Very good game overall and I can tell you it's the first time, since a few games I bought, that I give such a praise.
Took me a few games to win my first one at Normal level so that AI does well enough.
Now there are a few things that I feel should be part of an update:
- Some Event cards shouldn't be repeatable like: Creating Kingdoms and the like. Once played then maybe replace the card by something else like Raising Minor Country troops for free or more Skirmish/Horse Artillery/Hvy Cavalry and the like. Feels a bit strange that you can recreate an entity that you have already created.
- Force March event card should allow to move through enemy controlled regions as long as not engaging in combat. When Napoleon did rush from the Channel to Vienna it was not through French controlled regions.
- Storms are really powerful cards for the French, a bit too powerful to be frank as if you have 2 of those and build a bit of fleets then invading English becomes quite easy. On my sense one card would be enough with 10%-25% instead of 15%-35% then maybe make the French fleets a bit better by allowing as many ships on both sides. Then replace the other card Storm with "Improved Ships building" that can raise Fleet strength to 4 for two units. Maybe one or two more like this instead of getting repeatable creating kingdoms as well. This would render the Naval war a bit more interesting. As one time I did attack 9 British ships with a fleet of 20 French and was wiped out very easily. So overall I don't bother about fleets anymore and just go to destroy Austria, then Prussia, then Austria,... and win the game.
- Make the British AI a bit better. I had the Irish revolt card which is a fun one but doesn't last for long if the Brits have the necessary troops. But once I just did send reinforcement from Belgium each turn and there was no naval interdiction so I kept Ireland from 1800 till 1815. When that card is played the British should always try to have 1-3 ships in the Irish sea to prevent the French from sending troops there. Unless, in the unlikely event, the French rules the waves. Same thing for Russia, at one point I could destroy the Russian navy and then send troops in and out to St Petersburg without the British bothering about it. Overall the British should always try to send 1 ship to a sea when a French army comes close to a loading area.
- In the same game about the Irish revolt mentioned above that happened on turn 1, the British then did focus on Ireland for the rest of the game ignoring everything else. So I could keep Egypt as well and ended up with 80+ political point by the end of the game. I was lucky on the first battle in Ireland that 3 militia scored three kill on the first three shots of the battle but even so the British should focus first on Egypt as Ireland is not strategically important and make sure to block reinforcement by sea by the French.
- That makes it to the next part: the British army. Here it grows to a nice army in a few years so you have the British landing in Europe from time to time while they didn't quite do it but in Portugal/Spain and at the end with Waterloo. The British army should be limited to Egypt/Spain/Portugal/Italy till 3 powers are at war with France at the same time. In this game you can see everything everywhere but at that time it was not the case so landing somewhere was always a risk.
- Maybe some sort of Fog of War for the player and the AI could be an interesting addition but not a must. Just an idea.
- Retreats when the AI/Player loses a battle. I was many time surprised that the defeated army was retreated forward instead of back from where it was coming from or back to it's supply lines. So at the beginning I ended up losing Vienna because attacking the Austrian who then retreated near Vienna and took it back at his turn destroying my garrison. I can understand that when you retreat before a combat which could be like outmaneuvering me but not after I'm getting a crushing victory.
- At one time I managed to keep Egypt then when attacking the Ottoman, took Istanbul, the Ottoman surrendered, I lost Egypt somehow in the peace and then couldn't declare war back against the Ottoman anymore. That seems like a bug to me.
Love the game, the tactical combat is nice and simple enough for the AI while you still need some strategy using the different troops and as you mention in the update the risk that you have if facing cavalry/artillery and infantry. Love that getting in Square after a cavalry charge makes you vulnerable to infantry/artillery fire and so on. Very nicely done.
Now the simplified combat for land/navy is a bit frustrating when you have a very small army/navy against a very big one.
I can understand that you might think not wanting a crushing victory from the start but it is what would happen in reality anyway. So I think there should be at least one line for the Infantry/Cavalry and a second one for the artillery at least. I find it odd to be 20 against 6 and then loose 1 or 2 artillery because they are in the front line. Then as mentioned above having 20 French ships against 9 to end up being destroyed piece by piece because it's 6 French ships of value 3 against 7 British ships of value 4. Adding a second line there as well would feel better.