Sunday, 26 August 2018

Nearly Waterloo Planning

Waterloo wargame table

I have decided to attempt a game based on Waterloo to trial whether the whole project will work or not.   It is perhaps a little strange to game the last, and one of the largest, of the Napoleonic battles, as the first of the series.

There are two main reasons why I have done so.

First I know the battle so well that there is very little research required.  

Second if I can make it work for this one the rest should be quite easy.

The table is very basic and does not attempt to recreate the historical battlefield.  
The roads are correct and the main buildings and villages more or less so.  I have used buildings from our collection, so they do not look like the originals.   I have however put Wellington’s tree on the cross roads!

Wellington has a ridge, of sorts, to help his deployment.   The one on the left has the Nivelles road running behind it.  The one on the right has the Wavre road running behind it.  This is correct, but does not play a significant part in the wargame as it did in the actual battle.

Table at start of wargame

I have not made any attempt to follow the historical order of battle.   Wellington’s army is the standard one I use for the British/Portuguese in my 1813 campaign.   I have reduced each corps from four to three infantry brigades.   And the Portuguese brigade in each corps becomes a Dutch/Belgian brigade.   This gives me 96 infantry, 16 cavalry and 16 gunners with 4 guns.

Napoleon commands the same army as he does in the 1813 campaign, with one exception.   The Polish corps which forms part of his First French Army in the campaign, has been replaced by the 2nd French corps.  This is because I wanted all of the French army to be French brigades.   The four corps are full strength.   There are 128 infantry, 16 cavalry, 16 gunners and 4 guns.

So the French 32 more infantry than the British.

Unlike my campaign games I have collected the four cavalry brigades on each side into two corps and given each a commander.   I have also created a very small “Grand Battery” for Napoleon by taking the artillery from the Guard and 4th corps and putting it under the command of an ADC.

I have used the names of commanders from both sides.   This was easier for the French, because they had corps during the battle.   More difficult for the British, because they had divisions.  

I wanted Reille to command the attack on Hougoumont, Lobau on La Haye Sainte and D’Erlon on what Jac Weller calls PHLS and I call Papelotte.   I also wanted Cooke to command the right flank and Picton just east of the cross roads.   I also wanted Ponsonby to command the British heavy cavalry, even though I must be the only wargamer who does not have Scots Greys.

This is all for colour, and to help me recognise the game as similar to Waterloo.   In fact I am quite pleased with the visual look of the table.

The real test will come when we play the wargame.

You will find more information here


  1. I have been a silent follower of your blog for a while and I really enjoy the accounts of your games. I particularly like your approach to organising your armies, something that I have decided to attempt with mine, albeit on a smaller scale.

    This battle looks very interesting. Like you, I like to have the names of my commanders included on the order of battle to give the right feel.


  2. Hi Bob

    Thanks for your comments.

    I am currently trying to learn PowerPoint for our walking in Spain blog. I want to be able to do a slide show of each walk on that blog.

    This has prompted me to consider whether I could use PowerPoint to improve my battle reports. It is all at an early stage, and is proving quite a steep learning curve. But if I can master PowerPoint it might improve my battle reports considerably.

    Do keep following he blog to see how it all works out



  3. Hi again Paul,

    I use Power Point (ppt) quite a lot for my blog. I take the pictures as normal, then go to ppt, type in a title and then'insert' the picture to fill the whole screen. Once this is done it is easy to annotate the picture using 'insert text box' and the 'shapes' tool. Once finished save the whole thing off as a JPEG and then insert into your blog as you would a picture.

    Here is an examplefrom my blog:


  4. Hi Bob

    Thanks for your comments, and the link to your blog.

    I do something very similar, but for many years have used Mocrosoft Publisher to add titles and lately direction arrows.

    However I discovered PowerPoint a couple of weeks ago for another project I am involved in. I had heard of it, but never used it.

    Picking up the basics was not too difficult, because there are a lot of YouTube tutorials. But nothing about using directional arrows and special effects. So I was hoping that someone else might be doing something similar and could point me in the river direction to get online help.



  5. I don't know about online help but if you let me know what you want to do in PowerPoint I could probably have a stab at telling you how - better still if you give me your email address I could send you a PowerPoint file with a first stab that you could then tweak to do what you want. Some of my ppt 'battle-maps' were shown in articles in the now defunct (after only 5 issue) Wargamer's Notes Quarterly. I guess you want slideshows and some animation?

  6. I posted a comment offering PowerPoint advice but it seems to have gone astray, trying again from my I

  7. Hi Rob

    Sorry, just saw your comment.

    I would be grateful if you could send me your PowerPoint file.

    My email address is

    I have made quite a bit of progress since the blog, but I would welcome any help you can give.




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