VnB has very modest miniatures requirements. The group plays half scale as they use 15mm, and it allows for a greater scope of maneuver. This means that a single base, representing a brigade, is only 1.5" by 1.5". You can load up the base with however many figs as you wish, but 4 to 8 seems to be the standard. If I manage to field my own figs for this, I suspect I'll just use a sabot with 1 or 2 stands of my bases (my own bases for fire and fury and Napoleons battles are 3/4" x 1").
The group has recently transitioned from 1st ed to 2nd ed, although apparently the differences are fairly modest. The group mostly uses a formula to buy their armies, rather than using the historical lists, I think this is a holdover from the 1st edition which didn't have army lists in the rule book. I'm a bit hazy on their army design rules, but there is point buying for strength points, size of artillery, infantry vs cavalry, elites vs no elites and so forth. They have instituted a cap (% of total points) on cavalry and artillery, although the player gets to choose whether cavalry or artillery gets the higher of the 2 caps.
The group has decided to play corner to corner. This results in a harder to predict setup zone as there are essentially 4 areas you could end up starting in, rather than 2 (long edges) of a board you play in the normal direction. VnB has a great closing speed I found (even ignoring the reportedly complex marching rules which require you to shake out/redeploy before combat or you are going to have problems).
Here we see the french ready to leap off the start line. The house(?) rule is you can deploy with the back of your base on the line. The string is a set length which easily allows you to figure out how deep to place it on the corner.
My own command is in the foreground. A division of cavalry, and 2 infantry divisions (1 of crappy reserves).
The squares are towns and villages, and they were 2 sided colours (brown and grey) which represented whether they were stone or not. This is important for when you try and cannon infantry hiding in them.
Firing range is 1" for muskets and it's not super effective at that range. Cannons are really only effective at 2". Units have strength points that degrade until they disappear. Infantry have 4, cavalry 2, and skirmishers 1. There are a variety of saves that bases get to avoid hits on them.
Turn 3 French. Move forward on the left to seize the stone village. On the right I'm out numbered by the approaching cavalry, so I am already holding back and playing defensively, trying to set up my guns protected by skirmishers in the town.
Steven on the Left flank has done the expected and creates a defensive line in the narrowing. The reserves seen in the bottom of the picture to the right has taken a central position to reinforce either flank. At this point we are beleiving it will be more useful on my side.
End of Austrian turn 3.
There was a bit of a lack of appreciation on how hard it is to evict troops from a stone village, so the Austrians boldly plunge into the gap. They haven't close on the far flank, leaving my troops relatively under utilized.
In hindsight this probably wasn't a great idea as I could have given him more time to smash his troops against the wall.
The reserve in the top left of the photo is skirting the lake to help defend the gap.
Cavalry charges go in against almost every unit I have. With skirmishers and a cannon on the right ready to pour in some extra fire to help.
Towards the middle foreground we can see a cavalry division racing towards the right flank to try and stabilize the situation there.
We ran out of time, with the battle only fully engaged for about an hour and a half (3 turns).
I can definitely see play going much faster now that I'm a bit more familiar with the game.
Our host had a late night and hadn't had a chance to assemble many of the troops yet, so there was a late start (1pm ish till 430). I imagine even with a such a large battle, you could play to an obvious conclusion within a reasonable time.
Looking forward to having another go on these in the future.