Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Game this week - Napoleonics with Lasalle
This week we will return to the Napoloenic era and take Lasalle, the new rules by Sam Mustafa, for a test drive.
Sam Mustafa is the brains behind rules like Grande Armee (Napoleonic) and Might and Reason (Seven Years War). I have always found his rules to be innovative, thoughtful and fun, lending themselves to some great games (well, except for games where I play the Austrians and face the Prussians in the Seven Years War). I still have great memories of the Grande Armee game Curt ran for us a couple of years back, where the Austrians won at Marengo, thanks to Brian's grenadier brigade single-handedly overrunning the French line and wrecking their flank.
Lasalle is intended to be "tactical". I am not intelligent enough to split the hairs, but I think this means "above skirmish, and below division", or something like that. Fellow conscript Curt C is way more eloquent and knowledgeable on this point, but I think that one thing Shako struggles with is the brigade level of command. It tries to represent brigade OBs in the games and approximate every battalion in the field, but cuts out the brigade level of command, distorting the command and control. In Lasalle, you will not try to represent the huge encounters like the Battle of Waterloo (or you could, I guess, but that doesn't seem to be the intent) and will instead enjoy smaller actions that occurred in all theatres in all times. Or, you can play a small part of one of the larger, more well-known actions.
I think Lasalle is also part of Sam Mustafa's attempt to develop some kind of unified field theory for horse and musket gaming. In his introduction, he touches on how people have always tried to adapt his rules from one period to another period or setting (i.e. Grande Armee for ACW). He postulates that gamers have this innate desire to have one set of rules for everything. Speaking as someone who has pushed around a squadron of X-wing fighters hunting a Star Destroyer using an adaptation of Lord of the Rings rules, I suppose that might be a little true. Still, I believe Sam is over-thinking it. A glance at any gamer's bookshelf will tell you we will always buy another set of rules. The reason we try to apply one set of rules to other periods is because we really love rules that don't suck, and Sam is pretty good at generating those.
You can check more into the rules yourself here, and also learn a little more about Sam Mustafa's "Honour" system (of which Lasalle is a first part).
For the game, I will put together a little bash em' up scenario featuring Austrians and French. Allegedly you can use any basing system with Lasalle, so we'll break out the 15mm lads. The rules call for artillery batteries to be represented by multiple gun models, so we'll struggle to have much artillery out there. Even worse, the rules call for limbers (triple blech - painting limbers sucks) to represent the guns on the move. Finally, even though you allegedly don't have to rebase, the rules are cemented on the principle that one gun model has the same approximate base width as one of the infantry bases. My artillery is based for Shako, and this does not work out (unless I use a Bill Clinton definition of "approximate"), but I think we'll survive for one game :)
Finally, to keep up with the Napoleonic theme, I have adjusted the poll on our blog, returning again to one of my favourite themes. We'll get you yet Mike...be sure to vote early, and often, from multiple IP addresses, in order to create as much pressure as possible on Mike F. It's what friends do.