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Waterloo 200 by Vento Nuovo Games I can hear the groans now. Playing a wargame about Waterloo is like hearing ...

Waterloo 200 by Vento Nuovo Games Waterloo 200 by Vento Nuovo Games

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



I can hear the groans now. Playing a wargame about Waterloo is like hearing 'Stairway to Heaven' on the radio in the 1970s. How many times do we have to do this? Well, it looks like we are going down the rabbit hole more time. This game from Vento Nuovo is just on the battle itself. There is no chance to make different earlier decisions than the principles already did. The ridge with the Anglo-Allied Army behind it is awaiting the French attack, and the Prussians are coming. It is now or never time. Napoleon had better forget about his piles and get this battle won. 

 I have to mention the box art. It is one of the best ones I have seen. If he wasn't leaving a path in the flora, I would say it was the ghost of Napoleon walking the battlefield. 

 Let us look at the basics of the game:

Each turn is two hours long.
One cm is approximately seventy meters
A game lasts five turns; from 11:00AM to 9:00PM.
Playing time is from one to two hours.

 These are the game components:

1x Mapboard 86 x 62 cm
1x 12 Page Rules Manual
121x PVC Stickers
116x Wooden Unit Blocks
30x Wooden Area Control Cubes
2x Rules Summary and Player Aids
1x Blue Wooden Initiative Disc
1x Yellow Wooden Turn Track Marker

 The victory conditions are:

The death of Wellington/Napoleon.
Ten units of either side are eliminated.
One side controls all seven victory areas (Mont St. Jean, La Haie Sainte, Chateau de Goumont, Papelotte, La Belle Alliance, Placenoit, and Rossome).

 The rule book is only twelve pages long. As with other block games from Vento Nuovo, this does not mean it is a beer and pretzels game. The game is easy to learn, but is full of Napoleonic flavor. You need to use the correct tactics to win. The map is the standard Vento Nuovo: well done, colorful, and easy to read. The blocks are small at 1.5cm. So this means that the stickers are also small. They are very well done, but are too small. You can see what you need to to play (the value). However, you cannot really appreciate these little works of art. Maybe Vento Nuovo will re-release the game with larger blocks and offer them for sale for owners of the original.

 How does it play? In a word-great. The rules are easy to understand like all of Vento Nuovo's games. However, they always leave you on the horns of a dilemma. What do I do now, or do I do nothing and wait? As the French Player you have three turns before the Prussians show up. So you have to win the battle or put a hurting on the Anglo-Allied Army in a hurry. Next question, do you go for the victory areas, or do you try to destroy ten enemy units? As the Allied player, you have to hang onto where you are, even by your fingernails if need be. Once the Prussians show up you can start breathing again. The Napoleonic player will then be placed between a rock and a hard place. Many historians believe that without the Prussian assistance, the Anglo-Allied Army could not win the Battle of Waterloo. The theme song for the Anglo-Allied Army should have been 'Hang on Sloopy'. The Napoleonic one is 'Now or Never'. The Initiative and Tactical Action phases of the game are pretty standard. The Initiative Disc goes from player to player once used. Tactical Action totally depends on how well your  Strategic Leader (Napoleon/Wellington/Blucher) is doing. Applying losses after a battle is a bit more complicated and seems to give some people trouble. This is the table to use to figure out your losses:

Black (Dots/Pawn/Cannonballs/Stars): 1 Hit
White (Dots): 2 Hits
Red (Dots/Leader Heart): 3 Hits
The strongest unit(s) must be reduced first.
The Leader's Heart and Red/White Dots may be used to shield other units of the same strength.

 There are rules to show the different armies' use of artillery. The French can add any number of artillery units to each battle. The Anglo-Allied/Prussians can only add a maximum of one artillery to each battle. The game also comes with ten Optional Rules to make the game more historical. These include:

Free Setup
Cavalry Charge
Grand Batterie
Combined Attack

 Napoleonic warfare was a very large tactical game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. So a good Optional Rule to play with is Combined Attack. The attacker loss is decreased by one if he uses all three types of units (Artillery/Cavalry/Infantry) in an attack. Morale is also a large part of warfare in any age. So you can pick all ten to play with, or just your personal poison.

 So, even if it is a game about Waterloo it is still a good game. If you like this game you will definitely want to check out 'Bloody Monday' which is the Vento Nuovo game about the Battle of Borodino. 


Waterloo The Campaign of 1815 Volume 1 From Elba to Quatre Bras by John Hussey   First things first, the ...

Waterloo The Campaign of 1815 Volume 1 From Elba to Quatre Bras by John Hussey Waterloo The Campaign of 1815 Volume 1 From Elba to Quatre Bras by John Hussey

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


Volume 1 From Elba to Quatre Bras


 First things first, the book's foreword is written by Hew Strachan who greatly praises the work. Next up is this praise, among others, from Andrew Roberts. "It will be decades before this book is superseded as the best account of those extraordinary events of 1815".

 Now that those two items have been gone over, I guess there isn't much left to say. After two heavyweights in the field declare for you it is pretty much a slam dunk. 

 With not even a flyweight's credentials, I will try to add my views on this excellent volume, and describe what the reader will see. 

 First off there are thirty-two very well done maps. Why books on military campaigns and battles don't have more or better maps like this one I do not know. There are also twelve tables. Some of the tables and maps are two pages large. This is a tome at 584 pages with a further 126 pages of notes and index. Just remember, this is only volume one of two. 

 The book starts out with how, according to the author, the Allies "lost the peace', and Napoleon safely ensconced on Elba. The author goes into every countries Machiavellian schemes, and their diplomats weaving their webs of deceit. Not forgotten is the master arachnid Metternich, and his attempt to turn back the clock to 1788.

 The book then goes into the plans of the Allied commanders to uproot Napoleon once and for all. Wellington's and Blucher's plans for the upcoming campaign are gone through minutely. The polyglot 'British' army and all of its disparate nationalities attempting to act as one is also gone into. Strangely, most of these commanders believed that Napoleon would stay on the defensive and await their disparate attacks. The author moves from geopolitical to battalion concerns and history effortlessly. 

 We are shown Napoleon's plan of attack into Belgium, and the reconstitution of the 'Grande Armee'. The battles of Ligny and Quatre Bras are gone into in minute detail. The book is interspersed with the actual dispatches and memoirs of the combatants. The author has used sources in four languages to tell this amazing story.

 There is not much else to add. If you are looking for a one volume history of Napoleon's escape from Elba to the twin battles of Quatre Bras and Ligny, this is it. I cannot wait for the release of Volume II, and the author's telling of the battles of Waterloo and Wavre.


Author: John Hussey
Publisher: Greenhill Books
Distributor: Casemate publishers

Grouchy's Waterloo The Battles of Ligny and Wavre By Andrew W. Field   Marshal Ney, ('The bravest of t...

Grouchy's Waterloo By Andrew W. Field Grouchy's Waterloo By Andrew W. Field

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



 Marshal Ney, ('The bravest of the brave', Prince of Moscow, Le Rougeaud) was a singularly unlucky man. In 1813, he had the chance to fall upon the Allied rear at Bautzen. If he had, history might have been changed. In 1815 he was again responsible for letting an Allied army, the Prussians, off the hook at Ligny. He was also the only Marshal to be shot for treason for joining Napoleon in 1815. Ney ordered d'Erlon's corps back to Quatre Bras just as it was about to fall on the wavering Prussian right flank at Ligny. If d'Erlon was able to attack the Prussians, it may have sent their army fleeing. Instead, the Prussians were able to retreat in a more orderly fashion.

 Napoleon blamed Ney and the newly created Marshal Grouchy for his loss at Waterloo, and so have many historians. This book follows Marshal Grouchy through the battle of Ligny under Napoleon's watchful eye, and the battle of Wavre where he was left to his own devices. The reason I mention Ney is that his blunder had a tremendous effect on Grouchy's subsequent orders and mission. Napoleon's 1815 campaign was full of what ifs. He was able to drive a wedge between the the Anglo-Allied army and the Prussian one. Then he defeated the Prussians at Ligny on June 16th 1815, only to lose at Waterloo on June 18th. Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo was mainly caused by the Prussians being beaten at Ligny, but not routed. This is where the part of Grouchy in this history becomes so important. Grouchy was ordered to follow the Prussians and keep his sword in their back.

 The author, Mr. Field, has published three books (with a fourth on the way) on the 1815 campaign from the French perspective. They are:

Prelude to Waterloo: Quatre Bras
Waterloo: The French Perspective
Grouchy's Waterloo (this book)
 This is the third in the series. The author gives us an excellent account of the two battles of Ligny and Wavre. If that was all a book on the subject had to do, it would probably would have been a much easier task for the author. Unfortunately for him, this campaign has been written about probably more than any other campaign in history. The arguments over this campaign and its battles and personalities have raged over the last two hundred years. The list of should, could, and would haves are almost endless.

 As mentioned, Ney and Grouchy are the favorite punching bags of historians and armchair generals. As the author shows, the questions about Grouchy start even before the campaign in Belgium began. Many, even at the time, questioned Grouchy's elevation to the Marshalate. We have, or at least we believe we have, all of Napoleon's orders to Grouchy. The book clearly shows them and what it entailed because of them. 

 The author shows that Grouchy did exactly as he was told per his orders, nothing more or less. The point of conjecture here is what Napoleon ordered compared to what Soult, his then chief of staff,  sent. Soult, although a fine general, was no Berthier. Why do accounts show Napoleon expecting Grouchy to show up on his right? Why did so many French officers on the right believe they were there to make contact with Grouchy? Was it all just wishful thinking? To me, the most telling part of what was expected of Grouchy is in the absence of a negative response from Napoleon, chastising Grouchy when troops showed up on his right at Waterloo. In the beginning, no one could tell if they were Prussians or French soldiers.

 As the author shows, the 'Grande Armee' of 1815 had nowhere near the mettle of the armies during the year1805 and others. Its  morale was actually brittle.

 Mr. Field contends that you cannot judge the orders and actions of officers of the 19th century with 21st century thinking. He asserts that in 1815 there was no leeway in orders. I am not wholly convinced by his arguments that this was unilaterally true. Napoleon's and Jomini's writings suggest otherwise to me. However, this might me be their own Monday morning quarterbacking. It is quite possible that Napoleon's undoing was his inability to clone himself when armies and battles grew larger. 

 This book, when taken by itself, is a great addition to the history of the campaign. When looked at in conjunction as the third volume of four on the campaign, these books are a treasure trove of information from the French perspective.

 I for one believe the 1815 campaign was decided, along with Napoleon's fate, when Marshal Berthier refused to rejoin Napoleon. If Marshal Berthier was chief of staff most, if not all, of the errors on the French side would never have been committed.


Book: Grouchy's Waterloo: The Battles of Ligny and Wavre
Author: Andrew W. Field
Publisher: Pen And Sword
Distributor: Casemate Publishers



                             Waterloo Scourge of war review  Waterloo: the holy grail of Napoleonic wargames, at least to most. It does ...

Waterloo Scourge of War Review Waterloo Scourge of War Review

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


                             Waterloo Scourge of war review

 Waterloo: the holy grail of Napoleonic wargames, at least to most. It does have one thing in its favor - it was a " near run thing". To me it has been done to death, but sales run any business and Lutzen does not sell wargames, but Waterloo does. Much like that tired old horse of WWII games, the Bulge.

 Those new to wargames shouldn't fear firing it up.The game builds slowly scenario by scenario and makes it so the new player is not overwhelmed at first. It does not make the player suffer from piles or an upset stomach or the other myriads of ailments that have been suggested as having afflicted Napoleon on that June day.

 It is a realtime strategy game, but don't confuse it with Command and Conquer. You can pause the game and set it to any speed you want.

 It has the usual Matrix or Steam install, simple and easy to use. Like it's elder siblings, Scourge of war Gettysburg and Take Command Second Manassas, it has many different scenarios and levels of difficulty to help the new player or hurt the older one.

 Even if you are used to playing the older games, take the time to read the well done manual and play the tutorial. Enough has changed, for the better, that it will make your gaming time more enjoyable.

 Visually, it is beautiful for a wargame.  Of course, it's not on a par with some FPS games, but that is to be expected. I am a Napoleonic fan , but not enough to know the difference in an 1805 or 1813 Bavarian shako etc. so I will leave that to the real aficionados.

 The sound effects are very well done. The cannons and even flags in the wind are represented. The music is also well chosen and pleasing to the ear.

 There are three full option screens for the visuals etc.. More than enough for the newer top of the line computers or older more seasoned veterans.

 The Levels are as follows: Untrained, Militia, Normal, Seasoned, Veteran, Historical, and Grognard. The latter two are only available as part of HITS, headquarters in the saddle, mode. This mode only allows you to see exactly what the commander you are representing would be able to see.

 It comes with twenty preset scenarios. With the "sandbox" option and the ability to add user made scenarios, it is a game that one could easily pick to be your only game on a desert isle. Feel the need to take La Haye Sainte or march to Brussels with the Old guard (it was actually the Middle guard), then here is your chance.

 The AI opponents are top notch, as is the AI for your subordinates. You're in luck with not having to deal with a dolt of a younger brother while trying to save your empire. Multiplayer can support up to thirty two players.

 If you have played the other games in the series you will still notice the odd "dance" at times of the units. You also may at times be unable to deploy them " just right". That being said, it is a command simulation and the way your troops are shown on the screen doesn't always correlate to the action of the program under the hood.

 The new strategic layer also brings a welcome addition to the game.

 NorbSoftDev, are to be thanked for going to the Napoleonic wars, and praised for the actual game.There is nothing to compare to it at the moment. I will be reviewing the soon the be released Quatre Bras expansion, when it is released.


Game: Scourge of war Waterloo
Developer: NorbSoftDev
Publisher Slitherine/Matrix games
Steam release date: 19/11/2015
Review date: 7/5/2016