Last Saturday Mark and I played a game of Volley and Bayonet, specifically the new version, Volley and Bayonet: Road to Glory. In the past we have played a lot of games of Volley and Bayonet, and if I recall correctly, the very first game we ever played together was Volley and Bayonet. Mark pulled out his French and Hanoverian forces and ran the battle of Corbach, 1760. This was the first time I had played the new edition of Volley and Bayonet, but Mark had played it several times in an American Civil War campaign he is participating in with his weekly game group.
I have played a lot of Volley and Bayonet in the past, but not so much recently. I think my first game was back in 1995. Since then I’ve played Volley and Bayonet off and on including a lot of French and Indian War and American Revolution games with my friend Les Reese. While living in England (1998-99), I had the opportunity to play Fontenoy with Martin Soilleux-Cardwell’s group (http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/mcnelly/vb/battlereports/fontenoy_refought.htm). During the year that I lived in Illinois I was able to play in a Borodino game at Frank Chadwick’s home and several American Revolution games at Greg Novak’s home. Since moving to Oregon, Mark and I have played several games, mostly Mark’s Seven Years’ War, but also one American Revolution game (Hobkirk’s Hill variant).
Volley and Bayonet is a fun game to play. The rules don’t seem very sexy when you read them, but in general they play very well. The weak command and control rules are offset by the large movement distances (12-16” for infantry and 20-24” for cavalry). That allows for players to make really dramatic moves and helps the games avoid the attritional slugfest that often occurs in rules with shorter movement rates. Also the lack of complexity of the rules doesn’t mean the games are simply beer and pretzel. Instead it forces the players to concentrate on playing the game rather than the rules. As my friend Les Reese noted, the rules are simple, but not simplistic.
In our game of Corbach, I opted for the French and Mark ran the Hanoverian forces. The game started with a great deal of moving forces onto the battlefield. Mark was able to more quickly establish a defensive line, while I seemed to take forever to get my forces deployed. As the basic objective was to defeat the enemy, I realized that I needed to do something so I began my attack.
Here is the scenario we used:
And here is the scenario map:
Here is the basic starting set up:
Here I am wondering what to do:
And here is the long deployment phase of the battle:
Basically the Hanoverian forces held the ridgeline and woods, my French were stuck out in the open.
The Hanoverian forces were impressive indeed:
In my attack I opted to push the Hanoverian center and right:
The Hanoverian right looked unbeatable in the woods:
My attack on the Hanoverian center fails:
I did better in the woods and the French were able to push the Hanoverians out:
The Hanoverian center stood firm, anchored by the two artillery batteries:
I brought up some light cavalry to threaten one battery:
My main body of cavalry stood ready to attack from the front, thus pinning the Hanoverian center:
Rather than make a frontal charge, I brought a unit of heavy cavalry and attacked the Hanoverian artillery from the flank (remember the large movement rates in VnB):
I also moved my light cavalry into contact with the other Hanoverian battery. The luck went my way and both Hanoverian batteries were destroyed by my cavalry:
Hanoverian commands started to exhaust and collapse, leaving their center open:
Thus started a French general advance:
With little left, the Hanoverians began their retreat:
The battle ended with two more hours of daylight left. Usually when I play the French I lose, but this was the rare exception.
Overall, the game played very well and both of us had a good time. I would estimate actual playing time at about 5 hours. The new rules worked well, but most of the major changes in the second edition deal more with later periods so we were not able to really judge the value of the new edition’s big changes.
I should add the Mark provided all of the figures (15mm from a variety of makers), set up the scenario, and provided lunch as usual.