Friday, 24 October 2008

The Emperor and the Duke (Off Topic #6)

It’s been quite a few years now since I played a wargame with miniatures although I hope to do so again soon. Instead I have been engaged in a series of play-by-email games from the brilliant series of hex-based wargames by HPS. These games will never win any prizes for graphics and are pretty uninspiring if playing against the computer but against a live opponent they provide a truly excellent wargame on a scale that is mind-boggling.

My brother and I are currently re-fighting the entire Waterloo campaign over a map that stretches from Charleroi to Waterloo and covers over 140,000 hexes! Every single battalion and battery of the armies involved is represented and each player has total control over tactics, formations and leaders in what has become a totally absorbing game. By using the scenario editor we have been able to deploy our forces in complete secrecy adding greatly to the built in fog-of-war element in the game.

The picture shows a detail of an area of the game at 5.00pm on June 15th 1815. Ney (that’s me in this action!) has just won a costly battle at Gosselies on the Brussels Road where Zieten’s I Corps Prussians had rather annoyingly decided to hold up my advance. You can see elements of Vandamme’s III Corps mopping up the Prussian rear-guard – click on the image to zoom in. The Emperor himself is at an undisclosed location that must remain classified for the time being just in case Wellington’s spies get to read this.

If you’ve never played one of these games check out the HPS website.


rpardo said...

Every batallion and regiment is shown?... wowww... it seems an exhausting work!

Stryker said...

Hi Rafa - yes it seems exhausting but is actually very absorbing. Each turn of the game takes about 45 minutes to complete but there are lots of smaller scenarios like Quatre Bras etc. I guess you have to have an obsessive personality like me to really enjoy it!


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't worry about having an obsessive personality. Theremight be a few vmore of those around here!

Stryker said...

Roy - of course you are absolutely right, most wargamers I know are a tad obsessive. But it does take an extreme case to control individual skirmish companies of 80 men across 140,000 hexes of gaming area.