Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Battle of Fessealair, 1796: A Remote game using Volley & Bayonet 1st Edition

Sunday's game in the Shed-o-War had to be canceled because our umpire for the game had fallen ill with Covid (yes folks, it hasn't gone away!). Thankfully he is up to date with his vaccines and while he felt a bit grotty, he was still well enough to host a game remotely over Zoom. So instead of playtesting his rules for the French Wars of Religion, we played a French Revolutionary game using Volley and Bayonet. The result was an excellent encounter that kept us busy all day. The only thing missing was Stuart's Spam sandwiches at lunchtime. 

I took a few poor-quality screenshot photo's during the game that gives an idea of the action. However, I recommend checking out Richards's blog where he has posted some much better-quality pictures taken during the game: My Wargaming Habit

As this was a meeting encounter both sides were marching on from points on opposite sides of the table and would need to form up to engage the enemy. I was the leader for the French Side but as I hadn't played these rules before I relied heavily on the guidance of Ray, my second in command, on how the game played. We had time for a brief strategy session before everyone else Zoomed in and Richard began explaining the game. 

Volley and Bayonet have been around for a long time (1994 I think?) and Richard was using the 1st edition book for this game. It is very much a grand tactical scale battle, with each 60x60 base representing a battalion of several regiments. Movement distances are generous but that just helped to speed the game along with each turn representing about an hour of action. We managed 5 turns which roughly equaled the time we were playing in the real world. I think Richard is considering using these rules for a big campaign and has been experimenting with different rulesets to find the best choice for remote play. Frankly, these rules worked a treat and I'd be quite happy if we used them for our games, but that's a decision for Richard to make. 

Incidentally, all the figures for this game are MDF flats from Commission Figurines. Richard has made an excellent job of painting these and frankly, you have to get a lot closer than the standard '3ft rule' to tell they aren't 3D metal figures. 

So as mentioned our Divisions entered the table in columns with a gap between each base to represent the 'strung out' nature of marching along a road. So Ray & I decided not to rush and to only take a part move with the lead battalions so the following ones could catch up. The aim was to get each Division into a line as quickly as possible so that individual battalions would not be vulnerable to flanking attacks. In my sector on the left of the French zone, I had a wood which was both an obstacle and also provided a good anchor point for deployed divisions. The only formations that moved significantly forward were my Cavalary Battalions on the left and Rays on the right. 

I was facing Surjit on my side of the table and true to form he rushed his Battalions forward to close down my room for maneuvering. Both Cavalry Battalions were soon engaging with the Austrians and I pushed forward my forward infantry division and artillery to support the attack. Unfortunately, my dice rolling was less than inspiring and this division suffered as a result. However, this gave me room to deploy and take up static positions with the following division and then fall back the damaged one to form a fairly solid line. 

By this stage, both I and Ray had settled our divisions into a good line and would now get a bonus in combat because our Battalions were stationary. If the Austrians attacked they would do so at a disadvantage. And that is precisely what they decided to do, attacking simultaneously along most of our line. On the receiving end, it felt quite alarming, but the dice gods were smiling on us and the resulting battles broke the Austrian army with acceptable losses on our side. 

This was a thoroughly enjoyable game and a set of rules I hope we get to play again. I strongly recommend having a look at Richard's post on this, plus as already mentioned there are some better pictures of the figures to enjoy.  


  1. Thanks for the battle report and bringing Richard’s game to my attention. Somehow, I missed his posted BatRep the first time around. Your screenshots look good to me. You said you played all day. How long did the game actually last?

    SPAM sandwiches? I did not know you ate SPAM across the pond?

  2. Oh yes Jonathan. We have spam fritters too! We live the Monty Python sketch.
    When you take off my rule explanations, a few breaks for a cuppa, and the post-game analysis, the game lasted about 4-5 hours.

  3. Enjoyed your comments Lee. Glad you found the rules to your taste.

    1. I thought they worked well and the remote game experience was seamless.

  4. Great post Lee, I also took a few pics of the game, which didn't really come out to good?? Great post though, it was a really enjoyable game and the rules really worked. I think the last time I play V&B must have been at least 25 years ago??? I shall be using them for my next secret project!!!

    1. Ooo..a new project? Sounds interesting.

  5. Good post Lee, not played volley and bayonet, may have to look at them


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