Volley & Bayonet Corbach (Seven Years’ War)

Last Saturday, my son and I went to Mark’s house and played the Battle of Corbach (Seven Years’ War) with Volley & Bayonet. We had played this battle several years ago (see this post from my blog: https://jdglasco.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/volley-and-bayonet-the-battle-of-corbach/ ). This time the table was smaller, 5′ x 4′. I wasn’t exactly sure why, but I think we were playing just the battle and not the approach part. I also wasn’t really sure what the victory conditions were, but I had a good time overall.

It was interesting to play Volley & Bayonet again after a long break. It is a good game, but it is really designed for a specific purpose. According to Greg Novak, the intent of the rules was to produce a quick play set of rules that could be used to fight large battles with several players, especially in the convention setting. The rules do a good job of achieving that goal. I think it works best when players run no more than about 20 to 25 stands; after that the game tends to bog down and produce a lot of mental fatigue. Also with lots of players, there is an in-built command friction, which is not present in one on one games. I also noticed that Volley & Bayonet is very lethal at times in terms of casualties due to the hands full of dice approach.

My son told me after the game that he is not a big fan of the horse and musket era, horrible as his father is a historian who is focused on Western European and the Atlantic World History from 1750 to 1815, Instead my son likes skirmish level wargames as that is more the level he identifies with. His favorite rules are the Two Hour Wargames rules, especially the ones for World War Two, zombies, and ancient warfare. Right now I’ve got the first two eras covered, and I am painting more figures for them. Soon we hope to try some Romans and Germans (ancient era) once I get some more figures painted. My son did have a good time with Mark’s dog, Pluto, as the photos show.

Father and son team with son already more interested in the dog than the game.

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More son and dog photos:

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And some photos of the game (figures, table and photos by Mark):

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5 Responses to Volley & Bayonet Corbach (Seven Years’ War)

  1. Mark says:

    I agree with Jeff that these are good rules for the period, and produce an historically plausible outcome in a reasonable amount of time. I’ve also played much larger ACW battles with a group of seven or eight folks I meet with regularly. These sometimes have the effect of leaving one player with little to do, or routed from the game early on, especially when playing first line divisions.

    We’ve had many good games, but I think the sweet spot is two to four players.

    The Corbach scenario Jeff and I played is slightly tweaked from Christian Rogge’s work. He produced a beautiful map which is focusses on the battle area, where the armies decided to stand and fight.

    Jeff and I have previously played scenarios which I had designed for a 5′ or 6′ by 8′ table, representing the approach to the battle lengthwise. Those games started much earlier in the day, and begin more like meeting engagements with the Allies coming in on several roads, piecemeal.

    I was happy that at least Pluto (more formally Plutarch, there’s a story there) was able to entertain when the incredible fascination of 18th century warfare inexplicably failed to entice.

    Mark

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    • jdglasco says:

      I agree with Mark that 2 or 3 players per side for a big battle is the ideal number. I have also seen the situation where one player has one command, and it either doesn’t get into the battle or is quickly destroyed and that player just sits around for most of the game. If players have 2 or 3 commands they will usually be in the game for most of the time. And just 2 or 3 players per side will produce the command friction needed for the game. Plus if a side has 40 or 50 units, that produces a manageable number of units per player (16 to 20 per player).

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  2. […] Volley & Bayonet Corbach (Seven Years’ War) […]

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  3. jdglasco says:

    Bill,

    I don’t have much time to play games these days, so smaller, skirmish-level games with my son are fine for me. It will be several years before I have time for the big game group or regular games again, which is fine as I’ve got things I value more to do right now. Right now I’m interested in smaller things I can do solo, like my American Revolution game (and hopefully later campaign) with Johnny Reb or maybe Piquet and skirmish level games with my son.

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  4. Bill Owen says:

    With the popularity of V&B in Central Illinois, I never tried other rule sets (beyond my Great Battles of the Civil War which tried to upscale to battles in 1976 but not as well as V&B has done).

    Because you said “players run no more than about 20 to 25 stands” then smaller battles for you until you recruit “lots of players, there is an in-built command friction”.

    In order to recruit more, one must have an ideal scenario for a couple of newbies. This is something I have been thinking about here in Uruguay and I think 25 is probably still too many. I have managed to train 10 people (80% of which had no wargame background) to play GQ3 scenario of River Plate, about to graduate to Denmark Straits and I hope then Narvik (with the addition of Great Battles of WWII for the land phase).

    I would like to do a Civil War campaign based on A House Divided here, so getting the training game right is crucial to having commanders on deck. Your son will either be an indifferent V&B commander or a deserter from that sort of effort. That remains to be seen.

    Either way you have a “life win” insofar as you have any wargames to play with your son! Some dads and sons take decades to find common ground and it is special thing when or if they do. And also you might “get” something “odd” that he liked first.

    Recently I had the opportunity to share my game design ideas with a young man who wants to design computer games. He was mildly or at least politely interested, perhaps as you might be if you found a toothless, talking dinosaur. While the expats thought “Oh, games! They will have something in common.” But I could not wrap my head around his fascination with designing a game about (I think) a “renegade criminal element whose ultimate goal is establish a utopian liberal society”. But then I grew up with the titanic struggles between empires of ambiguous morality bent on industrial-scale mayhem. And I am not clear on how that is a motivator!

    Perhaps your son’s lack of interest is that he does connect with the overarching theme–and so the story could be tweaked. After being slavishly into historical scenarios for 35 years, I am beginning to see the benefit to a parallel universe where at least the names have been changed to protect the unpredictability.

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