Thursday, September 14, 2017

Napoleonic Scenario: Waterloo, 1815

Here is another scenario I'm working on for Napoleonic's.  I'm really happy with the Aspern-Essling scenario and plan to run that at DundraCon in February (will be play testing it before the end of the year - targeting November).

When I looked forward to KublaCon I was thinking about Waterloo.  Now, to date I've always considered anything related to Waterloo in 28mm to be a small section of the battle.  For example, a single game focused on the fighting at Hougoumont.  However, I got to thinking as I reviewed the size of our Napoleonic armies.

My first thought was there is no way I can fit the major landmarks (Chateau Hougoumont, La Haye Sainte, and Papelotte) on a reasonably sized table ... but why don't I work it out for the heck of it?  So I did using the Hovel's buildings (I already have La Haye Sainte and La Belle Alliance from Hovel's all done and painted).  So I opened up PowerPoint and created a map.  Version 1 of the map didn't work out but version 2 (as you'll see below) entered the realm of possibilities.

I used the building measurements to size the areas for each landmark on the map to see if it would fit in the table size I settled on - which they did!  Humm, well I certainly don't have enough troops?  Or do I?  Short answer - I do.  After going through everything it really came down to the following gaps:

Dutch-Belgians - Roy Scaife as agreed to get this formation completed (using Perry Miniatures).
French Guard Cavalry - I've purchased the French guard cavalry from Perry miniatures and will get it done as well.

With that, we have the entire OOB that is outlined in this scenario.  I will be using the talented David S. for the fur mats - of which this table needs 6 x four by 6 foot mats with the additional 2 foot by 6 foot mat - that is a heck of a lot of fur!  Interesting enough it all fell into place.

As such I present to you the "grand" scenario for the entire battle of Waterloo that we will be running at KublaCon in May (and play testing before - likely after DundraCon).

Map and Deployment Areas

The first map below shows the general layout of the table.  The main part of the table is 18 feet by 8 feet.  The 8 foot side near Hougoumont has an additional 2 foot by 6 foot section added for additional space and approach to the Chateau Hougoumont.  The second map displays the deployment areas for each of the corps formations.  See the order of battle section for details on which units comprise each corps.

Table is 18 feet by 8 feet - I usually don't like going over
6 feet wide but it is necessary to fit everything
on the table for this scenario.

Here is the map with initial positions for each corps.

Orders of Battle

Below are the orders of battle for the French, Anglo-Allied, and Prussian armies present at the battle.  As the armies present are very large I had to compress the organizations down into reasonable amounts of units and sub-divisions.  While the corps used align with the historical OOB, the individual divisions do not align perfectly to the actual number of divisions in each corps.  Regardless, the units and formations present are normalized, equalized and representative of the units in each of the corps.

Order of Battle:  French

Order of Battle:  British (Anglo-Allied)

Order of Battle:  Prussians

Game Length and Other Rules

I expect this game to be settled in 10-12 game turns.  I'll have to refine it as we get to play test it.  However, my current thinking is 10 turns with a roll for turns 11 and 12 (which would allow the Prussians more time to ruin a French victory).

I'm adding a new section of rules for "fighting in built up areas" (FIBUA).  I'm not done these rules yet -- I'm in the process of writing them up and will be play testing them soon as I'll need them for the Aspern-Essling scenario as well.  In general the idea is to streamline the process of engaging units (formed or skirmishers) in built up areas.  Short version is you feed all the bases from the unit "into" the built up area and each base generates a certain number of dice in melee.  Large structures/areas are divided up into sections.

Prussians will enter the game on the designated table edge (see map).  Starting on turn 5 the Anglo-Allied general will roll a D6.  On a 4+ the Prussians begin to arrive using reserve rolls (more on this below).  If they fail to arrive, add +1 to the dice result on turn 6, +2 on turn 7 and so on until they arrive.

On the turn the Prussians arrive, the Prussian player can select a single division from the Prussian corps to march onto the table (from the designated table edge) - Blucher enters at this time.  Charges cannot be declared by units moving onto the table.  For each other division in the Prussian corps roll 1D6 (adding the same modifiers to the dice result as was applied to the arrival dice, e.g. +1 on turn 6, +2 on turn 7, and so on).  On a D6 result of 4+ the division arrives.  Each turn a single division that has not arrived will arrive and march onto the table automatically.  Additional divisions will continue to roll adding the appropriate turn related modifiers - do this until all Prussian divisions have arrived and marched onto the table.

Victory Points

Apply victory points as follows:
  • +3 VPs for each broken infantry or cavalry unit.
  • +2 VPs for each shaken infantry or cavalry unit at games end.
  • +2 VPs for each broken artillery or skirmisher unit.
  • +1 VP for each shaken artillery or skirmisher unit at games end.
  • +20 VPs for control of Hougoumont.
  • +10 VPs for control of La Haye Sainte.
  • +10 VPs for control of Papelotte.

No points are awarded for La Belle Alliance (it is just for show).  To control a landmark on the table, more than 1/2 of the areas zones must be in your control.  A picture below shows the key landmarks of the battle.  I divide La Haye Sainte into 4 equal parts, Papelotte into 3 parts (one is the walled open area, then I split the main farm area in half), and Hougoumont is divided into 6 different parts (essentially divide each open area into two parts).

Key landmarks of the battle.


I believe this game will take us the better part of a day to complete but it should be an epic fight worthy of remembrance!  I'll update this scenario post as needed based on the results of the play test.  So, there you have it ... I've probably lost my mind a bit here ... but I'm committed to delivering this game at KublaCon in May.


  1. Wow Jay you amaze me. You've talked about this process of how to for running a game at a convention, but seeing you write articles like this shows you can walk the talk. Thanks for this as I am definitely taking something away from these articles.


  2. Holy smokes! There has to be a "Go Big Or Go Home" plaque in the garage right?!
    Your next game has to be on a 2x2 board, 2 players and only 4 figures per side - can you do it? LOL!!

  3. That's definitely an immense undertaking! How many figures is that? Good luck!

    I look forward to seeing it in person at the next Kublacon.

    1. Hey Stew!!! Yes, my quick math puts it at between 3500-4000 miniatures :-) You can always come to Fremont for the playtest ;-)

    2. I'd be sorely tempted to make the trek.

      Wow! I don't think I have 3000 miniatures total, let alone in one genre.

    3. I do have an addiction ... but I've only ever made it to step 1: admitting it. Not really wanting to go any further ;-) lol