Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Lasalle 2 - face to face game - online that is

Decided to try playing an online live game with Stephen today using my iPad (via Messenger) and Lasalle 2.

And whilst a bit awkward at first and lighting not greatest, it worked fine overall and certainly more enjoyable than solo play.

I moved units and marked hits at Stephens behest and he rolled his own dice, I certainly got a decent workout walking to and fro around the table !

I selected scenario 4 'Making an Omelette' as it allowed me to set up in defence using my Russians and then Stephen commanding French to set up.

We played with Small forces (180 vs 250pts) which worked fine with 4 French attacking Brigades against 3 Russian defending Brigades.

The lists allow a very large amount of possible Artillery so we both reduced to 1 per 2 Brigades (or part thereof).

Lasalle 2 plays really smoothly and Stephen was able (like I was) to assimilate and play the rules quickly despite the limitations of my video skills. We were both using the QRS with very little reference to rules after a couple of turns. We stuck with Basic rules for first try out but think use of advanced rules would not be too onerous.

We played 5 full turns (stopping only because my iPad ran out of juice) out of the 8 scheduled and intend to complete game next week.

The Momentum system is really the heart of the game and works so very slickly and generates an enjoyable level of decision making each turn.

French (using the basic Skirmishing rules) were rolling 27 dice against my 12 so usually got extra 1-2 MO per turn.

Bombardments seemed quite powerful today especially the ability of artillery to select any available target. This saw French 'gang up' on a Russian Grenadier unit inflicting 4 Disruptions in short order and it was later destroyed by a French musket volley as I failed to Rally hits off.

Artillery is however quite brittle as destroyed after a mere 2 hits despite being harder to inflict hit upon. I lost both my batteries as deployed further forward than maybe they needed to be.

French have lost 2 units of Infantry one to a couple of devastating volleys from a unit in Line and the other a Square also volleyed to destruction.

Whilst we both felt the lists are very generic and the variety of troop grading is limited compared to other rules we did find it a fairly satisfying overall. 

Whilst rules certainly do lack a level of 'chrome' they do feel somewhat Napoleonic in terms of Maneuvering (very fast and loose away from enemy) and the interactions of the traditional Column, Line and Square.

Their low complexity certainly aided use in this video-conferencing style game.

Russians deployed 

Overview of battlefield

Russian guns to the fore and town garrisoned

The French force

View of Russian lines from French edge

French attacking Russian left wing

A unit of Russian Grenadiers has been destroyed so Hussars plugging gap.

French right refusing as their guns pound enemy 

Russian HUssars and French Dragoons 'bounce' of each other as French foot form square

French start to pressure center of Russian lines

Monday, February 22, 2021

Vassal - Combat Commander scenario completed

Another online Vassal session with Mike today completing our game of 'Hedgerows and Hand Grenades' scenario.

Game ended as a German (Mike) win over USA (moi) on second Sudden Death roll with 9 Victory Points.

Great to get a 'proper' game in during continuing lockdown and Combat Commander a super game to play via Vassal.

We are hoping to give No Retreat! The Russian Front an outing next.

The game board positions at end


Thursday, February 18, 2021

Lasalle 2 - final solo session and thoughts.

Played another two full turns of Lasalle 2 today (it is very fast playing).

Lots of action now both forces almost fully engaged.

Have tried numerous Charges and Combats involving Squares, Cavalry, Garrisons, the Old Guard and Artillery Retirement, in addition to usual Movement, Rallying and Shooting, and all very easy to work through I must say.

Artillery if charged has option to attempt to Retire by a dice off (using 1d6 if Foot or 2d6 if Horse or Limbered) against charger and if they succeed they are removed from table, but do not count lost and can possibly return subsequently as a reinforcement. An abstraction to be sure but very neat and tidy.

Squares do not move in Lasalle 2 but do gain a +1 in combat vs Cavalry (not vs Infantry) but conversely Artillery are +1 to hit when targeting them.

Cavalry seem quite tough with good Resolve values (usually 5+) but do suffer extra Disruptions during Combat Outcomes unless they manage to ride down enemy (ie by scoring 3 more in combat).

Also had an 'Upset' outcome in a combat. This occurs when opponents roll a 6 vs 1 (all other combat factors including unit strength is ignored) in Combat and depending on whether its the defender or attacker that rolls either it either means no damage sustained or auto-broken. In my case the defender rolled a 1 vs 6 by attacker and auto-broke.

I have lost 4 Prussian units (3 Infantry and 1 Gun Battery) and 3 French units (3 x Young Guard Infantry) thus far. Most (if not all ?) scenarios include a Sudden Death victory option with usually a side defeated upon reaching 1/3 losses in units (all unit types count). Otherwise you score VPs for on table objectives. There are 3 in this game, 1 in each deployment area and the town.

Young Guard losses

Prussians losses with 'Retired' Artillery (on left) waiting to return

The Prussians have taken occupied the town and set the occupying unit up as a Garrison which requires an action subsequent to physically moving into the town. Garrisons get defensive benefits but cannot then exit the town voluntarily for course of game.

An unit of Old Guard Infantry charged the Garrison but bounced off on equal combat totals.

Old Guard attacking town Garrison (note the Permanent Losses)

Old Guard unit to right forced the Prussian Field Battery to Retire

Many units have now sustained several Permanent Losses (signified by red or blue dice in pics) in addition to Disruptions (small white dice) with some unit going Shaken (yellow pipe cleaners). I have found it fairly easy to mark losses/hits in this fashion and remember unit traits (by use of a roster) without having to use the unit sheets (basically akin to the cards of Blucher) as not really a vast variety of troop types or traits in the game.

Will not play scenario to conclusion as this was only to learn basic game but may re-try using some of the Advanced Rules.

A Quatre Bras historical scenario included and a introductory historical scenario available to download and will be interesting to see if it encourages more historical encounters.

All in all I enjoyed (besides actually getting some figures back onto table !) Lasalle 2 even in its basic version. 

A very slick and easy to pick up and play set of rules. In fact was pretty much using only the QRS sheets with the odd rule look up. As with all Sams rules some innovative ideas and overall a fun game and I think it will be great primarily for points based quick set up and quick play games.

Although for many 'Grognard' type players I suspect the Army Lists (and may troop types/gradings ?) will seem rather bland (compared to say FOGN or La Bataille d'Empire) but are perfectly functional and Sam does include the innards of his points system so easy to tweak to ones hearts content to field any historical unit (the Army Maker lists are available on a free additional Pdf). 

The QRS and some other info is also available free in Pdf form and worth a perusal to get a feel for the game. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Lasalle 2 - solo learning game - a wee bit of melee

Played out the rest of second turn in my solo learning game and managed to get a couple of charges and resulting melee combats undertaken.

Charging is a part of Movement order and the ensuing combat takes place immediately after contact.

I charged two Prussian Grenadier units against a Young Guard Battalion (not necessarily tactically sound but to try Combat system) and the combat was very easy to complete.

Essentially you add a D6 roll to current strength (having a 2 on 1 combat added +1 to each of the Grenadiers) and compare results, Defender first then Attacker if still engaged with enemy.

The Prussian Grenadiers both went in with a Disruption so on basic strength of 6 with -1 for Disruption with +1 for outnumbering enemy so 6 each. They rolled a feeble 1 and 2 so had total of 9 and 8. The Young Guard also start on 6 but also had a Disruption and rolled another 2 so totalled 7.

Having lost by 1-2 against both the Young Guard took 2 Disruptions but crucially stood in place (if beaten by 3+ they would Break ie be removed from table). The Grenadiers being both Still Engaged each took a Disruption and Staggered (ie fall back 1BW).

Grenadiers clash with Young Guard (in winter sun)

There are several variations in Combat involving Cavalry vs Infantry and status as attacker vis defender but outcomes are generally suffer Disruption (note no rolling to convert hits as in shooting), Stagger or a full Break, so Combat (not simply hand to hand but also close volleys and morale issues) potentially much more decisive than shooting (not with my rolls however !).

All units charge only 4BW including Cavalry (excluding Artillery !) and Infantry and Cavalry cannot combine to charge an enemy, so a bit of maneuvering required to get Charges lined up.

I did perform another Charge with another Young Guard unit against one of the repulsed Grenadiers but this also saw the attackers pushed back with both sides suffering a Disruption.

As I play more there is a nice combined arms feel to game, and some more nuances to the MO/Interrupt systems are becoming apparent especially with use of Force and Global orders combined with distance from enemy.

In basic game the General is a bit lacking in effect as he can only increase MO or allow Change of Formation prior to Orders Phase, useful but bit underwhelming. The advanced rules add more depth and options for Commanders. 

Command and control is very abstractly represented (certainly compared to original Lasalle) with a lot of the command functions of officers portrayed within in the MO system rather than as direct effect on table.

Grenadiers have been Staggered back

Young Guard unit on extreme right has gone into square as Prussian Hussars approach as more volleys exchanged.

Prussians swinging to flank through woodland around French left

Young Guard charge also failed in center. Note a Prussian Field Battery has been obliterated by Old Guard heavy guns near town.


Lasalle 2 - solo learning game further progress

Another short learning session with Lasalle 2.

A lot of shooting by Artillery at both long range (Bombardment 4-24bw) and short range (Volley- Canister at 4bw) and musketry (Volley at 4bw).

All fairly slick and intuitive with a basic score of 4+ (Artillery can vary) to hit adjusted for cover with varying numbers of dice rolled based on formation of artillery type/weight.

Very few factors to consider but of course use of D6 means even a single plus or minus can have effect.

Infantry in Attack Column (Mass) are 2 wide by 2 deep and only fire with a single dice per front line base whereas a 4 base wide column would fire with 6 dice (2 per central base and 1 per 'outer' base) again with variations for Sharpshooters, Square, March Column.

All hits are then rolled for again against the targets Resilience (varies from 3+ to 5+ with 6 required vs artillery) to generate Disruptions which can lead to Permanent losses if failing to Rally these off successfully.

With average units being strength 6 it seemingly can take awhile to reduce units to Shaken (average is upon reaching 2 strength) or Broken (zero strength) which makes the Rally action another interesting decision as it can lead to permanent losses but can revive faltering units.

Enjoying the action/interrupt system combined with MO expenditures as you need to plan your actions and reactions to get best out of your MO 'energy'.

Once units get to within close range (4bw) things start to slow as forward moves are reduced (you can 'retire' full move) and some more Interrupt action allowed, eg you can issue Rally orders outside 4bw without enemy reaction but within 4bw they can Interrupt.

Still not managed any Melee type actions.

Charges are not seperate actions as such being a function of Movement but do count as a Complication (ie +1 MO expended) unless unit has a Trait such or Shock or Attack Columns which cancel the extra MO cost.

Prussian units have fired on advancing Young Guard Brigade which have sustained a couple of Disruptions (white dice) and 1 Permanent Loss (red dice)

Old Guard near town have also suffered and one Battalion has taken losses despite enhanced Rally ability due to having Resilient trait.

Ineffectual exchanges of musketry on French right

Over view in early stages of Turn 2

Monday, February 15, 2021

Lasalle 2 a solo learning session - Prussia versus France 1813ish

Having obtained the Pdf version of Sam Mustafas newest rule set I actually managed to generate enough enthusiasm after a read through to put some figures on the table for a solo (ye gads this is feeling relentless) game.

Used one of the generic scenarios with balanced forces (ie equal points values, some scenarios feature unequal forces) and using the Large points totals.

I selected Prussians vs French (Guard option) and this yielded 18 units of Prussians in 5 Brigades vs 16 units of French in 4 Brigades.

French taken from Elite Corps (ie Guard) Prussians based on early 1813 period.

The ‘Army lists’ in Lasalle 2 are somewhat generic in nature although not a problem basing around historical types.

As per older Lasalle all measurements are in Base Widths with mine being 40mm wide (based as per original rules) with standard 4 bases per unit (2 for Artillery Batteries).

Scenarios use a standard 4 x 6 square grid but each grid square equals 6BW so a somewhat smaller table than my standard 6’ x 4’ mat. Technically my table should be 144cm x 96cm but I used 150cm x 50cm as I could use 50cm square carpet tiles.

If playing again I would just use 6’ x 4’ (180cm x 120cm) table as did seem a tad squashed to my sensibilities, do not believe it will effect game at all.

French deployment

Prussians deployed


I decided to use Basic rules as learning system but to be honest none of the Advanced rules seem that complex, although the advanced Skirmishing or Command Intervention rules might consume a bit more time.

Anyhow played through first turn of game (scheduled for 10 turns) and found it to be a very slick system to use.

I can see the influence of Blucher with the MO (Momentum) system. I rather like this as it puts a plausible limit on a sides activity each turn.

The Complications are a very nice and simple way to model difficult terrain and suchlike (extra MO expenditure)

Lots of nice decisions as to how to spend MO as you can potentially issue several orders to units per turn, as long as no order is repeated, so one could order a unit/formation to Move and later Shoot and maybe Change Formation but not any of these individual orders twice.

MO is based on numbers of Brigades, intact Baggage and can be increased by use of a General.

Also Skirmishing can increase MO, this is highly abstracted as units are rated for Skirmishing ability you each then roll that number of dice seeking sixes and the excess difference can be converted into MO (the advanced rules have an alternative use of the Skirmishing rolls to generate Voltiguer stands used to ‘annoy’ individual enemy units), in my game Prussian start with 28 dice vs 24 French (this reduces as units as lost).

Some Orders are issued by Brigade (Force Orders- Rally or Movement) others can be issued to all units (Global order - Change Formation, Bombard, Volley) and all costing MO.

After certain orders the enemy can Interrupt to swap initiative generally when shot at (not Artillery bombarding) or units acts within 4BW, this leads to a fairly constant swinging back and forth of activity until MO spent. You can pass but mutual passing ends Orders phase.

In basic rules the General can Intervene prior to Orders phase to allow MO free changes of formation at a small risk (the advanced game has several additional options for Intervention such as Artillerist, Charismatic, Steadfast and others)

Shooting and Combat are pretty simple dice six systems (very akin to Blucher) generally based on X number of dice per unit or stand depending on circumstance/status with some nuance for Artillery (including bounce through). An artillery unit Bombarding rolls maybe 4 dice but at canister range (4bw) its 8 dice (ie 4 per base).

Units are rated by Strength Points (again very Blucher like) with several possible Traits such as Shock or Resilience and similar. Once reduced to a certain level (based on quality) they become Shaken.

Units can however take Disruptions (sort of half hits) in lieu of permanent losses. One dices for Disruptions inflicted to see if converted to full loss. Disruptions can be Rallied off but a failed Rally causes conversion to permanent loss.

Rules use printed out unit status sheets (or single roster) but I prefer to use dice/markers.

As just in first turn I have not conducted a Melee as yet but this seems pretty straight forward as well with outcomes looking plausible.

Obviously a very brief and wholly incomplete look at the rules thus far but hope to complete a few more turns to try to get a good handle on system. Upon first read I thought “nice systems but not so sure its very Napoleonic” but upon playing it has a nice ‘feel’ to proceedings especially Command (abstract as it may be). Certainly not as ‘historical’ as something like General d’Armee but much slicker in many aspects.