Volley & Bayonet

vbv2_grcn_2pgvbv2_grcn_a4vbv2_grcn_tabloidVolley & Bayonet was designed by Frank Chadwick and now-deceased Greg Novak for whole battles between 1700 to 1900. This long range of battles are simulated with a common core set of rules and period-specific additions of modifiers and rules. The advantage is that you can play a wide range of epic battles not just portions without needing to learn different rule sets.

My goal is to help Volley & Bayonet players. Here are web-links and accessories you may find useful. The second edition of V&B (which adds the subtitle, Road to Glory) has been in print since Historicon 2008; you can buy it online at www.testofbattlegames.com. The first edition cover is shown at upper right above. The second edition’s cover is the one at lower left above, that has a large photo of a game in progress.

There are two second edition Seven Year War supplements in print, click: Austria vs. Prussia and The Strategic Flank. For the 1st edition, one can find used editions that cover Napoleonics, American Civil War etc., or portions of those are available as downloads on some fan sites and are itemized here.

I just heard about Michael Hopper but know nothing more than that he is the author of the prior “Rise of Eagles” scenario book which covered the 1805 Austerlitz campaign (I have no link for this) and has made some Napoleonic scenario books, click this TMP link for more and order directly through his email, click:
http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=458903 “Eagles Over Bavaria” & “The Roads to Vienna”,  Napoleonic scenario books focused on the 1809 Austrian campaign. Books on 1806-07 in Prussia, the Peninsula and other theaters to follow.

There are lots of good discussion and resources to download at the excellent at (click): V&B Yahoo forum. With 1500+ members and years at it, there are also lots of play aids in the File section and expert players to ask questions of.

There is a rather inactive second Yahoo page that may have some files or photos of interest at groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/VnBpicturesandfiles/info.

There are varied period & errata references at (click): Keith McNelly’s excellent site. Click on either his Scenarios or Game Support tabs. It’s worth signing for his updates because he posts lots of great After Action Reports.

Since they are no longer available on Photo Bucket, here are (4) 1814 Scenarios (click): V&B_Scenarios_4Napoleonic1814byArisK by Aris Kosionidos.

Having sold all my 25mm ACW, I currently have 1:600 scale regimental (strength point) “blocks”. I posted on this blog free e-books about (click): how to do flexible terrain and BrucesTerrainBuildingArticle.

V&B has 3 other scales that do not appear in the 2nd edition of the rules (called Road To Glory) but you can find a PDF describing the Battalion/Wing/Division scales here (click): V&B_AlternateScales

Jeff Glasco’s Gentlemanly Wargaming wordpress blog has good info like a new version of of the whole Civil War as a multi-game “campaign” (version 4) and various scales and periods, click: here. Jeff publishes new scenarios occasionally particularly for the American Revolution.

The original ACW campaign conversion was produced by V&B’s co-author, Greg Novak. Jeff’s updated campaign for the whole Civil War uses the excellent, classic Frank Chadwick boardgame, A House Divided. AHD is a very simple game but if you want to try a similarly scaled boardgame as “campaign context” I suggest looking into For The People. It has more chrome and leadership impacts but being more detailed may be a more challenging game to use for a miniatures campaign.

My experience with V&B is much less than Command Decision: Test of Battle (another fabulous Frank Chadwick ruleset). I have mainly played Napoleonics with Steve Alvin and others of the Springfield IL bunch (having been introduced to V&B by the legendary gamer, John Holtz, who has gone on before us) and Civil War has been what I have a collection for.

Play Aids

General Reference Chart available for both American Civil War, Napoleonic & Pre-Napoleonic (the 2nd & 3rd bullets below)

I like to make up professional accessories with Adobe Illustrator etc. These tools greatly improve on what Bob Bledsaw and I had back in 1976 when we started Judges Guild. The first, bulleted item item is more of an idea than a downloadable play aid (like the others that follow):

  • Eliminate Rosters and Bookkeeping by having blocks of infantry (initially I used 3mm-thick craft foam on magnets but could be like Peter Pig’s Hammering Iron series for their 1:600 boats) and each block equates to a Strength Point (and a regiment, not that it matters). When hit, turn the block sideways then when the combat is over, put the eliminated SPs on a Divisional camp (shown below; another steel stand like the Brigade stand but bigger to represent the Division) and after checking for Exhaustion/Collapse, push this turn’s casualties to the right.
  • General Reference Chart for ACW Volley & Bayonet (upper, at left). Click below for latest dated versions. If you find errors or omissions, please let me know (email below) and I will upload a corrected version. Check the date below versus the date shown on the chart you downloaded previously. I checked this GRC twice against the March 2010 errata. There were small issues about the ACW chart that are now fixed as of 11/22/2010. The PDF comes in 3 document sizes:
    (2) Letter (8.5×11″) Size Pages: VBv2_GRC_2pg
    (1) Tabloid (11×17″) Page: VBv2_GRC_tabloid
    (2) A4 Size Pages: VBv2_GRC_A4
  • GRC Napoleonic & Pre-Napoleonic: I have made an earlier-era version, the file name is the same as the ACW but has an “n” after the letters GRC; this includes both Napoleonic and Pre-Napoleonic. I made this version with the errata at hand but I have not checked it lately. UPDATE 5/7/2019 at typo is corrected in the following (3) 1st revision pdf’s (the cavalry brigade melee dice has been changed to 4 from 2):
    (2) Letter (8.5×11″) Size Pages: vbv2_grcn_2pg
    (1) Tabloid (11×17″) Page: vbv2_grcn_tabloid
    (2) A4 Size Pages: vbv2_grcn_a4
  • “Hinch Rulers” V&B can work with smaller brigade bases and tables by scaling down. I chose to use 2/3rds scale because my 4×6′ table will be equivalent to a typical 6×9′ table. Brigade bases are then  2″ square instead of “suggested” standard of 3″ square. The PDF linked below (showing moves & ranges @2/3″ instead of 1″ ruler unis (so 24 “inches” equals 16″ actually) and can be printed on a 11×17″ tabloid sheet of paper.
    • You can use this for “half scale” by reducing these .667″ Hinch Units to 75% of size = .5″ ruler units.
    • Or enlarge to 150% for normal, real inches (but will likely have to “tile” the pages or find 24″ long paper).
    • I have considered playing in centimeter scale instead–so Brigades would be 3cms x 3cms instead.
    • Glue page(s) to wood strips, cardboard or plastic then cut out,
    2/3″ Hinch Ruler (snippet shown below), click: VB_Ruler.67


The red arrow points at the divisional camp for brigades that have not yet arrived as reinforcements (the green arrow). For the divisional stands I used 3×3″ steel stands and Brigades are 2×2″ for my 2/3rds scale game.
Here’s an overall view of the 4×6′ Champion Hill battlefield with a 6″ shelf that surrounds it. On the shelf one can put reinforcements, divisional camps, markers, ruleset, drinks etc.
Two Union Divisions approach Champion Hill. I used blue glitter for rivers, tan model railroad ballast for roads and a grey Foamie-brand strip for a railroad. Forest was made up of green-dyed pillow foam attached to mostly 2×2″ brown Foamie squares. There is a custom-cut styrofoam contour underneath mottled felt fabric.
One brigade rolled (2) 6s and the other (4) 6s! The latter is a 1 in 1296 chance.
CSA deployed on the hill with reinforcements arriving on both sides. The white dots are “stationary” markers made of tiny pompoms painted grey to look like smoke of the battlefield.
The red arrow is pointed at a tan splotch painted on each steel stand to represent disruption. This is revealed when a double-sided green magnet is slid to the side. When the magnet is flipped o the red-brown side, that represents permanent disruption.

2nd Manassas Battlefield that was the result of the free e-book mentioned earlier in the post.


2nd Manassas: troops moving into postion
Many brigades on both sides have gone “stationary” indicated by the magnetic strips with small grey pompoms placed on the front of the brigade stands.




2 thoughts on “Volley & Bayonet

  1. Thanks for this. I think there may be an error in the Napoleonic QRS: cavalry brigades are given two melee dice when they should have four.


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