Waterloo and its dedicated cadre of grognards enjoyed the 2017 World Boardgaming Championships with an excellent tournament at western Pennsylvania’s Seven Springs Resort. The venue’s noteworthy gaming facilities were again apparent including the renovated restroom facilities in close proximity to the gaming area. The opinion of this Game Master regarding the superiority of this location over the Lancaster facility has not changed and in fact has only been reinforced. I strongly recommend that those who have not attended since Lancaster’s WBC to reconsider for 2018 as your gaming experience will be noteworthy in atmosphere, enjoyment, and execution.
Seventeen dedicated grognards vied for the Waterloo Plaque this year and unlike the last two years of a 50-50 split, the victory percentage was somewhat surprisingly 55% in favor of the French with 12 French victories versus 10 Prussian/Anglo Allied (PAA) victories. Considerable discussions ranged over the course of the past year from 2016’s convention concerning play balance driven by the high PAA bids last year. While many minor and major rule changes were discussed, no rules to influence play balance were changed. In hindsight, this seemed to be prudent as the highest PAA bid was eight with the majority of PAA bids ranging from 3 to 6. Starting in 2018, there will be a minor rule change to reflect historical accuracy.
Four Hanoverian, reserve, infantry brigades commanded by Wissel, Bennigsen, Beaulieu, and Bodecken are part of the PAA order of battle with Wissel’s brigade arriving with the very first PAA reinforcements at 9AM, 16 June and the others arriving with the very last PAA forces at 7AM, 18 June. In reality, none of these brigades actually participated in the actual battle as they made up the Hanoverian Reserve Corps deployed in reserve between Waterloo and Brussels. Consequently, the order of appearance chart will be changed to reflect moving Wissel’s brigade to 7AM, 18 June with the rest of Hanoverian Reserve Corps. History recounts that Brevet Colonel Friedrich von Wissel, who commanded the 3rd Line Battalion, 1st Brigade King’s German Legion during the battle of Waterloo, did assume command of one of the Hanoverian Reserve Corps brigades after the battle but was not the commander of the brigade during the battle. This very minor change will take effect for 2018 and will be reflected in the rule change summary for next year’s WBC tournament.
This report will attempt to reveal some of the tactical and strategic principles employed by veteran Waterloo players for the benefit of new and returning gamers. This year’s after-action report will discuss the end game of 18 and 19 June and will conclude the series of three reports that focused on beginning play, the early game of 16 June in the 2015 report, and the middle game of 17 June in the 2016 report. The normal somewhat detailed explanations of this year’s semifinal and final games will follow the discussion of the end game.
While the terminology of early, middle, and end games has been associated with 16, 17, and 18 & 19 June respectively, these terms are better defined by the geography of the map and where the Main Line of Resistance (MLR) extends. The early game covers the initial moves up to when the MLR can be traced west to east from the river just south of the Braine le Comte road, along the single hex wide corridors south of Nivelles, through the forest hexes connected to the Quatre Bras heights, bending northeast to the infamous Corridor of Death, the primary road east of Quatre Bras, continuing through more forest hexes, and concluding with the open terrain heading northward along the secondary road and east edge toward Wavre. The middle game’s geography is usually defined by a very long MLR that again begins, west too east, from the river just south of the Braine le Comte road, along the doubled river and hilltop positions just north of Nivelle, then to the hills in the center of the board between Nivelle and Genappe, following behind the Genappe River, and then curving northeast behind the Dyle River. The end game features a somewhat shorter MLR based on the river line defending the road to Hal, hex I51 eastward, to the town of Braine la Leude and its associated river hexes, joining the hilltop hexes between the primary roads leading to Mont St. Jean, through the forest hexes, and concluding with a defense behind the LaLasne River to the village of Rosieres.
This exploration of the end games’ strategy and tactics will be less detailed than the previous two reports as there are too many variations in remaining force levels due to combat losses. It is assumed that the French retain the initiative and superiority in onboard combat power thereby compelling the PAA player to retire to the end games’ MLR previously described. However, we must start the end game discussion with a few points about the PAA withdrawal and French pursuit from the middle games’ MLR. The PAA player should have held in reserve several one-factor units to cover their withdrawal. The retirement in the center along the primary roads to Mont St. Jean is fairly easy to execute being watchful to prevent French cavalry from cutting retreat routes or surrounding isolated units as well as to deny major French units from using the full road movement bonus. A useful tactic for the PAA player in all sectors is to use a 6-4 or larger unit to screen the smaller units as the French player may be hesitant to risk losing a two-factor unit to kill a one or two-factor PAA unit. Of course, if the French player can obtain a 3-1 attack versus the undoubled 6-4 unit, then this tactic is probably not wise. The retrograde movements from the western and Dyle Rivers is more difficult to accomplish especially for four movement point units as there is much more maneuver room for French cavalry to operate. The judicious use of the one factor units to delay and screen will probably be in order on the flanks. Experienced PAA players will plan a few turns in advance of the main body’s retreat by sending 2-6 units to establish initial defensive positions at key hexes in the end games’ MLR and by the early movement of four MP units to escape the pursuit of the French. Ideally, the entire PAA retrograde movement can be accomplished at the cost of three or less delay units!
The reciprocal of operations for the French during this phase of the game is ripe with opportunities especially for their cavalry. Pursuit during a retreat was one of the primary missions for cavalry during this era and there are ample examples of cavalry turning a retreat into a rout thereby increasing the magnitude of victory. The French have three missions during the pursuit:
1. Rapidly penetrate/infiltrate to the End games’ MLR to seize key terrain and disrupt PAA defensive dispositions.
2. Maneuver to surround screening and retiring units to cut their retreat routs and aid in their destruction.
3. Quickly advance to block the retreat routes of PAA units to disrupt the defense and to isolate them for later destruction.
The French cavalry can have the greatest effect in the large open areas in the east between the Dyle and LaLasne Rivers as well as the open terrain in the west between the road to Braine le Comte and the village of Braine le Leude. The level of aggressiveness of the French will be dependent to a large degree on the loss ratio at this stage of the game and the number of French cavalry units available. If the French enjoy a 25 to 35 factor loss advantage at this time, then they can take significantly more risks to destroy PAA units and disrupt the retreat. Most importantly, the French must maneuver sufficient forces in support of the lead cavalry elements to dissuade PAA attacks on the cavalry or to launch strong counterattacks in response. The dilemma for the PAA player is the temptation to strike the weak cavalry units versus the retribution of French counterattacks in open terrain. Compounding the dilemma for the PAA is the requirement to maintain and distribute sufficiently strong forces to man the end games’ MLR. Moreover, any PAA attacks while withdrawing will put an additional strain on the use and availability of PAA cavalry units for use during the end game.
If PAA losses have been moderate to heavy, then they will have insufficient forces to defend the end games’ entire MLR and the western portion from hex I51 to hexes G45 and 46 must be abandoned. This is not as dire as it sounds as there will be significant British reinforcements coming from Hal that could threaten the French left, west, flank forcing the French to assume a defensive stance in the sector. Also, many of the hexes north of the river line are poorly suited for defense as, even though they are doubled, the units are trapped with no retreat possible due to the Woods. Additionally, if French forces do penetrate toward the northwestern corner of the board, they face a significant march before they can threaten the primary road to Brussels at hex A46. PAA forces must therefore concentrate on the portion of the MLR from hexes F44 to the town of Braine la Leude continuing along the already described MLR.
The weakest part of the MLR is in the center. Even though the hill mass can form a formidable strongpoint, there are many undoubled hexes on both sides of the hill which could lead to surrounded attacks on the hilltops themselves. Care must be exercised in the defense of the hill mass itself when employing delay units to protect against advances after combat. Moreover, the river defenses to the east are compromised by hexes K35 and J35 with no retreat routes available for defending units. Another drawback of the center part of the MLR is that it lacks depth. The triangular shaped Forest de Soignes, with its pinnacle at Mont St. Jean, effectively divides the remaining front into two sectors and if the French can penetrate to Mont St. Jean, the PAA player cannot transfer units between east and west. This presents an opportunity for the French to concentrate on one side to clear a path along one of the defection roads, usually the primary road to Brussels.
The strongest part of the MLR for the PAA player is along the LaLasne River. The 6-4 and larger infantry divisions are especially formidable defending behind the river since most defensive hexes can only be attacked from two hexes, thereby preventing 3-1 or higher attacks. However, the open terrain and the need to limit French penetration in the center will draw most of the bigger units there leaving defense of the river to weaker PAA units. The battles in the end game will usually occur first in the center of the MLR due to the primary roads leading to Mont St. Jean. Also, it usually takes time for the French to concentrate sufficient units to force a crossing of the river. In many cases the initial defense of the LaLasne River line is to prevent French cavalry units from crossing so the 2-6 and 4-4 PAA units are ideally suited for this mission. It should be remembered that a single 4-4 defending behind the river is impervious to any attack greater than 1-1 if it can only be attacked from a single hex. Another useful PAA tactic is to position a one factor delay unit one hex back from the river. While this unit is easily destroyed, the victorious units have their backs to the river with no retreat possible, a situation which brings pause to any Waterloo player’s offensive plans. Another factor in the PAA player’s favor for the defense of the LaLasne River is that any French forces along the river face the prospect of the Prussian IV Corps advancing into their rear. With this threat looming and the difficulty for the French in amassing sufficient combat power to conduct a major offensive against a defended river, major game deciding combats are usually conducted along other sections of the MLR with combats along the LaLasne River being of a supporting nature.
The arrival of the Prussian IV Corps on the east edge of the board and the Hanoverian Reserve Corps from the road to Brussels marks the last PAA reinforcements of the game. In many cases, these reinforcements redress the imbalance of on-board forces favoring the French characteristic of the early and middle games. The difficulty for the PAA player is that most of these late arriving reinforcements are several turns from entering the battle area. Specifically, the Prussian cavalry and infantry are 3 and 4 turns of unimpeded movement from the bridge over the LaLasne River, hex H34, and 2 and 3 turns respectively from the village of Rosieres, hex A33. French opposition to the IV Corps’ advance will almost certainly slow it and lengthen the time for the MLR central defending units to holdfast. If instead the IV Corps enters on the primary road hex, DD10, then the unimpeded arrival times to Mont St. Jean remain exactly the same of 3 and 4 turns, cavalry and infantry. The major drawback here is there are several bottlenecks along the primary road where a small number of French units could considerably delay the arrival of the IV Corps to the battle area. Also, IV Corps’ advance from Wavre has a greater impact more quickly on the battle especially on the French near the LaLasne River.
The basic French strategy of continuing to threaten a wide frontage, concentrating to attack vulnerable points and units in the PAA defense, and forcing the PAA to battle in open terrain remains valid during the end game. Clearing the hilltop hexes and attacking the adjacent undoubled hexes in the center of the MLR is the first French objective. In some games, these combats are the first opportunities to gain 3-1 or higher attacks at several large PAA infantry divisions where they are not doubled in defense. Likewise, the limited battlespace between Mont St. Jean and the hill mass directly south limits the ability of the PAA player to use screening units and 6-4 and higher value units to establish positions that limit attacks to these infantry divisions from a single hex. The resultant slugfest of attacks and counterattacks in many cases will determine which player will prevail. After the hill mass is cleared, the French must continue to advance to take Mont St. Jean and split the PAA defense. This represents a critical moment in the game as the French may be presented with the situation where the PAA forces defending one of the defection roads may be inadequate to mount a sustained defense and the French can concentrate against the weak sector while assuming a defensive stance against the remaining PAA forces.
In the west, the French must exploit the weaknesses and strengths of the MLR portion from hex I51 to hexes G45 and 46. If they have sufficient strength and the river is defended, then one or more of the doubled, yet vulnerable, hexes should be attacked to block the advance of British reinforcements from Hal. If too weak, then screening forces can just defend using the doubled river defense and force the approaching British to protect themselves from being surrounded. In either case, the objective of slowing or preventing the Hal forces from entering the central battle area is accomplished. Note that it takes Hal reinforcements two turns to close on hex I51 as well as four turns and six turns to close, by the northern route, on hex G45 and Waterloo respectively.
The situation for the French along the LaLasne River is more complicated due to the pending arrival of the Prussian IV Corps and the difficulty in massing combat power from the center forces against doubled positions. Consider that while a French cavalry force of 16 factors, 6 to 8 units, can threaten the entire length of the LaLasne River, a single defending PAA 2-6 would require seventy-five percent of this force to concentrate for a 3-1 attack leaving just two units to threaten the entire river or be available to reinforce the combat if there was a PAA counterattack. Crossing this river in the face of opposition requires the commitment of major forces, several turns, and will surely face PAA counterattacks against the vulnerable units that crossed. Whereas, an economy of force tactic of maintaining a screening force that can threaten an attack will compel the PAA player to garrison the river with almost as much force as the French. The saved French forces can either move to oppose IV Corps’ advance and/or support the major attacks in the center while the LaLasne River force can support the final attacks toward the Brussels’ secondary defection road. While the vulnerability of hexes K35 and J35 with no retreat routes available has already been noted, the same woods that blocked retreats becomes a barrier to further French advances northward as penetrating units now have their retreats blocked. Still gaining access to the bridge in hex H34 is critical to the French as it allows easy movement between the French center and right flanks.
A few final thoughts on the end game to conclude this series on the strategies, tactics, and techniques for improved Waterloo play. Players need to carefully consider their soak-off attacks as it may be better in some circumstances to use a larger unit in a 1-2 or 1-3 attack versus the almost certain loss in a 1-6 attack or the certain loss at 1-7 or higher odds. The chances of surviving the 1-2 are better and it may preserve the smaller units for future use. Always know the victory conditions as the final moves in the end game may significantly alter what a player needs to do to secure victory. The great thing about Waterloo is that there is no perfect defensive or offensive plan to assure a player of victory. Both players must be knowledgeable of offensive and defensive tactics and techniques and each phase of the game tests the skills of each player in this intricate dance of move and countermove culminating in fierce attacks and determined counterattacks. In the opinion of this GM, this is one of the key factors that keeps this 55-year-old classic wargame popular in the community of gamers. Hopefully, the above commentary will help players of all skill levels in their enjoyment of the great game of Waterloo!
The GM was heartened this year as there were three totally new players attempting their very first Waterloo game at WBC. Very special thanks go out to Glenn Petroski, Tom Gregorio, and Evan Davis for taking the time to play and undergo the rigors of a learning game. Moreover, the GM wants to offer sincere gratitude to the other participants this year and over the past several years as these friends play a single game to ensure the continuation of Waterloo as a century game. Another encouraging note was that of the four semifinalists, two of them were making their very first appearance in the competition for the Championship. Bill Morse and Gary Dickson have both honed their Waterloo skills in recent years and were joined by perennial contenders and formidable opponents Ed Menzel and Richard Beyma.
In the first semifinal, Richard secured the PAA command with a bid of 6 factors, 6 factors removed from the PAA At-Start forces. Gary’s French employed what have become standard opening moves with French columns pushing toward Nivelles in the west, towards Wavre in the east, and directly against Quatre Bras down the primary road east of the village, known as the Corridor of Death, with supporting forces threatening the heights from the south. The Prussians quickly withdrew from Ligny and established a strong defense at the western end of the Corridor of Death (CoD) with lighter screening forces at Nivelles and in the far east that avoided combat. A strong Prussian reserve was located near the hilltop between Nivelles and Quatre Bras ready to respond to the most threatening French columns. Unflinchingly, Gary’s French columns assaulted down the CoD. Throughout the afternoon of 16 June, every fierce French attack in this sector was met with an equally ferocious Prussian counterattack. However, Gary’s luck was better culminating in a 1-2 attack versus the Steinmetz infantry division, 8-4 that resulted in an exchange. This unit was the bedrock of the Prussian defense and its loss forced withdrawal from the heights and the CoD to directly north of Quatre Bras. By the early evening of the 16th, the French enjoyed a 19-factor advantage in overall losses. In the east, the light Prussian units constantly retreated even though the attacking French force was just a corps with some attached cavalry units. This force pushed over the Dyle River and by 1PM, 17 June had closed on the LaLasne River opposed by a weak mixed force of Prussian and British cavalry defending the river. In the west, the French drove northward on Nivelles directly up its two approach corridors. No French units attempted a flanking movement toward the river protecting the far western Braine le Comte secondary road. The GM considers this a serious error as it allows the PAA player to mass his numerically inferior forces in restricted terrain and does not take advantage of the French superiority in numbers.
Continual battles raged throughout the early hours of 17 June near Quatre Bras and south of Nivelles. Gary’s early luck and resultant euphoria turned to bitterness as almost all of his major attacks in both sectors resulted in D back 2 or exchange results while Richard’s PAA attacks were more successful. By 11AM, the losses ratio stood equal with 46 factors lost by both sides with no appreciable advances near Nivelles. Gary undertook some low odds attacks near Quatre Bras and attempted to force the LaLasne River which did compel Richard to assume a defensive posture in the center of the board from Genappe to directly north of Nivelles to free up troops to march to support the weak forces at the LaLasne River. By 5 PM, 17 June the loss ratio remained almost equal, 66 PAA versus 69 French, with Richard’s PAA forces arrayed in a Main Line of Resistance stretching along the LaLasne River to the hill mass south of Mont St. Jean. Richard’s right flank was refused back toward the village of Braine le Leude. A crescendo of battles marked 7PM, 17 June as Gary’s French launched a series of major assaults along the entire MLR to decide the game. His atrocious luck had not changed as he suffered two D back 2s and an Exchange resulting in 12 French factors lost for just 8 PAA factors. Richard seized the initiative with large counterattacks along the entire front also. His results were definitely better as he destroyed 14 French factors for the cost of a single 2-6. With hope fading fast Gary launched the weary Imperial Guard and the rest of the French Army in a general assault but again rolled two more D back 2s and an Exchange resulting in losses of 16 French factors versus 14 PAA factors. Richard continued with an Exchange of his own as he received a courier announcing the approach of the Prussian IV Corps. Seeking some semblance of honor, Gary launched the remnants of the French Army near Mont St. Jean against the same two British 7-4 infantry divisions that had been the cornerstone of the defense for the previous two turns and finally rolled a long sought-after Defender Eliminated result. Despite this good result, the rest of the French Army was in disarray and vulnerable to being totally destroyed so Gary offered to stop the slaughter by surrendering. Richard Beyma was on his way to another final.
The second semifinal featured a rising powerhouse in the game, Ed Menzel taking on the newcomer Bill Morse. While Bill’s credentials as an outstanding classic wargame grognard are evident, this GM has suffered multiple butt kickings by Bill in Bitter Woods, his appearance in the semifinals was unexpected but very refreshing! Bill engaged early by bidding four factors for the PAA but Ed matched this bid with a four of his own. However, in the next bidding round Ed raised his bid to six but Bill was able to outthink Ed and reduced his bid to three, so Ed took command of the PAA for a slightly higher bid than maybe desired. As in most games, Bill executed a typical French opening with two reinforced corps moving northwestward toward Nivelles, a corps reinforced with 16 cavalry factors pushing toward Wavre and the rest of the French Army threatening Quatre Bras. Ed uncharacteristically made two errors early in the game which allowed Bill’s French to get a 3-1 attack versus an undoubled Prussian 6-4 as it retired from Ligny using an all cavalry force. Ed’s only solace in this initial battle was that Bill rolled an Exchange. Ed’s second misplay enabled Bill’s French to obtain a 5-1 against another Prussian 6-4 in the CoD that was eliminated. Bill’s ability to capitalize on Ed’s unforced errors on 16 June handed Bill an advantage in the factors lost ratio of only 6 French against 25 PAA destroyed. This GM has observed and experienced an increase in these unforced errors in the final days of each WBC.
By 7AM 17 June, Bill’s French had seized the Dyle/Tully River junction, hex N24, continued to drive toward Wavre, captured Quatre Bras, and were locked in combat near Nivelles. Another unit misplacement by Ed permitted Bill to get a 4-1 attack against a British 7-4 infantry division that suffered a DE result. By 9AM, Ed’s PAA forces were arrayed along the middle games’ MLR running from the Braine le Comte road, along the doubled river and hilltop positions in the center of the board and then behind the Genappe and Dyle Rivers. What was worrisome to Ed at this time was the loss ratio that stood at 39 PAA factors destroyed to only 8 French factors. Bill’s French continued to press the PAA MLR with a 3-1 attack against a doubled 7-4 near Nivelles. The resultant Exchange was the first combat setback that Bill experienced but he still advanced a French 5-4 infantry division into the costly and vulnerable bridgehead over the river. Ed’s powerful counterattack crushed the bridgehead and this result narrowed the loss ratio to 30 French factors versus 50 PAA factors. There were no major combats throughout the remainder of 17 June. At 7PM, Ed’s PAA units commenced a general retrograde of his forces toward the LaLasne River and Mont St. Jean with the PAA battlefront echeloned from west to east along the primary road to the hills north of Mont St. Jean and then along the LaLasne River. At this point in the game, the GM felt that the advantage rested with Ed. He had narrowed the loss ratio, possessed a relatively secure front line, and had significant reinforcements approaching the battlefield.
At 7AM 18 June, the French were massed in the central portion of the board with their left, western, flank open, but there were insufficient PAA cavalry units to threaten envelopment. Bill realized that time was running out so he launched a series of major assaults along the entire front. These low odds attacks were inconclusive with either D back 2 or A back 2 results and no major losses on either side. Ed welcomed the arrival of the Prussian IV Corps and launched a single 3-1 attack to maintain his battle line targeting a French 5-4 which was destroyed. Simultaneously, he extended his right, western, flank back toward Nivelles which signaled a possible double envelopment of both French flanks! With the threat of a double envelopment looming, French morale accelerated to the desperation level and almost the entire French Army launched a general offensive with a series of attacks, some of which were of the low odds variety. To say that Bill’s luck was good would have been a gross understatement as he destroyed 28 PAA factors at the cost of only 2 French factors! The 2-1 attack near Nivelles that eliminated a 13 factor PAA stack was especially critical. This stunning reversal of fortune increased the loss ratio to 45 factors in favor of the French and, most importantly, completely shattered the center of the PAA defensive line. Ed tried to buy time for the Prussians to close on the battlefield by retaliating with several low odds attacks of his own in the center. To add insult to injury, both of these 1-1 gambles resulted in Attacker Eliminated results which sealed his fate. So, Ed rode forward under a flag of truce to offer his sword to Bill knowing that the course of world history had changed. Bill had pulled victory from the jaws of defeat and was on his way to engage Richard in the final.
Bill Morse’s meteoric ascent to the championship game against the veteran grognard Richard Beyma provided encouragement to every other Waterloo player with aspirations to compete for the Championship. But Bill’s march to victory immediately received a setback as Richard secured command of the PAA with a bid of 6 factors. The GM considers, and the game results support, that Richard is at or near the top of expert Waterloo players but he is especially formidable when playing the PAA side. Bill commenced the campaign with 2 corps and 19 factors of cavalry pushing towards Nivelles. An additional 2 corps advanced on Wavre with the remainder of the French Army threatening Quatre Bras. Richard’s PAA dispositions spanned the width of the board from Nivelles to the secondary road to Wavre characterized with a large reserve on the primary road between Nivelles and Quatre Bras. This reserve can rapidly respond to threats to either or both towns and the primary road speeds their response. Only 19 Prussian factors and 2 attached Dutch cavalry brigades, 2 factors screened the secondary road to Wavre.
The French advance in the west approached Nivelles by 3PM 16 June and concentrated along the primary road south of the city. Also, two unsupported French cavalry divisions tried to infiltrate the woods between Nivelles and Quatre Bras. At the same time, a portion of the French Army remained motionless in front of Quatre Bras while the entire French right flank was delayed by a single 1-6 cavalry unit on the road to Wavre. Richard’s PAA forces reacted strongly to the infiltrating 3-6 cavalry divisions and destroyed both of them with 5-1 attacks as well as killing the vanguard French 2-6 cavalry division moving down the CoD. Bill’s inexperience manifested itself during his 5PM turn as he assumed a defensive posture in the CoD, moved forces before the Quatre Bras heights eastward towards the CoD, cleared another 1 factor delay unit in the east gaining only a single hex, and remained on the defensive near Nivelles. Richard’s Prussians sortied from the Quatre Bras heights to attack the French facing them as there were no additional French forces to support any counterattacks. In addition, he prevented any penetrations south of Nivelles with two major attacks. These battles destroyed 13 French factors for only 2 PAA factors lost. Bill, hoping for a repeat of his remarkable turnaround in the previous game, initiated 5 major attacks at 7AM 17 June with some of them being low odds. The Attacker Eliminated result on his 2-1 attack coupled with several Exchanges sealed his fate as he lost 30 French factors and only destroyed 18 PAA factors in return. With his losses far exceeding Richard’s and the bulk of his army not positioned to continue advancing, Bill asked for and received a truce which ended the hostilities. Richard Beyma once again claimed the championship title and convincingly demonstrated why he is a force to be reckoned with in, what this GM considers, the best classic wargame around!!