Monday, 1 October 2012

A Sunny Day in Spain...

Franks British command stands. He claims that as mine aren't finished yet, my troops are doomed to suffer from poor dice rolls.
Last Sunday I played another game of Volley and Bayonet against Frank's British. We decided that we would be playing a fictional encounter somewhere in Spain around 1809. Both forces were equal in terms of morale and strength points per stand, giving both of us eight infantry stands, three artillery, and one heavy cavalry stand each.

Since someone had to be the attacker, we used the ancient method of 'Paper, Rock, Scissors' to decide - as any gentleman would in such circumstances. As such my French were forced into the attack, with my 2nd Division boldly advancing towards Frank's line.with my cavalry in reserve.

My advancing French took some damage from Frank's artillery, but they continued to boldly advance.

My 1st Division waits in reserve.

The British counterattack.
 Frank moved two of his divisions to counter my advance, one attacking on the French Division's left, the other on the right - supported by cavalry. The attack on the left was repelled while on the right a combined attack by Highlanders and cavalry smashed one of my brigades and disordered another. This victory on the right flank allowed Frank's cavalry to make a breakthrough attack which results in the elimination of another French brigade.

A routed British brigade - sadly the only one of the day.

A disordered British brigade - soon to be rallied and put back into play.

The 2nd Division starts to disintegrate. 

The French right wing falls back.
 The 2nd Division became exhausted due to the casualties it had taken, it then suffered a morale collapse. This meant that half of my force was no longer effective... I also had to deal with a small cavalry problem my rear.
French cavalry attack the disordered British cavalry in the flank. This went very badly for the French.
 While in theory my charging the flack of a disordered British cavalry unit with a nice fresh French one should have hammered the British unit, my appalling dice rolling coupled with Frank's jammy dice rolling gave victory in this clash to the British.

The British advance. This is their second turn....

The British occupy the small town of Novo Castillo.

The French 1st Division begins to retire from he field..
 Once my 2nd division had broken, Frank outnumbered me two to one - odds he was very keen to use. That was the point at which I decided that if I stayed I was going to lose both divisions, but if I withdrew I could save what remained of my force.

French units leaving the field.

The British advance as the French retire from the field.
The game was a very quick one in which the French suffered 4000 odd losses (Killed, Wounded, and Missing), compared to the British losses of 1000 (Killed, Wounded, and Missing).  This took only three turns to resolve (assuming that a turn consists of an attacker, then defender phase) which is meant to represent three hours of 'real' time. We also diced to see if Frank had managed to capture an Eagle from one of the two French stands he eliminated - and he turned out he had!

The conclusion we both reached after this game was that our forces needed to be bigger, especially if one force was having to attack a defending force. by having my attack fail, I lost half my force in one go. Still an enjoyable game, and we both learnt some more about V&B.


  1. a sad day for the french :-( if only you could have been able to put reserves in that little castle, perhaps you would have held out a little longer,

    1. Alas Gowan, two divisions of Redcoats were between me and the town, which under V&B would hold only 1 stand of troops.

  2. It's that damned 'Go Stationary' gig, isn't it? Y'know - I can just about understand it for ACW - a unit rushing up to a position - a low wall, say, of no real tactical significance - and preparing themselves in little ways to hold the position. These might be laying their cartouche boxes handily in front of them; minor adjustments to the casual irregularities of the ground; checking the priming and loading of their weapons.

    For mine it just doesn't seem to 'go' the same way with Napoleonic or earlier conflicts. But even if we accepted that, I would have liked a nomenclature and announcement a little nearer to something you might find i a drill book, or maybe a memoir: 'Having reached the crest of the rise we had been instructed to defend, the Regiment "went stationary" the better to hold this eminence.' Gnnnn... nah.

    If the formula was 'prepare to hold', say, with exactly the same effect as 'go stationary' I might find it easier to accept. But there is this ... problem ... as I see it. On the table top, a unit that has 'gone stationary' looks exactly the same as one that is not moving, but that has not 'gone stationary', bearing in mind the G.S. stance has to be announced. Furthermore, they behave in exactly the same way. Set them both in motion, and you couldn't tell which had been the G.S. one.

    If a unit had been instructed to 'HOLD' a position (with the effect of the game's 'Go Stationary', it seems to me that unit would be just a little bit harder to set in motion again. Not difficult, you understand, merely that the minor adjustments to settle into the position have to be undone to ready the unit to depart.

    I would have expected some sort of indicator to signal the 'Gone Stationary' stance; a more appropriate nomenclature; and some minor delay - a quarter move, say - for coming out of that stance and/or going into it. Altogether, I found the game mechanic so artificial and counter-intuitive, that I could seldom remember to 'Go Stationary' betimes.

    Grizzle, moan; grizzle, moan; grizzle, moan.

  3. Having said that, I liked the table set up; and the action looks pretty attractive. There is no doubt about it, the large stands do score highly on visual appeal...