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  Waterloo Napoleon's Last Battle by Companion WarGames   Here we go down the rabbit hole again. There seems to be three battles that ev...

Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle by Companion WarGames Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle by Companion WarGames

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!



Napoleon's Last Battle


Companion WarGames

  Here we go down the rabbit hole again. There seems to be three battles that every designer wants a crack at: The Bulge, Gettysburg, and Waterloo. I think wargame designers are born with a strange gene that others don't have. It eats at them to design a game based on the above three battles. Of those three battles, I have to say to my mind Waterloo is the most interesting. Gettysburg should historically be won or lost on the first day. The Bulge is pretty much a losing situation for the Germans, unless the designer skews the victory points etc. Waterloo is a totally different animal. Napoleon could very well have won the battle. There are so many 'ifs' involved in it. If Grouchy had actually stopped the Prussians. If Napoleon had attacked with the Guard at 6:30pm. If the ground had not been too soft for cannon fire in the morning. So, we all know that the battle was  "the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life" (Duke of Wellington). If he thought it was a close battle, who are we to argue with him. This is designer Mark Scarbrough's attempt at the the big one. let us see what Companion WarGames has put in the box:

Mounted Map 22"x34"

Hard 11"x17" French and English Setup sheets

Hard 11"x17" Prussian Reinforcement Schedule sheet

2 Hard One-Sided Player Aid Cards

1 1/2 Unit Counter Sheets, Large 3/4" Counters

1 Counter Sheet Of Control Markers

I Rulebook

4 Die (2 Red, 2, Blue)

 The Mounted Map is normal size for most games. A mounted map causes some gamers to applaud compared to a paper one. I like either kind. You can always use a piece of plexiglass over a paper one. I will admit that mounted maps do hold up better and you will not see the creases in them that you get with an older game you have played a lot. The map itself is divided up into areas. There are no hexes on this map. The way the areas meet each other is meant to show how the battlefield topology was historically. So some movement is not allowed between some of the areas. The map might look a little busy to some because of the color scheme and the areas. I did not have a problem with it. The counters are very large and therefore very easy to read. They are done in bright colors. I like the combination with the map, but again, some may find objection. The only control markers are for the French side. If a marker is not in an area, it is considered to be in Allied control. The counters represent the English, French, and Prussian units. One player plays the French side, and the other plays the Allies (English, Prussian). The Player's Aid Sheets are easy to read and allow you to have a lot of information at your fingertips. The rulebook is thirty-four pages long. The rules themselves take up twenty-six and a half pages. From page twenty-seven there are optional rules that go to page twenty-nine. Pages thirty to thirty-four have examples of play. The Rulebook is in full color, and the print is large. The Rulebook is of paper, so you will get dog ears etc. if you are not careful. The whole presentation of the counters and map to me was excellent. Everything is nice and big, and easy to read and understand. For a first game this is a great effort by Companion WarGames.

 This is the Sequence of Play:

• Commander Phase

 • Rally Phase

 • Grand Battery Phase

 • Action Impulse Phase

 • End Phase

Countersheet 1

 The game has some interesting concepts, besides the area movement. This rule is meant to show the possibility of Napoleon's lethargy during the battle:


Beginning on turn 2, the French player makes DR

during the Commander Phase to determine whether

Napoleon is active or inactive (fresh or spent) for that


6.2.1 Napoleon Activation. The French player

makes a DR. If it is equal to or greater than

Napoleon’s activation number on the fresh side

of the counter, Napoleon is active for the turn

and begins on his fresh side. If it is less than his

activation number, Napoleon starts the turn on his

spent side. 

Countersheet 3

 As any game in the 19th century, the rules are heavily dependent on the leaders on both sides. if your leaders are inept, or the subject of frequent bad die rolls good luck to you. Leader Activation works like this: You must roll 2 D6, and you must roll a number equal or higher than the Leader's Activation Rating. Commanders are Activated the same way. Once you have your leader activated you can do these actions:


Volley Fire


Cavalry Charge

General advance

 Commander/Leaders also have Special Actions they can carry out. These are:

Double Move (Commander)

Intervention (Commander)

Die Re-Roll (Leader)

Battle Participation (Leader)

 The game has rules for:

Grand Batteries

Skirmishers (A lot of games overlook these)

There are also Optional Rules included, these deal with:

Village Areas

Cavalry Exhaustion (Another overlooked item in games)

Expanded Rally

 As I mentioned before with the components, this is an excellent first game from a new company. The game has the feel of Napoleonics about it. It does not give you a feeling that this system would work for any era, like some games do. The leader/commander rules are well thought out and make the player have several contingency plans all at the same time, just in case you do not pass that all important die roll for activation. I want to thank Companion WarGames for allowing me to review this great game. They have four more games in the pipeline:

Seven Days to the Rhine - Cold War goes hot in 1979

Deus Volt - Crusades

Tour of Duty - A Year in Vietnam With the 1st Infantry

Voelkerwanderung - Barbarian Migrations and the Fall of Rome


Companion WarGames:

Companion Wargames

Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle:

CWG Games — Companion Wargames

Marshal Ney at Quatre Bras by Paul L. Dawson     Within the first chapter of this book, the author shows us the...

Marshal Ney at Quatre Bras by Paul L. Dawson Marshal Ney at Quatre Bras by Paul L. Dawson

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!



 Within the first chapter of this book, the author shows us the two most important reasons for the failure of the 1815 Belgian campaign. First, the French Army had some royalist officers and men who defected to the Allies. The amount of these defections are usually glossed over in other books on the campaign. Second, without Berthier as Napoleon's chief of staff, the Imperial headquarters seems to have been run in a very sloppy manner. Officers did not know where all their troops were, and many messages between the different staffs seem to have been missed. While not a competent field general, Berthier deserves to be listed as one of the best chiefs of staff ever. His not returning to serve under Napoleon in 1815 is probably one of the key reasons for the failure of the campaign. As far as the desertions, the author states that four Carabiner officers deserted on the field of Waterloo.

 The author does a very good job of detailing the performance of Marshal Ney from the 15th to the 18th of June 1815. He shows that Ney was handicapped by a lack of staff when he was appointed to the command of the left wing of the French Army by Napoleon on June 15th. Mr. Dawson shows how unnaturally timid Ney was on both the 15th and 16th of June. He goes on to show how nearly maniacal Ney became on the field of Waterloo. Unfortunately, we have only the written orders from the campaign, but the accompanying verbal orders have been argued about for more than two hundred years. In the author's eyes, among others, Ney lost the campaign by ordering d'Erlon's 1st corps away from the edge of the Ligny battlefield to help Ney at Quatre Bras. Of course, some of the blame also rests on d'Erlon for following Ney's order and not Napoleon's.

 The book shows the battle of Quatre Bras in all of its details and changes of fortune from French to Allied throughout the battle. The charge of Kellermann's Cuirassiers is explained by the author to be not as suicidal as is sometimes written about. The book comes with a one page colored map of the battle, and seven pages of colored photos of the different places on the battlefield today.

 The author shows that Ney unequivocally was sent, and received, a message from Napoleon that made it plain that Napoleon intended Ney to be part of a 'manoevre sur les derrieres' (move onto the rear) of the Prussian Army at Ligny. Ney's capture of Quatre Bras was supposed to be a movement to forestall Wellington being able to move to help the Prussians. As the book shows, Ney was hardly the best Marshal for Napoleon to have picked to have a ? command. His track record in 1813 should have precluded him in this command, but Napoleon had only so many Marshals to choose from.

 Whilst Ney was nicknamed by Napoleon 'the bravest of the brave' (look at his exploits leading the rearguard from Russia), he was not the smartest of the smart. If Davout or Soult had been in charge of the left wing, they probably would have captured Quatre Bras, and d'Erlon would have helped crush the Prussians at Ligny, thus making the Prussian Army unable to intervene on the field of Waterloo. Ney was the only marshal charged with treason after the second fall of Napoleon. This brave man was sentenced to death, and shot by firing squad.

 Ney's supposed comments at his execution were " Soldiers when I give the command to fire, fire straight at my heart. Wait for the order. It will be my last to you. I protest against my condemnation. I have fought a hundred battles for France, and not one against her ...soldiers,fire!"


Book: Marshal Ney at Quatre Bras
Author: Paul L. Dawson
Publisher: Frontline Books
Distributor: Casemate Publishers