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"Largest historical wargame ever?" Topic

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian10 Jun 2019 2:07 p.m. PST

The organisers of the biggest ever historical table top war game have unveiled the gigantic map being used to replay the Battle of Waterloo using 22,000 miniature soldiers…


JimDuncanUK10 Jun 2019 2:53 p.m. PST

I'll be there in an observer category although I also supplied figures and built some buildings.

Anyone else going?

Lascaris10 Jun 2019 3:25 p.m. PST

Holy cow that will be impressive. I wish I lived nearby :)

FusilierDan10 Jun 2019 4:52 p.m. PST

That will be cool. I can't imagine the logistics of that.

Irish Marine Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2019 5:01 p.m. PST

I must have missed it but what rules will they be using.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2019 6:10 p.m. PST

Wow – would be fantastic to see

Plus I quite like Glasgow

Old Contemptible10 Jun 2019 9:07 p.m. PST

What rules? What figure scale?

Whirlwind10 Jun 2019 11:05 p.m. PST

28mm & Black Powder IIRC

Whirlwind10 Jun 2019 11:10 p.m. PST


link (27 minutes in). I think he is about to feature in another of Henry Hyde's "Battlechat" podcasts.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Jun 2019 4:05 a.m. PST

Playing on the floor… wow does that take me back!

wrgmr111 Jun 2019 4:36 a.m. PST

They will put them on tables, the floor is just to show how large the mat is.
My question is….how do they move figures in the middle of the table? Our games tables are 6 feet across.
Still would have loved to be there.

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2019 5:28 a.m. PST

Someday drones will help with figure movement. Otherwise, inevitably, something will get crushed underfoot.

JimDuncanUK11 Jun 2019 6:27 a.m. PST

The maps comes in several pieces.

The game will have a centre section as well as a front and a back section.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2019 10:32 a.m. PST

22 000 is a very big 28mm, but is an average sized evening home game for the average 6mm gamer.;)

Or maybe not…
The game will surely be epically good.

Keith Talent11 Jun 2019 11:03 a.m. PST

It's a charity/ media event involving a wargame, the game itself (as a game ) is not necessarily paramount.
I'm sure they will all have a great time , as for "largest game ever" , not so sure about that, but, it's the cause that counts.

JimDuncanUK11 Jun 2019 11:26 a.m. PST

@Keith Talent

You missed the word 'historical'.

Does anyone have verifiable records of a bigger historical wargame?

This game will put up a benchmark for those that follow.

And it is a great cause too.

Keith Talent11 Jun 2019 11:37 a.m. PST

Gerry Elliott (who I think is one of the umpires for the event) regularly does games with 50 or 60 thousand 10mm figures, on 700 square feet of table, but its 10mm I guess. There is another bunch down in Devon with a similar sized table who have a collection running into the 50/60 thousand area (28mm) – the old mega-games in Cornwall were played on 900 square feet of terrain, the WHC collection is 50,000 plus (28mm). the difference is they don't have a charity and a media archeology career to promote. Games this big are less rare than you'd think

JimDuncanUK11 Jun 2019 11:44 a.m. PST

Thanks for that information Keith.

The claim is for 22 thousand 28mm historical figures in a single game.

I might try and speak to Gerry Elliott at the game when a mere mortal like myself is allowed to mingle with the attendees.

Doug MSC Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2019 2:30 p.m. PST

I once put on a game with 250,000 40mm figures. It was spectacular. The local army base came out to join in the fun and 4,000 people from the local city came to watch. We had vendors in trucks there with food from various restaurants and even an ice cream store came and gave out free ice cream. The local TV News came and filmed some of it and put it on the evening news. But then I woke up.What a wonderful dream it was. Stop, don't throw any milk shakes.

14Bore11 Jun 2019 4:03 p.m. PST

Getting to middle? Drones obviously

BTW I'm jealous

Arteis0211 Jun 2019 10:12 p.m. PST

Back in 1976 the Christchurch Wargames Society in New Zealand put on a Battle of Guilford Courthouse game, which was played on the floor of an old church. It involved thousands of Airfix figures.

The game was open to the public as part of the American bicentennial celebrations, and was visited by many people, including the American ambassador and the famous author James Michener.

Sadly, I've never seen any photos of this game. But I find it hard to believe none were taken, so maybe there are some pics in someone's album somewhere.

wrgmr111 Jun 2019 10:39 p.m. PST

JimDuncanUK – thanks for the explanation, I was wondering how they were going to deal with the width.

Allan F Mountford11 Jun 2019 11:47 p.m. PST

@Keith Talent
Do you have any links for the Devon and Cornwall games?

Keith Talent12 Jun 2019 1:31 a.m. PST

The mega games are long gone, and the guys in Devon are just a private group

oldnorthstate12 Jun 2019 2:13 p.m. PST

While I applaud their desire to put on a really big game color me more than a little skeptical on a couple of related levels.

When we ran Waterloo at West Point in 2015 we used a ground scale of 1" = 33 paces and required 4,593 figures. Given their map and overall table size I'd think they should be looking at 12,250 figures using a ground scale of 1" = 12.5 paces.

My math could be a little off, but I really don't see the need for 22,000 figures. That would represent a ratio of 1 figure = 8 real men, where a battalion of 500 men would be 60+ figures.

Assuming the ground and figure scale get worked out there is the issue of logistics…having helped run two of the premier "big" games in the U.S. in recent years, Waterloo and Borodino, there are two big challenges in running an actual game. One is making sure the various tables are in sync with regard to game time, which in turn is related to how to deal with movement/fire from one table to another. In both the Waterloo and Borodino games there was extremely limited ability to move or fire from one table to another, With the number of tables they will have I just don't see how it can work.

In the end this appears to be a variation on the English demonstration game or a moving diorama. Again I applaud their effort to pull something this visually large off and good for them to donate proceeds to charity, but I can't see how this is a "wargame" in the assumed definition of a wargame.

JimDuncanUK12 Jun 2019 2:48 p.m. PST

Trust me, the 80 wargamers will treat it as a wargame without a doubt, the dozen or so umpires will make sure they play within the rules, and yes, they are standard wargame rules, Black Powder 2 to be precise.

Watch out for the following posts.

UK television viewers will no doubt have it on the tea-time news.

oldnorthstate12 Jun 2019 5:50 p.m. PST

I have no doubt you will have willing players and umpires but you've not really addressed the two operational issues I noted. If you've never run a game of this size before they may seem somewhat trivial but they are not.

Mithmee12 Jun 2019 6:33 p.m. PST

Here is a BGG thread on it.


Here is a link to their web page.

John Edmundson12 Jun 2019 9:37 p.m. PST

Arteis02 wrote:
"Back in 1976 the Christchurch Wargames Society in New Zealand put on a Battle of Guilford Courthouse game, which was played on the floor of an old church. It involved thousands of Airfix figures."

This was the event that got me into 'proper' wargames and in contact with a club. I still have what I thought were clear memories of that day but I don't remember it having been played on the floor.

I do remember the game used Bruce Quarie's Airfix Napoleonic rules and I remember the British cavalry haring off in an uncontrolled charge.

Sadly the building it was played in was destroyed in the earthquakes of 2010-11.


French Wargame Holidays12 Jun 2019 10:48 p.m. PST

Bravo, would like to be there!

The biggest challenge will be the syncing of the tables IMHO, having run a number of large games on split and long tables.

Good luck to them I say, Hussar!

"Walk the battlefield in the morning, wargame in the afternoon"
HercÚ Salon de Guerre
Mayenne, France

Royal Marine15 Jun 2019 3:41 a.m. PST

It's happening now, Facebook friends can see it live: link

JimDuncanUK15 Jun 2019 4:54 a.m. PST

It's happening live right in front of me now but I'm not on Facebook.

Brilliant happening.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP15 Jun 2019 5:45 a.m. PST

I keep remembering one of Featherstone's wargamers'
NL which reported in the later 60's (1966 ?) on a
150th anniversary of Waterloo game in the UK.

I can't remember many details, save that the initial
deployments were wooden blocks used just to depict
infantry and cavalry and when the units were deployed
20mm figures were used.

I mention it because IIRC the photo (cover page of that
issue) seemed to show a catwalk over the gaming area
so people could get to the more out-of-reach areas of
the playing surface.

Sorry, don't recall how many figures might have been

battleeditor17 Jun 2019 5:57 p.m. PST

If you're on Twitter, you can see the entire game covered via this account:

You can hear Professor Tony Pollard interviewed on my Battlechat podcast here link


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