces must leave in the next friendly turn; if the enemy pieces left in the friendly turn, then the blocking pieces must leave in that same friendly turn (NOTE: if the blocking pieces had already moved in that turn, they still must move out, but they must move back into reserve in the same locale; they cannot proceed into the opposite locale).

Is the one strength assault defense penalty for demoralized pieces per piece or per assault?

Per piece. If two demoralized pieces are defending a wide approach together against an assault, the total penalty for the assault is -2 (-1 per piece) rather than -1 (-1 per assault).

Is cavalry pursuit strength affected by demoralization?


What happens to an assault if the attacker becomes demoralized during the assault?

The printed rules are silent on this point. The omission is corrected as follows:

If an army becomes demoralized during an assault in which it is the attacker, that assault is completed before the ban on demoralized armies conducting assaults is applied. If the demoralization occured during defensive artillery fire, the demoralized attacking pieces are under a one-strength point penalty (per piece) in calculating their assault strength in that assault.

To move together as a group, do pieces have to be moved at the same time?

Yes, but the rules imply rather than state it, and so have been amended.

Can different pieces use road movement across the same approach on the same road in the same turn, but going in different directions?

No. The rules have been amended to state this explicitly.

Can pieces moving by road move out-of-order (i.e. the piece crossing an approach using its first move moving after another piece crossing that approach using its second move?

No. The rules have been amended to state this explicitly.

Is there any point to continuing to play after one side has been demoralized?

Only for fun. At that point the game is almost always over and except in extremely rare situations the player whose army is demoralized army cannot win and might as well resign. The rules for play after demoralization are only there so that players can play out the pursuit of a demoralized army if they feel like doing so. A note has been added to the rules to this effect.

Can an artillery piece forced to move after a bombardment because there are no enemy pieces opposite it advance into the opposite locale?

The original rules allow this, but it makes more sense if the artillery piece is forced to move back into reserve, so the rules have been changed to this effect. (Thanks to Miikka Rytty for suggesting this change!)

Can a piece that is forced to move back into reserve because there are no enemy pieces in the opposite locale move again that turn?

No. The move didn't have a command cost because it was not a voluntary move, but it is still a move; the piece cannot move a second time that turn.

If the Austrians move by road into a French set-up locale, but move out of it before the start of the French turn, does that still trigger French activation?

Yes it does. In the original printed rules, the answer to this question was no; but that was a loophole in the rules that has since been closed.

Can a cavalry unit use continuation along a primary road to block an approach in the locale in which it starts its move (and so avoid paying a command for the move)?

In the original printed rules, the answer to this question was no: continuation could not be used in the locale in which a cavalry piece started its move. That rule, however, has been changed to make the rules on continuation more consistent and it is now allowed.

The rules state that after a maneuver attack is blocked, some or all of the attacking pieces may advance – if an attacking group is split to do this, does it cost an additional command?

Yes. The original printed rules were silent on this point, but have now been clarified.

Are there any changes between the downloaded and printed version that are not noted here?

Yes. Some minor typos have been corrected, but these have no material effect on the play of the game; if you have read the changes here, you know all the changes that affect how the game is played.

Is there a version of the rules available which has the above clarifications in it?

Yes. The version you can download from this site has them. Clarifications from the original printed rules are in red for easy reference. You can download the rules in PDF format in English, German, French and Spanish.

What is the current version number of the rules?

The current version of all the rules is 2006.04.09. The version number is on the cover; if there is no version number on your copy, you have the initial version of the rules.

For more about Bonaparte at Marengo, click on any of the icons below:

Open the Box
Open the Box
Unfold the Board
Unfold the Board
Study the Map
Study the Map
Get out the Pieces
Get out the Pieces
Learn to Play
Learn to Play
Q&A and More...?
Q&A & more...