Volley and Bayonet American Civil War Game

Time for another quick report on some American Civil War gaming.  Ron and I played Volley and Bayonet a couple weekends ago.  I’ve owned the original set of the rules, seen in the first picture on the lower right corner for about 20 years.  In fact they have the old GDW game company logo on them.  The game is designed by Frank Chadwick and Greg Novak.

They are a great set of rules for playing out large battles of multiple corps, so you could literally fight the full battle of Gettysburg in a day on a reasonable size table.

I like to play half scale, which means each of my brigade stands is 1.5 inches square vs. the 3 inches square mentioned in the rules.  This also allows me to play on a half size board, thus turning my modest 8”x 5” table in the basement into the equivalent to a 16×10 table.  The figures in this article are 6mm Adler ACW figures.

In this first picture it is an overall shot of the start, we each started with 2 Divisions on the table of what Volley and Bayonet calls a “tough Corps”.  A tough Corps in Volley and Bayonet has 3 divisions, each with 4 brigades and one battalion of divisional artillery, and also 3 Corps artillery battalions.

Based on the original games point system the Union tough Corps is a little stronger points wise so 2 of the smaller brigades were removed from the 2nd and 3rd Division.   The Union has stronger and more powerful artillery.

So on the right is the Union and to your left is the Confederates.  I was the Union, so I put my strongest Division (1st Division) on the far right flank and then I put the 2nd Division on the left to go after the town if the opportunity presented itself.

Ron set up similar (we alternated based on a die roll and our 3rd Divisions would come in on a die roll and a random road on our side.

volley and bayonet american civil war game

Volley and Bayonet American Civil War Game

Here is another picture looking from slightly behind the South’s right flank toward the town.

We kept the board simple as this was our first game really.  We had played one other time about 2 or 3 years ago, but neither of us would count that as knowing the rules by any means. J

Confederate Right Flank

Confederate Right Flank

On about the 3rd turn (3 hours game time I believe) My Union 1st Division of the Imaginary 10th Corps launched its attack from the woods on my right flank.  I felt the confederates had left their divisional artillery vulnerable  and I would have the opportunity to wipe out that unit giving my Union infantry an advantage.  I didn’t take a ton of pictures, or I should say many didn’t turn out well enough to post, so Ill work on that, but I will tell you it did not go well and with my turn and the Confederate army counter attack, 3 of the 4 1st division brigades routed.  The orange bead you see is used for “out of command” units for now, until we can make some nice game markers.

Union Initial Attack on the Right Flank

Union Initial Attack on the Right Flank

This is a close up of the North’s left flank, we had a big duel with the Corps guns, and the infantry did little, eventually the Confederate Brigade on the Confederates far right was removed by artillery fire but these troops would sit for entire battle, glaring through the town at each other.  The confederates also had one battalion of guns removed along with one for the Union as well.

Union and Confederate Stalemate at the Town

Union and Confederate Stalemate at the Town

This picture isn’t the finale but getting close, my 1st division fell back through the woods and kept trying to hold or counter attack with out much success.

My 3rd division came in on the road to the far right to reinforce, you can see them at the top right of the picture, getting log jammed.  Lucky for me they came out in the right place, but unfortunately so did the extra confederate division, so I was only able to do some damage, but eventually the Union 3rd division and 2nd division would become exhausted and no longer be able to attack.

We use yellow and red beds for yellow and red disorder, lots of color on my Union troops, so not so good for me.

Union 1st Division Falls Back Through the Woods

Union 1st Division Falls Back Through the Woods

The battle continues in full confusion as brigades clash, fall back, and counter attack one another for control of the woods (the green beads represent units that get the stationary benefit in the rules)

Battle for Control of the Woods.

Battle for Control of the Woods.

It’s looking grim for my fictional Union 10th Corps.

North and South Continue to Fight for Control of the Woods.

North and South Continue to Fight for Control of the Woods.

Here is the final picture of the Union right flank.  Many orange beads (for many brigades out of command, and both Union divisions on this flank our exhausted.  Neither Confederate division had exhausted, but if I remember correctly at the end of the game thy were both only one or two away.  At this point I conceded, and my what was left of my Union Corps withdrew from the field.

All and all we loved Volley and Bayonet and have decided to switch to the new Volley and Bayonet Road to Glory.  I have already purchased the rules and although there is not an American Civil War game supplement out yet, it is in the works.  You can play ACW battles with the original rules and there is a vibrant yahoo group for volley and Bayonet and a great website by Keith McNelly with lots of user input and data.  Please check it out when you get a chance, it is well worth it.

Till next time, keep rollin 6’s  :)


  1. Hi Steve

    Interesting report. I have not played V&B in easily 10yrs. Didnt even know there is a newer version.
    Check out my latest entries on my blog with somewhat similar looking game (Malburian period) on my table. 10mm figs (dont think my eyes are up to painting 6mm anymore !!) with each stand = Brigade (although I still tend to call them Bttns/Regts) using Might & Reason rules.

    Keep up the good work


  2. Steve Maul says:

    Looking forward to the new Road to Glory version. I did check it out, didnt comment but I read the entries and of course looked at the pictures. :) My buddy Ron has Might and Reason so Im sure we will play it some day. I dont paint the 6mm, I send them off to get painted. :)

  3. Hi Steve,

    very nice blog. Greetings from Italy.


  4. Steve Maul says:

    Thanks, Im pretty new at it, but learning. Love games, and I guess I lean toward war gaming, but I love many types. Are you a V&B player? Got any thoughts on games or pictures, feel free to send them along.

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