Saturday, 23 October 2021

Lasalle 2nd ed. with Sgt. Steiner

1st post plague game with Sgt Steiner last night, and what a game!

I've been a big fan of Sam Mustafa's Maurice, and really should give more attention to Blucher and Rommel than I have. Sam's elegant and solid game design principles always seem to move from strength to strength as he progresses with the 'Honour' series of rules/games.

Lasalle is no exception. Now, I'm no Napoleonics expert, so there will be some national characteristics, or dynamics of square formation etc., that might annoy some purists - but we can always rely on Sam's rules to present us with a good, exciting, dynamic and thought provoking 'wargame'. For me, that beats a complex, unfinished, over complicated 'simulation' any day.

 I'm also less than convinced that more complex games are rarely played 'purely', that is 'properly'. Added complexity means that things get dropped, missed or hacked. You don't see this with Sam's games, where any mistakes are usually made by the player/commander, as opposed to something in the rules which is adversely designed, too subtle, or just plain difficult.

Highlights include:

  • Sam has designed various 'Momentum' management methods in his games: from cards in Maurice, to hidden dice resource in Blucher. There's a nice to and fro activation in Lasalle, with points dependent on the army/commander, with some additional momentum from the commander, if he isn't using his trait(s) to influence the battle that is.
  • There are many choices to make, and with any good design, you can't do everything, nothing is purely arbitrary, and the only thing left to chance is what would naturally have some randomness (firing / melee etc.) ...but even this is affected through certain re-rolls dependent on specialty - as with Sam's other rules.
  • I haven't played 1st ed. but heard some bad reports. It's great to see a refinement here, and the words slick and fluid really apply to game-play. Having knowledge of Sam's other rules helped, so I picked up the rules fairly quickly - and made terrible (horribly terrible) mistakes, but will obviously learn from them.
  • One aspect of battlefield management for instance, is reflected in some of the subtle changes to rallying. In Maurice, this will cost you card resource, but it's safe to do. In Lasalle - failed rally attempts/dice rolls become permanent hits - be careful what you wish for...
  • Light infantry is deployed in an abstract style, and by the player who achieves best roll based on availability - and they are used to stymie and dilute effectiveness. It's perfect, and means that I don't have to manage 'lights' as a separate resource. Right away, there's a rule which lets you be concerned about lights only by virtue of where you want to harass the other player - easy, effective, and as accurate (if not more so) than any other set.
  • It could be called 'Napoleonic Lite', but for me at least, it's simply Napoleonics. It works ...and there's no completely random activation issues for me to scream about ;).  You manage your own endeavor, as best you can, with limited resource,being wary of the opponent. That's a wargame.

The game was a 'capture the flag ...I mean and objective' scenario. The Sgt's excellent 15mm troops - Prussians and French, would be used. Great stuff.

Prussian brigades, ready for attack.

Prussian advance on their left - the objective - a town on the crestline.

Delicate maneuvering around a French battalion - which I really should have blasted away early with some musket discipline...

The Prussian right, which would become a meat-grinder where, despite the advantage of numbers and pressure, the Prussians would be stymied by terrain and French square!

Early mass cavalry action on the Prussian left - they would not fare well, and ultimately, this would open their flank.

Early work on the right - I thought it would be oh so easy to turn that damned flank and reach the 2nd objective ...hmmm... A French battalion holds in square for most of the day ...Pour La Gloire!!!

Oh look - they still haven't broken through ...

Prussians begin to fall apart on left and centre.

...while on the right... (low whistling of obscure Prussian drill song...)

Fast acting cavalry reserve attempts to staunch the flow, but not well...

A breakthrough - but all too late, falling short of 1st objective, never mind the 2nd ...Great rules though - excellent design.



  1. A post-plague, in-person game? Hooray for you! Game looks superb. Never tried LaSalle...

    1. I was really impressed Jonathan. Sam never fails to use subtle design and simple mechanisms to create a tense game, filled with dilemmas.

      I also heard a rumour that some large AWI online games might be in the offing with multiple players with your hex/FoH system? Consider this my registration of interest :)

    2. Noted! Will be a pleasure to have you at the table!

  2. Totally agree - the more complex the rules the less likely they are to be played properly (if at all!). Worse are little add-ons that clearly are an afterthought from play tests. I reckon all play tests should occur at least a month apart to give some idea of how often they will be played by the average wargamer. That way designers will realise that all those clever little modifiers are forgotten after a few weeks at work, dealing with the kids, digging the garden etc.

    1. Thanks Jeff - more annoying perhaps are the multiple sourcebooks that come out after the rules that (1) you have to buy in order to turn the original into a decent ruleset (perhaps) and (2) thereby complicate the straightforward original mechanisms so much that the design becomes convoluted and unplayable.

      I absolutely don't have a particular set in mind ahem...but I'm sure that they have some sort of activation based on 2d6 or something...

  3. looks like a great game, Darren! We played a LaSalle 2 game and thoroughly enjoyed it and will certainly play it again. Everything in the game just works and makes perfect sense and it's a fresh approach to tactical napoleonics IMHO.

    1. Thanks Steve. It does tick all the boxes yes - a really well thought out set, and doesn't need a lot of Napoleonics prowess.

      ..of course, I was thinking how it could be hacked for AWI, while playing :))

  4. Nice table and minis! Have never played Lasalle but we did play Blucher and tbh it did not go down too well with most people at the club. I had mixed feelings myself too. Would be willing to give Lasalle a go though.

    1. Thanks Mike. Lasalle does seem to have refined some of the more questionable aspects of the previous rulesest - so yeah, worth a try I think.

  5. Looks great. I totally agree with the thought on rules being simple and memorable, the more writers chuck in the less likely the rules are to get on the table round 'ere. I haven't tried these yet but they sound really interesting.

    1. Funny - i keep thinking now how the mechanisms could be hacked - watch yer email ;)

  6. It's always interesting to get reports of a game on two blogs; for the added comments and insights and extra piccies!
    Regards, James