Friday, 31 July 2015

Thoughts on Vintage Waterloo

It was really useful to be able to lay out the terrain and troops with Roy last week, as it’s helped me to sort out some ideas for the full game scenario. Our aim is to be able to play the game in a single day and run it for eight turns and this will be difficult to achieve unless everything is worked through in advance.

Click the image to zoom in and examine the table.

Eight turns will take a minimum of eight hours, so it will be necessary to condense the action if we’re going to be able to include the fight for La Haye Sainte and Hougoumont, a mass cavalry charge or two, an attack by the Old Guard and the arrival of the Prussians. The last item is perhaps the hardest to get right in any refight of Waterloo – I’ve read plenty of Waterloo AAR’s where the players run out of time before the Prussians really get a look in and I want to avoid this. So the idea is to have the Prussians fully deployed on the French right flank in front of Plancenoit but to have them fixed in position until released as follows:

Turn 1 – skirmishers may move
Turn 2 – skirmishers and cavalry may move
Turn 3 – All troops free to move

Because the table is a rectangle we’re not able to place Plancenoit behind the French flank but the built up area is really a representation of Paplotte, Frischamont and Plancenoit combined to present an obstacle to the Prussian advance. This should mean at least five turns of fighting for the Prussians, enough to see them seriously involved in the action.

To balance things on the French side we’re going to allow them to move ‘reserve’ troops to any point on the table within their own lines. The maximum number of units that can be moved this way per turn will be four – starting from turn 2 onwards. This may seem a bit extreme but I think it’s a good way to keep the action flowing when we have a limited number of turns to play. It would for instance allow for the rapid redeployment of the Young Guard to Plancenoit or perhaps allow the French heavy cavalry or the Old Guard to move rapidly forward to attack.

Vintage Waterloo - click on the map to zoom in.

I’ve drawn up a map showing the troops as we deployed them for the playtest but there may be some tweaking before the actual game. One of the things I was pleased to find was that the OOB’s were surprisingly balanced considering that Roy and I have built up our forces independently. Roy of course is providing the lion’s share of the figures having pulled off the truly Herculean task of assembling and basing over 1,800 troops in five months!

Although fairly evenly matched in numbers to the French, the Allied and Prussian forces both have quite a few Landwehr troops (rated ‘C’ grade in my rules). The French have 10 Guard units of which 5 are Old Guard (‘A+’ rating) and this mixture of quality adds a bit of an unknown quantity to the way the game will play out - I really do think it could go either way.

Please feel free to chip in with any ideas for the game via comments.

I drew the map using MappingBoard an excellent bit of free software and well worth checking out if you’re into that sort of thing.


paulalba said...

A lovely picture Ian, great idea on getting the Prussians in early, seen a few games where they struggle to get involved due to time.

Stryker said...

Thanks Paul - yes, shame to paint up those Prussians and not get to use them!

Anonymous said...

Very nice picture, it will be interesting to see if Reilles corps can take Hugoumont and whether Kellermans squadrons can roll up the Allied flank.


Stryker said...

Paul - also fun to see if the Old Guard can break through the Allied centre with their +1 to morale!

The Hobbyist said...

I am most impressed at the level of preparation for this refight. The sight of all those Napoleonic figures lined up for battle is positively distracting!

the Archduke said...

The relative strengths of the OOB are so good that they can't possibly have been planned. Personally, I would have the engagement of the Prussians determined by a dice throw each turn. I would escalate the probability after each turn that they failed to make it. But I realise that could be one randomness too far. I'm looking forward to this bash enormously. Thank you, gentlemen, for offering a match worth waiting for.

Stryker said...

Mr Hobbyist - I fear we will turn you away from the war between the States!

Archduke - I think if we had unlimted time I would agree that a random arrival for the Prussians would be the way to go, also the possibility of Grouchy turning up would be fun. However, as it is, the Prussian infantry will only have 6 turns to move and even if unopposed would be unable to make it as far as La Haye Sainte. This way at least we know for sure that they will get a decent fight for Plancenoit!

the Archduke said...

I take your point. Also, Vorwarts! And was it every man with bostik in him who will be shot?

James Fisher, FINS said...

Doing it all in eight turns means that they will be action-packed indeed! Looking forward to it immensely.