In light of a recent conversation I had with a wargaming friend while in Berlin, I find myself lately pondering how I might use those unused Waterloo-era Napoleonics. These, some of you might recall, have been in careful storage since the early 2000s when I made the radical switch from 15mm to 30mm, and the Grand Duchy of Stollen project with its imaginary mid-18th century focus began.
In theory, it all seems so simple. So plausible. So reasonable. So do-able.
Here's my thinking on all of this. Think more like a general instead of a company officer. Make the game a more abstract exercise. Use the hundreds of figures I have painted already, transfer them to small, square basswood bases, and paint up the few remaining that I might still need. The figures become purely symbolic, a dozen or so (for infantry) representing various divisions and, in a few cases, brigades. Each base can then be modeled as some kind of interesting mini-diorama or vignette rather than trying to represent actual late Napoleonic tactical formations like lines, columns, or squares. Easy, right?
And yet, I know from experience that the Napoleonic road leads to an inescapable mire. Figurative Belgian mud. Hobby quicksand. Or, to put it another way, trying to reduce the entire Waterloo campaign to an attainable corps-level collection and playable game seems like a temporal sinkhole that leads nowhere. Except to madness. And still these thrilling, Peter Gilder-inspired thoughts plague me during the hours of consciousness. The Waterloo campaign was my first wargaming love after all.
Perhaps, it is a very good thing that all of my stuff remains in storage, and current living space very limited, given our temporary housing situation. Sigh. Far better to steer the course and continue with my tri-cornered hats and mitre caps in their semi-fictitious context once we are again in a house equipped with a Zum Stollenkeller Mk II.