Saturday, 16 July 2011

Warhammer Historical: Waterloo

I'm holding a copy of the new Warhammer Historical release Waterloo in my hands. I have leafed through it several times and read a few selected chapters. It might be to soon to draw conclusions but I have so many thoughts running through my head that I really feel I should write some of it down.
We promised our self to give these rules a try, with the reservation that it will take something extraordinary to tear us from General de Brigade.

Biggest nuisance.
I'll have to re-base my Prussians. This is a "stand counting" game contra GdB's "fig counting". Infantry suppose to be six figs to a stand and while there are room for allowing five or even four minis if you wan't some scenic basing all infantry stands in the game are suppose to be the same size. My Prussian eight fig stands would not work within these rules.
Although I can see my self happily re-basing if these new rules get friends and members at the club jumping for joy and diving in to Napoleonics of cause!

Small nuisances.
Cavalry are suppose to be two to a stand, mine are three to a stand. This however I can work around. I have a single fig stand and a two fig stand in each unit in my collection. So when the first stand is lost I remove the two fig stand, when the second stand is lost I remove a three fig stand and the single but add back the two fig stand. I hope I make myself clear?
It is important to the mechanics of the rules this stand removing. A unit can receive a number of wounds equal to the number of figs to stand, then that stand is lost. Then unit become disorganized when it loses a stand. So you can see there is an importance to the number of figs to the stand.

There are only Army lists for France, Great Britain and Prussia with their respective allies during the Peninsular and Waterloo campaigns. It is stated that "plans are afoot" to provide army lists and information for other nations and campaigns. But who knows when, if ever, this will happen. I can't see myself limited to these two campaigns solely.

Musketry is 18" and all artillery fire is guess range. I can live with it, just seems odd.

Good Stuff.
The book is simply awe inspiring. Hardback, 288 pages in full color reeking of Napoleonic inspiration. From photos of Perry twins jaw-dropping collection to full spread paintings and drawings.

Eight generic scenarios is provided. Like Meeting Engagement, Battle for the Farm and Hold the Village. This is exactly what we need to get gaming. We are a "pick-up game" crowd and this will really help us to get away from doing the same battle over and over.

One chapter deals with campaign gaming. While I would like more hard fast rules this more of a guide of how to set up and run a campaign.

The Waterloo Campaign in twelve historical scenarios. From to "Action at Gilly" to "The Imperial Guard Attack". Really inspiring and something I could see us build terrain and paint troops for and then to game out over several weekends.

Cavalry units represent squadrons and are therefore quite small, mostly six to 12 figs. This got me thinking of collecting a few cavalry units in metal, maybe chasseurs for my French and several other for my Prussians. Metal cavalry has been a no-go for me because of the large regiments required, this sort of opens a new world for me.

Units has a set number of actions it can carry out in each turn, tactical points or Tac's. Most have three Tac's each turn witch can be spent all on movement or firing, or a combination of both if one so which. I think this is a really good function.

Officers have an finite number of strategy points which they can spend to influence units around them. Also an interesting function.

Army commanders have "Strategies", special rules of a sort that model characteristics of that commander or faction.

Overall the rules seems really fast and easy to play without getting simplistic.

Random observations.
Infantry unis are big, 36 fig battalions seems almost exclusive.

The rules are geared towards smallish engagements. A standard force would be six battalions of infantry divided into two brigades, two small squadrons of cavalry and a battery of guns. I wonder if they would become to cumbersome gaming with twice that or more.

Table size vary between scenarios, 6x4', 6x6' and 6x8'.

Organizing your force with the aide of a set number of points and an Army List is something I don't mind, and I suspect none at my club would either. This is the way we where raised by playing Warhammer.


  1. I will look forward to hearing your experiences with these rules. I will have to order the book, it sounds fantastic.


  2. Thx for the clear review. Look forward to your experiences as well. Personally I would never rebase for a ruleset so that puts me off as I base in 4's until now. But there is a lot of good stuff so I buy the book anyway even if it's just for inspiration...

  3. I have to say the book is worth buying for the scenarios and campaign alone.
    As long as all infantry stands are the same size the rules will work. There is even a photo of any army with four fig stands so your collection would work MiniMike.
    All ours are sixes except my prussians that is why would have to re-base, big decision.

  4. I have to agree with Minimike here. While I like a well-produced and illustrated set of rules, rebasing is a big decision. Ultimately the proof of whether it is worth doing so is in the playing.

    If I were you I would play a few games with your collection based as is, not only to see if the rule mechanics work for you, but also to make sure that the rules are giving you the wargaming "experience" that you are looking for.

    Personally, I long ago promised myself that I would never succumb to the siren call of those rule sets that required me to rebase my collection. New sets of rules come and go over the years, and the constant is the miniatures. I'm not about to risk damage to the figures -and waste precious hobby time- by rebasing them.

  5. I have a problem with rules that have all units based the same. It might be OK for the casual Napoleonic gamer, but if like me you really get in to the period you'll want your Prussians based in 4s or 8s.
    Seams a big obstacle to these rules as every other set I know is concerned with figure numbers not bases size.
    I guess we'll see if they take off but I for one won't re-base my Prussians for them.

  6. I generally have a problem with all of Warhammers sets of rules - Why spend time and money rebasing your figures. just find a set of rules that will use what you have already done. Warhammer means well but in the end their rules are just plain rubbish

  7. I didn't realise that the warhammer guys had done a rule set, I seen the WW2 rules at salute and then the price put it straight down and walked away, way too expensive for my pocket!

    but this intrests me just to see how it compares to blackpowder and other systems out there

  8. Well Anonymous thanks for that insightful insight! Obvious troll is obvious.

    I read through the rules today, and basing is more on the size of the base than the amount of figures, so you could play with 4 or 6 or in a pinch 8.

    The Warhammer rules are great in that so many people know them and can jump in easily. Mr Latham's last work, Trafalgar are jus plain brilliant. I don't think Waterloo is as good, but is still a smashing foray into a convoluted and over-populated rules period.

    I don't think that these rules will make the usual snobby Napoleonics types happy, but for the average gamer they allow entry into an otherwise very difficult period.

    On DakkaDakka for example, one gw gamer actually said he couldn't find any minis and wondered if he had to make his own. Obviously, something like this featuring Perry minis is an easy entry point for that poor soul.

    For the past year or so my group has been playing Black Powder and thoroughly enjoying it, I think these rules will be a nice change on the similar style of fun before button counting.


  9. I had serious reseverations about these rules when they were released. The price put me off and the other GW attempts at rules had left me a little cold. However, being a General de Brigade player, the scale fit in with what I liked and so I bought the book and gave them a try. The rules are very good. The flavour for the period is sound with some nice touches like TAC points and strategy points which means you really have to think about what you are doing. Generals can have special abilities called startegies which means that you can tailor a leader to fit his character and skill set. Some things in the rules are obscure, I dont like having to add captains and colonels to units but this is very optional. The lists are not perfect but the game plays very well and I had more fun than I have in a while and believe it or not; the most amazing thing about these rules was the lack of outcome questioning that occurred at during the game. You will question the lists and some of the rules but the core game (maybe apart from the guessing of artillery ranges) plays very well indeed. Suprisingly impressed, and I am not a GW nut at all but a serious Napoleonic gamer. As an aside I dont think basing is an issue as the game is basically based on casualty removal with all other rules based on company or six figure groupins. My figures are based 4 to base and we had little confusion whilst playing.

  10. How you base your models isn’t really critical, as long as you’re consistent. The book recommends six figures on 45 x 40 mm stands for each company (or 3-4 figures for light infantry), for example, but actually you can use fewer figures (or more if you play Prussians and you’re a stickler for an accurate figure ratio) and different sized bases if you already have a Napoleonic miniatures collection – there’s a handy conversion chart in the book.

    So the books standard is a ‘36-figure battalion’ (assuming you have six companies), and the current crop of plastic miniatures on the market certainly caters for that.

    However, the rules are flexible on the issue, and some of the photographs in the book show other configurations. The important part of organising your units is the number of company stands, not the number of models.

  11. Looked over these at mates place to many red flags to make me want to spend the money. Blackpowder, General de Brigade and LaSalle much better options.

  12. 6 figs per base sells more figures, I suppose. Actually aren't Blackpowder and Napoleon by Foundry "Warhammer" rules by association? The Napoleon set itself which seems to be criticized has a nice organization of 6X4 figs and lets you fudge the number of brigades per division letting you get away with even fewer figures. I like that.
    I would be very interested in the mechanics of this game for possible tweaking. But the review sounded interesting w/o having to buy the book so far. Samrrye