Waterloo Epic

Waterloo is now in play testing!  These are the first crude pix in it’s first, very rough draft state for testing.  Many changes to come before final release.

My son’s jaw dropped open when he walked in and saw this on the dinning room table.  He described it as ‘Epic’.  -and he doesn’t even like or play wargames.  As a junior in highschool, life is all about Rugby and girls right now.

First question is, how do these colors look?  Especially the Anglo – Dutch Army.  Is anything wrong?  Should some of the colors be different?  Please let us know if we have any glaring mistakes.





These are the pix of the adjoining engagement at Wavre:


Right now the biggest design question is:  Should we release these with maps at this size as two different battles?  I’d really like to see 2 huge maps of the region that fit perfectly together.  So you could fight both together.  Heck, you might not even fight at Waterloo.  As Napoleon, I’d really like to shift rapidly to the right and get in between the Brits and the Prussians.  Likely a foolish endeavor but I like to be able to try things like that.  If nothing else, then I discover why that is a really bad idea right?

The issue is that this approach will take much longer to work up graphics for.  Huge maps will also drive up the price.  I don’t know.  Maybe the Emperor is worth it.


Let us know what you think below!










Napoleon’s Kriegsspiel

What did Napoleon use?  Did he play Kriegsspiel?  What did he use in the field? 

Kreigsspiel wasn’t created until after Napoleon.  Like all games, it didn’t just materialize out of thin air.  It was an adaptation of things that came before.  Games are constantly evolving. 

Lots of people comment on how authentic our games look and feel.  It is very easy to imagine yourself a general on the field planning your strategy for battle while playing.  I love that effect but how true is it?  What did they actually use?

Kevin Zucker was commenting about the impact of Berthier being absent for Waterloo:

“Gone with Berthier was the wooden cabinet with many drawers full of wooden blocks representing all the regiments of both sides.”


I was instantly struck by this.  Sounds like my house now!  I’ve got bags of Kriegsspiel blocks all over the place.  I’ve been planning on getting a wooden storage box to organize them in.  Something along the lines of this:

 Looking ahead, I can quickly see the blocks over loading that.  I really love that cabinet above with all the pull out drawers.  That would be perfect for organizing all the different nations and periods of blocks.  I might have to build myself one some day….  

Look at how the top makes for a perfect gaming table to place maps!  It almost looks like it is hinged and folds open for double the size if needed.  Amazing!

Here are some details of what the drawers and blocks from the period would have looked like:


So, to answer the question, yes, it is authentic.  This is exactly the type of thing real generals would have used to plan campaigns and would even take them into the field to use during the battles.  

Kriegsspiel wasn’t created yet during Napoleon’s time but he did use blocks on maps for planning.  They measured rates of march with a compass or measuring stick.  You can see how this would soon develop into official rules for movement and combat resolution.  

Napoleon didn’t play Kriegsspiel.  He did use wooden blocks on real maps to plan and strategize.  The tools of the trade.  He played with the precursor of what was to soon become codified into Kriegssipiel.

What about the maps?  Why do we print our maps on canvas?

This may seem kind of strange to us today.  We use canvas for art.  Maps are printed on paper.  Back then, the good maps were printed on canvas.  It is much more durable and longer lasting.  Without modern rain gear, plastic and rubber seals, I suspect it was much more common for gear to get wet.  Paper maps could quickly get ruined in the field.  

You can actually see the canvas threads on the maps from the period.  They were often folded up.  Over time, the folds would wear through the map.  This is a historical map we researched for our new Monmouth battle:

Yep, definitely canvas.  So why use canvas maps?  Because it doesn’t get anymore realistic than that.  They are more durable.  I haven’t played a Pub Battle outside in the rain yet but I’ll have to do it just to get pictures and show it can be done.  -You might want to clear coat the stickers first to seal them onto the blocks!  

The canvas really looks beautiful too.  It makes the map look like a work of art.  It’s hard to describe until you hold one in your hands and see it on the table.   It is hard to imagine playing without it now.    








Supremacy Terrain

This is just a graphics test.  We’d like to get some feedback before we continue down this road. 

What do you guys think?  Too busy?  Too cluttered?  Look good?  Love, like, hate?


Let us know in comments below. 

We have rules for weather zones as well.  I’m afraid if we super impose weather over the top of this, it would really get confusing.  Any ideas?

By the way, we made some major breakthroughs finally on the Cyber Deck / Unconventional War expansion yesterday.  The rough draft rules should be finished today.  I expect this Expansion will be done and released soon!  

As it turns out, this was also the last piece we needed to make the 80’s Cold War edition work right.  I’m expecting this to be done and released soon as well.  Right now, we are seeing this as an expansion map and scenario.  We think the same deck and pieces will work, so you won’t have to buy a whole new game to get a whole new game.  That’s always nice.  =)



Wargames with No Victory Conditions

As a game designer, I often loathe victory conditions.  It is fun to research the battle and OB.  Set the map scale and scope to fit the battle.  Develop a system that models and explains the flow and events that took place.  Most of the time, this all comes together easily.  The trouble starts when you have to define who wins.

Kriegsspiel is like a breath of fresh air.  There usually aren’t any Victory Conditions at all.  Who won?  I don’t know.  Discuss it.  If there are any Victory Conditions, they are usually informal guidelines.  This is a sample from our Brandy Station Scenario:


Though Stuart was able to hold the field at Brandy Station, the Federals inflicted double the losses on the unprepared Confederates. The raid was a Federal success!

On the other hand, part of the Federal goal was to break through and locate Lee’s Army. Longstreet’s Corps was in Culpeper, only 3 miles to the west. On this account, Pleasonton failed but was much closer than he realized.

Consider the historical result to be a moderate Federal victory. Inflicting heavier losses on the Confederates and forcing them to withdrawal would be a Major Federal victory.

Can the Confederates keep the Federal forces contained to the eastern half of the map? Can they fight the Federal cavalry to a stand still without the aid of Rhode’s infantry Division? Can they preserve their force and suffer fewer casualties? These achievements should earn a Confederate victory.

What about a 2nd day? It may be tempting to see how this plays out but this is highly unlikely. Neither side was looking for a big battle. Pleasonton had planned for a 1 day raid and certainly wasn’t looking to take on a whole infantry Division.



To me, this makes much more sense.  I also find it more ‘realistic’ to true life.  Who won in a real battle?  They don’t earn VPs for hills or cities.  Do I just want to be lazy as a designer?  Probably.  If we made Victory Conditions like this for all of our games, my life would certainly be much easier.  

Would wargamers accept Victory Conditions like this?  What about no Victory Conditions at all?  Just play and then discuss it afterwards.  Imagine playing Germany in the last 6 months of WWII.  You lasted 1 month longer than Hitler did.  Great.  Does that mean you won?  You got conquered 2 months early.  Does that mean you lost?  Comparing your self to the historical benchmark is a guide but what does it really mean?  

I notice that in most of our non Kriegsspiel games we often debate and discuss who won at the end, regardless of what the official Victory Conditions are in the rules.  Many times, we don’t even look them up.  We ‘know’ who won.  In fact, often times we don’t finish wargames.  We play until we ‘know’ it is won.  Then we stop, discuss and move on to the next game.  

Many times we find ourselves at odds with the rules.  “Well, according to the rules, this side won but I really think the other side won because of….”  How many times have you heard that debated after a game?  Analyzing, discussing and debating victory after the game is one of the most enjoyable parts of wargaming to me.  

A question this leads to is:  Why do you play wargames?  Do you play to learn about history?  To learn about a specific battle or campaign?  To learn the tactics and strategies of the times?  To have fun spending time with a friend?  To role play and imagine yourself commanding a force in those times?  To compare and test your self against the historical leaders we read about?  To compete in a challenging game and beat someone?  To prove your superior knowledge and skill in the arts of war?

I guess I play for all these reasons to varying degrees.  Some gaming circles maybe more competitive than others.  Some more interested in the role playing aspects.  Some players find the idea of playing a game with no Victory Conditions absurd.  What is the point of playing?  Why even have a game then?

Good Victory Conditions do serve an important function.  Why do anything in a game?  Why attack that stronghold?  You are going to take massive casualties.  Well, you must.  That is the objective.  Good Victory Conditions give the player motivation.  What are you trying to do?  What are you trying to avoid?  Why should you do it?  Ideally, these should be in line with history.  If written correctly, victory conditions should encourage a player think and behave like their historical counterparts.

A noble pursuit.  It is extremely difficult to pull off.  I find Victory Conditions in almost all games to miss this mark.  They often seem empty, hollow and meaningless.  I guess that is why we still debate who ‘really’ won after the game, regardless of what the rules say.  

How do you feel about Victory Conditions?  Are they relevant and helpful?  What are bad conditions?  What are examples of games with really good Victory Conditions?  Would you play a game with no Victory Conditions at all?  What about Victory Guidelines like the ones above on Brandy Station?  Is this approach better than the traditional approach to wargaming?  

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