Thursday, 25 July 2013

Waterloo played solo

Dr. Dennis M.D. , a wargaming buddy of mine, called me up to say he wanted to come over and that I get a game together yesterday.  Well I had the Waterloo set up still on the table. The French were set up and the Allies were 'blocked' out with raw wood stands:

So took my war of 1812 units and placed them on the blocks to fill the empty stands. 
The mass of the Allied cavalry which took all my few war of 1812 horse to fill in.  With 4 on a element, the metal horses made the stands quite heavy!  I guess I am getting used to the extremely light plastics.

However, as our conversation ranged from details about my wargame rooms, the game's basing scheme, his medical practice, and his upcoming trip alone by train across the country and such, we did not actually get to the game!

So like Geri in the delightful Pixar animated short film (link) I have proceeded to playtest the rules solo commanding both sides the best I could.

Waterloo: the wargame.  From the rear of the French army.  Hougomont to the left center, Plancenoit to the lower right, la Haye Saint upper middle.
Reille's corps has taken the woods and are attacking Hougomont

Wellington's center [PO written on the green tape is for the Prince of Orange, the commanding officer/player of that particular element following the historical order of battle]
"D'Erlon's attack"  (yes, yes, I used poor McDonald's command labels as they were already attached)
 the Waterloo battlefield was a very small area, even commented at the time.  Very little room to maneuver as you can see that between Hougomont to the left and la Haye Sainte and d'Erlon's attacker on the right leaves a very tight space for Kellermann's heavy cavalry, the Guard artillery, and the Guard Infantry to make a desired combined arms attack on the Allied center.  This is one of the reasons why in the real battle, the attacks were so piecemeal.  The randomness of movement in our rules actually made coordinated attacks very difficult to do. Only good planning by players can make them happen.  A good thing that; makes the player a General not a guy just moving lead/plastic.
The French pioneer departing after failing to axe through the Hougomont farm gate.  Based on the famous incident of the battle, the special rule allow one element to have a one-time plus modifier in combat against the defenders of the farm. In this case the British Foot Guards rolled even higher to defeat the attempt at victory.  The Foot Guards in the farmhouse are a very hard nut to crack!
Reille's elements taking "casualties"
I will not bore you with all the AAR details thus far.  Well, OK, one incident: the infamous Bijandt's brigade "breaking" did not occur as they withstood a brief bombardment from the French Grand Battery until the battery limbered to move for the infantry and help in support. The Belgians eventually were purposely withdrawn. (although again some British might ungraciously suggest 'running' to avoid the French onslaught.  History repeating itself?  Good to see on the table though! ) Although in all honesty they would have be "destroyed" if left on the wrong side of the slope as they were historically.

Oh and one more:  As suggested in the comments above, the British Foot Guards are hanging on to Hougomont.  One of Reille's brigades was destroyed while others are pounded down.  Again historical results thus far. 


  1. I like it, Doug. I think you've capture the feel of the battle with 28mm figs on a reduced ground scale, so to speak. Dean

    1. We are in essence, playing a 6mm ruleset style game with 28mm figures. From your reaction along with all the players in our game at Enfilade this year, it would seem it works and viewers comment that it looks really good. Wargaming will always be a compromise of scales.
      Thanks for the comments

  2. Nice looking game and pictures! Thanks for sharing!


  3. My main wargaming effort is toward the 100 Days Campaign. And so Waterloo is on the list of to-do games. Not as boring as one might imagine despite the oft-published history of it. Thinking of playing it "straight" and then with the same players, the "open" version. Could prove interesting.