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Subject: A capsule overview of the game, with component manifest rss

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L.A. Lawless
The Los Angeles Riots - April '92
Decision Games
(1993, $5.95)
Designed by Joseph Miranda

Bullet riddled mapsheet

Players: 2
Period: Modern
Scale: Operational
-- Turn: 1/2 day
-- Map: areas
-- Unit: groups of people (up to several thousand)

Magazine Game: Moves Number 75 (Apr-May 1993)

Components: 11x17" mapsheet, 120 uncut and unmounted counters, five pages of rules, two pages of charts, three pages of designer notes. [NOTE: There are no "inserts", all components are printed on the pages of the magazine.]

Counter Manifest: 63 blue, 37 red, 20 white. Blue - 30 PD, 5 TAC, 3 CR, 3 HELI, 9 VIG, 4 MP, 6 CBT, 1 Turn, 1 "x1", 1 "x10". Red - 5 AGIT, 10 GANG, 20 MOB, 1 "x1", 1 "x10". White - 20 Looted.

Decision Games says: "The purpose of the game is to give players a chance to use different game strategies to simulate the confrontation between police and rioters. There are two players in the game: Authority (representing the city government, law enforcement agencies, and the general forces of law and order); and the Rioters (representing the people conducting the disturbances.)"

The designer says: "The basic idea behind LA Lawless is to show the tradeoff between the use of force and popular reaction. A riot is a form of 'propaganda of the deed.' The purpose isn't just to tear up the city, but to get certain political ideas across. Riot control is the same; obviously, the police could suppress a riot in short order by shooting to kill, but to do so would be a political disaster."

Comments: Decision called this "somewhat controversial", but some might say that it was just plain bad taste to release this only a year after the riots it depicts. Nonetheless, an interesting, though somewhat abstract, treatment of the subject.

Collector's Notes: If you are searching the Internet for a copy of L.A. Lawless, you should naturally focus your search around Moves 75. As the game is printed on the pages of the magazine rather than being an insert, it is easy for a seller to overlook -- so sale/auction notices may not note the name of the game. This probably explains the lack of price data in Boone's. Boone's Internet Wargames Catalog (4th edition) lists low/high/average auction prices of $4/$4/$4. No prices were listed in the 3rd edition of Boone's.

Other Decision Games titles by Joseph Miranda: Too many to list in a capsule profile!

Moves 75 cover image courtesy of

This article was originally published in issue 16 of Simulacrum, "Octember" 2002.

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