Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Volley and Bayonet and Food for Thought

Following on from my previous post I took the opportunity to reacquaint myself with the Volley and Bayonet rules by Frank Chadwick. I am very glad I did this because it has given me a number of ideas to investigate in respect of my Balkan Wars and Early WW1 collections. Although the rules are designed primarily for the period 1700 to around 1890 I cannot see any reason why they should not be used for the period up to and including 1914 - thereby covering both of my aforementioned interests. The ‘modern’ era modifications contained in the rules include magazine rifles, machine guns and modern breech loading rifled artillery so could easily be employed for the wars mentioned. Certainly this has given me much food for thought as it means that the existing Balkan Wars and early WW1 collections can be used in, for want of a better expression, an ‘army level way’ which in turn has implications for basing, scenery and best of all, campaigning. There is a very active Yahoo group devoted to Volley and Bayonet which includes such things as battle reports, rules variants, photographs of games in progress etc and I am pretty certain that a version for use with the Russian Civil War has been designed so I could probably get some ideas from there should the need arise for WW1.

To be honest I am hugely embarrassed at the fact I had completely forgotten about these rules, or rather, I had forgotten exactly what I could use them for. By utilising these rules with 15mm figures I firmly believe that the command level experience I aspire to on the table top is within reach. Organising the evolutions of armies with the constituent parts of brigades, divisions and corps will provide me with a stimulating experience as well as enabling a closer degree of understanding of the ‘manoeuvres of history’ within the context of a game. The beauty of the rule system is that it is simple and easily assimilated and serves to reinforce the old saying that ‘anyone can design complex rules; designing simple ones is the real trick.’

As my painting time has been curtailed due to the pending relocation at home I have had much time to think about the type of games I want to play and how best to play them. The whole ‘DBA variant/When Empires Clash/Morschauser’ experiment has certainly opened my eyes to the sheer pleasure of gaming the periods I am interested in and for sure they are now an important and indispensable part of my rules armoury. If these rules could be described as a ‘takeaway’ then they have no equal and to extend the analogy, Volley and Bayonet represents the wargaming equivalent of the sit down meal. Both have their place and in that sense I am truly fortunate to have both a great takeaway and a Michelin starred restaurant to call upon as the mood dictates!

The potential use of these rules for my own gaming aspirations represents a huge leap of faith to an extent; should I opt to use these for my ‘horse and musket fix’ I fully accept that I will be treading a lonely path as to my knowledge no other members of my club have used them. The DBA variant/When Empires Clash/Morschauser has the virtue of having mechanics that are easily recognisable whereas those of Volley and Bayonet are fairly unique. This is familiar territory for me and I have no problem in being a pioneer in that respect – the challenge will be in persuading others that this is the road to travel!

No comments: