NAPOLEON'S LAST BATTLES is a set of four games, each of which simulates a different battle in Napoleon's short-lived 1815 campaign against the British and Prussian armies in Belgium. Each of the games that make up the NAPOLEON'S LAST BATTLES Quadrigame can be played individually, or they can be combined to allow players to simulate the entire three-day campaign. The four major engagements depicted in this collection are the battles of LIGNY, QUATRE BRAS, WAVRE, and LA BELLE ALLIANCE (WATERLOO). All of the games in this set, including the CAMPAIGN GAME, were designed by Kevin Zucker. NAPOLEON'S LAST BATTLES was first published by Simulations Publications, Inc. (SPI) in 1976. This game was later reissued (with some modifications), first under the TSR label, and then by Decision Games.


 Napoleon addresses his Guard,
 Battle of Waterloo
Napoleon Bonaparte's fateful decision to cross into Belgium at the head of a French army on June 15, 1815 was — based on the cold realities of France’s strategic situation — probably his only viable option. Military action was clearly required; diplomacy was, at least temporarily, out of the question. The Emperor's former enemies, by their rapid and hostile response to his reappearance in France, had made it abundantly clear that they would not tolerate his return to the throne. Thus, after Bonaparte’s surprise escape from exile on Elba and his triumphant arrival in France on March 1st 1815, the member nations — England, Prussia, Austria, and Russia — of the same reactionary Great Coalition that had defeated and deposed him over eleven months earlier, quickly scrambled — within the space of a few days — to convene an emergency meeting in Vienna to deal with the renewed French threat. From Vienna, they formally declared Napoleon to be an “outlaw” and demanded his abdication and the restoration (yet again) of the Bourbon monarchy. To back up their demands of March 13th — which they knew Bonaparte would disregard — the individual member nations of the Coalition pledged to immediately begin to raise fresh armies of 150,000 men each for a renewed war against the “Corsican Ogre”.

Field Marshal Prince
Blücher von Wahlstadt

The first of the Seventh Coalition armies to actually take the field in anticipation of the coming war with France were those of Prussia and Britain. By June, 1815, the Anglo-Allied Army under Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, and the Prussian Army, commanded by Field Marshal Prince Blücher von Wahlstadt, had massed most of their troops in Belgium near the French border. To the east, the Austrians were assembling another army which, when formed, would equal or exceed the size of Napoleon’s own. To make matters worse, farther to the east, the Tsar was also mustering new troops whose strength, when ready to march, would equal that of the Austrians.

Confronted by an alliance that, when fully assembled, would outnumber his own forces by more than four-to-one, Napoleon decided to strike first. Gathering what available troops could be spared from other fronts, some 123,000 men in all, Napoleon force marched his newly-raised Armée du Nord towards the enemy encampments near the French border and, on the 15th of June, stole across the Sambre River into Belgium. Once his army had advanced within striking-distance of his enemies, Bonaparte’s plan of campaign, based on his theory of the “central position,” was simple: he would drive the Armée du Nord between the dispersed bivouacs of Wellington and Blücher, and then defeat each enemy army in turn before they could combine their forces against him.


NAPOLEON'S LAST BATTLES is a grand-tactical (brigade level) simulation — based on the popular NAPOLEON AT WATERLOO Game System — of the four separate battles fought between Coalition and French forces during Napoleon's short-lived 1815 campaign against the Prussian and British armies in Belgium. The combat units represent the actual military formations that took part in the historical campaign, and up to two combat units (unlike some other NAW-based titles) may stack together in the same hex. Each of the four-color game maps depicts one of four different areas in Belgium over which the opposing armies maneuvered and fought during the most critical days of the campaign; that is: the period beginning with the 16th and running through the 18th of June, 1815. The terrain displayed on the game maps is relegated to ten different types: Clear, Forest and Marsh, Crest Hexsides, Roads, Trails, Chateaux Hexes, Towns, River Hexsides, Stream Hexsides, and Bridges. Roads accelerate movement, trails and bridges allow movement through otherwise difficult (or blocking terrain), and forests and marshes slow movement and also halve the attack or defense strength of cavalry units. Towns, streams, and bridges double the strength of any defending units occupying them. "Chateux" hexes represent a special case: these virtual fortresses permit no stacking, but do triple the defense strength of any single INFANTRY unit (only) garrisoning them. In addition, these defensive hexes cannot be bombarded and adjacent enemy units need not be attacked by units in chateux hexes. Infantry units defending in chateux hexes also enjoy other defensive advantages: enemy attacks at 4 to 1 or greater odds are resolved as 4 to 1's, and retreat results do not affect the defender.

The specific game-related actions of each player in NAPOLEON'S LAST BATTLES are organized into a sequence of game turns which are composed of a French and a Prussian and/or Anglo-Allied player turn. Each player turn is further divided into a Movement Phase followed by a Combat Phase; the French player is always the first to act in all scenarios and in the Campaign Game. Game turns, because of the multi-day duration of the campaign, are of two types: "daylight" game turns which represent one hour of real time; and "night" game turns which are three hours in length. As is typical of other games in this series, zones of control (ZOCs) are sticky, and units may only exit an enemy ZOC as a result of combat (either through retreat or elimination). Combat between adjacent enemy units is mandatory, and the phasing (attacking) player must engage all enemy units which are adjacent to his or her own. Combat may, at the discretion of the phasing player, take one of two forms: direct assault (with adjacent units of any type); and bombardment attacks (which may be conducted by artillery units at a range of two hexes). In all attacks in which the defender is either eliminated or forced to retreat — with the single exception of assaults against "chateaux" hexes — the attacker may (but is not required to) advance ONE of the victorious attacking units into the newly-vacated hex.

The Combat Results Table of NAPOLEON'S LAST BATTLES is heavily weighted in favor of "attacker" and "defender" retreats, and neither "defender elims" (D elim) nor "exchanges" (Ex) appear until the attacker has achieved odds of 4 to 1 or better. Because of the relatively "bloodless" nature of the game's CRT, the key to tactical success in NAPOLEON'S LAST BATTLES, as it is in the other games of this series, is the "surrounded" attack: that is, a planned sequence of assaults in which the phasing player uses successful advances from other attacks to surround a target unit with units and ZOCs and, via a subsequent retreat result, eliminate it.

In addition to the game's Standard Rules, NAPOLEON'S LAST BATTLES also includes a pair of "Optional Rules" which can be added, at the players' discretion, in the interests of added realism. These special "Optional" rules are: the Combined Arms Attack rule which permits the attacker to shift the odds of any attack one column to the right (i.e., a 1 to 1 becomes a 2 to 1) if the target hex is being assaulted by a force containing infantry, cavalry, and artillery; and the Imperial Guard rule which stipulates that if any infantry unit (Guard cavalry and artillery units are exempt) belonging to the French Imperial Guard is involved in a combat that results in an "attacker elim" (A Elim), an "attacker retreat" (AR), or an "exchange" (Ex), the French Demoralization level is immediately reduced by twenty points. It should be noted that, in the course of regular play, both "Optional" rules actually tend to benefit the P.A.A. player; nonetheless, once players have become familiar with the basic game system — because these rules add an interesting (and challenging) element of historical "realism" to the game — it is strongly recommended that both be incorporated into play.

Players win in NAPOLEON'S LAST BATTLES by inflicting a certain level of casualties on the opposing force or forces. This casualty requirement will vary from scenario to scenario, and from army to army. Moreover, it can take one of two forms: Demoralization, which, in the case of the French, results in their immediate defeat, but in the case of both the Anglo-Allies and the Prussians merely eliminates their ability to advance after combat; and Disintegration (requiring a higher number of casualties than that of Demoralization) which immediately signals the defeat of the P.A.A. force or forces involved in the action.

The four games that make up the NAPOLEON'S LAST BATTLES Quadrigame — as previously noted — all utilize a similar mix of game components, and all are governed by the same set of Standard Rules. However, because the circumstances in each of the four historical engagements are different, each simulation also lists its own short set of Victory Conditions (typically in the form of "Demoralization" and "Disintegration" levels) specific to that game. Needless-to-say, this uniformity in design makes it effortless to move from one game to the next in this set without requiring the players to do any additional preparation or study. Moreover, each title, although similar to its counterparts in structure and presentation, still offers a different and unique gaming experience. And for those players who have both the time and the desire to refight the entire campaign, NAPOLEON'S LAST BATTLES offers that option as well. The Campaign Game, however, unlike the shorter scenarios, utilizes all four game maps, all of the historical units from all three armies (a unit manifest is included with the special Campaign Game rules), and covers the most critical three days that followed Napoleon's crossing of the Sambre into Belgium in 1815. In addition, the expanded game also introduces new (and fairly detailed) rules to cover command and control, supply, and post-combat unit reorganization. Finally, it should be noted that the simulations in this series are all designed to be about average in complexity, and playing times for the shorter, one-map games will typically vary from two to three hours; playing time for the four-map, thirty-seven turn Campaign Game, on the other hand, will typically run about fifteen hours or more.


LIGNY (16 June 1815)
is a simulation of the first major battle of Napoleon's 1815 campaign. The Prussian commander, Field Marshal Prince Blücher von Wahlstadt — instead of retiring in the face of the unexpected French advance — chose to offer battle near the town of Ligny. The Prussian positions were generally strong with the main part of the Prussian army deployed around the village of Ligny and on the high ground to the northwest of the town. As a further barrier to enemy movements, a series of shallow streams wove through and around the town; collectively these were known as Ligny Brook. In addition to favorable terrain, Blücher's command, which totaled about 84,000 men and 224 guns, actually outnumbered the opposing French forces, which numbered only 75,000 men and 212 guns. Nonetheless, the French — under the personal direction of Napoleon and undeterred by their foe's numerical advantage — commenced an assault against the Prussian line at about two o'clock in the afternoon. For much of the day, the Prussians held their attackers at bay; however, because of the exposed positions of many of the Prussian units, the French artillery was able to exact a terrible toll on Blücher's troops. By evening, the Prussians had committed the last of their reserves and the entire army was nearing the limit of its endurance; at this point, and with the light rapidly fading, Napoleon ordered the elite infantry of the Imperial Guard forward supported by a division of heavy cavalry. The Prussian line bent and then buckled in the face of this last ferocious assault. Fortunately for Blücher, who had been injured when his horse fell on him late in the action, darkness allowed the beaten Prussians to withdraw unmolested and in relatively good order: the victorious French were too exhausted to organize a pursuit until the next morning. Prussian losses were heavy with probably somewhere between 12-20,000 killed, wounded, and captured, while another 8-10,000 abandoned the fight completely and deserted for home. French casualties were considerably lower, with most estimates placing Napoleon's losses at around 6,500-7,000 men killed and wounded. Ligny, there can no doubt, was a significant French tactical success; unfortunately, it had not been the decisive victory that Napoleon had needed. The Prussian army had been badly mauled; but its escape under cover of darkness guaranteed that it would survive to fight another day, and that day would come much sooner than Napoleon expected.

QUATRE BRAS (16 June 1815)
depicts the action at Quatre Bras between the advanced guard of Wellington's Anglo-Allied army (ultimately reinforced to about 36,000 men) and the left wing of the Armée du Nord (approximately 25,000 men) under Marshal Ney. Napoleon had instructed Ney to take possession of the vital crossroads at Quatre Bras to prevent Wellington from coming to the aid of his Prussian ally at Ligny. Unfortunately for the French, Marshal Ney, unsure as to the local strength of the Coalition forces to his front and awaiting reinforcements, postponed action for several critical hours. Finally, with no sign of the additional troops he had been promised (they were marching and counter-marching back and forth between Ligny and Quatre bras and would end up taking part in neither battle), Ney opened his assault at about 3:00 pm with a series of tentative and piecemeal attacks against what was, in the beginning, an out-numbered British (and Dutch-Belgian) detachment. The initial French advantage in rifle strength did not last, however, and although Ney's attacks were gradually able to push the enemy line back during the afternoon, the arrival on the scene both of the Duke of Wellington and of substantial Anglo-Allied reinforcements finally allowed the British, as evening approached, to counterattack the French all along the front. This assault, coming as a surprise to the tiring French troops, quickly succeeded both in wresting the initiative away from Ney, and in throwing the French back from all of the hard-won positions that they had gained earlier in the day. Ney's troops had had enough for the day, and fighting finally sputtered to an end at nightfall.
Battle of Quatre Bras
Somewhat surprisingly, word of Blücher's defeat at Ligny and of his subsequent retreat did not actually reach Wellington until mid-morning on the following day. When it finally did arrive, however, its implications were dire: it meant that Wellington's position at Quatre Bras was no longer tenable and that a general withdrawal was now necessary. In spite of his danger, the "Iron Duke" held his forces at the crossroads, and did not actually order their retreat to commence until early in afternoon on the 17th
. While Wellington dithered away the morning — and in one of those inexplicable occurrences that seem to happen in wartime — Ney's forces, which were still bivouacked near Quatre Bras, made no move to interfere with the activities of the decamping British; yet, had Ney only renewed his attack before noon, then he would have pinned the Anglo-Allied army long enough for the rest of the Armée du Nord to arrive and overwhelm Wellington's greatly out-numbered forces. Such a French victory, on top of the one at Ligny, would have ended the campaign there and then. Fortunately for the British, the nearby French troops, instead of attacking, spent the morning around their campfires peacefully tending to the preparation of their breakfasts, while their commander — apparently oblivious to the opportunity that was unfolding before him — ordered no offensive action at all. Ney's failure to act throughout the morning of the 17th would be one of the great "missed opportunities" of the campaign; unfortunately for the French Emperor, however, it would not be the last. So far as the action at Quatre Bras, itself, is concerned, although the numbers of troops involved in the fight for the crossroads were relatively small and the action short, both sides still lost approximately 4,000 men killed, wounded, and missing. Interestingly, the battle, while inconclusive could, in the end, be considered a French success: the British managed to retain possession of the crossroads, but they were, as Napoleon hoped, prevented from intervening on behalf of their ally at Ligny on the 16th.
WAVRE (18 June 1815)
is a simulation of the battle between the right wing of the Armée du Nord, under Marshal Grouchy, and the Prussian rear guard, under General Baron von Thielmann. The troops under Thielmann, which numbered somewhere between 17,000 and 27,000 men (estimates vary widely), were tasked by Theilmann's commander, Marshal Blücher, with tying up the 33,000 men under Grouchy while the rest of the Prussian army marched to the aid of the Anglo-Allies at Waterloo. In this, the Prussian commander was successful. Grouchy, in one of the most controversial (if not incomprehensible) decisions of the entire campaign, chose — instead of immediately marching to the sound of the guns at Waterloo — to attack the Prussians to his immediate front. The casualties of the two armies were comparatively light; both the French and Prussians each losing only about 2,500 men killed and wounded. The battle of Wavre ended with a modest French victory, but Grouchy's chance to change history had slipped away. Instead, while his troops fought a largely pointless action against Thielmann's delaying forces at Wavre, the fate of the entire campaign was being decided on another battlefield only a few miles away.

LA BELLE ALLIANCE (18 June 1815)
depicts what is, perhaps, the most famous military engagement in European history, the Battle of Waterloo. The site at which the battle was fought, interestingly enough, had actually been pre-selected by Wellington during a tour of the Belgian countryside in the weeks leading up to the battle. The presence of several walled chateaux and the gently undulating lay of the ground had convinced the British commander that this patch of terrain offered excellent defensive advantages to the British and their Dutch-Belgian allies if they should ever be obliged to mount a defense of the Brussels Road. The site had only one worrisome defect: the forests that would likely be at the backs of a defender's lines would make the orderly retreat of an army from the battlefield, if it were defeated, next to impossible.

On the morning of 18 June 1815, the two opposing hosts, after having spent a rain-soaked night within earshot of each other, formed for battle. Wellington's polyglot army — which was composed of British regulars, Belgians, Dutch, and Nassauers — deployed along a low-lying set of ridges and in two walled chateaux (known locally as Hougomont and La Haye-Sainte) on the north side of the battlefield, while the French army took up positions along the high ground to the south. A shallow valley, cloaked with sodden rye grass, separated the two forces. In total numbers, the two belligerents were not that unevenly matched. Wellington commanded a force of some 24,000 British and 43,500 allied troops (approximately 67,700 men, in total) along with 156 guns; Napoleon's army was slightly larger, numbering roughly 72,000 Frenchmen with 246 guns. Although estimates of times vary, the two armies had probably largely completed their dispositions sometime around 9:00 am. Then, having taken their respective places on each side of the battlefield, an unexpected quiet settled over the massed ranks of both armies. Everyone stood stoically by and waited.

Wellington directs deployment from his
famous position under the tree
The one that everyone, on both sides of the battlefield, waited for was Napoleon. The French Emperor had earlier inspected the rain-soaked fields of rye and, after conferring with his senior officers, had decided to delay the start of the French attack until the muddy ground had dried sufficiently that it would not seriously encumber his artillery and cavalry: the two arms in which he had a pronounced advantage over his British adversary. This decision, by Napoleon, to postpone the start of the battle would have fateful consequences later in the day. In the meantime, the "Iron Duke", having watched the French stand silently in their serried ranks for a time, dismounted and lay down to rest under a tree near the center of the British lines. Minutes turned into hours and then at 11:00 am — so unexpected as to be almost shocking — the sound of an artillery cannonade suddenly erupted on the French left. The one and only battle that would pit the two greatest generals of their age against each other had finally begun. And with its start, the fate of two great empires now depended on what would happen, in this small corner of Belgium, in the course of the next few hours.


The NAPOLEON AT WATERLOO Game System, as I have noted a number of times before, is probably one of the most successful conflict simulation design platforms ever created. Besides being used in numerous SPI (and other publishers’) Napoleonic games, it has also been the foundation for the SPI BLUE & GRAY Civil War Quadrigames; in addition, it has showed up in at least one WWII title, BATTLE FOR GERMANY, and it has even appeared in a modern naval game, SPI’s 6th FLEET. These games, whatever their differences, all share many of the same characteristics: they are easy and comparatively quick to play, full of action, and they usually model interesting and historically significant conflict situations.

British guards defending Hougomont, Battle of Waterloo
Such is the case with NAPOLEON'S LAST BATTLES. It would be difficult, even taking into account all of the military campaigns that have colored European history — both before and after Napoleon's ill-fated gamble in the spring of 1815 — to think of another military clash that possesses the same unique historical cachet, and the same sense of high drama as the Waterloo Campaign. Moreover, no other sequence of military actions has provoked more nagging what if (?) questions than those raised by the mistakes and bad luck that plagued Bonaparte's audacious and nearly successful attempt to save his throne in June of 1815. It is no wonder, then, that the Waterloo Campaign has been an obvious topic for game designers going all the way back to Avalon Hill's publication of Thomas Shaw's and Lindsley Schutz' WATERLOO in 1962. Thus, when it comes to Kevin Zucker's design treatment of this popular topic, the only real question to be asked is: does the modified NAPOLEON AT WATERLOO Game System used in this design offer players enough historical detail to permit the Campaign Game in NAPOLEON'S LAST BATTLES to work, both as a game and as a simulation. In my view, the answer is an emphatic, yes. There are, to be sure, far more detailed and, I would say, cumbersome simulations of the 1815 Campaign than this one available to those gamers who prefer a more complex simulation of the events of June 1815. However, for those players who are looking for a game with enough size and scope to simulate the entire campaign, but who do not want to commit months of their lives to a single gaming project, Kevin's design is probably for you. What I mean by this is that, almost alone among the many grand-tactical, multi-map monster games dealing with famous Napoleonic campaigns that are available today, this title is one of the very few that doesn’t require weeks of preparation and rules study before players feel knowledgeable enough about the game system to finally sit down and play.

French cavalry attack
Of course, along with a game's basic design platform, other factors also heavily weigh on whether a game will generate interest among the ranks of the gaming public. And since appealing graphics have become a steadily more important feature in game designs in recent years, I feel obliged to at least touch on the overall quality of the graphics in NAPOLEON'S LAST BATTLES. Given that the game was originally published in 1976, it should come as no surprise that it is not as visually striking as some of the newer Napoleonic titles currently making the rounds among gamers; nonetheless, in my view, the game's graphics presentation is both reasonably attractive and functional. The maps, as is typical of Simonsen's work during this period, are both nicely-rendered and unambiguous. The counters are simple but clearly-printed. And not inconsequentially, the Rule Books are well-organized and clearly-written, and the various charts and tables are all both easy-to-read and readily accessible. Finally, different players have different opinions when it comes to the old SPI plastic "flat pack" which, it turns out, was the original packaging used for NAPOLEON'S LAST BATTLES. Personally, I happen to like them, but for those gamers who don't, later versions of the game were packaged in cardboard boxes, rather than "flat packs".

Marshal Ney at Waterloo
So where does all this leave us when it comes to Kevin Zucker's (multi-map) take on the Waterloo Campaign? Certainly, as I indicated previously, NAPOLEON’S LAST BATTLES is not a particularly complicated game; yet, I believe that it does have enough historical ornament to be satisfying to any but the most dedicated, detail-obsessed monster game fanatics. Moreover, what it lacks in operational “nitty-gritty,” it more than makes up for in ease of learning and playability. Granted, this may not be the definitive conflict simulation of the Waterloo Campaign, but it is a heck of a lot of fun to play; and with four unique game situations, as well as the much longer Campaign Game, different battlefield strategies seem to emerge every time you begin the game anew. For this reason, I strongly recommend this title, both for those experienced players interested in the Napoleonic Wars generally, but also for casual gamers who enjoy a challenging, fun game that doesn’t require hours to figure out or to learn. For those players who are particularly interested in Napoleon's 1815 Campaign, and who also would like a game that doesn't require weeks to set up or to play, this title is probably a MUST OWN.

Design Characteristics:

  • Time Scale: 1 hour per game turn (daylight turns); 3 hours per game turn (night turns)
  • Map Scale: 480 meters per hex
  • Unit Size: Each strength point represents 350-750 men or 1 battery of artillery (6 to 14 guns)
  • Unit Types: army commanders (e.g., Napoleon, Wellington, and Blücher), officers (mainly corps commanders), infantry, cavalry, foot artillery, and horse artillery
  • Number of Players: two (the Campaign Game, however, is a possible candidate for team play)
  • Complexity: average
  • Solitaire Suitability: above average
  • Average Playing Time: 2-3 hours (depending on scenario); 15+ hours for the Campaign Game

Game Components (for all four Games):

  • Four 17” x 22” hexagonal grid Map Sheets (with Unit Starting Positions, Turn Record Chart and Terrain Key incorporated)
  • 400 ½” back-printed cardboard Counters
  • Two 8½” x 11” Standard Rules Booklets (with Individual Scenario Instructions and Terrain Effects Chart incorporated)
  • Two 8½” x 11” Campaign Rules Booklets (with Additional Campaign Instructions and Unit Manifest incorporated)
  • One small six-sided Die
  • One SPI 12” x 15” x 1” flat 24 compartment plastic Game Box (with clear compartment tray covers) and clear plastic box cover with Title Sheet

Recommended Reading

See my blog post Book Reviews of Waterloo, Day of Battle, and The Campaigns of Napoleon and The Face of Battle; books that I recommend as highly-readable sources for those visitors who are interested in further historical background.

For decorating the game room with a Napoleonic theme:


  • And KZ is to update this classic in his series.

  • Greetings Don:

    Yes, I understand that Kevin has also incorporated "optional" random event cards in his newly redesigned version as well. having not seen the end product of all this tinkering, I will withold judgment, but the "cards", I confess, bother me. It was exactly that element of his design, HIGHWAY TO THE KREMLIN -- along with an unexpectedly obstuse set of rules -- that turned me off his game on the 1812 Campaign.

    Best Regards, Joe

  • Great post! NLB was my FIRST wargame ever: I played it with my father when I was 8 (one of the very few copies of the game that were present in Italy at the start of the '80s), so it has a very important place in my memories. ^__^

  • Greetings Sinclair:

    Thank you for the kind words, and for your interest.

    Interestingly, although NAPOLEON'S LAST BATTLES was one of Kevin Zucker's very first Napoleonic game designs, it (along with NAPOLEON AT BAY and NAPOLEON AT LEIPZIG, both of which came later) still -- even after all of these years -- remains one of my all time favorites, when it comes to Napoleonic campaign games. Moreover, even the individual "Battle" scenarios in "NLB" are, in my view, interesting enough to warrant repeated play. So, all that being said, I think that it is obvious that -- in my view, at least -- the game is a winner, all the way around.

    Thanks again for visiting and
    Best Regards, Joe

  • Matthew Carrick said...

    This Quad game was a favorite of mine. Almost a proto mini-monster game if you follow my drift.

  • Greetings Matthew:

    Yes, the NLB "Campaign Game" had many of the best features of a "monster" game with few of its usual liabilities. And, unlike virtually all of the other Napoleonic "monsters" that I have played over the years, the NAPOLEON'S LAST BATTLES four-map "Campaign Game" could actually be played to conclusion in the course of a single weekend.

    Best Regards, Joe

  • Loved NLB when it came out.So much so I made up 6-7 other Napoleonic battles with those SPI blank mapsheets and Nato style do it yourself counters.

    Once again a great article Joe

  • Greetings Kim:

    Boy, your mention of the old SPI "blank" hex sheets and "blank" counter sheets really takes me back. Interestingly enough, I finally sold those I had left on eBay about a year ago -- even then, I hated to part with them.

    When it comes to "home-brewed" games, like you, I tried my hand at designing a number of my own wargames; sadly, honesty complel me to admit that, far too often, they ended up being either too derivative, too long, too boring, or, in some unfortunate cases, all three. Case in point: I remember showing a friend of mine the product of months of labor (including my carefully applying "presstype" to the map to make it look more professional), a simulation of Napoleon's Ulm Campaign. My friend looked the map and counters over, and then quickly read through the rules; his verdict, much to my dismay, was just as quick as his examination: "You seem" he said, "to have designed an expansion of the 1805 Scenario from LA GRANDE ARMEE without, it appears, including any of the fun parts from the original game." Needless-to-say, my budding career as a game designer fizzled out soon after that.

    Best Regards, Joe

  • Nice write-up!

    For an interesting and, in my opinion, much improved variation on this series, check out Markus Stumptner's rules:


    Markus adds an order scheme among other tweaks. His rules add a bit of complexity but the payoff is well worth the effort.

    J. R. Tracy

  • Greetings J.R.:

    Thank you for your kind words, and for your interest.

    So far as Markus Stumptner's rules mdifications for 'NAPOLEON'S LAST BATTLES' are concerned, I have glanced at them briefly; however, I have, as yet, not invested sufficient time in examining them to be comfortable offering my readers an opinion on them, one way or the other. This is not to say, by the way, that I might not take your advice and, at some point in the future, give the whole body of Markus' work (both his rules modifications for NLB and his several game designs) a really serious look.

    Best Regards, Joe

  • My wargaming began in 1978 with the dutch/french version of NLB. I just finished university and I stumbled upon it in a games shop. Oh boy, little did I realise it would change my hobby time.

    As I was (and still am) interested in history I couldn't believe my eyes. What were these games ? In fact I had the choice between the dutch version of Panzergruppe Guderian and NLB. I chose this one. I still remember the price tag 999 Belgian Francs (25 Euro). It was the deluxe dition with terrible bad translated rules.

    I was hooked and wargaming (in all forms) would never leave my life again. Now here I am 33 years later and a few hundred boxes on my attic...

    TY for a great site and all those memories of lost youth ... :(

  • Greetings BenBos:

    Thank you for your interest and for your kind words.

    Yes, I too remember my first few Avalon Hill games: WATERLOO, STALINGRAD, AFRIKA KORPS, and GETTYSBURG '64. And although it predated the other titles, I actually didn't pick up a copy of D-DAY -- which I ultimately came to like a lot -- until the late sixties (at about the same time that I bought Dunnigan's second game design for Avalon Hill, 1914). It's hard to believe that so many years have passed, but time, as you note, overtakes us all in the end, I suppose.

    Thanks again for visiting and

    Best Regards, Joe

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