Wargames To Go 5 - Waterloo notes
Mark Johnson
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Scratchpad geeklist for Waterloo games I'll try to play for the next WGTG episode.

Anyone who reads this should feel free to add their own comments, whether game-specific, relating to the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon, or just my podcast. It helps make for a more informed episode and host!

Here are some things I'm looking for or thinking about in a Waterloo game (in no particular order). Some of them make more sense for a battlefield, grand tactical scale for a wargame, others for an operational scale

• Hougoumont plays a pivotal role anchoring Allied right
• Le Haye Sainte (and perhaps Sandpit) are a central battleground
• Heavy rain on morning delays battle/limits artillery
• Imperial Guard isn't committed early or easily
• Prussian arrival is uncertain (if it happens at all, where, and when)
• Cavalry charges & pursuit
• Infantry squares
• Napoleon's operational plan to fix the Allies at Quatre Bras, defeat Prussians at Ligny, then defeat the Allies
• Road network limits movement & operational choices
• Grouchy's detachment, both its missing strength and its uncertain position

Good Napoleon quotes about war and battle are at http://www.napoleonguide.com/maxim_war.htm
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1. Board Game: Waterloo 20 [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:3982]
Mark Johnson
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Sure, you can drive a truck through the gaps between counters, but that's not horrible at this scale. Lots of good chrome and design-for-effect in here.

• Hougoumont: Yes, even at this scale
• Le Haye Sainte: Yes, even at this scale
• Wedather: Yes, both historic & variable
• Imperial Guard: Yes, in a coarse but significant way
• Prussian arrival: Yes, and more. Also their dispersal or whatever after Ligny
• Cavalry: Yes, more as campaign scouts/pursuers
• Infantry squares: Not at this scale
• Nap's op plan: Very much so. Strategy of the central position.
• Road network: very much so
• Grouchy: Yes, though not easy to replicate history's bungles
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2. Board Game: W1815 [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:2083]
Mark Johnson
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I'm amazed at how well this spartan design captures the drama and some decisions of the historic battle. But I miss the maneuvering.

• Hougoumont: Yes, significant
• Le Haye Sainte: yes, significant
• Weather: No, or rather the historic effects are built in
• Imperial Guard: Yes, a critical decision
• Prussian arrival: Yes, more as a game timer than tactical element
• Cavalry: Yes, their unique battlefield role & uncontrollability
• Infantry squares: Yes, in response to cab
• Nap's op plan: No, this is just the battlefield
• Road network: No, this is just the battlefield
• Grouchy: No
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3. Board Game: Victory at Waterloo [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:8134]
Mark Johnson
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About as simple as you can get for a battlefield game. NAW is an obvious comparison, and this is better.


• Hougoumont: Yes, a very tough nut
• Le Haye Sainte: Yes, as above
• Weather: I don't remember...
• Imperial Guard: Yes, barely distinguished
• Prussian arrival: Yes, with significant map area to the east
• Cavalry: Yes, though mostly as lighter, faster troops
• Infantry squares: No
• Nap's op plan: No, this is just the battlefield
• Road network: No, this is just the battlefield
• Grouchy: No
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4. Board Game: Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815 [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:1046]
Mark Johnson
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It's been a year or two since I played, so going from memory...



Simply amazing how the relatively simple rules and components capture so much of what's important, whether it's fog of war about opposing strength, road networks, different Coalition supply bases, or cav-art-inf combined arms tactics.

• Hougoumont: Not at this scale
• Le Haye Sainte: Not at this scale
• Weather: Not really
• Imperial Guard: Yes, but just as stronger troops
• Prussian arrival: Yes, and more (e.g. their supply base)
• Cavalry: Yes, both as campaign scouts and battlefield charges
• Infantry squares: Yes, with RPS effects with cav & artillery
• Nap's op plan: Yes, with fog of war
• Road network: Very much so
• Grouchy: Yes, in a sense
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5. Board Game: Napoleon's Last Battles [Average Rating:7.19 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.19 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
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It's been around forever, but this was a pleasant new discovery for me. Only adds a modest amount to the rules for NAW (or BvG?), but the bang for the buck for those little additions is a lot of flavor & simulation.


• Hougoumont: Yes
• Le Haye Sainte: Yes
• Weather: yes?
• Imperial Guard: Yes,with consequences
• Prussian arrival: Yes in the campaign
• Cavalry: Yes, simple combined arms effect
• Infantry squares: No
• Nap's op plan: Yes, in the campaign
• Road network: Yes
• Grouchy: yes?
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6. Board Game: Waterloo [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:2804]
Mark Johnson
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Many bold design choices throughout this unique Waterloo game, but I didn't find that they worked for me. Despite the area map & wooden "toy soldiers," the combat resolution and "stacking" was cumbersome.

• Hougoumont: yes
• Le Haye Sainte: yes
• Weather: no?
• Imperial Guard: yes
• Prussian arrival: yes, semi-variable
• Cavalry: yes, clunky
• Infantry squares: yes, sort of
• Nap's op plan: not really
• Road network: not at this scale
• Grouchy: no
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7. Board Game: Napoleon at Waterloo [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:3436]
Mark Johnson
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A granddaddy of our hobby, and I think it does its job of bridging players from chess (or something) to wargaming. But there are other games almost as simple that deliver a lot more history.

• Hougoumont: Yes, but a pushover
• Le Haye Sainte: barely
• Weather: No
• Imperial Guard: Only as stronger units
• Prussian arrival: Yes
• Cavalry: Yes, as lighter, faster units
• Infantry squares: no
• Nap's op plan: no
• Road network: no
• Grouchy: no
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8. Board Game: One-Minute Waterloo [Average Rating:5.62 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
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This little experiment is so unusual, it doesn't fit my questions/criteria well. It makes you think & teaches you something, even (or especially) if you already know about the battle.

• Hougoumont: not exactly
• Le Haye Sainte: not really
• Weather: no
• Imperial Guard: Yes, the key decision
• Prussian arrival: no
• Cavalry: not at this scale
• Infantry squares: not at this scale
• Nap's op plan: no, but an interesting personal Nap decision
• Road network: no
• Grouchy: no
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9. Board Game: Hougoumont [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:7067]
Mark Johnson
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I don't really care for tactical scale Wargames, but made an exception to try this one since I walked these same grounds on vacation back in 2012. A partial play was enough for me to get what I wanted out of this one.

• Hougoumont: It's ALL about this
• Le Haye Sainte: n/a
• Weather: no
• Imperial Guard: n/a
• Prussian arrival: n/a, but other reinforcement are significant
• Cavalry: n/a
• Infantry squares: no, but other deployments at tactical scale matter
• Nap's op plan: n/a
• Road network: n/a, but local terrain important
• Grouchy: n/a
 
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10. Video Game: Wellington's Victory [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
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Yes, it's a computer game (iPad/Mac). I don't know if it has any real connection to the famous tabletop wargame besides the publisher (licensee?) and obvious subject matter. No matter how often I try, I just never enjoy computer wargames (aside from Shenandoah's stuff, and even then not all). I can't put my finger on the reason. The computer permits more detail in some areas, but that may be the problem. Too much detail in the wrong areas, too little meaning in the big lessons.

• Hougoumont: Yes, in fact that's the scenario I explored the most (due to its manageable size)
• Le Haye Sainte: Yes
• Weather: Not that I saw
• Imperial Guard: Yes, but just stronger units
• Prussian arrival: Yes
• Cavalry: Yes, including charges
• Infantry squares: yes, as well as column, line, and open formations
• Nap's op plan: n/a
• Road network: n/a, but local terrain important
• Grouchy: n/a
 
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11. Board Game: Also Ran [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Mark Johnson
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12. Board Game: "La Garde recule!" [Average Rating:5.57 Overall Rank:12849]
Mark Johnson
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• Hougoumont:
• Le Haye Sainte:
• Weather:
• Imperial Guard:
• Prussian arrival:
• Cavalry:
• Infantry squares:
• Nap's op plan:
• Road network:
• Grouchy:
 
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13. Board Game: Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle [Average Rating:6.07 Overall Rank:5220]
Mark Johnson
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• Hougoumont:
• Le Haye Sainte:
• Weather:
• Imperial Guard:
• Prussian arrival:
• Cavalry:
• Infantry squares:
• Nap's op plan:
• Road network:
• Grouchy:
 
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14. Board Game: Hundred Days Battles [Average Rating:5.90 Overall Rank:9030]
Mark Johnson
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• Hougoumont:
• Le Haye Sainte:
• Weather:
• Imperial Guard:
• Prussian arrival:
• Cavalry:
• Infantry squares:
• Nap's op plan:
• Road network:
• Grouchy:
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15. Board Game: La Belle Alliance [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
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The game didn't exist at the time the geeklist was created, but why not add it... just found out about the list by the podcast.

Availability: free download

The points are my take on it, so feel free to disagree...

• Hougoumont: present
• Le Haye Sainte (and perhaps Sandpit): present, but the Sandpit is not visible at this scale
• Heavy rain on morning delays battle/limits artillery: in the scenario
• Imperial Guard: yes (well, you can commit when you want but the scale means it has to count)
• Prussian arrival is uncertain: not in this game, you need the campaign
• Cavalry charges & pursuit: yep
• Infantry squares: due to scale, only as part of combat resolution
• Napoleon's operational plan: will need the campaign (not available yet)
• Road network limits movement & operational choices: sure
• Grouchy's detachment: in the campaign

The "campaign" includes three other games, Ligny, Quatre Bras (still have to do the BGG entry) and Wavre (not finished yet), plus the connecting pieces of map. Total size would be about folio-sized.
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