Volley & Bayonet
Play Aids
Updated 11/8/15 9:57 PM

Other play aids: Command Decision: Test of Battle, General Quarters 3
Great Battles of WWII

bill at tourgrouppro com

My goal is to help Volley & Bayonet players. Here are accessories you may find useful. The 2nd edition of V&B has been in print since Historicon 2008; you can buy it online at www.testofbattlegames.com. There are lots of good discussion and resources at the excellent V&B Yahoo forum. With 1200 members and years at it, there are also lots of files and expert opinions. There are 4 1814 Napoleonic scenarios by Aris Kosionidos (and ready-made pdf version of those here) and a varied-period & errata (see game support) reference by Keith McNelly at: https://volleyandbayonet.wordpress.com/

Having sold all my 25mm ACW, I currently have 1:600 scale regimental (strength point) "blocks" -- click link for pictures.

First off, 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. But I have a penchant for making 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 (Bob Jr. & I still have a JG store online).

My hope is to help gamers considering V&B and perhaps pass on an occasional helpful idea to the Grognard V&B'ers. My aids have been influenced by the ruleset I had favored; probably because I designed it! It was based on Len Lakofka's rules from the early '70's. But before that, here's my latest project...

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). When hit, turn it sideways then when the combat is over, put them on a Divisional camp (another steel stand like the Brigade stand but bigger) and after checking for Exhaution/Collapse, push this turns casualties to the right. Can see pictures by clicking: blocks.

GRC (above); Ruler (below)

General Reference Chart for 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.

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 Napoleonic and Pre-Napoleonic. I think I made this version with the errata at hand but I hve not checked it lately. There were small issues about the ACW that are now fixed.

Era & Date of Version
Letter 8.5x11"
Tabloid 11x17" *
ACW 11/22/10
Earlier eras 3/21/10
Post ACW planned
not done yet
not done yet
not done yet

*You can take/send this file to Staples and they can enlarge it to 212% to 24x36" as an "engineering print" for $2.99!

11/8/10 V&B can work with smaller brigade bases and tables by scaling down. I chose to use 2/3rds scale because my 4x6' table will be equivalent to a typical 6x9' table. Brigade bases are 2" square instead of 3" square. But you need a smaller ruler... click here for ACW Rulers (lower, at left) showing moves & ranges @2/3" instead of 1" (so 24 "inches" equals 16" actually) and can be printed on a 11x17" tabloid sheet. You can use this for "half scale" by reducing these .667" to 75% of size = .5%. Or enlarge to 150% for normal, real inches (but will likely have to "tile" the pages or find 24" long paper). Glue page(s) to wood strips, cardboard or plastic then cut out,

In the pictures you will note that brigades are 2" square instead of 3". That's because I play on a 4x6' table at 2/3rds size. I have considered playing in centimeter scale instead--so Brigades would be 3cms x 3cms instead.


My Ruleset which has had 2 names, Battling Brigades of the Civil War (until V&B came along), then Great Battles of the Civil War, was greatly upscaled from the games common at the time of my teenage years (typically 20 real soldiers per figure and 15-30 figures per regiment), when it was unheard of to have each 5-figure stand represent a regiment. This was a radical idea back then. We had a lot of fun with it and played out Gettysburg (unimaginable until Volley & Bayonet) in an afternoon. My basic stand was (5) 25mm Der Kriegspielers infantry figures on .75x2.75" brass stand. We were fans of 3" hexgrid stenciled on felt. It probably saved time in movement for new players (although I'm not crazy about hexes now).

So when V&B came out, it leapfrogged over my ruleset to a truly grand scale of 1 brigade per stand. The other huge appeal of V&B was the idea that you could learn a core ruleset that could be tweaked to produce games of numerous other periods. Final advantage for V&B, Frank was great at producing campaign level rules and utilized his great Civil War boardgame, A House Divided.

Initally, to facilitate games with V&B but be "backwards compatible" to my own ruleset, I glued each 25mm scale regiment on a 1.5x3" stand, stuck a 3x3" magnet sheet to 3x3" steel stands... then plopped (2) 5-figure stands on the now-brigade stand of V&B. You can see how easy it would be to quickly set up for either ruleset.

Marking Hits Over the years, we've used a variety of hit marking systems:

  1. Paper reinforcers. These were dry-gummed when I was a kid (rather than current self-adhesive), cheap & easy to color with magic markers for morale states.
  2. O Rings of some sort from the hardware store. These cost more but worked the same way: hang them over the heads, rifles, whatever.
  3. Beads on wire nails (stuck point up) on the back of the stand.
  4. Labels with sliding ID magnets... and this is my favorite. A lot less garish than the first 3. See picture lower left and pdf below.
  5. Above items are more for larger scaled figures. My latest idea is to have Strength Points equate to blocks of infantry so a 4-SP brigade would start with 4 blocks, see above. This only works best with tiny scales like 3mm to 6mm where each block of troops can be made up of more than just 1 or 2 figures!

First I should give you my prejudices: I like smaller discreet ID labels rather than big and colorful, thin not thick stands, and, avoiding rosters and big fuzzy pipe cleaners etc. where possible. Steel stands are thin but strong; doubly important in that magnets adhere to them!

The ID labels for a given battle can be made up relatively easily, printed on magnetic stock (you'll see a sample below). This presumes you have steel stands (or at least a flexsteel spot) with the hit box label or dabs of paint. The hit boxes are "generic" and will work for any V&B battle or other rule systems.

The procedure with V&B is to place the ID label over the unneeded hit boxes (if the stand is smaller than 6 hits) and slide the magnetic ID label to the left for each hit received. When playing my game, I can cover over all the hit boxes and move the ID label to the right exposing the number of hits received.

There's a PDF with more (pictures, charts, labels) about the concept by clicking here (you will need the free program Adobe Acrobat).

Flexible Rank for Skirmishers
3 figures on this 1.5x3" rank stand are glued down and 2 have magnet sheet under their stands so that they can be removed and returned to their 'regiment'.
A more "Natural" looking Divisional Exhaustion Display
Note "ammo boxes" painted with ferrous paint so that they adhere to the magnet sheet that faces up. On top of the magnetic sheet, I attached Avery full-sheet label imprinted with a scan of the flocking/felt with numbers 0-9 superimposed (one side of box is "ones" and another "teens" etc.