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evilgong Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2009 12:09 a.m. PST

Review of Lasalle Napoleonic rules, Sam Mustafa.

Review by David Brown

Napoleonic wargame rules are like busses at the moment, nothing to attract attention for a while and all or a sudden you're lost in the rush.

Sam Mustafa's Lasalle rules are among probably half a dozen, perhaps more, recently-published rules sets that will compete for player attention.

Lasalle is the first of the Honour series that the author intends to roll out over the next few years. Lasalle is the tactical level game while Blucher, an army-level game, is proposed for a possible 2011 release, I think. Others flagged in the series include an ACW set while the author has hinted that an 18th century set may follow.

Is Lasalle the holly grail of Napoleonic wargaming? Is it a set so popular and well-crafted that it unifies the player base and generates a buzz attracting new players and tempting old hands out of their dens – the way DBx did for ancients and FOW for WWII?

Of course only time will tell.

The rules are superbly presented in 136 full-colour pages (albeit two are adds for sellers of fine lead) that include eye candy photos of figurines and many crisp diagrams to help explain rules.

To summarise these rules in a brief phrase I'd call them ‘Demolition Derby' Napoleonic rules – which I'll explain later.

Lasalle is also very well organised and clearly written, the rules are rules, while commentary, colour and justifications are often separated out into breakout boxes. All rules writers should take a look at this approach, it takes discipline to not load your rules clauses with things that are not actually rules of play.

The presentation and organisation of the rules shows an author of some experience, indeed Mustafa has previously published Might and Reason and Grande Armee both well-regarded sets.

These are very clearly written rules. You know what the author intends, which is not to say that everything you need will be in there, an on-line errata is rounding up stray glitches.

Experienced gamers will also spot rules clauses where the author has employed a ‘gadget' rule to fix a problem that has obviously raised its ugly head in some past game.

Scale and Scope

Lasalle is a tactical level game, or petit tactical as the author says. Armies are comprised of units, being battalions, regiments etc, of 4 or 6 stands for horse and foot (ie ‘small' and ‘large' units) and mostly 4-base artillery units with armies totalling perhaps 12-18 units.

The armies are scalable to go much larger if desired.

The troop scale is a function of how many figs you want, the ground scale has musketry range roughly equal to the width of a battalion in line – which is a sound yardstick for such things.

The author suggests the 12-18 unit game will play as a 2-3 hour game. Now 90% of rules authors underestimate the time games will take, a good rule of thumb is to add an hour to their estimate.

Even if Lasalle is in the 10% accurately predicted, there's a deal of difference between a 2-hour and 3-hour game in a competition / convention setting. Even with dead administration time and meal breaks you can play three 2-hour games in a day, but you can't do it with games that play for 3 hours. Trust me, I've been running comps for 25 years.

These rules can be used with figures of any scale, and suggested basing is shown for 6mm figs up to 28mm. Basing is explained on a free download on the Honour website, pretty much any existing basing scheme can be used but there are recommended options.

A criticism I have with many wargame rules, and I'll continue it here with these, is that they have such high barriers to player entry including that they require so many inputs of figures and there fore money and or time to collect and paint.

Even an average 15-unit army for these rules could mean 360+ figs at the recommended basing.

These rules look to have dodged another ugly barrier to player entry – complexity of rules.

Machinery

Troops are defined by esprit (in three grades) and discipline also in three grades, the last of which, ‘Irregular' sorta turns troops into lights as well. Some special characteristics are available such as Lancer, Shock and Pursuit for cavalry, Guards for all while guns are foot or horse and also heavy, medium or light (with a possible howitzer designation).

Skirmisher foot are present as markers to show unit's skirmishing power rated from 0-3, a relative advantage may improve your success in a fire-fight.

Formations are line, square, attack column, and march for foot, march, waves and abreast for cavalry and limbered or unlimbered for artillery. (There are some other special cases.)

Combat is everything in these rules, some might say the only thing.

Earlier I described these rules as Demolition Derby Napoleonics because so much of the rules ballast has been absorbed by the combat engine and other sections are subservient to it.

The engine may well be a Ferrari, the working parts are elegant and boiled down to the essentials.

The actual mechanism for computing combat follows a scheme popular in recent times, your troops will have so many dice to roll depending on type, formation and situation and will have to score a certain number on each dice (with some modification for situation) to get ‘hits'. Bucket'o'dice as some will say.

The various modifications to the dice are pared back to elegant essentials (eg, one mechanism has cavalry halve their dice allowance vs foot in square, foot not in square halve their dice vs cavalry etc).

I expect players will be able to memorise the combat factors.

Troop state is determined by a disorder level, units can suffer disorder points up to their number of stands. Combat ‘hits' are checked against a chart to convert to disorder, DISR, suffered by the unit. Stands are not removed.

Disorders can be repaired, units with only one disorder remaining can't initiate attacks, units with a disorder level equal or greater to their number of stands are dead and removed.

Command and control is virtually non-existent in these rules. Units without officers in command range may face some penalties or bars, but you the player have no decisions to make, everything that can be done in a turn will be done, there's no prioritising of actions and decisions that you get with a limited action point system.

Morale is also broadly absent in these rules, which will raise a few eyebrows. Now there is a range of after-combat outcomes which will show troops conceding ground or advancing, or indeed failing to form square in time and that sort of thing. But there are no rules to test troops' resolve when, say, friends rout or generals die, your troops drive around happily until they are clubbed out or the army breaks.

If I understand the author's intent, games with these rules are meant to be a slice of a bigger action – so having your chaps happily perform when their comrades are being destroyed can be rationalised. Your army is on a mission. However, I'm not sure if players will buy that abstraction.

Broader army morale is based on a 1/3rd losses threshold. Units have a 3-2-1 ‘power' rating depending on size and type, your army is the sum of this power and when 1/3 is lost the army faces a dice chance of defeat (game loss) each turn thereafter. [The actual rule here looks broken, but that can wait for another day.]

Sequence of Play

Lassale is a simple ugo/igo system, the sequence of play looks good, and has attracted some comment as being non-traditional: to excerpt the hint in the rules;

You React and Shoot
You Defend in combat
You Move
You Recover
End your turn

Back up

Back up for theses rules is excellent, the author has said there will be no supplements to purchase – everything is going on the website. Which will include extra army lists scenarios player aids and errata or whatever. Players are encouraged to add their own materials and debate the offerings. The rules also include three historical scenarios for you to play straight away.

The published volume has army lists for the six major European powers and examples of smaller states, some of whom can provide allied contingents to the majors.

Armies are chosen from one of five ‘Theatres" Conquest 1805-07, Empire 08-12, Peninsular 08-13, Liberation 13-14, Hundred Days 1815.

You select one core list which is roughly 7-10 units depending on size and quality, there is no internal choice for the actual units.

Then you add one or more Brigades, which provide another 4-7 units each. Armies can have a choice of brigades, each of which tends to specialise troop types, for example a French Light Cavalry Brigade provides two Hussar units, two Chasseur units and a Horse battery (+ an officer for the lot). Again there is no internal choice within the Brigade.

You build larger armies by adding Brigades.

Optional and Advanced Rules

When I see optional rules in a set I immediately wonder if it's the dumping place for afterthoughts, half-baked ideas, unplaytested items or similar. If they are good rules why not include them in the main section?

Some of the rules here look untenable but having sorted them out I think players should move to include them as soon as possible as they add colour and variety.

Terrain

The rules include a player-generated terrain system where one of 12 prepared maps are rolled for and then modified by the defender opting for up to two additional features and the attacker opting for up to one more.

How will they play?

Here's where I get out the crystal ball, you can predict only so far but some things stand out.

Firstly Lasalle games look like they will be pretty ‘linear' to play. Any game that does not have limited or random activation for units will develop in a reasonably predictable way. I just know that my opponent can't radically change the axis of his assaults when he can't multi-move to shift troops from one sector to another and hope to get inside my reaction time.

I know where assaults will happen because the other player is limited only by his willingness to take any risks.

This is compounded in Lasalle as armies set up in a traditional box (if I've done my sums right, 1/5th of the way in on a standard table), one player puts all of the army down, none of which can be ‘hidden' from the other player, and then the other does the same.

There is a mechanism for nominated reserve brigades to dice for later arrival (they must so dice to arrive) but there is no option for flank-marches, stragglers, night fighting, ambushes, pre-battle exhaustion, forced marchers, isolated town garrison or whatever.

We have a very traditional set-up where armies face each other, prepared and ready to go, and advance forward to make a contact line /area.

Replayability is now a word. I'll let it mean the capacity of a game to hold players' interest in it because they see new depth in it each time they play, they can see themselves getting better, they can think of new tactics and they can build armies to match their tactics.

In short, players want to keep playing it. I worry for the replayabilty of these rules because the combat engine, while neat, will soon enough reveal its secrets.

Players will soon learn their chances of unit X prevailing vs unit Y. Now this can be a good thing and lead to high-level excellent play when paired with a random activation component allowing you to decide on high-risk high reward-strategies or grind.

The composition of armies, where there is little internal choice, may also reduce replayability as there's a real chance of meeting much the same enemy over again.

Why these rules may succeed

They will succeed because they are beautifully presented and clearly written. The main combat engine is elegant and of a type many players are familiar with.

The author is clearly highly knowledgeable in the period and happily and promptly answers question and comments on his website. The web-site back up is first class as errata and tips and expansions can grow there.

The army builder / lists in the rules mean people can play a game that has grounding in history but still allows for diversity.

Why these rules may fail

Players may not buy the concept of a streamlined smaller-scale tactical game that still needs 300-400 figs, a big table and 3+ hours.

The lack of command and control and morale rules may put off players. There are some unfortunate gonzo and ‘snakes and ladders' rules.

The rules look like they may give a too predictable game and ‘replayability' may not be high.

Conclusion

These are probably the best of the recent batch of Napoleonic rules (I leave aside the Fat Lardies' offering about which I know too little), if that sounded a left-handed compliment, it meant to.

Many horse and musket rules are just cobbled together dross. Others are poisoned with detail.

Even though you will get a good game out of Lasalle I think they expose the failings of rules that use multi-base unit armies, you get stuck with a force of 10-18 units because that's all they can handle.

Once you have your 10-18 unit army your rules make a choice about where to load up detail, perhaps combat, command, troop state, troop classifications or whatever – but there's a total load that can't be passed before the game breaks down.

Lasalle has pushed the detail into the combat engine – give it a drive and see how it handles.

David Brown

Keraunos Inactive Member26 Nov 2009 1:38 a.m. PST

excellently informative review.

thanks for providing it

Old Bear Inactive Member26 Nov 2009 1:48 a.m. PST

Thanks David. Good and informative review. Could I just ask what a 'gonzo' rule is? I guess I'm showing my age!

Maxshadow26 Nov 2009 2:20 a.m. PST

Thanks alot David.
Yes I'm stumped by Gonzo as well.

Frothers Did It Anyway Inactive Member26 Nov 2009 2:20 a.m. PST

Very useful – thank you for this. I have seriously been considering buying Lasalle but as soon as I read your statement "Command and control is virtually non-existent in these rules" I see it will probably not be my kind of game.

WKeyser26 Nov 2009 2:24 a.m. PST

Thanks Dave
By far one of the best rules reviews I have seen on TMP. Now how about a regular weekly posting!!!!!

William

Personal logo toofatlardies Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Nov 2009 3:17 a.m. PST

"These are probably the best of the recent batch of Napoleonic rules (I leave aside the Fat Lardies' offering about which I know too little)…"

You can find out more very quickly Dave. Le Feu Sacre arrive from the printer today and we're sending out orders immediately.

Basilhare Inactive Member26 Nov 2009 3:40 a.m. PST

"Why these rules may fail

Players may not buy the concept of a streamlined smaller-scale tactical game that still needs 300-400 figs…"

1. You can mount as few or as many figs per base that you want. So, the # of figs per base (or army) is in the eye of the beholder.

2. Other than skirmish games, what other Napoleonics system has a lower entry level that this one? Most of the rules sets I have seen require at least as many figs if not more.

3. Im doing 28's and painting figs at the moment to beef up my TFL "Sharp Practice" collection of 28mm figs for Lasalle…and yeah, getting enough 28's togther to play any big battle (I define big battle as anything beyond skirmish that uses battalions or higher as the basic manuever element) napoleonic system is a pain, but having a background with Empire II, III and Napoloens Battles, I dont see the fig requirement as being all that high…especially if we are talking 15mm or smaller scales…

"…a big table…"

Hmmm….with 2"-12" of movement for the units (given the 2" basing I will use) and 8" musketry ranges, I dont see you needing a very big table…certaintly nothing beyond the 4x6 or 5x8 that most of us are already using for other systems…

"…3+ hours…"

Funny, I approach this from the other side of the fence…Im actually worried that the game will go too quickly….


Thanks for the review…I respect your view & comments….but some of the negatives you bring out, irk me as a common theme in todays miniature gaming world…that is to say, "I want it small, quick, easy & cheap"…that sorta goes against the grain of why I play miniatures in the first place…your mileage may vary….

Also, have you actually played the game yet?

Take Care,
Faron.

EagleSixFive26 Nov 2009 4:37 a.m. PST

Nom de Guerre

I would try to find a copy to look through before making that judgement based on one sentence.

The word evilgong used was 'virually'. That does not mean none. The call evilgong made is probably a bit harsh in my view.

My view of Lasalle? There is 'enough' C&C integrated into the machinery for command and control to slowly disintegrate from no planning, enemy actions and units failing discipline tests.

There is enough there to get yourself put in the hurt locker!

Frothers Did It Anyway Inactive Member26 Nov 2009 5:12 a.m. PST

Eagle – I agree, I haven't completely discounted Lasalle but evilgong's review and comments on C&C have given me pause. That's the mark of a good review – one that gives interested parties info they need to make an informed choice. I'm certainly not looking down my nose at people who like different types of rules than I do!

Condottiere26 Nov 2009 5:22 a.m. PST

…but as soon as I read your statement "Command and control is virtually non-existent in these rules" I see it will probably not be my kind of game.

EagleSixFive is correct. C&C is in the game. Mr. Brown's assessment on this point is a bit off.

Simon Kidd Inactive Member26 Nov 2009 5:26 a.m. PST

The game has command and control but it is lighter than some. The game works very well on smaller tables, say 6ft x 4ft.

I think the rules will be a success. Similar approaches such as Shako, which have a level of abstratcion, will always do quite well in my opinion.

Another real positive is that this is the first in a series of games, the next being Blucher which will be able to use the same troops for but will be for larger battles. This, being grand tactical will need more command and control.

I have liked what I've read in Lasalle and the few combats I've modelled out seem to mean the game will flow well.

Personal logo Nashville Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2009 5:30 a.m. PST

Gonzo Rules: Would be sort of over-the-top, exaggerated effects. This would be to give the rules color such as a weird random event. But then war is like that I suppose. Who in the world would have predicted a "charge of the light brigade" the battle of the crater at Petersburg,-- or the ultimate Gonzo by the King of Gonzo: Little Big Horn. So there you go. By the way, the Rule Review is first-rate and should be a regular feature.

# Gonzo (aka Gonzo the Great) is a puppet character, one of Jim Henson's Muppets. He was developed and performed by Dave Goelz. …
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gonzo_(muppet)

# Gonzo journalism is a style of journalism which is written subjectively, often including the reporter as part of the story via a first person …
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gonzo_(journalism)


# Using an unconventional, exaggerated and highly subjective style, often when the reporter is part of the story
en.wiktionary.org/wiki/gonzo

# An adult genre where the performers acknowledge the presence of the camera or there is the use of a "talking camera". Normally there is no storyline or plot, but there may be a theme such as large breasts, anal, newcomers etc.
ranchocarne.com/glossary.php

Condottiere26 Nov 2009 5:35 a.m. PST

Huh?

Bug again?

adster26 Nov 2009 5:40 a.m. PST

Very interesting review, I might still get these but I am now minded to complete my own mod of Piquet instead.

Surferdude Inactive Member26 Nov 2009 6:04 a.m. PST

I have Lasalle in front of me but how can I possibly post a long review of the rules without playing them … I couldn't and it beats me how anyone could but still … maybe thats just me. An 'overview' yes … review surely not.

I really hope this isn't 'Dave Brown' of GdB 'reviewing' the rules :)

David Brown26 Nov 2009 6:33 a.m. PST

S, et al;

Er,…no.

I certainly have an opinion on all the new rule sets but I think it would be a little unfair, or perhaps just not the honourable thing, to review them!

When Deluxe General de Brigade comes out I'll look forward to evilgongs review!
DB

EagleSixFive26 Nov 2009 6:35 a.m. PST

Nom de Geurre
Eagle – I agree, I haven't completely discounted Lasalle but evilgong's review and comments on C&C have given me pause. That's the mark of a good review – one that gives interested parties info they need to make an informed choice. I'm certainly not looking down my nose at people who like different types of rules than I do!

Never thought that was your intent in any way sir.

Hastati Inactive Member26 Nov 2009 6:38 a.m. PST

Surferdude beat me to the punch. I really don't consider this a review of the rules, but an overview (and a good one I might add) of what Mr. Brown's impression from what he has read. A review should be based upon actually playing the game and seeing the mechanisms at work in play. Last time I checked, film critics watch a film before reviewing it, book critics (usually I concede) read a book before reviewing it, and restaurant critics (again, usually) actually eat the food before reviewing a restaurant.

bendsinister Inactive Member26 Nov 2009 6:57 a.m. PST

Excellent review, many interesting points and losts of food for thought.

Many thanks for taking the time to do this.

Regards
Si

Surferdude Inactive Member26 Nov 2009 7:06 a.m. PST

It's a good overview – and thanks for the time … just lately though there have been 'reviews' being put up all overthe net when the people haven't actually played them … pet hate from years of reviewing rules for WJ and having to play them :)

Ben Waterhouse Inactive Member26 Nov 2009 7:25 a.m. PST

To echo the others, that was very useful; thanks.
Ben

Personal logo toofatlardies Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Nov 2009 7:39 a.m. PST

Dave

I am inclined to agree with others in that I would have preferred to see a review done after you had played the rules, however you are by no means alone in that – the majority of the wargaming press happily review rules that they have clearly never played.

That one caveat aside, this is a very comprehensive, impressive and honest review that seems very even-handed in its approach. I would be very interested in you doing something similar for Le Feu Sacre.

If you would care to contact me via the TooFatLardies web site I will provide you with a review copy.

Richard
TooFatLardies

Old Bear Inactive Member26 Nov 2009 9:06 a.m. PST

I think that we can get hung up on semantics – 'review' or 'overview' means the same to me. I prefer the term 'playtest' for a report of how it actually games.

Connard Sage Inactive Member26 Nov 2009 9:10 a.m. PST

I think that we can get hung up on semantics – 'review' or 'overview' means the same to me. I prefer the term 'playtest' for a report of how it actually games.

Who said irony was dead?

Dexter Ward26 Nov 2009 9:20 a.m. PST

I'd be interested to see how the original reviewer thinks Lasalle stacks up against Shako 2, because they strike me as very similar games, with similar levels of complexity.

Arteis Inactive Member26 Nov 2009 10:27 a.m. PST

Good point, Old Bear. When I read a rules review, I don't necessarily expect it to have been played. Instead, I expect a 'book' review of the rules themselves – how they're written, presented, how they inspire etc.

That is not to say a review could not also include the fact it has been played … but I don't think that is essential for something to be classed as a review.

However, the word 'play-test' certainly implies the rules have been tried out. A playtest does not necessarily also contain the comments about the rules book itself in the way a review would … though it might.

An overview, by the way, to me is merely a description of the features, without the subjective comment that a review would contain.

Of course, whether you 'prefer' an overview, review or play-test will depend on your needs.

Old Warrior26 Nov 2009 10:36 a.m. PST

"Why these rules may fail"
"Players may not buy the concept of a streamlined smaller-scale tactical game that still needs 300-400 figs, a big table and 3+ hours".

These three uninformed statements do harm to this set of rules. To bad for all of us reading it!

As already pointed out and to dramatize this point you can, if you so choose, put one figure on each stand. Therefore each unit would be represented by four total figures. Many of us have figures based with four figures on a stands with battalions made up with 12 to 16 figures total. These rule will work just fine for most of us no matter what basing and is not limited in any way by the 300 – 400 figures stated in the post. I personally don't like my figures locked into one set of rules due to basing. These rules have gone to the extreme in trying to overcome this aspect of rules.

It has been pointed out by others who have played the rules that table size is not an issue. This statement by the author is an opinion that is not born from actual experiences with the rules.

Lastly, the comment of 3+ hours is again an opinion spawned from the author having experience with OTHER RULES and not the Lasalle rules. While the comment is an honest one it is not valid and like the other two statements misleading in all this regard. We have played the rules and never had a game last long than three hours. In fact many of our evening games allowed enough time for our group to swap sides and replay the scenario. This with most of us inexperienced with the rules.

"The lack of command and control and morale rules may put off players. There are some unfortunate gonzo and ‘snakes and ladders' rules."

I would suggest that the author play these rules before deciding on characterizing the rules in this manner. Examples are needed to support these types of statement. What may be snakes & ladder one set of rules could be a gem in another.

How exactly does command work in the rules? What was the Author expecting to see that he did not? These are things to be discussed in a good review.

evilgong Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2009 10:44 a.m. PST

Hi there,

Of course by going into print with a review I am largely giving my opinion, and I leave myself open to looking like a goose should I get something wrong or later want to change my mind in the face of new experience.

Most of what I wrote was descriptive. Yes I also gave some projections, thoughts and ultimately some guesses.

I've now had e-mails suggesting I am somehow an enemy of Sam (who I've never met) or that I'm his lackey for going in too soft and pulling punches.

Equality of dissatisfaction is probably a fair outcome for any review. Although I'd be happier if people debated the topic under review rather than my review of it.

The analogy with a film or book review is interesting as many movies go on to be successes despite the reviewers not liking them (and has chance would have it I'm spending the weekend reviewing a non-fiction book on politics and corruption).

I am acutely mindful that I reviewed the rules within a week of them being published and in the absence of much play of them – I did however read _every_ post about them here and on the rules' forum site. (If I was part of a private playtest group for the rules I would have disqualified myself from reviewing them.)

But the other alternative would be to wait how long, weeks, months, a year?

My experience of successful wargame rules is they go through a lifecycle – perhaps evolving over a decade or more if they survive that long. The rules change as errata and amendments by the author modify how they play, but also as players work out tactics and decide what scope and scale of game they best provide.

Reviewing or comparing different rules at different stages of their lifecycles makes sense.

I enjoy wargame rules debate and will accept any rules people want to send for review or playtesting.

Regards

David Brown

doug redshirt Inactive Member26 Nov 2009 11:45 a.m. PST

Has any played these rules and what did you think of them?

TodCreasey Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2009 12:15 p.m. PST

I played them at Fall In and I thought they were excellent. I'll preface the rest by stating that I was a contributor to the scenarios for Grande Armee and Might and Reason so I am generally very positive towards Sams rules so don't be surprised that I really liked them.

I have never had fun playing at the Petit Tactical level as it is usually very fiddly in other rulesets – in these rules it was quite smooth and we played a very large game in 3 hours.

The scenario was an intro by Sam with maximum players so it didn't have a lot of tactical choices (the table was quite full of figures). If you are a fan of Grande Armee (as I am) you will find the hard decisions the ones appropriate for the scale this is representing rather than the grand tactical scale. Having said that the mechanics are comfortable if you are a Grande Armee player.

You are going to focus more on getting disorder corrected and choosing the right formation for attack or defense rather than choosing activation of a unit as you would in Grande Armee. As you should expect dealing with combined arms was quite tricky when defending.

For me this gave me enough tactical decisions to keep the game interesting but not so many that you couldn't form a cohesive plan. The whole time felt appropriately Napoleonic without the wild movement you can get in other rulesets.

The rapid play was a big factor too – we frequently have 3 hours or less to play and these rules should allow us to confortably complete them in that time. The lack of book keeping while still avoiding stand removal was a plus too.

I'll be running my 1812 games with these rules and I look forward to seeing what Sam comes up with for Blucher.

Shootmenow Inactive Member26 Nov 2009 12:17 p.m. PST

From personal experience I have purchased and happily played rules that some 'reviewers/playtesters/overviewers' (delete to taste) have panned (that actually not being the case here) so I read reviews with interest but do not let them sway me when it comes to parting with the hard earned shekels.

I have also read through the rules but not played the game so my own observations should be taken in this context. I would agree with much of what Evilgong has said but disagree with a few points as well. Other posters have addressed some of these issues (eg number of figures required and table space) adequately, whilst the jury may be out at the moment over the time element, al least until I get to cross bayonets a couple of times. However there are two further points I would like to comment on.

Firstly, on the issue of variable movement. The author has openly stated that the rules are 'pitched' at divisional command level and the game starts at that point in a battle (which is ongoing around our 'game') when the divisional commander receives his orders to attack or, should you be the defender, you prepare to receive an attack that is clearly coming your way. Under these circumstances, where your fight is but a part of a much larger engagement, I would not think that grand manoeuvres or flank marches would really be part of the game. I would assume that my superior(?) – the army general – will have addressed these issues (successfully or not) prior to battle being joined. I think the flexibility offered within the rules appears quite reasonable for the role the player is taking on. If you are looking for sweeping manoeuvres then you need to look at a higher gaming level.

Secondly, the question of the games becoming repetitive appears as unlikely to me as it appears likely to Evilgong. There are a variety of maps to base your game on and these may be altered by the players plus the option of creating your own battlefield. A friend and I must have played well over 30 ACW games using virtually the same armies but every game has been different as the combination of different terrain and what happens at first contact makes the set up and what followed vary substantially.

I can't wait for us to try these rules out. I honestly don't think I'll be disappointed but I'll be adopting the role of divisional commander, whose task is to carry out my orders and achieve my goal as part of the grand design that is my army commander's cunning plan! Of course should I fail, then it's that buffoon's fault!

Garth in the Park Inactive Member26 Nov 2009 12:32 p.m. PST

I rather think that 3 hours is a pretty short game, compared to some of the Napoleonic monstrosities I've tried to play over the years. And since the OP was complaining that the game didn't have rules for all sorts of extra things like night fighting or pre-battle exhaustion… that seems daft to want those extras if you already think the game is too long.

But come on… speculating on how long a game takes, if you haven't played it?! Based on "90% of authors estimate this for thier games…" Give me a break.

As for how many figures you need, even a cursory glance at the free basing stuff on the website it's obvious that the number of figures needed depends on what basing system you use and what figure size. I've got boats of old 25mm that I used for Gen de Brigade, so I'm probably in good shape for any of these new games.

I think I've got all the Big Four new Napo rules now? (BP, Napoleon, Lassalle, R@E) and haven't played any of them yet!

I got into trouble for asking about about Black Powder's movement rates without having played the game. Okee fine. But this "review" of Lasalle seems to be near-total speculation. I don't mind a review of a book, but you can't review a >game< if you haven't played it. Saying that you don't understand a rule is one thing. But saying that rules are "untenable" or "broken" before you've even played them??

PS – A book review of "Napoleon" will suffice for me. That book is a mess. The other three, though, look good enough to try. I'll reserve judgment until I do.

Marcus Brutus26 Nov 2009 12:42 p.m. PST

Like others I wish Mr. Brown had actually PLAYED Lasalle. And several games at that. Having played many sets I know from experience that an overview reading of the rules never does justice to them nor can it predict how well they will play in practice. Sometimes ideas that seemed unworkable actually produce an interesting games. Other times, rules that seemed good on paper were unworkable on the table.

I would certainly hesitate in writing an overview to speculate on how any rules set would fair in the practice of playing them. That seems very presumptous to me.

Frankly, I don't find this overview helpful at all. A couple of quick reads of the rules doesn't really get at anything.

Ghecko Inactive Member26 Nov 2009 1:07 p.m. PST

Just received. I will reserve comment until I have had a few games.

After many years of playing many different rule sets, my initial thoughts are that they look quite good.

Personal logo Cardinal Hawkwood Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2009 1:34 p.m. PST

good work Dave..brave of course, but would we expect otherwise..I found what you say very helpful..Our small group has just bought our copies from Nic…. can I cut and paste this for the NPU forum ?

Tzen6726 Nov 2009 2:01 p.m. PST

"But the other alternative would be to wait how long, weeks, months, a year?"

Just until you'd actually had a game. I find it virtually impossible to truly judge game mechanics until you see them in action.

kustenjaeger26 Nov 2009 2:47 p.m. PST

Greetings

Having so far just read Lasalle I was interested to read evilgong's post and I'm going to print it off and read the relevant bits of Lasalle again with that in mind. I think it was well worth posting, and I look forward to an update when he's had a chance to play it.

I'm aiming to try out Lasalle, Black Powder and today's release LFS III (I was a happy customer of LFS II I should note). Note that the scope of LFS is corps level rather than divisional.

Regards

Edward

evilgong Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2009 11:13 p.m. PST

Cardinal Hawkwood
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

good work Dave..brave of course, but would we expect otherwise..I found what you say very helpful..Our small group has just bought our copies from Nic…. can I cut and paste this for the NPU forum ?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Brave as in Yes Minister 'brave'

Yes, feel free to cut and post. (within whatever the rules are for such things here)

db

evilgong Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2009 11:20 p.m. PST

Hi there

The other David Brown said.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Er,…no.

I certainly have an opinion on all the new rule sets but I think it would be a little unfair, or perhaps just not the honourable thing, to review them!

When Deluxe General de Brigade comes out I'll look forward to evilgongs review!
DB
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

When will that be? I have the present version.

DAvid B

evilgong Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2009 11:24 p.m. PST

Dexter said
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
I'd be interested to see how the original reviewer thinks Lasalle stacks up against Shako 2, because they strike me as very similar games, with similar levels of complexity.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

I've played the original Shako but not S2, I can see what you mean about them

Regards

DAvid B

evilgong Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2009 11:31 p.m. PST

Baslihare said
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

"…3+ hours…"

Funny, I approach this from the other side of the fence…Im actually worried that the game will go too quickly….

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Perhaps counterintuitively many games can take longer to play when people know them better.

At the start people crash forward because they want to get to grips and try out the combat and morale rules.

As people know the rules they play more cautiously because they recognises the traps and counters so work for more modest advantages.

regards

David B

Dexter Ward27 Nov 2009 3:13 a.m. PST

DavidB wrote:
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
I'd be interested to see how the original reviewer thinks Lasalle stacks up against Shako 2, because they strike me as very similar games, with similar levels of complexity.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

I've played the original Shako but not S2, I can see what you mean about them

-----------------
So how do they compare to Shako 1, in your opinion?
Or can you not say until you've played Lasalle?

(Shako 2 doesn't play that differently from Shako 1 – it just has some slightly cleaner mechanics and removes some gamey tactics possible in Shako 1).

Basilhare Inactive Member27 Nov 2009 5:23 a.m. PST

"Perhaps counterintuitively many games can take longer to play when people know them better.

At the start people crash forward because they want to get to grips and try out the combat and morale rules.

As people know the rules they play more cautiously because they recognises the traps and counters so work for more modest advantages."


Thats fairly subjective at this point, given that you have not played the game….all indicators from those that have actually played is that Lasalle will fit within the typical club night or convention time slot…the author states that for tournament style games you should limit your choices to the core list plus ONE support element…thats only about a dozen units per side, which according to similar sized scenarios, suggest a 60 minute +/- game length…even doubling that to 2 hours, seems a VERY reasonable game length for tourney style games…

Your original point was that your not sure it will make a good tournament style game system due to time constraints…I doubt most will play in a tournament setting anyway, especially given that they would have to show up at the tourney with the same scale figs and same basing system….

Take Care…Faron.

Marcus Brutus27 Nov 2009 5:41 a.m. PST

Not to harp at this point again but I believe the opinions in this review are rather meaningless. I can remember many times reading rules through and then finding myself stuck while playing a game. It seemed that the knowledge I had gained from reading them had flown out the door. Many times we'd be reading rules sections during a game trying to translate an initial understanding into game mechanics. It usually took several games and many re-readings to gain some mastery of a rules set.

What I am looking for is someone who has played the game several times, re-read the rules in lue of actual gaming and has come up with some insights and opinions on Lasalle.

bruntonboy27 Nov 2009 5:54 a.m. PST

I thought it was a great overview of the rules. However from my own experience I am well aware of how rules that look good initially turn out to be dogs and rejected rulesets when eventually I have forced a game have turned out to be winners.

I look forward to reading the results of test-drives of all the new rules.

These are even more important today when the high production values that we love have forced up the price of rule books. Long gone are the days of picking up a half dozen sets at a show simply to have a look see, at £20.00 GBP GBP plus a go that is no longer an option. (An honourable exception granted to TFL's LFS III here).

Of course I am as addicted to glossy covers and colour pictures as much as anyone but there might surely come a time when these things becoe counter productive to actual sales.

Graham

terry1956 Inactive Member27 Nov 2009 6:20 a.m. PST

Hi all, it looks to me that the only people who have reviewed these rules are the people trying to push them.
What I would like to see/read is a review from someone who has good the lads on the table and played a game or two, And it would be better if said person was a napoleonic gamer.
after all how many sets of rules can there be for napoleonic warfare. most are total rubbish and most others are just copies of the same rubbish with bette pictures.
terry

Personal logo Florida Tory Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2009 6:28 a.m. PST

Dave,

I appreciate what you were trying to do in your rules review, and thank you for the effort put into it. It provided useful and timely information.

Similarly, I look forward to any playtest or after action reports that may be posted in the future, whether by you or anyone else.

Rick

Old Bear Inactive Member27 Nov 2009 9:20 a.m. PST

Who said irony was dead?


I think you did.

arthur181527 Nov 2009 12:35 p.m. PST

I found this overview – and the subsequent discussion it has generated – interesting. I liked Grande Armee and have great respect for Sam Mustafa's skill as a writer; his rules are more pleasant to read than most. However, I think that his next set of rules, Blucher, will be more to my taste.
Bruntonboy has the right of it – today's high production value, glossy paper, full-colour rulesets are becoming just to expensive to buy 'on spec'!

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