I’ve had the flu for three days, which has resulted in my having to lie or sit around a lot. Of course that means I’m now behind (even more than usual) on the regular issues associated with work and life, but that did give me some time to think about the A House Divided Civil War campaign for Volley & Bayonet. I’ve had this on my list of things to do for some time. I flirted with the idea of using an American Civil War version of Fast Play Grande Armee, but I could not ever figure out how to do the post battle losses. I think that was also an issue for Sam Mustata, and if I remember correctly, why he sold off the regular Grande Armee rules. So I went back to the drawing board with Volley & Bayonet for a House Divided campaign. Volley & Bayonet might not have all the fancy command rules that Fast Play Grande Armee does, but it does work for a campaign, which is crucial for a campaign game!
Most of the basic rules work fine. I have used the A House Divided board game for several campaigns in the past including several with Stars and Bars (my first wargames and my first campaigns – both hosted by Bill Winski), Johnny Reb 2 (which worked until the battles got too big for the number of figures we had), and Fire and Fury (which were interesting, but too predictable given the nature of Fire and Fury). So the core rules about movement and the like were good to go.
There were a few areas in the rules I wanted to revise. The first was the number of cavalry units in the game. Simply put, there were way too many. The inclusion of a cavalry brigade in each corps and the ability to recruit new cavalry corps basically produced twice as many cavalry stands as there should have been. I reviewed the Volley & Bayonet Yahoo group and found that Greg Novak had concurred and noted that cavalry divisions and corps should only be formed from converging the cavalry brigades contained in the infantry corps.The second was to double-check the amount of artillery in each of the newly raised corps, which seemed about right in the end. I also bumped down the starting strength of infantry brigades in newly raised corps from 7 SP to 6 SP. 5 SP is probably right for the size of the units in the A House Divided game, but after a few turns where corps take attrition, they will be in the 10,000 to 15,000 size range. Finally, I added rules for the Union to form a 10 stand artillery reserve (corps) which represents the artillery reserve in the Army of the Potomac.
I had thought about doing the campaign in 15mm, but alas as a “one man show” I only have enough figures for about half of what I will eventually need, which I estimate to be about 8 Union infantry corps and 6 Confederate infantry corps (or in terms of brigade stands: 48 Union massed infantry stands, 8 union massed cavalry stands, and 24 artillery stands plus 36 Confederate massed infantry stands, 8 massed cavalry stands and 18 artillery stands). As Bill O has noted in the comments somewhere on this blog, it is just really hard to do a big game if you are the only one painting up all the figures. My group that I played the Johnny Reb 2 and Fire and Fury versions of the A House Divided Campaign would have had enough figures for the campaign in 15mm (with 8 infantry per stand on a 2″ square stand), but alas that ship sailed about 18 years ago.
So I am now looking at doing it with Adler 6mm (really 8mm) figures on 1/2 scale stands (10 infantry or 4 cavalry per massed stand). I have enough figures painted and unpainted to do this. Right now I have all of the Union cavalry I’d ever need (about 12 massed bases) and a good start on the Union infantry (around 33 bases). I have maybe 24 Confederate massed infantry and 6 massed cavalry bases, so that is a good start. I’m pretty well set on generals and most of the artillery stands. Another advantage is that I can paint up Adler Civil War figures pretty quickly. I guess my 15mm ACW figures will have to go to another cause, maybe Johnny Reb 3?
I think I’ll just try an 1861 campaign that runs from July 1861 to the end of March 1862. To win the Union must have 9+ advantage in Amy Maximum size. An 8 advantage is a draw and 7 or less army size advantage is a Confederate victory (you can find more specifics about this in the A House Divided 2nd edition rules). If that works out, I can either restart and end in March 1863 or March 1864 or continue the campaign until the March 1863 or 1864 end date. Based on our previous A House Divided campaigns with other rules, it gets really boring for the Confederates to fight to the 1865 end.
So here is my latest attempt at revising the campaign rules for a Volley & Bayonet/A House Divided campaign: