Review: Legion of Honor

Review: Legion of Honor

[We’ve got an unusual review for you this week! Legion of Honor is part wargame, part storytelling game, all labour of love. Images courtesy of BoardGameGeek.]

Thrower: Amongst the carrion on the field of Waterloo lay the body of Major Cholet. He was a favourite of Napoleon, having helped uncover a plot to assassinate the Emperor, but through ill luck, and an unfortunate penchant for duelling, he never managed to translate that favour into promotion to the highest echelons of the French army. Had things been different he might have been remembered as the hero of a famous French victory at Mont St Jean. Instead, his entrails are a feast for the crows.

Still, at least this way he never had to suffer the ignominy of the world realising that he was named after a womble.

This is Legion of Honor, the card game of career soldiering in Napoleon’s Grand Armee. Except that really it’s more of a competitive role-playing, story-telling game with cards. Think Tales of the Arabian Nights, if you took away the Rocs and Sorcerers and replaced them with garrison duty and overbearing Sergeant-Majors.

Like a garlic and gunpowder-smelling Arabian Nights, it’s also a game in which decision making plays a limited part in determining the winner. If your character survives all the way to Waterloo with nary a medal or a franc to his name, he can still win an instant victory by drawing one lucky card from the battle deck. And unlike Arabian Nights, this can happen after nine hours of play, instead of three. So if you dislike the idea of a nine-hour game that can be won by a lucky card in the final turn, walk away now.

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