texas glory  

Updated 11/30/2009

2009 WBC Report  

  2010 Status: pending December Membership Trial Vote

Fred Bauer, VA

2009 Champion

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Event History
2009    Fred Bauer     8

 Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
   1.  Fred Bauer         VA    09     10
   2.  Michael Dauer      TX    09      6
   3.  Larry Luongo       NJ    09      4
   4.  Malcolm Smith      VA    09      3

2009 Laurelists                                           

Michael Dauer, TX

Larry Luongo, NJ

Malcolm Smith, VA



Michael Dauer and Fred Bauer battle for the wood.

The newest block game units.

Storming the Alamo

Texas Glory, just published in 2008, debuted as a tournament this year, with one of the designers serving as GM. After a well-attended demo game Wednesday night, eight players competed on Thursday, a small field but including both experienced players and newbies. Equal honors went to Texas and Mexico over the course of seven games, with Texas and Mexico each winning three games in the 1836 scenario (Santa Anna's invasion of Texas), and the Texans winning the one game played of the shorter 1835 scenario depicting the initial Texan war of independence. Players had the choice of which scenario to play, with 1836 as the default, but not surprisingly most opted for the more famous part of the campaign with the larger set of blocks. All of the Mexican wins were achieved by the same player, Fred Bauer, who thereby won the championship and after this tournament could reasonably claim to be Santa Anna's smarter brother. His aggressive, blitzkrieg style of Mexican play, seizing every opportunity to advance and pinning Texan blocks and forcing them into battle even at the price of heavy losses, consistently achieved good results though it was nearly countered in the Final.

In the first round, game 1 matched Mike Dauer (a Texan from the Houston area) as the Mexican against Barry Smith. The Texans narrowly won, with the Mexican advance impeded by drawing a large share of the event cards with low action values, giving Mike fewer moves. Santa Anna was ambushed by the Comanche war party but fought them off, while Houston was killed in a Mexican Surprise attack. Notwithstanding this loss, Mike advanced to the semi-finals as an alternate since Barry had another game commitment. Game 2 pitted Fred Bauer as the Mexican against Malcolm Smith as the Texan. The Mexicans advanced swiftly and swept to victory by Turn 10, two turns ahead of the time limit. The Mexicans, aided by some good die rolls, even succeeded in a sea attack against the island victory town of Galveston, normally the Texans' strongest refuge. Game 3, the sole 1835 scenario played, had Larry Luongo as the Texans facing off against David Anderson as the Mexicans. Texas prevailed by Turn 10, aided by a Mexican misunderstanding of the 1835 victory conditions that led him to not only defend his green victory towns but chase after Texan blue victory towns, which only affect victory in 1836. On the last turn, the Texans claimed victory with the capture of the Mexican holding box cities along the Rio Grande. Finally, in game 4, James Jordan as the Texan faced Jim Lawler. Much as in game 2, the Mexican advance was impeded by the bad luck of drawing every one of the low action value event cards, and at the end the Texans were remarkably still defending on the Colorado river, holding 10 of the 17 victory towns, six more than needed to win. As James had another game commitment and did not play the second round, Malcolm from game 2 advanced to the semi-finals as an alternate.

In the semi-finals round, game 1 matched the formidable Fred with the Mexicans again against Larry. The Texans fell back, but Fred once again prevailed, launching an amazingly successful sea attack on Galveston on Turn 9 with a force of two blocks against a defending Texan garrison of three blocks, and then claiming victory on Turn 10 with the fall of the port of Matagorda. Game 2 was much closer. Malcolm bid a town to play the Mexicans, so that Texas needed only three victory towns to win, and this in the end cost him the game. Houston was killed on Turn 6 at La Grange by Comanche raiders, and on the last turn Santa Anna in person was held off by the new Texan C-in-C Austin at Liberty.

The Final saw two able players face off, Mike as the Texans (hoping to bring home a tournament victory for his home state) and Fred as the Mexicans again. Both wanted Mexico but neither would risk a bid for it so a die roll decided sides. Mike opted for the perilous strategy of a Texan forward defense which at first seemed to work very well. Since Fred chose to delay the entry of Santa Anna's vanguard for a turn and bring them in at Laredo, Bowie and Crockett even moseyed down to Presidio Rio Grande to delay entry of Gaona's reinforcements, while Grant escaped Urrea's forces striking first at San Patricio (Fred was worried about the Texans trying the tactic shown in the demo game of the Texans moving first and sending Grant into Laredo to take a victory town and force diversion of Mexicans to root him out). Houston with the powerful battalions of Burleson and Millard smashed a Mexican force at Gonzales, eliminating two blocks including the elite Zapadores, and then beating a second Mexican force sent at them. But on Turn 6, Santa Anna had his revenge, unleashing a surprise event and taking on Houston in person with a force twice as strong while Mexican cavalry swept in behind to cut off retreat. With Houston dead, the Mexicans rolled forward against the Texan remnants conducting a delaying action. Fannin, the new Texan C-in-C, escaped by sea from Matagorda to Liberty, but was finally scalped there by the Comanche war party, while Travis, who had been conducting an effective delaying action on the Camino Real, at last died in a desperate forced march to block the the Mexicans from reaching Nacogdoches. By the late game, though the Texans were almost out of men, the Mexicans were almost out of actions. On Turns 10 and 11 the Mexicans could not move at all, playing a Storm event and the Comanches, and were still short a victory town. But Fred had saved a last 2 action card for Turn 12, and used it to advance a single block by sea into Galveston, which the Texans had left ungarrisoned. Unlike Fred's two previous Mexican victories, this one came right down to the wire.

A few observations on game play and rules interpretations used:

1) No players in any game used the option to burn a victory town (as confirmed by assistant GM Stan Hilinski), probably deterred by the need to use valuable actions for movement. Burning might be used more if it could be done without the cost of 1 CP, whenever permitted by the card played.

2) In regrouping, blocks moving into an existing battle were treated like defender reserves, only able to enter the fight on Round 2. Regroups into towns were only allowed if the towns were friendly, either of the same player's color or already occupied, not into enemy towns.

3) Attackers were allowed to retreat through the hexside they had used to enter a battle even if defender's reserves also subsequently entered the battle through the same hexside. The wording of the Texas Glory rule, 6.4, which simply says that attackers must retreat through any hexsides used to start the battle and that defending blocks may retreat through any other hexsides, differs from some other Columbia games like Hammer of the Scots which specifically do not allow attackers to retreat through a place the defender also used to enter.

4) Artillery could not force march if they had only a single step left since the last step of an artillery unit cannot be eliminated (they switch sides if left alone with one step and enemy blocks enter the same hex), but artillery could be moved by sea though not used for sea attacks. Rule 5.82 specifically provides that artillery and cavalry cannot sea attack but may sea move. This makes it possible for Fannin to move his Goliad artillery down to Copano on Turn 1, and evacuate it by sea on Turn 2 to Galveston (kudos to Malcolm Smith for this interesting tactic).

5) Only one hexside cost counts toward movement, so that the 1 needed to cross a ford or the 2 for a ferry is the total cost needed to cross that hexside, not added to the 1 for the road. The reference in the rules to cumulative limits refers to the supply values of the hexes, not movement costs, and the reference to roads and trails nullifying other terrain types except Fords/Ferries simply ensures that a block crossing at a Ferry needs to pay the 2 terrain cost and cannot claim to only pay 1 because the crossing is also a road.

6) One interpretation that we allowed in this tournament, but would do differently in future ones, was to permit defender reserves that move into a battle in a fort/city hex to withdraw into the fort/city on Turn 1, even though they would not be able to fight until Turn 2. This is a difficult issue as storming clearly cannot occur until all defending blocks are inside the fort/city; unlike some other Columbia games like Crusader Rex, the rules do not provide in Texas Glory for storming followed by a field battle, but at the same time, the attacker does not lose rounds for storming on account of having to fight a field battle first as in Crusader, but still gets his full two storming rounds even if preceded by a field battle. The downside of letting reserves withdraw into the fort on Turn 1 is that it permits some ahistorical results and makes it more difficult to take certain forts than was actually the case; for example, in 1835, the Mexican could always reinforce Goliad with the Lipantitlan cavalry on Turn 1 and withdraw it inside, making it harder to take for the Texans, whereas if reserves cannot withdraw on Turn 1, the Texan can get Goliad under siege first if he plays a higher-value card than the Mexican, and potentially drive off or destroy the reinforcing cavalry in a field battle on Round 2 before they can get inside. Lipantitlan is a B unit, and so would be treated as a relieving force in this situation, attacking against the Texan besiegers because the required withdrawal of the Texan artillery garrison into the fort on Round 1 causes battlefield control to change, leaving the original Texan attackers as the defenders for Round 2, and Texan B units such as Milam or Austin would get a chance to shoot first. The portion of rule 7.25 providing that relief forces cannot withdraw into a fort/city except cavalry still allows for cavalry to slip into a fort after risking a field battle for a round, as Kimball did historically in 1836 in riding into the besieged Alamo on Turn 1. If the defender has no units with equal or better letter ratings, or rolls poorly, the cavalry can still slip inside unharmed on Round 2 of the field action, but this should involve an element of risk. Experience here shows that it should not be automatic on Round 1. Future Texas Glory tournaments such as Prezcon in 2010 will not allow defender reserves to withdraw into a fort or city on Round 1 but require the Round 2 battle to be played outside.

 GM      Carl Willner [1st Year]   NA
   carl.willner@usdoj.gov   202-514-5813

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