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"Best Scale for Waterloo?" Topic

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31 Dec 2018 6:30 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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07 Sep 2019 7:57 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian31 Dec 2018 6:29 p.m. PST

If you were to play Waterloo on the tabletop, which scale of figures would you use?

JMcCarroll Supporting Member of TMP31 Dec 2018 6:39 p.m. PST

15mm or 6mm.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian31 Dec 2018 6:49 p.m. PST


warwell31 Dec 2018 6:57 p.m. PST

2mm or 3mm

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP31 Dec 2018 7:14 p.m. PST

Sigh. By myself, here in my home in a day? 5/6mm. With 20 friends, in spacious quarters, broken into segments over a year? 30mm. (Yes, I've done it.)

If you want to do the whole thing at one time, probably the upper limit is 1"=25 yards or the table becomes too deep to reach across. For me, that suggests you need 15mm castings if you want battalions, but there's no reason you couldn't do it with 28mm figures representing brigades. But 5/6mm at 1"=75 yards is perfectly reasonable if that's what you have the troops and table for.

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP31 Dec 2018 7:15 p.m. PST

6mm – Though would love to see it in a larger scale

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP31 Dec 2018 7:50 p.m. PST


nsolomon9931 Dec 2018 7:59 p.m. PST

Done the whole battle, several times, in 15mm. Its a little stretch but you can scale it to a reasonable table size with a couple of extra tables, Plancenoit, the French Reserves, the Brussels Road, etc.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP31 Dec 2018 9:05 p.m. PST

The scale that fits your table.

Sho Boki Sponsoring Member of TMP31 Dec 2018 9:10 p.m. PST

6mm, but 8mm and 10mm are also playable.

Lets party with Cossacks Supporting Member of TMP31 Dec 2018 10:29 p.m. PST

10mm, but you will need Sho's new figures to come into production to do it (the others are all a bit of a compromise).

Martin Rapier01 Jan 2019 1:20 a.m. PST

I've done it in 6mm, 15mm and 20mm.

If doing it again, I'd do it in 6mm as I've sold all my larger scale Napoleonics.

MajorB01 Jan 2019 1:38 a.m. PST


langobard Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2019 2:17 a.m. PST


smltptac01 Jan 2019 2:41 a.m. PST

15mm – units as infantry and cavalry brigades, and artillery batteries!

advocate01 Jan 2019 4:06 a.m. PST
keithbarker01 Jan 2019 4:07 a.m. PST

6mm if you want to do the whole of waterloo on a reasonable size table.

nickinsomerset01 Jan 2019 4:29 a.m. PST

Have done it in 15mm as smlttac, on a 12 x 6 table, a few times. Worked well. Also in 15mm on 3 18 x 6 tables at Bn level, good but required 10 per side and a team of umpires. After 2 solid days did not even reach the stage for the Prussians (Played by German club members) to arrive!

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2019 5:23 a.m. PST

6mm or 3mm.

Sho Boki Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Jan 2019 5:51 a.m. PST

Waterloo battlefield may be a little tight for 15mm figs.

JimDuncanUK01 Jan 2019 6:01 a.m. PST

The best answer is 28mm of course.

You'll need about 20,000 figures and a very large table.

Coming to Scotland this June:

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2019 6:26 a.m. PST

28mm is my choice and not to play in but to build. MY local club did a 200th anniversary game in june of 2015


YouTube link

USAFpilot01 Jan 2019 7:05 a.m. PST

Ground scale or figure scale? Actually figure scale is irrelevant. In fact figure scale has more to do with the size of the playing surface. Large table, than use large figures (28mm), so you can see what you are looking at from across the table. If small table or playing a skirmish game, than use small figures (6mm).

Winston Smith01 Jan 2019 7:06 a.m. PST

I'm glad my local club isn't daft enough to do it.

rustymusket Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2019 7:29 a.m. PST

6 mm just to keep it simple and fast moving for large game rules.

Whirlwind01 Jan 2019 7:36 a.m. PST

Since I would be doing it at home on a fairly small table, 6mm, as I did last time link


Personal logo T Callahan Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2019 8:57 a.m. PST

6mm, did a Waterloo game three time in 2015 using 6mm figures on a 10x5 table.

coopman01 Jan 2019 10:51 a.m. PST

One of the many boardgames on the topic may be the best option for doing the entire battle.

The Tin Dictator01 Jan 2019 11:31 a.m. PST

We did it in 15mm on the 200th anniversary.

Personal logo Dances with Clydesdales Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2019 12:17 p.m. PST


Glenn Pearce01 Jan 2019 2:05 p.m. PST

Have done it a couple of times in 25mm. It was a nightmare in logistics, table size, players and of course all of the buildings were hopelessly out of scale. Other then being able to say I played in the game it was an overall waste of time.

Also have done it about four times in 6mm. Logistics were greatly improved, table size was manageable 5'x 9', required fewer players. Buildings were still out of scale but were a lot closer so movement made much more sense.

Plan to do it again in 6mm, fabulous look, feel and can be done in a day! What could be better!

RudyNelson01 Jan 2019 2:12 p.m. PST

15mm with 10mm as a back up due to cost if you are having to buy and field all armies yourself.

TMPWargamerabbit01 Jan 2019 4:46 p.m. PST

25/28mm for this rabbit. Have all the Dutch-Beligans, Nassau, Hanoverian, French, Swiss, Poles, Brunswick units painted. Working on the British for a possible game in June 2020 on 20x6 "L" bend main table and with rear zone tables set up. Already done Ligny as a scenario, Warve the Prussian are ready and once the British painted play out Quarte Bras prior to Waterloo grand finale. Ground scale will be 50 yards to tabletop inch and miniature ratio 90:1 I expect.

sausagesca01 Jan 2019 6:18 p.m. PST

Scale of figures is really irrelevant. Unit foot print and base size is far more important since you can either put a few 28s on those bases or many more 10mm, for example. We play all the big battles using Shako II at the battalion level. Every unit represented on large tables, granted. Our units are 12 figs for foot, 6 for horse and 2 guns/crew for batteries. all with a unit frontage in line of about 5-6 inches. We could do the exact same thing on the same table size using more 15mm figure or even more 6 mm figures. Up to you what you think looks good.

Black Hat Miniatures02 Jan 2019 1:17 a.m. PST

I'm working on 54mm….


marshalGreg02 Jan 2019 6:29 a.m. PST

Played it in 28mm with some 16+ players on 3 tables at a ground scale of 1" to 50 paces ( ~38yds).
This was an Anniversary game at West point in 2015.

Again in 15mm AoE ground scale of 1" to 75yd
and Again in 6mm at ~ 1" to 75yd
Both at Historicon

I believe this question is pretty cheeky… so thus agree with Sausagesca
You play with the best/most complete collection(s) and table size

ChrisBBB2 Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2019 8:49 a.m. PST

I would instinctively have said 6mm, which is what we used for our display game at SOFO in the anniversary year:
and again here:

But I see we fought exactly the same scenario, on the same size table (6'x4' @ 1" = 125m), with 15mm here:

The 15mm does look prettiest.

Maybe I'll compromise and say 10mm.


Bloody Big BATTLES!

DeRuyter02 Jan 2019 10:09 a.m. PST

6mm scale for the whole battle (on the anniversary), or the whole campaign.
15mm for parts of it.

The best was 1:1 scale – watching the reenactment for the bicentenary!

Winston Smith02 Jan 2019 1:36 p.m. PST

A boardgame.

Lord Hill02 Jan 2019 4:15 p.m. PST

28mm, obviously.


4th Cuirassier04 Jan 2019 4:31 a.m. PST

It's all about the table space.

If you have a 5' by 8' table, you can fit, empirically, about 400 20 to 28mm figures a side onto that, while still having adequate room for flanking manoeuvres, etc.

If 800 x 28mm figures is the max for that table size, then to do Waterloo on it, the 800 figures have to stand in for about 160,000 men. That's the peak number that were still on their feet at any time (75,000 plus 75,000 plus 50,000, minus losses).

Ergo one figure is 200 men. A battalion is about three figures, the Union brigade is five figures, and d'Erlon's corps is 80 or so figures in four divisions of 20 figures.

Rulesets in which battalions, brigades and divisions are that small just don't cut it for me. I like to see flank companies. I infer that 28mm would not be a good scale for me.

Lord Hill04 Jan 2019 5:18 a.m. PST

yes, I was joking!

Lion in the Stars04 Jan 2019 11:36 a.m. PST

28mm would work, if you had a dance floor to play on.

But if your maximum table depth is 6 feet, I'd want to use no bigger than 15mm minis, and probably 6mm. Maybe even 2mm or 3mm, but I'm still not totally sold on those scales.

d88mm1940 Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2019 1:37 p.m. PST

So we have a consensus: it's OK to use anything from 2mm to 54mm…

freecloud05 Jan 2019 5:26 p.m. PST

So, in any of these refights did the British manage to win ;) ?

ChrisBBB2 Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2019 2:03 a.m. PST

I have fought or run the BBB Waterloo scenario five times. It has produced one Allied victory, one French, and three draws, usually with more than one objective contested or even changing hands on the last turn, which suggests it is nicely balanced.


Bloody Big BATTLES!

True Grit08 Jan 2019 10:01 a.m. PST

I do Waterloo with the DBN rules on a battlefield 4.5 feet x 3 feet with 15mm figures and each unit representing an historical brigade. There is a video of this on YouTube under 'DBN Waterloo'

deephorse18 Jan 2019 3:57 p.m. PST

Played it twice in 25mm at The Wargames Holiday Centre, Folkton, using In The Grand Manner rules. Then once in 6mm using Blucher rules. The British won at Blucher and one of the 25mm games. I can no longer remember how the other 25mm one went, they were a lifetime ago!

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP18 Jan 2019 5:37 p.m. PST
forwardmarchstudios18 Jan 2019 6:07 p.m. PST

I'm partial to 2mm myself:




Table is only 6' x 4.'. 20mm = 100m. ~8:1 troop/troop ratio. Every battalion, squadron, and battery represented. Every battalion and squadron flagged.

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