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"Lasalle 2 is out now" Topic


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IronMarshal11 Feb 2021 11:45 a.m. PST

Lasalle 2 is out now. I really enjoyed Lasalle when it came out. Eventually, there were some issues as players play things and kind of break the rules. Lasalle 2 seems to be a complete rewrite mixing in some of Sam/s Blucher and Maurice rules. Sam is a very good rules writer and everything is well explained in his rules and often the reasons for the rules are explained. I am eagerly waiting for my copy.
For those who are interested in Lasalle, here is his blurb without any sales info:

HONOUR is delighted to announce the return of the petit-tactical Napoleonic game!
Lasalle Second Edition is a complete re-imagining of the award-winning game from 2009. It features a new sequence of play, driven by momentum and interrupts, that allows players to do virtually anything in any order, differently every turn. You can never be certain what your opponent does in response to your decisions, nor how many opportunities he will have to thwart your plans. The second edition also has a completely new system for skirmishing, for movement, for rallying, for shooting and combat… it's a whole new game.
Twenty-six pages of Advanced Rules offer a huge variety of "flavor" that you can add as desired. These include new assets such as rockets and howitzer batteries, sapeurs, aides-de-camp, or partisans operating off-table to delay your enemy's reinforcements. The advanced rules include new doctrinal options such as early-war "linear" tactics, irregular formations, regimental and battalion guns, and more literal placement of skirmisher formations. Rules for large multi-player games, the effects of different ground conditions, and additional personality traits for your general are among the many options.
As with the original Lasalle, the new game walks you through the creation of an historical scenario but also provides everything you need to create fictional forces for pick-up games or tournaments at your club. The new 60+ page Lasalle Army Maker is now a free downloadable PDF available from the Honour website.

Visit the website for additional info. I will probably post something later after reading the rules and hopefully playing them.

Valmy9211 Feb 2021 1:09 p.m. PST

I got my copy of the PDF and have begun reading. I am intrigued by the momentum/interrupt idea vs one side runs their entire turn sequence then turns it over igougo. Even if everything else stayed the same, it's a radically different game.

evilgong11 Feb 2021 3:31 p.m. PST

Lasalle–II Some longer opinions, a ‘review' if you like

Sam Mustafa's Lasalle-II Napoleonic rules continue the broad scope of the first edition in that players use the ‘wargame-standard' 12-20 units – in this case being battalions of infantry, regiments of cavalry and companies/batteries of guns.

Units are four bases of foot or cav, two of guns and are arranged to show specific formations; line, column square and so on. Units are organised into roughly three to six brigades – so call it a division or a small corps in scope. A standard game is expected to be of about three hours' play.

For people familiar with Sam's other rules; L2 draws inspiration from the first edition, Blucher and Maurice – but includes various new and clever mechanisms.

Everybody will want to jump to the conclusion – is it any good? I'll colour an answer to that with the disclaimer that my club-mates and I have been play-testers.

Yes, it's a superb set of rules.

Our gang has over the past year or so tried and abandoned some of the recent new sets of rules (round up the usual suspects) aimed at a similar scope – but we kept playing L2 and are building new armies for it.

Firstly, the rules are spectacularly well presented and organised with diagrams as needed to explain concepts.

As with Sam's other rules, factors and chrome are reduced to the bare minimum. This means we are playing from memory with the occasional glance at the QRS or even rarer check of the full text.

For our gang this is desirable. We have limited time on club nights and many play a variety of games across different genres – so rules with a high barrier to learn or play are marked down.

Having said that; we have tested L2 as large 4-6 player games and half-day historical re-fights and they work well in those settings too. An Advanced section of the rules has guidance for such larger games.

The lack of granularity may not be everybody's cup of tea, and as playtesters we were pests in suggesting some more here and there. I won't re-prosecute them here other than to say the rules are streamlined enough that bolting on house rules is pretty easy if you enjoy experimenting with such things.

The rules are fun to play.

The major departures from the first edition are key strengths of L2. Firstly there is a command system and it uses PIPs (a random total but within a pretty tight band) to limit options and thus generate player choices.

Secondly, the sequence of play is ‘flexible'. Players can issue a series of ‘Orders' being; Moves (includes charges), Volley fire (includes canister), artillery Bombard, Formation changes and Rally (attempt to repair hits).

These Orders cost mostly one pip, called ‘Mo' for momentum, but sometimes two or more Mo depending on a small number of factors that you soon memorise, some can be done by a brigade, or some by the whole army, for the same Mo. Units stranded from friends will need individual Mo.

The ‘flexible' sequence is that you issue Orders in any sequence you like, however each unit can perform each Order only once per turn. The sequence of play is also ‘interleaved' in that performing an Order with troops ‘near' the enemy (roughly musketry range) causes you to surrender play to the other side.

Thus if I spend a Mo and volley at you, I have offered up an ‘Interrupt' and you can now shoot back, charge or something else. Depending on what you do, you might now surrender play back to me, and so, on until we both run out of Mo.

This system of Mo and Orders/sequence of play makes the rules great fun. You have a stream of decision points for players and it generates historical conundrums – if the other side has advanced boldly with cavalry how late can I wait to form square, and will the other guy have Mo left to clobber my squares with his guns?

In confused late stages of battles you can't do everything and sometimes troops get caught in the wrong place or in a poor formation.

As a hint, if you're active and can spend a lot of Mo before the other guy gets to interrupt – it's a good idea to pass leaving one or two in the bank. You'll find out why. If players both pass in sequence the turn is over and Mo refreshed.

The system of Mo / Orders also binds other strands of the rules. If there was too much chrome elsewhere it would be a grind to work through Orders and turns. And the minimal granularity could be bland without the excitement generated by the decision points.

Another superb rule is the Rally order. It might sound strange to single out a particular rule in a broad-brush review but this one is deceptively simple and important.

Units have 7-5 ‘hits strength' (2 if arty) which are lost in combat or when shot at. Lose all hits and the unit is destroyed / lifted / dead. The Rally order means you try to bring back hits, dicing for each – however any that fail now become permanent hits that you can't repair.

This mechanism sets up several things; decisions points about when to Rally (remembering that it costs Mo and may surrender play to the other side) a risk vs reward puzzle – do you want to advance cautiously Rallying frequently to husband troops' strength or do you concede strength in a bold attack or to gain position knowing you might have a chance to rally later.

It also drives a game ‘story' and action – those units you relied on to hold a hill just blundered a Rally and are crippled, routing as the enemy now charges them. The conscripts in square holding the end of the enemy line has been battered by horse artillery but the Bleeped texts just heroically Rallied off all their hits and will take more time to shift.

For a quick précis, shooting is bucket of dice hits-and-saves, while close combat is a suitably bracing DBx-style single dice throw. Two-on-one melee gang ups provide a small sometimes important but not overwhelming advantage.

Troop moves are really free-form without requiring protractors and so on – just push the figs and have no point exceed its move distance. Charges get up to a 45 deg pivot at the start and then go straight ahead.

Skirmishers
There are many ways table-top rules attempt to reflect skirmishers and all have strengths and weaknesses.

L2 has a standard system and an Advanced option. The standard system is abstracted to a contest of dice throws the winner of which is assumed to have a dominant skirmisher line and gains extra Mo to use this turn. The number of dice depends on troops' skirmish rating and sometimes current formation.
The Advanced rule has more detail about tracing lines of skirmish to and from units and uses a system of markers to show which enemy are being hassled by skirmishers and how this is computed.

During play-testing the Skirmisher / Mo system was investigated, destroyed and rebuilt many, many, times with all manor of exotic options contemplated.


What you might find odd.

The rules have no morale tests at the unit or brigade level other than losing all of a brigade reduces your Mo quantum.

There is no emergency response to charges – plan ahead. Albeit there is a start-of-bound emergency intervention option for generals to command localised formation changes.

Brigade generals are not represented on table and the supreme general only positioned this bound if he does an emergency intervention as above. A frustrating point in the first edition was tracking all the generals and their various potential values – L2 has one general and only has characteristics as an optional Advanced rule.

There are no routs or retires – the point of contact is pretty static. Nominally routed units are put back in the box – if you want units to advance or retire in response to combat the design philosophy is to do it yourself with Mo. Look up the Huzzar! Rule at your leisure.

Squares not being at a disadvantage in close combat (but they are easier shooting targets) might raise eyebrows, but they can't charge and the asymmetrical combat outcomes means you always want to be the charger in infantry clashes.

Some players have queried the balance between infantry shooting and melee – my experience is that individual games tend to emphasise either based on the tactical situation. It may be that there is a sweet-spot for particular armies or some optimal time spent shooting before charging, if so I don't know what it is.

Troop / Army Balance

We have played armies of both crap and small elite forces, I can't honestly yet tell if the rules tilt a particular way especially if you're playing some of the provided scenarios. I've had my home-bake Persians with a fair bulk of poor troops swept away or sometime swarm over the enemy.

Turks with a blizzard of modest cavalry can swamp an enemy or just be shot to oblivion, advancing into the teeth of an army maximising grand batteries is character building and educative.

If driven properly your elite troops will perform much better than the levy but there's enough overlap in probabilities to add uncertainty and fun.


Army Lists / composition

The army lists are a free download on Sam's page. Armies are 1805+ in Europe but there are Advanced rules to cater for earlier ancen regime armies and an open-source points system to build non-standard troops.

There is a deal of design philosophy to contemplate in army building. There is an invitation to negotiate with your playing group about how permissive you want to be with allied troops and flexibility about particular troops appearing out of time or geography.

A criticism of the first edition was rigidity of army composition – which saw you playing against exactly the same enemy army too frequently. L2 has army lists where brigades typically have some but not a lot of compositional choice but armies have a lot of flexibility about the number and types of assembled brigades.

Lists might be an area where the lack of granularity irks some players. Troops are reasonably rigidly defined – for example all French Hussars are the same with no option to salt in an experience elite unit or raw newly-raised unit. Here again there is the capacity with the open source points to make such adjustments but many players will expect army lists to be a set menu.

A wise gamer once suggested that players spent more time tinkering with army design than actually moving lead – what else is there to do on slow work days?

Scenarios, options, back up etc

The rules provide a number of pre-designed scenarios to play, some equal points others not, and each sets out terrain, objectives and a game turn limit. There is other info for generic intro games or refights.

The Advanced rules include a palate of items to spice up you games, as a standard our gang is using many of them.

I suspect a traditional competition game format would be to generate a reasonably vanilla specific scenario(s) and a points system keyed to game time.

In summary these are an excellent set of rules that are easy to learn and provide an enjoyable fast-paced game.

From what we have seen they work well for club-night pick-up games and multi-player re-fights. I suspect with a little framing of game parameters they should be good for open competitions too.


David F Brown

For the author's descriptions and introduction and links to resources such as basing, measures, sample pages etc go here:

https://sammustafa.com/lasalle

Chimpy Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2021 1:06 a.m. PST

I bought this the moment that I received the email announcing it's sale. I then went and binge read the pdf.

It looks like a solid set of rules but I think that the play sequence (ie play Mo for phases when you wish) will take some getting used to. And trying to get the best out of it to win will take even more. I'm looking forward to trying.

Trajanus12 Feb 2021 6:45 a.m. PST

Chimpy how did you access the pdf?

I have purchased the combined book and pdf item but got no word on how to download! The book is going to get to me before the pdf!

Can't seem to raise a response from the Honor site.

Duc de Brouilly12 Feb 2021 9:11 a.m. PST

Anyone stocking this in the UK?

Trajanus12 Feb 2021 9:38 a.m. PST

Caliver Books are advertising it as available from 20th February but I assume that's hardcopy only.

Chimpy Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2021 11:35 a.m. PST

Hi Trajanus

I received an email from them with details of my order. Included in the email was a link to the pdf.

Sorry about the late reply – I was out to dinner last night.

Trajanus12 Feb 2021 1:48 p.m. PST

Um, that's odd, I didn't get one of those only details of the shipping via USPS. Did you order hard copy too, or just pdf?

Maybe I miss ordered, the book will be here in the next couple of days anyway according to the Tracking system.

Don't mind not getting the pdf as long as I didn't pay for it. Have to check on the docket when he package gets here!

Thanks anyway.

Chimpy Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2021 4:09 p.m. PST

Thank you.

I paid for both since just the pdf isn't available by itself. The email was in the nature of a receipt

I would check your credit card to see how much you were charged. You may be able to figure it out from that.

nsolomon9912 Feb 2021 5:58 p.m. PST

Full disclosure:

- Have been a fan of Sam's rules for approx 25 years (from La Grande Armee)
- Sam has always been an innovator
- Absolutely loathed LaSalle 1. Personally I felt he was innovating backwards with LaSalle 1. I found them to be a dreadful set of rules. I've kept the book but haven't played them in years.
- LaSalle 2 looks more like Montbrun 1 to me, very, very different … and I sure hope so.
- I've bought a PDF copy (you'll find the PDF only option on the 3rd page of the Honor Store) and will try them.

Ruchel13 Feb 2021 1:27 p.m. PST

Evilgong,

I think infantry in line is too vulnerable and defenseless if it is frontally charged by cavalry (poor formation, -4 modifier). I think this is not historically accurate.
And there is not defensive fire in L2. But infantry in line usually defeated frontal cavalry attacks using defensive musket fire.

Regular infantry in line was especially vulnerable against flank or rear attacks, but not against frontal attacks and with protected flanks.

I will play L2 ignoring the -4 modifier (poor formation) in the case of infantry in line charged frontally by cavalry.

Do you think that this change would alter negatively the game?

jwebster Supporting Member of TMP13 Feb 2021 1:43 p.m. PST

@Ruchel

infantry in line is too vulnerable

I've been looking for information to support or refute this. Do you have any examples of battles in which infantry in line were able to repel cavalry attacks ?

Sorry if I'm digressing – I'm certainly going to buy the new Lasalle rules, just deciding between hard copy, pdf or both …

John

evilgong13 Feb 2021 7:13 p.m. PST

hi there

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
I think infantry in line is too vulnerable and defenseless if it is frontally charged by cavalry (poor formation, -4 modifier). I think this is not historically accurate.
And there is not defensive fire in L2. But infantry in line usually defeated frontal cavalry attacks using defensive musket fire.

Regular infantry in line was especially vulnerable against flank or rear attacks, but not against frontal attacks and with protected flanks.

I will play L2 ignoring the -4 modifier (poor formation) in the case of infantry in line charged frontally by cavalry.

Do you think that this change would alter negatively the game?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Yes such a house rule would make cavalry no particular threat to infantry and yet historical commanders got their men into square whenever they could vs cav.

– I think you'll have trouble making the case that shooting in line was the preferred tactic.

There is defacto defensive fire in L2 in that all troops can charge only 4BW and musketry is 4BW – so unless somebody is out of position or blunders they should take a shot before charging.

If you want to line inf up shoulder to shoulder to oppose enemy cav you might get some units helping shoot at the advancing cav and maybe even some defensive outnumbering in combat to close some of the -4 factor gap.

But the odds should still be in cav's favour.

We have played games where inf in line has diced its way out of a cavalry charge, but mostly they don't.

DB

Ruchel14 Feb 2021 1:06 p.m. PST

Yes such a house rule would make cavalry no particular threat to infantry and yet historical commanders got their men into square whenever they could vs cav.

Cavalry was especially dangerous against infantry flanks and rear. In fact, in most battles, cavalry commanders looked for gaps in enemy lines in order to attack their flanks and rear, or to attack isolated units (with unprotected flanks and/or rear). It was the common practice.

Charging frontally against regular infantry in line (with protected flanks) was an absurdity and a suicide, unless the infantry that receive the charge was wavering due to appalling losses suffered in previous combats or by artillery.

Historical commanders got their regular units into square when those infantry units were isolated (unprotected flanks and/or rear) and threatened by a cavalry charge.

I think you'll have trouble making the case that shooting in line was the preferred tactic.

Yes, when an infantry unit (a regular one, not untrained militia) with protected flanks and rear was frontally charged by cavalry, shooting in line was the preferred tactic. And a line with protected flanks was a wall of bayonets too.

So I think that ignoring the -4 modifier in the case of infantry in line charged frontally is historically accurate.

In many Napoleonic battles, armies were totally or partially deployed in line. For example, Jena, Bussaco, Fuentes de Onoro, Medellin, Talavera, Albuera and many others. If those infantry lines were so vulnerable, those battles would have been decided in a few minutes by frontal cavalry charges.

But in fact, in those battles, the cavalry tried to outflank the enemy lines or to find gaps in those lines in order to attack their flanks or rear.

At Medellin, the Spanish army was defeated by cavalry charges against its flank, no by frontal charges against the Spanish lines.

At Albuera, Colborne brigade was destroyed by a cavalry charge against its unprotected flank. Charging frontally against the Spanish lines was never a reasonable option.

At Jena, Prussian lines were mainly defeated by flank attacks (gaps in the lines and enveloping movements).

At Fuentes de Onoro, Massena sent his cavalry against the Allied right flank in order to outflank the Allied army. Charging frontally against the Allied lines was not a reasonable option.

Regarding the use and abuse of formations, especially squares, the old myths remain intact. Historical accuracy and common sense are useless against wargame myths.

A good Napoleonic ruleset should pay attention to the difficulties in maintaining cohesion and protection in deployed lines and columns. The cavalry task was precisely to find and exploit every gap or lack of cohesion in enemy's deployments in order to attack successfully (against unprotected flanks and rear).

Trajanus15 Feb 2021 9:14 a.m. PST

Absolutely loathed LaSalle 1. Personally I felt he was innovating backwards with LaSalle 1. I found them to be a dreadful set of rules. I've kept the book but haven't played them in years.

Well you did better than me Nick, I couldn't find innovation at all! 😀 And the book went to a Charity Shop!

LaSalle 2 looks more like Montbrun 1 to me, very, very different

Have to agree there, they look like a return to form and innovation. I also like the nods to Blucher (the game not the General) which add some familiarity for those who have that particular game as well.

nsolomon9915 Feb 2021 5:13 p.m. PST

Ok, now had a thorough read through. Not a playtest mind you so I'm not positioning to do a review.

Turns out I was wrong, this is NOT Montbrun 1, this is indeed LaSalle 2 – the roots are very much the same and the designer's notes show that Sam's tweaks and mods are still founded on his understanding of the Napoleonic wars, as he explains in his designers notes. I applaud him for including extensive designer notes at the end of each chapter.

However … I wont be using these rules. It appears that either (a) Sam and I are reading very different sets of historical accounts or (b) we are drawing very different conclusions from what we're reading.

For instance Sam explains that at one point he spent 7 years doing in-depth research in European archives for a book on the the Westphalian Army and concluded there was no material difference between Guard, Line and Light Infantry. (This is contained in his Designers Notes at the back The Army Maker). My research has focused on the evolution of the French Army, the Austrian Army and the Prussian Army up to 1806, with a side detour into the Wurttemburg, Baden and Hessian forces of the Confed of the Rhine. And my conclusions are that there are very significant differences between the various infantry types across these particular armies. (Arguably the Russian and British armies changed little across the period but thats a topic for another thread) I could go on with pages of stuff to substantiate this but its not appropriate on this thread. I admit I'm no expert on the Westphalians because I'm not hugely interested in them.

And thats an example of our very different approaches. In many of his designers notes it becomes apparent that he has designed these rules based on very different conclusions to mine.

Bottom line is that we are all different and indeed seeking for different experiences in our wargaming. I strongly suspect that Sam's objectives are different from mine. I think he potentially achieves his objectives with this new version of LaSalle – he's striving for an enjoyable system for quick 2-3 hour pick-up games at club nights for divisional level actions between maybe 2 or 4 players. He's included some clever and innovative mechanisms, and some attractive templates, to abstract a lot of the layers of Napoleonic warfare.

I'm not after that for my wargaming experience. Rather I'm looking to reproduce what I read in the histories on my large tabletops (2 9x5 tables) in my hobby room where I can leave a battle set up for weeks if I'm enjoying the play. I want as little abstraction as I can get, I need it to feel Napoleonic more than I need it play fast with some cute templates and fast, black box mechanisms. Its the historical feel I'm after more than the gameiness.

I applaud Sam for another beautifully produced set of rules with some clever innovations. But I wont be playing them. Napoleonics is a broad church and there is room for many rules sets and many different types of wargaming experience.

Trajanus16 Feb 2021 2:14 a.m. PST

Based on my reading of the rules that's a very honest assessment, well explained. Leaving aside the army based comments which not everyone would have the background knowledge to make.

A lot of players don't have the time or space, or indeed inclination, to play in a manner that has minimal abstraction in Napoleonics, or any other period come to that.

As you pointed out these are not the rules for those who do.

They appear to have enough "period" in them to go with the innovation for my time based requirements however and in that regard are a better product than the original by some distance, for my money.

What I would like to add is a big thumbs up for your explanation which is a welcome change from the flat out "load of crap, never going to play, worst rules ever" postings that often greet the arrival of new rules on TMP!

FatherOfAllLogic16 Feb 2021 7:25 a.m. PST

Well, everybody is different and wants different things. I like LaSalle because it is fast play and because I can play it solo. Sure, you need to blur your eyes periodically, but on the macro level, it does feel like a Napoleonics battle.

Trajanus16 Feb 2021 7:44 a.m. PST

I've been 'blurring' my eyes for over forty years when it comes to Napoleonic rules and haven't found a set that doesn't require it.

These days in this period and the others I play the prime directive is do they suit me.

All else is background noise.

olicana17 Feb 2021 9:11 a.m. PST

Having played Maurice and Blucher, I invested in a copy of Lasalle 1 hoping they too would be innovatively special and give a good gaming experience.

We didn't give up on them after just one game: We played them half a dozen times before we gave up on them as bland and predictable. Our conclusion was that the only thing they had going for them was that they were well written and well laid out – which always makes a nice change.

I do hope to play a game using Lasalle 2 but, this time I will have to play a game before I buy them. I like the sound of 'mo' pips (I'm a Piquet player, and a fan of initiative pip driven decision games) but, if it's just Lasalle 1 with this bolted on………………….

Trajanus18 Feb 2021 2:07 a.m. PST

I think there's more to them than that. evilgong's long post from 11 Feb (above) is a pretty solid description from my reading of the rule book.

I'd like to compare the two sets but as I mentioned before, I never actually played the original. It's the eternal Wargamers dilemma, playing new rules for six months before you hand over the cash is seldom an option.

For what its worth, having read both sets I wouldn't by the first edition again!

evilgong21 Feb 2021 4:37 p.m. PST

I'm surprised Sam didn't call it something other than Lasalle-2 given how different it is to the first ed in key places.

I guess at the start of the design for a new edition you don't know what the final product will be.

Trajanus04 Mar 2021 8:42 a.m. PST

I did wonder that. I guess its trying to maintain some kind of brand identity but to be honest there's so much that has changed for the better its a bit of an own goal.

Not to mention the previous rules came out 12 years ago so just how many people are still playing them anyway?

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