February turned out to be rather block-wargamey as I managed to squeeze in a game of Texas Glory in addition to all the Hammer of the Scots action I had. It was the second session of the game I have played and against the same opponent. Last time I played as the Texans so I took the Mexican army of Santa Anna this time.
The game is set in 1836 during the Texan Revolution with the Mexican army of Santa Anna, the "Napoleon of the west" marching to Texas to bring the rebelling land back to Mexican rule. On the defensive, a small army lead by names such as Houston, Austin, Crockett and Bowie. Scenario-wise the Texans are outnumbered but have the benefit of defence and receive reinforcements every turn. The Mexicans have a large army but have a lot of ground to cover if they want to capture all the victory locations required, and cannot afford to get bogged down for long. It's an interesting asymmetrical setting and an interesting scenario to play.
To start off, the main body of the Mexican army made straight for the fortress of Alamo and assaulted the defenders. The assault was bloody for both sides, but the defenders remained in control of the ramparts. The other Mexican column made progress towards the fortress of Goliad and eliminated a cavalry block in the way. The Texan defenders started to form a defensive group, but were still badly scattered.
The next turn was cancelled due to a storm (an event card), but after that, the rest of the Mexican army started to enter the board. I opted one group to stall one turn and enter more to the south rather than bunch everyone around Santa Anna (more like forgot to place them on the board but let's keep quiet about that). On the following turn, Alamo fell to the numberless Mexican stack of blocks while Goliad fared better as the Mexican advance posse was made mainly of cavalry which wasn't any good at assaulting fortresses.
The Mexican brigade I sent to Goliad arrived and took over the siege from the cavalry while Santa Anna headed two or three brigades around the flank of the Texans. Although the Texans received one block of reinforcements each turn and the Mexicans had all they were going to have on the board at this point, the situation looked grim. The Texans hadn't been able to withdraw properly in face of the Mexicans and had lost a few blocks.
The Mexican army was able to swing round the Texans' flank and began to surround them while battle weary blocks were left behind to occupy victory locations, which must be held by the occupying force to count for victory purposes. There was a bright moment for Texas as one of their groups punched through the encirclement to attack one of the victory locations held by a weak unit and retook it. The Mexicans quickly responded and surrounded the group before it could disperse behind their line and wiped them out. It was clear at this point that the Texans had little chance to fight toe-to-toe with the Mexican steamroller, but they could still attempt to stall the Mexicans and win this way. If the Texans could hold onto four victory locations until scenario end, they would win.
The Mexican forces dispersed to grab all the victory locations they could, which made the army vulnerable and more difficult to activate. This was aided by good activation cards drawn. The Texans withdrew towards the coast and prepared to make a last stand there, as they were in no condition to exploit any weaknesses in the Mexican line.
The end came in the far reaches of the map as the Mexicans caught up with two blocks defending the last town they needed to win. The battle was won and so was the war with two turns to spare.
Santa Anna was aided by good fortune in the early battles as well as consistently getting good activation cards, but I think the Texans really have to concentrate on withdrawing their forces and trying to survive until they have amassed enough troops to make a stand. There's a nice defensive position midway through the map along a river which has narrow ferries where the Mexicans are limited in the amount of blocks they can transport into battle. I reckon it is here that the Texans should make their stand. This time the Mexicans could too easily use their full might in battles.