Tuesday, 6th August’s encounter with the NAPOLEON board game proved that there are endless variations on this intriguing operational game of the Waterloo Campaign. Using the historical set-up, Napoleon seized the central position, dividing the Prussian Army from its Anglo-Dutch allies. The rule only allowing communication between the allies about strategy on night turns was observed strictly, conversation being limited only to the technical aspects of play.
Blucher effected a concentration, attacking at Namur, east of Ligny, and hoped to snatch victory from what seemed to be a weaker force but he had not counted on the resilience of the French and their superiority in cavalry. His grand battery in the centre was disappointingly ineffectual and the French pinned down the wings with local cavalry attacks. As reinforcements were funnelled into the French reserves, he gambled on an all-out infantry attack on the French right wing, egged on by the Field-Marshal himself. The attack took severe casualties and faltered.
Retreat was perhaps the best course at this juncture but his blood was up and he hoped to break the French by recommencing the attack. Alas! The strain on the Prussians proved too great. The army routed and a count revealed that the national army was defeated and removed from the board.
Looking on, the Duke was powerless to help. In the following Allied turn, he attacked at Nivelles, hoping to win a local victory and some honour, but the French were able to reinforce faster. The writing was on the wall. Retreating, he conceded defeat and the game to the Emperor.