Reply To: These Waterloo Boxed Armies make no sense!

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Charge The Guns

Hi John,

Very sorry to hear you are having a struggle getting started.  I’ll take a pitch at trying to help with some suggestions.

I think part of the issue is that the rules aren’t very prescriptive about how you form units, brigades and armies as they wanted to be a flexible as possible.  This is great for people with existing forces but of course can be very confusing if you are just starting out.

I also suspect that what appears on one of the plastic frames was more about maximising the figures on a frame, and also trying to provide a range of unit types, rather than expecting to produce an ideal starting force.

It sounds like you have a gaming group that you are planning to play games with.  This is a massive help.  The key thing with BP is that you agree between you how big you expect units to be, and also what sort of forces you want to use in games. The “army lists” are really just trying to be some guidelines to help people put together what is a reasonable force to play a game, and it sounds like they are not helping which is a pity.

I expect you will find that people don’t actually use the lists much once they have started playing a few games, and hence the anomalies you point out aren’t discussed much. (The bit about the brigade make up for French cavalry has been pointed out on the forum before, and it certainly looks like a mistake in the wording.)

My suggestion is that you agree in your group how you want to form units and brigades to start with.  Perhaps just have three stands of infantry to a battalion to start with, and three stands of cavalry to regiment.  You can expand these as you get more painted.  I would leave the skirmishers off to start with – one less thing to worry about in the rules.

Then I would form three battalions of infantry in to a brigade, and perhaps aim to have two infantry brigades. To start with I would have two brigades of cavalry, each brigade with two regiments in.  I would not worry about which types of cavalry are in a brigade at this point.

Finally add a battery of artillery to one of the infantry brigades, and a commander to each brigade, with one overall commander.  Do the same for the British, and then have a couple of games.

As you start to get more familiar with the rules, and as you get more stuff painted,  you can then start to figure out how your group wants units to look and how to form brigades, and indeed whole forces, for games.

I think with all wargames rules, how ever experienced you are, it is much easier to learn them playing with someone else who knows the rules already.  Are you in the UK anywhere near Worcester?  The gaming group I belong to (The Friends of General Haig) play on Saturday afternoons near Worcester and we play a lot of BP Napoleonics.  You and your buddies would be very welcome to come and join in a game and I’m sure we could help iron out some wrinkles.

Hoping that this helps rather than making things more confusing 🙂

Cheers, Andy @ The Friends of General Haig.