Monday, November 4, 2019

Battle of the Bloggers

This past Saturday three of the club's four bloggers got together. Mark D. of Mark D's Gaming Site and I visited Ed of Ed M's Wargaming Meanderings Blog to play a game of Ed's heavily modified V&B for wing scale 19th century games. Ed's system features two-stand infantry and cavalry units as battalions and squadrons and single stand units as half-battalions/squadrons. There are many other changes, which make for a very different game albeit with familiar core mechanics. I expect at some point three different posts about this game. I'll cross link here when Ed and Mark's posts go up.

Mark had played the scenario once before as the Honved so he chose the Austrians and I commanded the Honved. Both armies featured many of Ed's wonderful figure conversions and excellent painting shown previously on his blog. Here are a couple of close-up photos of my units that started on the table.

The scenario was a meeting engagement with some villages on my right flank (Mark's left) and some hills in the center. With only one command of advance guard available to start for each side I wanted to get my half-battalion of Jagers into the town, or if possible, into the woods past the town. Mark saw the same opportunity, and moving first got to the woods so I settled for the village. My cavalry protected my infantry columns flank and Mark charged with his uhlans but my hussars held sending his lancers back with half their strength lost.

From here Mark and I brought up our armies from off table and got them on-line. On my right flank my Jagers forced Mark's Grenzers back in the woods out of range. On my left I pressed with a single squadron of Hussars looking for an opening on Mark's flank or to force his heavy cavalry command to that flank, away from my vulnerable half battalions which I massed on the right flank under the command of my CinC.

On the left flank Mark did counter with his cavalry brigade forcing me to withdraw my single squadron and match him with my lighter cavalry. I tried to bring up my horse gun, but didn't really do so very effectively and his was shooting at my cavalry while Mine wasn't returning fire. In the center we were at a standoff, with the exception of his artillery which was on-line although at long range I was weathering the fire well enough for it not to be pressing the issue...yet.

My final regiment with my one high-morale infantry unit, the 'red hats', advanced to press the right flank where I had amassed my half battalions and jagers to finally press the issue in the woods.

If Volley & Bayonet has one flaw, it's that it's a game of counter punching. The attacker is always at a huge disadvantage. With the scenario a balanced meeting engagement, and both Mark and I being seasoned V&B players, neither of us wanted to attack. It was a game losing move. Still, a play test needs combat, so I made a go of it and went in with the whole lot on the right. This went fairly well as I had my full battalion of elites on Mark's half battalion. I was able to press the flank on the right and following up it looked decently promising.

On the left I went 'over the top' on the hill with my horse gun and an infantry battalion and prolonged my field guns to support the push against the single unit Mark had on the hill. Three on one - it seemed like a fine plan. Then Mark reminded me why you don't attack in V&B by eliminating all of my artillery in a single turn with two shots by his stationary defending units. That attack not only stopped, I was now pretty much pant-less on my left-center.
I did a classic 'last turn' move by charging all of my cavalry into Mark's cavalry, mostly 'for science'. This resulted in Mark's heavies nearly eliminating my hussars, and me also losing against his battery and his Uhlans. If there were another turn all of my cavalry would have been eliminated by Mark's counter-charges and horse gun opening up my line of supply for raiding by Mark's cavalry. Another case of he to acts last, laughs best in V&B.

All in all a great day of gaming. Ed's changes to V&B seem to be flowing in the right direction. My complaints about V&B are more about the core system and not Ed's modifications. I had some suggestions to Ed on things that might be done to ease the V&B counter-punching issue a bit. Also this is a separate,  unrelated rule system to his upcoming 'Chocolate Box Wars' project... so that V&B nit I'm picking might not even be part of his new system.


Ed M said...

Whatever happened on the table, you win the blog-war :) I'll probably get something up later this week. Nice report! I think one thing that happened was that both you and Mark played well: no goofs and few risks equal a tough match. For what it's worth, I was looking over my pictures and your end of game cavalry charge didn't blow up quite as much as you recall: you did prevail in one of the three melees,wiping out Mark's horse battery (which was the one melee that was the most dodgy, statistically speaking, for you). As you mention, typical VnB results: having passed pre-melee morale, two out of three of those cavalry melees were even roll-offs, but you lose both. The one that was tipped in Mark's favor is the one you win. General Dice will have his say.

AJ (Allan) Wright said...

I forgot about the battery. That was lucky. Still true that flank was truly hoopa-jooped though.

Ross Mac said...

Great looking game and report.

Since I'm safely parked in an armchair hundreds of miles away I feel free to ask if the idea in V&B isn't to outmanoeuvre your enemy so as to amass an overwhelming local attack against his weakest spot with reserves at hand to see off the counter attack? It helps of course if you can get him to stand still. Some opponents just aren't very cooperative!

( I seem to recall doing that once several decades ago, it was in the ...fade away in a cloud of pipesmoke and whiskey fumes..)