During the life of this blog I have often mentioned my fondness for the 1815 campaign in Belgium. Waterloo exercises a peculiar fascination for me ever since I first started wargames back in the early 1970s. In fact my 1815 Allied army made up from Airfix figures and organised as per Bruce Quarries's Airfic Magazine guide - late morphing into Napoleon's Campaigns in Miniature - is one of the few armies I have ever painted to a state of relative completeness.
For me there is something about this campaign that I just do not seem to be able to get over - nor do I wish to!
It is all about the big battle. For my Napoleonic adventures (aka 1815 with perhaps a side hustle in the shape of the 1812 Russian campaign) I wanted to fight (and still do) big actions involving divisions and corps. From a practical perspective - by this I mean in terms of playing space - I am limited to a table of 6ft by 4ft but in all honesty I prefer to fight over a much more compact space, say 4ft by 3ft, or even 3ft by 2ft. Clearly using this small size of playing area means using either smaller figures or fewer numbers of anger figures or even dispensing with using figures at all. I fully appreciate that the latter option may come across as heresy for many gamers but certainly not for me!
Several levels of Portable Wargame goodness
I have been inspired by the large scale Napoleonic rules in Charles Wesencraft’s Practical Wargaming as well as more recently, Volley and Bayonet by Frank Chadwick and the Portable Napoleonic Wargame by Bob Cordery. In fact the latter has been taken to a quite remarkable level by Mark Cordone. If you check out Bob’s blog you will see what I mean as Mark organised a very effective refight of the 1813 Battle of Leipzig using Risk figures - and Napoleonic ‘big battles’ do no come much bigger than that!
I really thought I was on to something with the Del Prado collection for 1815 but something about it did not sit right with me and so it was disposed of. To be honest I am thinking that for the scale of games I envisage fighting using figures is probably less of an issue - especially as the block armies work just as well along with 3D scenery. Something to think about going forwards anyway - and with implications for the ACW project as well.
When I saw that Osprey were releasing the set you see at the start of this post it was only going to be a matter of time before I acquired a copy. Absolute Emperor are also well supported by a dedicated Facebook group and there are certainly plenty of good ideas contained therein. There is absolutely no hurry with any of this as the ACW remains front and centre. Having said that the thought of a minor diversion into Belgium during 1815 would be hard to resist - except that I will.
For now anyway….:-)