Saturday, 11 August 2012

Lasalle House Rules

Recently we have been discussing divisional level Napoleonic rulesets at the Newcastle club so I offered to run a few players through a game of Lasalle. In the pre-game discussion in the week before I raised a couple issues I have had with Lasalle. Andy and Paddy kindly agreed to allow me to introduce a few house rules to overcome these areas and I thought it would be useful to summarise them here.

Before I start I will point out that I have not studied Napoleonic warfare in as much detail as other periods so I have mainly looked at this from a general understanding of warfare in the period and the game mechanics.

1) Reducing the power of large units

This is point I've whinged about before. Large units are too powerful in the game. There are points system out there which try to adjust the balance of forces to reflect this, with all other things being equal a large unit would cost 50% more than a small unit.

Large units have three advantages in the rules:
  1. As combat is dice are determined by the number of bases in the unit they get an extra four dice over small units.
  2. The number of bases also determines the number of dice for musketry given a potential two extra dice for a large unit in line.
  3. The number of disruptions a unit can take before it is prevented from charging or becomes broken is equal to the number of bases meaning large units can take an extra two disruptions.
My beef is with the first of these three points and I would leave the others as the stand. After all, the extra men in the large unit must be represented in some fashion. 

There are two situations involving large units that I have seen come up regularly in games of Lasalle that I do not believe happened as regularly in Napoleonic warfare. Firstly, large infantry units not forming square against small cavalry units, and secondly, large cavalry units being able to break small infantry unit squares too frequently. I know that on average in the game mechanics the odds are against these tactics, but is only takes a few other modifiers to come into play, or slightly lucky/unlucky dice rolls for these to occur on a reasonable frequency.

The house rule to amend this is simply, large unit only count five bases for combat purposes. This allows them to retain an advantage for mass but reduces its impact.

2) Cavalry in woods and irregular terrain

It is more beneficial for cavalry to charge infantry in rough terrain in Lasalle than in the open. This is because infantry cannot form square in rough terrain so while cavalry will reduce their attack dice by two for bad terrain, they will not halve the dice for attacking a square (assuming the infantry form one in the open).

This is a commonly cited oversight in the rules and fixed with the addition of cavalry halves dice when attacking infantry in bad terrain (this is in addition to the existing loss of two dice).

3) Irregular formations

It has always annoyed me that infantry with SK2 could chose to either deploy formed or as irregulars and that the chosen formation remains fixed for the game. I do not understand why a battalion would not move up to rough terrain, deploy in skirmish formation to pass through the terrain, and then reform on the far side if it desired.

To address this infantry units of SK2 or more are able to change from formed to irregular or vice-versa during the game. In order to change formation the unit must pass a discipline test and cannot move during the activity phase. If the unit fails the test it does nothing this activity phase. If successful, the unit becomes irregular in its current formation. A unit in square cannot attempt to become irregular.

That's it. Three simple minor modifications that seem to bring a bit more balance, and some additional options to the game.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I’m Kirsty from the Royal Armouries getting in touch regarding our Napoleonic Wargaming event here at the museum in Leeds, 13th – 14th June.

    To commemorate the bicentenary of the battle of Waterloo, we are putting on a Napoleonic weekend of Wargaming. We’re looking for participation and demonstration games for both the Saturday and the Sunday, we already have some planned but we now want to make this bigger and better.

    It is short notice but I am hoping you would be able, and of course up for, putting on a game over the weekend?

    If you are interested please do get in touch, and feel free to spread the word to other interested parties!

    Best wishes,