Sunday 29 April 2012

Finally facing my Waterloo....

Warning: Prolonged exposure to such imagery will result in an acute attack of  'War Games Project Syndrome'

You know how it is. You are busy tidying up the man cave when you happen to come across an old notebook full of ideas from way back when and before you know it, you are looking at the relevant section of the library and thinking to yourself - "Mm,....I wonder....!?"

I had one of those moments today.

I was in the man cave busily gluing the frames to the hardboard for the new gaming 6 x 4 ft table top when I had occasion to delve in the back of the cupboard for some more PVA. I came across an old box file and curiosity got the better of me and I opened it. There was plenty of odds and ends contained therein but what caught my eye was the three notebooks that at first I did not recognise. I should point out that it is my invariable custom to take a new A5 sized notebook with me when I go on holiday for any random scribblings I might care to make. These were old - old as in ten years or so old. Two of them contained a number of ideas for Victorian Science Fiction land ironclads whilst the third, and the oldest, contained a lot of notes and rules ideas etc for the 1815 Waterloo campaign.

At this point all thoughts of PVA were forgotten.

The notes consisted of a summarised version of the tactical rules from Columbia Games board game: Napoleon (covering the 1815 campaign at divisional level), a self-penned DBA inspired set of Napoleonic rules and also a conversion of the three armies order of battle  from the board game to that using the system from Volley and Bayonet by Messrs. Chadwick and Novak. There is a dedicated 1815 scenario booklet available for Volley and Bayonet (and I am referring to the first version of the rules - not the current set) but these are at Brigade level rather than Divisional - the board game has a block representing a Division whereas the Volley and Bayonet system uses a base for a Brigade.

Whilst reading these notes I was taken back to a DBA based set of Napoleonic rules called 'Le Petit Empereur' that I had acquired the three armies for use with - 15mm Naismith figures on 40mm square bases - and used successfully on a number of occasions. The figures went a long time ago - to a Frenchman in fact - but the desire still remained, albeit lurking at the back of my mind.

It would not be a difficult task to bring the orders of battle up to the latest rules and techniques I am using - Memoir of Battle or similar; even Command and Colours: Napoleonics - and to marry the result to the map movement system from the board game to produce a stonking 1815 block based campaign. I have everything I would need to undertake this as a project to hand (the red and blue blocks are finished and the remainder would be the work of a couple of evenings at the most). I could even 'hex' the campaign map for strategic purposes and scan it in for plotting moves on.

No prizes for guessing what or where this is - funnily enough my block armies look very similar....

Do I want to do this? Of course I do - 1815 is to far in my genetic make up to ignore the call. Should I do this when I have a number of other projects either on the go or yet to be started?  That is a tough one BUT - I am fortunate in that this would fall firmly in the realm of being a 'cerebral project' - that is all the work I would need to do to get his off the ground is very much paper (or PC) based. It would not interfere with the ACW river stuff as the painting for the ships is still underway; nor would it effect the NW Frontier kit as I still have a number of areas to cover before that kicks off. Angels 20 Battle of Britain models are few in number and once I have the decals will not take long to finish.

In the end I suppose a game is better than no game and so if this is as achievable in the way I would like it to be and as I think it currently is then all should be well.

By the way, the frames on the two halves of the new table top are now glued in place and are under a large number of weights. Tomorrow I shall be drilling, screwing and hammering so it should be finished, barring any unforeseen problems pretty soon.


CWT said...

I feel your pain - I have an 1815 project of more ambition than sense hovering in the background. At least it'll remain long-term while I still have stacks of 1/72 plastic figures to paint!

David Crook said...


This is the beauty of using blocks - they do not need any painting! Seriously though, good luck with the 1/72nd 1815 project and if it is any consolation spare a thought for the chap I saw on the net a few years ago that was preparing the three armies for the campaign to game with - in 54mm and most of which were in kit form!

For me 1815 is an itch that needs regular scratching and has been since 1972!

All the best,


Unknown said...

Hey David a man after my own heart! Block armies 'are in' especially in a large scale campaign. A Kriegsspiel in the making my friend ... Jeff

David Crook said...

Hi Jeff,

'Block armies are in' - that is music to my ears!

The plans are being made; the schemes are being schemed....;-)

Watch this space amigo!

All the best,


SteelonSand said...

I suppose it was only a matter of time.... ;-)

Should be fantastic, though - what the blocks were made for....!

David Crook said...

Hi SoS,

I must confess that this has kind of crept up on me and now it has I am really quite excited about the prospect. 1815 and I go back a long way and so it has given me an excuse to revisit all those books I used to devour back in the day - including the one that started it all - A Near Run Thing by David Howarth.

All the best,