Volley & Bayonet A House Divided American Civil War Campaign version 4.0

September 15, 2014

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:

Revised The American Civil War Campaign 4.0


Rules for a French Intervention for the Volley & Bayonet A House Divided Campaign

August 20, 2014

Bill asked in a comment about the possibility of a British intervention in the American Civil War. Most of the research on that topic by professional historians has shown that had almost no possibility of happening given the high levels of anti-slavery sentiment in the British public of the 1860s. Remember that the British government had outlawed slavery in their empire in the 1830s. So there is almost no possible scenario for a British intervention in the American Civil War. Had a British government had tried that, popular opinion against the Confederacy would have brought that government down.

On the other hand, the French had a real potential to intervene. The French did not have an economic interest in Confederate cotton, but instead the French government under Napoleon III had a very ambitious expansionist policy and a fair amount of domestic problems. A blunted United States would have allowed greater French expansion in the Americas, and a war would have taken public attention away from French domestic issues. Remember that the French did intervene in Mexico in the 1860s. So a French intervention was a far more realistic possibility.

Long ago I noted that on the Volley and Bayonet Yahoo Group. In response, Greg Novak came up with this order of battle and rules for a possible French intervention in the American Civil War:

French Intervention OB

The Volley & Bayonet/A House Divided Campaign Project

March 30, 2013

I’ve been rebasing and painting new figures for my Volley & Bayonet/A House Divided Campaign Project. I am using Adler 6mm figures (they are really about 7-8mm figures). I now have almost all the figures painted and rebased for 4 Confederate infantry corps and 6 Union infantry corps and 1 Union cavalry corps. That should be enough to start the 1861-1862 campaign. I plan on painting a total of 10 Union infantry corps, 1 Union cavalry corps, 7 Confederate infantry corps, and 1 Confederate cavalry corps. I have all of the figures I will need (I think). I recently ordered the last figures I needed (a very odds and ends order) from Adler. The figures arrived quickly and were well packed (thank you Adler Miniatures).

I am using a 5/12ths scale. That is 12″ of the normal scale has been reduced to 5″. That means a normal 10′ x 6′ table is reduced to a 50″ x 30″ table. The bases for massed infantry and cavalry are 1 1/4″ x 1 1/4″. Linear infantry (dismounted cavalry) are 1 1/4″ x 5/8″. Generals are on slightly larger than normal bases with division commanders (dcs) are on a 3/4″ x 3/4″ base. Corps and army commanders (ccs and acs) are on a 1″ x 1″ base. Artillery are on a 3/4″ x 3/4″ base, which is a bit larger than normal, but I feel is more in line with the historical frontage of a 12 to 18 gun battalion.

Here are some examples of my how my figures are based:

ACW Generals

ACW Infantry

ACW Cavalry 1

ACW Artillery

Bear with me as I took the photos. I haven’t owned a camera since I was like 13 years old and it shows! I borrowed my wife’s camera, which my children had reset to crazy settings. I did the best I could, but I clearly have a lot to learn about taking photos.

Speaking of A House Divided

March 9, 2013

To get a feel for the strategic picture that a Volley & Bayonet A House Divided campaign might take, I’ve been playing a few games of the old GDW A House Divided game. I’ve been using the second edition rules and playing the game via Vassal (see http://www.vassalengine.org/). Vassal is a good way to go if you have lots of children and pets that might mess up your game if you played it via the board and counters. While a bit different from the way VnB campaign game might go, playing A House Divided has given me some insight into the campaign. Plus it is a great game in itself. I used to play a lot of board games but sort of quit playing them for reason I can’t remember about 17 years ago (probably when my cat, then a kitten, messed up my 1776 campaign game that I had played for hours).

Here is a picture of my current A House Divided game, it is the start of the Jan/Feb 1864 turn:

A House DividedMap - Copy

Volley & Bayonet American Civil War A House Divided Campaign Update

March 9, 2013

I have continued to work on my Volley & Bayonet: Road to Glory A House Divided campaign. I am using 6mm (really 8mm) Adler figures. I had a lot of these from about 20 years ago when we used them to play Fire and Fury. I also ordered what I needed to flesh out what I had from Adler Miniatures. Ordering from Adler is a bit odd in that you send them an order form via email. Then the caste the figures and sent you an email with the exact charges (including postage). Finally, I paid for them via PayPal. It was much easier than I thought and the entire process from start to finish took only two weeks. I paid actual postage rather than some inflated costs, which was nice. All of the figures came and were carefully packed.  I actually think I got a few extra figures, which must be Adler’s way of making sure you get everything you ordered in good order.

So I’ve been rebasing my painted Adler figures and painting new ones. I’ve gone for a very economy approach as I’m the only one painting the figures (Mark did provide me with some Adlers he had painted in the past, about a corps per side). In the end I hope to have about 100 massed infantry bases (60 Union and 40 Confederate), 30 massed cavalry and 30 linear infantry for cavalry dismounts (15 per each side), 60 artillery stands (a few more Union than Confederate) and up to 20 CC and 40 DC general stands (again a few more Union than Confederate). I’m about 60% of the way there, but I can easily start the campaign with fewer figures as both sides build up forces as the game goes on. My goal is to have 6 Union infantry corps and 4 Confederate infantry corps to start; I’m just 4 or 5 Union massed infantry and a few Union Smoothbore Artillery stands short right now.

I’ve also revised my draft of the campaign rules and they are below:

 Revised The American Civil War Campaign 2.0

Along the way I am planning on running several revised versions of the scenarios from the Volley & Bayonet Battles of the American Civil War supplement book; probably Shiloh first.