Thursday, July 1, 2021

Thursday Napoleonics: SPI's BIG Waterloo Game, Wellington's Victory, to 12:15pm

For my June project, I am revisiting a game I first played in high school, against a much older and patient opponent, who methodically dismembered me, though if you’re reading this, Dave, you got some key rules wrong!

This is Wellington’s Victory, one of SPI’s monster games of the 1970s, and in my opinion there is no lovelier paper, hex and counter game, though the colour choices for the elevations seem quite arid for the rain-soaked spring landscape of Belgium.   Certainly the national colours for the various units are lovely.   Here is the complete setup for the complete Battle of Waterloo, which commences at 11:45 on the turn track.

Any Waterloo game has to assume that Napoleon knows that Grouchy will not come, otherwise it doesn’t make much sense.   So, in this solo game, my object as the French is to throw as much of my weight as possible against the Anglo-Dutch, though the drain of committed brigades on the Army Morale total (let it drop to zero and bad things happen) mean that I have to decide carefully how much of my force to commit at the outset.

Opening Moves:  French commit Bauduin’s brigade of Jerome Bonaparte’s 6/II Div.  These light infantry battalions will deploy as skirmishers and move against the Hougoumont orchard to keep the British honest.

On the right, me/Napoleon commits all 8 brigades of D’Erlon’s I Corps, as well as the Corps light cavalry division of Jacquinot.  The French plan is to threaten Wellington’s left without getting sucked into the Hougoumont trap while punching hard  against the Anglo-Dutch left.


British throw the 1/95th Rifles and a battalion of KGL lights as skirmishers into La Haye Sainte to reinforce the position.  Meanwhile a regiment of British Guards deploys as skirmishers and moves to reinforce Hougoumont, but no more reinforcements there for now.


D’Erlon’s Corps begins its advance.

French light infantry skirmishers begin to press into Hougoumont’s orchard at bayonet point, both sides taking some casualties.  I begin to feel the magnetic pull of  chateau.  Must Resist!

Close up of the action as the French press against the Belgians and Dutch holding Papelotte.  

Just after this photo was taken in the Allied fire phase, the French columns started coming under cannon fire and three battalions were disordered with casualties.  Meanwhile, Milhaud’s 3rd HvyCav Div is committed and moving up.  Allies responded by committing Vivian and Vanderleur’s two cavalry brigades on the A-D left flank.

More to follow as I play it!   Who knows if I’ll finish the game this calendar year!

Blessings to your die rolls, 



  1. This is a classic, Michael. Played it a few times myself. Let's see if you finish this one. Good luck!

    1. It' perhaps my favourite monster game. SPI's Atlantic Wall is a close second.
      How did your games go?

  2. A flash from the past - lovely. It is on of the few that I didn’t pick up or play, fearing it too large …… my loss I think. I will enjoy your reports.

    1. Thanks Norm. I am just up to the 12:30 turn so it's going slow but I will try to keep things moving and report on them. It's great fun to go down to the games room and think through a phase at a time.

  3. Fine looking game, and although the map colours look a bit odd, they contrast nicely with the counters. My own Waterloo Board game is the classic SPI version published back when Methuselah was a lad...
    I'll be looking out for how this one plays out...

    1. Ion:
      Agee with you on the colour contrast. I think the game you have is part of the SPI 100 days quad. I bought that as a Decision Games reprint and like it, though it's typical ZPI mechanics (ZOCs, bog standard CRT) makes it geel very generic, whereas Wellington's Victory has the feel of a miniatures game.

  4. I'm not much of a boardgamer but have friends who are and so in the early 80's I found myself in a multi player game of this, on the allied side I think or maybe just a foreign observer. The only thing I remember was Napoleon issuing orders to his team, including a direct order to NOT assault Hougomont, then going for his run etc. When he returned......yup they'd been sucked in.

  5. It would be great to play these monster games with a team. Hougoumont is a giant magnet, its tempting me and I only answer to myself! MUST RESIST!


Blog Archive