Napoleon at Waterloo / M.Booth I was particularly interested in Rob Gibson's article on improving the basic 'Napoleon at Waterloo'. After playing this game over the last four years, at least once a week, I still find it gives an enjoyable, simple game suitable for fighting solo. While I agree with Mr Gibson's comments concerning Hougomont and La Haye Sainte, I am afraid I do not understand the reasoning behind his treatment of the La Haye Sainte position. In the basic rules, the 3-3 artillery unit is doubled to a defence value of 6. The most the French player can attack with (without accepting poor odds further along the line) is 12 (5-3 gd.art., 3-3 11 corps.art., 4-4 5th Division). This gives odds of 2:1. The French player therefore has four chances in six of taking the position (an exchange result would enable the British player to move another unit in during his movement). Mr Gibson's suggestion of putting the 14 unit in La Haye Sainte and tripling its value gives the French player odds of 4:1, 2 chances of destroying the unit, 2 of pushing it out and 2 of exchange. I would suggest leaving the 3-3 unit in place but still tripling it in defensive value. This only gives the French player a 50:50 chance of taking the position. As for the Hougomont position, I give below my own ideas on the subject:
The above measures strengthen, I think, the Hougomont position. In particular, the actual buildings of Hougomont become a potential 'trap' for the French player (representing Jerome's obsession with its capture and Reille's apparent inability to override him), as he must ensure he commits enough forces to obtain a DE result. If he does not do this, then valuable units are tied down, as actually happened. (It might possibly be an idea to say that 1 is added to French demoralisation for every move that Hougomont remains in British hands). I would like to suggest a few ideas for Mr Gibson's consideration. (1) Grouchy's interception of some/all of the Prussian force, under a chance rule. (2) What about Grouchy marching to the sound of guns? As I favour completely the French in this period I wouldn't mind seeing a few French units appearing out of the East as well as/instead of the Prussian rabble! (3) In the actual Battle, the first Prussians on the field struck at Placenoit. The Prussians' ability to appear anywhere on the Eastern edge of the game map smacks rather of telepathy between Wellington and Blucher! To my mind, at least, the Prussian forces should move independent of the wishes of the Allied player for the first move or so of their involvement in the game. I hope that my ideas have proved constructive to those who read them. Obviously, 'Napoleon at Waterloo' could be "tarted up" no end by adding complication upon complication. This, I think, would detract greatly from its attraction as a good, simple game. And, anyway, with "Wellington's Victory", why bother?