Posted Saturday, 27-Jun-2015
This year is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. The battle, which ended the Emperor Napoleon’s career and gave a huge boost to Abba, has spawned a whole host of board games. So why is it so popular, and how can you pick the game to play?
Why is Waterloo so appealing as the subject of games?
Part of it is historical significance. Waterloo saw the defeat of Napoleon, one of history’s most famous generals and politicians. It also marked the end of France’s imperial ambitions, and the restoration of the French monarchy.
The spectacle helps. Waterloo took place in an age when grand armies in bright uniforms fought each other on an epic scale, cavalry charging through the smoke of devastating artillery batteries. It’s this spectacle that inspires a children’s game like , with its dramatic cover art and plastic pieces.
But more than anything, the appeal lies in the close fought drama of the battle. Both sides were tested to their limit at Waterloo, and the battle could easily have gone the other way. It makes for a game that could also go the way of either player.
Films, books and TV shows often celebrate significant anniversaries and educate people about them. But board games can do this even better.
Because they involve active participation, board games make their subjects more memorable. Watch the film of Waterloo and you’ll remember the action but few of the details.
Spend hours on a detailed game like 1815 – Waterloo Campaign and you’ll remember when a lancer was more useful than a hussar, who fought on which sides, and the names not just of Napoleon and Wellington but other important figures like Ney and Blücher.
Much celebration turns us into passive observers. Board games make us active participants reliving the past.
There are dozens of board games about refighting Waterloo, so where should you start?
With the rise of war games and the celebrated film of the battle, the 1970s saw a whole slew of Waterloo board games, such as Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign. Many of these are classics, and will appeal to long time gamers. But they also tend to be complex, and board games have come on a long way since.
If you’re looking for a simpler introduction to fighting the battle, consider a more modern option, like Waterloo: Napoleon’s Last Battle, or one sold as a simple introductory game, like Napoleon at Waterloo.
Board games are a great way to celebrate the past, and with such a wide range of options, Waterloo is a great place to start.
Published by BoardGamePrices.com