Commanders, a wargame digest

Commanders, a wargame digest


The Waterloo 1815 Project

Mass battle in a smaller scale

Warlord Games have just released Napoleonics in their Epic scale, where the figures are sized to 13.5mm.

There is a French starter box and a British Starter set, but of interest to me will be a further release later this year that will have the Prussians.

I have been playing a boardgame covering the Prussian assault at Plancenoit and fancy replicating that on the figures table, so initial work will start on building a French force. 

Waterloo, Waterloo, Waterloo!

Everything is a bit Waterloo at the moment.

I have some Warlord Games Epic figures on painting sticks and after 3 playing of the Quatre Bras boardgame under the Jours de Gloire system, I am about to put The Guards Advance game onto the table, which is of the same system and comes as the included game in the Vae Victis magazine issue 161.

There are some other Waterloo based games in the pipe, so ….. Tim Clayton’s Waterloo has at last been pulled from the shelves for a proper cover to cover read, for a fuller / deeper understanding of the battle.

Saul David (Evening Standard) describes it as ‘The best book on the battle’, so I have high hopes and much to look forward to.

The Prussians are out

The new Prussian starter army set has just been released and like the British and French boxes, is packed full of goodies.

Done in black plastic, there is the variety of all the necessary types, including a good selection of cavalry.

Twice this year, I have played the Plancenoit: Crisis on the right boardgame by White Dog Games and so I am hoping to pull some scenarios out of the playing of that game to put on the table top as an Epic game.

First dip into the Epic figures

I have just been trying out a few of the Warlord Games Epic bases to see how they might look / work for this project.

The commander and foot artillery piece have been primed, painted and based and look quite promising.

For the infantry, I have slightly trimmed down both ends of the bases, as otherwise there is a too noticeable gap between stands that annoys my eye. The gap is still there, but now significantly reduced.

I am hoping that just two bases will be able to represent a formation when in line and three bases can be used when in column for best visual effect.

The front rank of the infantry have been permanently glued onto the base and this is where they will be painted. The rear rank is temporarily glued down and will be removed and put onto a painting stick once I get to that point.

I have just put 5 Cuirassiers onto painting sticks to do a single base for evaluating. 

Cutting down the Epic bases

The standard Epic infantry strip fits onto a 60mm provided base, but there is a gap between the soldiers and this is disruptive to my eye, so I have moved to 55mm MDF bases (from Warbases).

There is a YouTuber (Leon66) who is splitting his stands into 2 x 30mm. I quite like that functionality for making squares, road (march) column and movement over bridges look right, so I made up a test stand.

In the photo, front left is a 30mm Prussian line infantry stand on a 30mm MDF base and next to it, the raw raw plastic version. Behind is a 55mm MDF base of French infantry in long coats.

Individually the 30mm blocks look quite good, but you get a gap between them that catches my eye, which I had eradicated on the 55mm base and which I know will annoy to me. The solution would be to base to something like 27.5mm wide instead of 30mm in the same way that I have based the full strip on a 55mm base instead.

I’m not convinced that the extra work is worth the result.

Possible rules of choice?

This will be a ‘from scratch’ project for me, so the question of rules and basing systems is an early consideration.

On the short list I have, Black Powder (Warlord Games), Shadow of the Eagles (Keith Flint), General d’Armee (David Brown) and Bataille Empire (Hervé Caille). The latter is friendly towards smaller tables and everything you need is in the one volume, including a generous array of army lists.

It has an intro scenario is a non-historical, balanced game, with a symmetrical table and symmetrical forces, with a choice of any army pairing that players happen to own.

Each side gets 4 x line infantry, 1 x 6-pdr battery, 2 x grenadier units, 2 x light cavalry and 1 x dragoons, so not a bad sized force for the new player to aspire to. Table size is suggested as 120cm x 80cm.

I am minded to get this scenario to the table using a mix of blank and unpainted bases, just to try out the rules and then apply the same scenario to the other rule sets. The limited size should allow rule comparisons to shine through, while perhaps being a motivator to get some stuff painted.

Edit - the below photographs show a few more base types painted.

Action at Thuin

Warlord games have released their Waterloo campaign book, which takes the actions in chronological order. 

First up we have Thuin, a first contact between the French and the Prussian outposts as the French army crosses the Franco - Belgian border. This was gamed with the Black Powder rules using half measurements on a 4’ x 3½ ‘ table compared to the recommended 6’ x 4’.

This photo shows the first 4 French units (of 12 in total) arriving onto the battlefield.

There is a full write up of my first Napoleonic ‘Epic’ encounter over on the blog that also discusses using two bases instead of 4 per unit. LINK