January 1, 2019
In December, Mark and I were able to meet up again and play a game after a long break, which was due to many factors. Mark ran the Battle of Warburg with Volley & Bayonet (2nd edition). It was one of the best games of Volley & Bayonet that Mark and I have played over the years. I managed to squeak out a minor victory, but it was a very well played game by both sides. I think the game worked well as with the large movement rates in Volley & Bayonet, you are never sure where the other side will attack. The lack of command and control rules did not really impact the game. It was a very enjoyable game. I think I liked the lack of waiting for cards that seems to be the take-away from the many Piquet Field of Battle games I have recently been playing.
Here is the scenario we played (which was designed by Mark): Warburg
Mark provided the figures, the terrain, lunch and the photos (I forgot to bring my camera).
Here are some photos of the game:
I have not idea why my finger is pointing at that stand.
April 23, 2016
Here’s a link to a someone else’s very well done Battle of Guilford Courthouse using Volley & Bayonet: http://www.pendrakenforum.co.uk/index.php/topic,14025.0.html
August 2, 2015
I had a bit of free time this weekend so I decided to play some solo games. The first two on Saturday were a Volley & Bayonet American Revolution game. I had opted to play Piquet for smaller American Revolution battles, but I decided to give Volley & Bayonet one more try at the lower scale (in this case the battalion scale). Taking an idea from Sam Mustafa’s Blucher Waterloo cards, I made cards/counters for all of the units present at Guilford Courthouse (see here: 2-3rds Paper AWI Army 1 and here: 2-3rds Paper AWI Army 2). They are 2/3rds scale (so a linear stand is 2″ x 1″). I based them on this order of battle: Guilford Courthouse Battalion 1-80 July 2015 Roster, which uses a scale of 1 SP = 80 men or 2 guns. I played on a 6′ x 4′ table, which at 2/3rds scale is about the size of the actual battle of Guilford Courthouse. The table was fairly open with the key terrain feature being a wooded (counted as orchards) ridge that ran part way across the center. I was able to play the scenario twice in about 4 hours.
The results were not that good. In both cases the British forces were nearly wiped out, only a few SP left after both games, and the Americans took low casualties in the first game and moderate casualties in the second game. I’ve played lots of Volley & Bayonet at the regular, regiment, scale, but this was one of about 10 games I have played at the battalion scale. In all of those games, it seemed like the casualties were just too many. We tried a true Camden scenario and a Guilford Courthouse scenario several times back in the 1999-2000 era when I lived in Arizona and had the same results. Likewise, I played in a Saratoga battalion level game at Greg Novak’s house when I lived in Illinois (around 2003). It also was very bloody.
This mystified me as I had figured out the average number of 6 hits and the average is far lower than what seems to happen when the game is played. For instance, a 3d6 non-stationary linear infantry stand in melee needing a 6 to hit should have 0 hits 57.8% of the time, 1 hit 34.8% of the time, 2 hits 6.9% and 3 hits .5%. Well I must be Mr. Las Vegas when it comes to rolling 6s as those were not the results I got. In one melee a unit (stationary, linear infantry) rolled 4 6s (out of 5d6) which should only happen 3.2% of the time. So my die rolling was far different from normal, but that had happened in every battalion scale Volley & Bayonet game I have played.
So what’s the big take from it all; Volley & Bayonet is a high casualty rate game, but at the regiment scale that makes sense as 1000-1500 men battling it out for an hour could easily break one or both units. But when you get to 30 or 15 minute turns, the casualty rates are too high. So I think it was a good idea that Frank Chadwick did not include the lower scale rules in the second edition of Volley & Bayonet. Greg Novak seemed to be able make the lower scales work for the American Revolution somehow, but I can’t figure out how he did. Maybe he just played with unlucky players! I think not using Volley & Bayonet for my Greene’s Southern Campaign is a good idea. That’s a pity as everything besides the casualty rates works very well in the game. I think I’ll still play the regimental scale (the basic 1 SP = 500 men or 6 guns) as that seems to work with the time frame of each turn. I’m glad I tried the test games as they showed me that for a battalion level solo game, Piquet is the best way to go.
March 14, 2015
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.
More son and dog photos:
And some photos of the game (figures, table and photos by Mark):
February 3, 2015
While I’ve opted to use a variant of Johnny Reb 3 for my more tactical AWI games, I’ve thought a lot about how to use Volley & Bayonet for the American Revolution. In my post about King’s Mountain, Joe asked a question and I hope this unofficial supplement will help him out.
AWI for VnB 3.0