First of all, I did a lot of research into the battle, consulting many (all?) of the Osprey books on the battle and campaign leading to it, as well as several other ponderous tomes, first amongst them, and highly recommended, the invaluable Waterloo Companion by Mark Adkin.
In order to make the game faster and less daunting, I decided that it would be at divisional level. Each counter representing an entire division meant that the number of counters that each player had to control would be relatively small.
Also, to help with playability, I would not allow the players to move all of their counters every turn. To limit this, I developed an activation system based on cycling through a deck of cards – these cards represented Command&Control, using divisional commanders, army commanders, and some other special order cards.
As well as fragmenting the movement and combat into small, self-contained moments, the cards also allowed me to introduce colourful historical quotes and moments that add a lot of character to gameplay. Check for example the: “By God, Sir, I’ve lost my leg. By God, Sir, so you have.” or the film-inspired: “We shall match them with our lancers!” I challenge you to read those without overdoing the accents!
Finally, to give both variety and replayability to the game, I developed a ‘Night before the battle’ version of the game. Instead of starting with the forces deployed as they started the battle in history, the players can decide to set-up the forces in a non-historic fashion, playing a little mini-game which represents the armies getting into position in the limited visibility of the rain-soaked night before the battle.