Alan R. Arvold


   This article, in its final form after the editor got hold of

it, was published in MOVES #92. Unfortunately it was severely cut

back in length in order for it to fit into its allotted space in

the magazine. Here is the original article as it was submitted.


   In Fire & Movement #105 the game THE ALAMO (Decision Games)

was reviewed by David Newport and he gave it an overall grade of

C+. The thing that said it all was that the game was fun to play

a few times and after that it becomes stale. I could not agree

with him more. Many things out were left out for ease of play and

simplicity. Because of this it is an introductory game and

nothing more. But I wish to make something more of it. The

following advanced rules are designed to bring THE ALAMO to a

more sofisticated level and make it more of a challenge to play.

Many of the things introduced in this article are historical in

nature with an occasional item of cinematic effect for a little

bit of chrome. Through out this article there will be references

to certain types of counters which are not included in the game.

Players will have to craft them for themselves.





   Historically the Texans in the Alamo were an overarmed bunch.

Weapons seized from the Mexican garrison during the taking of the

Alamo and San Antonio the previous year were stockpiled in the

Alamo and used by the Texans during the siege. There were 300-400

extra muskets, 100+ pistols, and numerous swords and lances which

meant that many defenders which were not manning a cannon had

three or four loaded weapons at their positions. This allowed the

Texans to lay down a devastating defensive fire during the

opening volleys of the assault. However after the initial volleys

were fired the Mexicans were at the foot of the outside walls and

the Texans were so busy trying to keep them from climbing the

walls that they rarely had time to reload more than one weapon

before having to fire again. Thus the firepower advantage the

Texans had over the Mexicans was gone after a few minutes. To

simulate this intensive firepower use the following rules:

1. After the Texan player has set up all of his units but before

   the Mexican player places his units, the Texan player chooses

   ten of his infantry counters to have an intensive firepower

   advantage. He writes down their designation and hex location

   on a spare sheet of paper for record purposes.

2. A Texan infantry unit with an intensive firepower advantage

   may fire twice during the Texan Combat Phase during any turn

   in the game. It may only do this once per game. During the

   turn which it uses intensive fire it may fire twice at the

   same Mexican unit or fire at two different Mexican units.

3. A Texan player may not choose any Texan infantry unit from

   Tennessee or Kentucky to have the intensive fire advantage.

   (These men were armed with rifles not muskets. These weapons

   took longer to reload and there were a limited supply of them,

   thus they were not given extra muskets.)

4. A Texan infantry unit which has the intensive firepower

   advantage which moves from its initial location before using

   this advantage loses it for the rest of the game. (During the

   battle when the Texans abandoned their initial positions they

   were usually in a hurry and did not have time to pick up their

   extra weapons.)

Although this firepower advantage will usually be used in the

first turn by most players, some players may want to withhold

using it with some of his units until later in the game when the

situation gets desperate.





   Different authorities on the Alamo do not totally agree on the

location of all of the Texan cannons. The Artillery Set Up Hexes

on the map are what most authorities agree on. However to give

the Texan player more variety in his choice of where to put his

artillery add the following hexes to the Texan player's list of

where to place his artillery markers.

Hex 1807

Hex 1106

Hex 0807

Hex 0708

Hex 1321

Hex 1123

Hez 0924

The Texan player is not required to put his artillery markers in

these hexes but he may if he wants to.



1. On the North Wall, a row of hexes from hex 0509 to 1106, the

   Texan player must place at least four and no more than five

   artillery markers.

2. At least one artillery marker must be set up in the artillery

   positions in the rear of the Church. Should one or two

   artillery markers be placed in the rear of the Church the

   infantry markers manning them may freely move them one hex

   each turn within the limits of the three hex platform that

   they are on. This is in exception to rule 10.2. (The artilley

   crews in the rear of the Church were pretty well protected and

   isolated from the fighting that they were able to do this.)

3. At least two artillery markers must be set up in the hexrow

   from hex 1321 to hex 1619. (Hex 1321 really should be down in

   the Cemetary with the other three Artillery Set Up Hexes as

   some sources have four cannons behind the wooden palisade

   between the Church and the Low Barracks. However the hex

   arrangement of the map does not allow this. Besides several

   movies about the Alamo have a cannon in this location on top

   of the Low Barracks.)

4. The Texan player may place up to three artillery markers

   outside the Main Gate in hexes 0924, 1023, or 1123. He may

   also choose not to put any artillery markers outside the main

   gate. However if he places any artillery markers in these

   hexes the first one must be placed in hex 1023 in order to

   guard the Main Gate. The Wooden Wall protecting hex 1023 is

   presumed to be extended to protect the second and third

   artillery markers should they be placed in the other two

   hexes. If no artillery markers are placed in any of those

   three hexes then the Wooden Wall is presumed to not exist for

   that game.(Sources disagree as to how many cannon were

   positioned outside the Main Gate, the numbers ranging from

   zero to three.)





   Again different authorities disagree as the number and types

of cannons that were in the Alamo during the siege. The numbers

range from 11 to 21. Most experts agree on 17-18 cannons. Again

to give more variety to the Texan set up the Texan player must

roll on the table below to see how many and what type of

artillery marker he gets for the game. He rolls two dice and

consults the table before placing his artillery markers during

the setting up of the game.


Dice Roll       Number and Type of Artillery Markers

    2           1 18pdr, 2 12pdr, 4 8pdr, 2 6pdr, 2 4pdr

    3           1 18pdr, 3 12pdr, 4 8pdr, 2 6pdr, 2 4pdr

    4           1 18pdr, 3 12pdr, 4 8pdr, 2 6pdr, 3 4pdr

    5           1 18pdr, 3 12pdr, 4 8pdr, 2 6pdr, 4 4pdr

   6-8          1 18pdr, 3 12pdr, 7 8pdr, 2 6pdr, 4 4pdr

    9           1 18pdr, 3 12pdr, 7 8pdr, 2 6pdr, 5 4pdr

   10           1 18pdr, 3 12pdr, 7 8pdr, 2 6pdr, 6 4pdr

   11           1 18pdr, 3 12pdr, 7 8pdr, 3 6pdr, 6 4pdr

   12           1 18pdr, 4 12pdr, 7 8pdr, 3 6pdr, 6 4pdr


   Players will have to craft their own extra artillery markers

for this rule. Players may place their artillery markers in any

of the printed and/or additional artillery set up hexes subject

to the restrictions listed in the previous section.





   Most modern historians agree that Bowie who was terminally ill

with tuberculosis spent the final battle in his bed most likely

in a coma thereby contributing nothing to his own defence, let

alone that of the Alamo. Thus when the Mexican soldiers stormed

into his room they used his body for bayonet and target practice

before going on to look for other defenders. Traditionalists

however insist that Bowie though bedridden was awake and shot two

Mexicans with his pistols and skewered another with his knife

before succumbing to bayonets. Hollywood has further hyped the

legend, most notably in the movies "Last Command" and "Thirteen

Days to Glory", by having Bowie strong enough to get out of bed

and tackling a dozen Mexicans before finally dieing. If that is

not bad enough, in the John Wayne movie "The Alamo" Bowie is

strong enough to take his place outside defending his position on

the wall at the start of the final battle. Thus there are many

versions, both real and fictional, of Bowie's final minutes. In

this rule the Texan gets to determine which version Bowie's end

finally takes before the start of the game.


   Before setting up the Texan counters the Texan player rolls

two dice and takes the result and consults the following table to

see what Bowie's status is in the game to be played. The last two

results on the table are admittedly a bit of Hollywood chrome but

are designed to give a little more variety to the Texan player.



Dice Roll      Bowie's Status

   2-3         Bowie is lying in his bed unconscious (if not dead

               already) and does not awaken during the entire

               battle. Follow the normal rules for Bowie. For

               this game Bowie has a leadership rating of zero.

   4-8         Bowie though bedridden is awake and at least able

               to give good account of himself when he is killed.

               Follow the normal rules for Bowie. In this game he

               has his normal leadership rating of one.

  9-11         Bowie though confined to his quarters due to his

               illness is able to get out of his bed and give an

               even better account of himself when he is killed.

               Follow the normal rules for Bowie except that he

               may set in either hex 1717 or hex 1321 inside the

               building. (Hex 1321 was Bowie's normal quarters

               during most of the siege before he was moved to

               the Church.) In this game he has a leadership

               rating of two.

   12          Not only is Bowie well enough to take his position

               outside on the wall, he is even armed with that

               fancy seven barrel shotgun he had in the John

               Wayne movie. Bowie may set up anywhere in the

               Alamo and follows the same rules as the other

               Texan leaders. In this game he has a leadership

               rating of three.





   During the assault on the Alamo, Mexican units used ladders to

climb the outside walls to get to the roofs and firing platforms

on top. This is reflected in the +4 movement point cost to cross

an Outer Wall hexside. However in the first half hour of the

assault the Mexicans were unable to climb the walls as Texan

gunners were aiming for the soldiers who were carrying the

ladders in the assault columns. It was not until Mexican musket

volleys from the foot of the outside walls suppressed the Texan

gunners that they were able to send soldier back to get the

ladders from their dead comrades. To reflect this situation use

the following rules:

1. When a Mexican unit attempts to cross an Outer Wall hexside

   and any unit(s) in its column have been fired at on this turn

   while it is still outside of the Alamo (not necessarily the

   unit attempting to cross), the Mexican player first rolls one

   die and takes the result and consults the table below.

   Die Roll     Result

     1-2        Unit successfully crosses the hexside.

     3-4        Unit does not cross the hexside and is considered

                to have expended 4 movement points for its

                efforts. (Time wasted waiting for the ladders to

                show up.) It may continue its movement elsewhere

                if it has movement points left.

     5-6        Unit does not cross the hexside and remains in

                the hex it attempted to cross the Outer Wall

                hexside from. (Troops are hiding from Texan

                gunners in the deadspace at the foot of the


2. When a Mexican unit successfully crosses an Outer Wall hexside

   the Mexican player places a ladder counter on that hexside.

   Any Mexican unit may now cross that hexside without having to

   roll on the above table. A Texan unit that moves or remains

   adjacent to that hexside may not remove that ladder counter.

   (Yes the Texans would push the ladders off the wall but then

   the ladders would be lying at the foot of the outer wall for

   the next Mexican unit to come up and use them.)

3. This ladder rules is not used on any other type of wall

   hexside. (The Church Walls are too high, the Wooden and Stone

   Walls can easily be climbed over, and the Mexicans would use

   the ladders, stairs, and ramps that are an inherent part of

   the Inner Walls to cross them.)





   Normally the doorways to the rooms in the Alamo were either

open or unlocked. However the doorways to the rooms that faced

the interior of the Alamo were specially prepared so that they

could be locked and barricaded in case the Texans retreated to

these rooms to make last stands in case the Mexicans had stormed

the outer walls. General Santa Anna anticipated this and insured

that all assault columns were each equipped with several crowbars

and axes in order to break through them. When the Texans did

indeed retreat to the rooms several Mexican units tried to break

through the doors. While a couple did succeed in breaking in,

most quickly gave up as musket fire was decimating the troops

working on the doors and the Mexicans started using the captured

cannons to blast the doors in instead. To recreate this situation

use the following rules:

1. Doorways are normally considered to be open and the +1

   movement point cost applies when crossing an open doorway

   hexside. However when a Texan unit crosses a doorway hexside

   into a room inside a building the Texan player may declare

   that doorway just crossed to be closed and mark that doorway

   with a closed counter to indicate that. The Texan player must

   declare this at the time the hexside is crossed, he can't wait

   until later in the turn to declare it just to see what happens

   outside. A Texan unit is not required to close the door if the

   Texan player does not want it to. Mexican units may not close


2. No unit may cross a closed door hexside to an inside room and

   Zones of Control do not extend across into the room either.

3. A Mexican unit which starts the Mexican movement phase

   adjacent to or moves adjacent to a closed doorway may attempt

   to break it down. To do so it expends two movement points and

   rolls one die. If the result is 1-2 the doorway has been

   broken through and the door is permanently open for the

   remainder of the game. Any other result means that they failed

   to break it down. If there is a Texan infantry unit inside the

   room adjacent to the doorway add one to the die roll. A

   Mexican unit may repeat this operation as many times in a turn

   as it has movement points to expend to do so.

4. When the doorway is again open Zones of Control again extend

   across it and units may again cross the doorway hexside. The

   Mexican unit which breaks down the door would still have to

   expend the +1 movement cost to cross the doorway it just broke

   down if it moved into the room directly afterward.

5. If a Mexican shoots a cannon against a closed doorway and the

   shot succeeds, the hexside becomes a clear hexside.

6. A Texan unit which routs through a doorway hexside may cause

   that doorway to be closed. If a Texan unit routs out of a room

   through a closed door, the doorway again becomes open if there

   are no Texan units remaining in the room.


Main Gate: The doorway in hexside 1022/1023 is the main gate to

the Alamo. The Texan player must declare at the beginning of the

game after setting up his units whether this doorway is open or

closed. If the doorway is closed any Texan units outside the gate

manning the artillery markers can not go through the doorway if

they want to get inside the Alamo. They will have to climb over

the wall. A Mexican unit which tries to break through the gate

must roll a one in order to break it down and automatically fail

if there is a Texan unit inside the room behind the gate. A

Mexican unit which enters the room behind the gate from the other

doorway may open the closed gate by expending two movement points

to do so. (The main gate was of a sturdier construction than the

doorways to the rooms in the Alamo.)

Church: The doorway in hexside 1618/1718, like the main gate, is

of sturdier construction than all of the other doors. Thus when

it closed the Mexicans must roll a one in order to break it down

and may not break it down if there is a Texan unit directly

behind it. The three doorways to the rooms inside the Church are

always considered to be open. They may never be closed. (These

rooms were not prepared for last stands like the rest of the

rooms in the Alamo were.)





   During the final assault on the Alamo the Mexicans set fire to

two of the rooms on the West Wall. They did this by having a

soldier throw in through a window a small incendiary device while

the other Mexican soldiers gave him covering fire against the

Texans in the room. (Thus the infamous hand grenade scene from

the John Wayne movie is not a bunch of Hollywood hype, it really

happened.) Like breaking down doorways however, the Mexican units

started taking casualties while performing this operation and

soon reverted to using cannons. To recreate this situation use

the following rules:

1. Only the three Mexican units of the Zapadores battalion in the

   Reserve Column may perform this operation.

2. To perform this operation a Mexican unit must start the

   Mexican combat phase adjacent to a gunslit or open doorway

   hexside of the room to be firebombed. After resolving combat

   with that unit against the Texan unit inside the Mexican

   player may make an additional die roll with one die. A result

   of 1-3 means that a fire has started in the room in question

   and a result of 4-6 means that a fire failed to start. If a

   fire has started the Mexican player places a fire marker in

   the room hex directly behind the gunslit or doorway hexside he

   fired through.

3. When a fire starts inside a room all Texan units inside that

   room immediately make a Damage Check. A Texan unit in the

   same hex and the fire marker adds one to the dice roll of the

   Damage Check. Results are applied immediately.

4. At the beginning of each Mexican combat phase of all following

   turns the fire spreads to adjacent inside room hexes of the

   same room. Place fire markers in the effected hexes. All Texan

   units still inside the room on fire take another Damage Check,

   applying the results immediately before any Mexican units

   conduct combat. A fire does not spread beyond the confines of

   the room it started in.

5. No unit may enter into a room hex with a fire marker in it. A

   unit that starts it movement phase in a hex with a fire marker

   in it must leave that hex during that movement phase. If it

   can not move out of the hex that unit is eliminated.

6. Fires may not be started inside rooms that have no Texan units

   in them. Fires may not be started in any hex in the Church.





   The Texans had an armory set up in one of the rooms to store

extra weapons that were not issued out to the troops on the

walls. (These weapons were in addition to the extra ones used in

the Intensive Fire rule.) There was also some extra small arms

ammunition and powder stored there as well. Historically the

armory was located in hex 1414. During the assault about 15

Texans held out in there for about 45 minutes and it was the last

room to be cleared by Mexican troops who took about 50 casualties

in doing so. To recreate this situation use the following rules:

1. Before setting up his counters the Texan player may secretly

   record the location of the Alamo armory. It may be located

   inside a room in either the Long Barracks, the Short Barracks,

   or the West Wall. It may not be located in the Church. When

   Mexican units first attack Texan units which are located in

   the room where the armory is located or move through the

   armory location hex, whichever occurs first, the Texan player

   announces that the armory is there.

2. Texan units which are in the same room as where the armory is

   located have the following advantages:

   a. They subtract one from dice rolls when making a Damage

      Check on themselves. This is in addition to all other


   b. They each add one to their Fire and Melee strengths.

   c. They may go berserk and perform a ferocious counterattack

      without being stacked with a leader. They are each

      considered to have a leadership rating of three when

      checking for the ferocious counterattack.

3. These advantages last only as long as the Texan units stay in

   that room.

4. When Mexican units moves through the room or a fire has

   consumed the whole room or the Mexicans have cleared all Texan

   units from the room then the armory has been destroyed and any

   Texan units which should later move into the room do not

   receive any benefits from the now destroyed armory.





   The Alamo's powder magazine, which is located in hex 1816, was

where most of the gunpowder which was not being used was stored.

Most of this gunpowder was of Mexican manufacture and thus of

inferior quality which the Texans refused to use unless the rest

of their good powder ran out. Several movies depict the magazine

exploding from a lighted torch being thrown in there by a dieing

Davy Crockett. Historically the magazine did not explode (and

Davy Crockett never tried to blow it up) although one Texan named

Robert Evans did make a mad dash with a lighted torch to reach

the magazine room and throw in the torch. While he did manage to

get to the Church from the West Wall running by many Mexican

soldiers before they knew was happenning, he was gunned down by

Mexican soldiers guarding the magazine before he could throw in

the torch.


   Granted a rule for this event seems to be more chrome than

anything else but an attempt was made and the Texan player in

this game should be given the same chance as his historical

counterpart had. Use the following rules:

1. In the Texan player turn after the Mexicans have eliminated

   the last Texan unit from inside the Church the Texan may

   attempt the blow up the magazine.

2. To do so the Texan player must have a leader counter still on

   the board. The Texan player can not use the Bowie leader

   counter unless Bowie has a leadership of three for that game.

   If there are no Texan leader counters left on the board or if

   only Bowie is left and stuck in his room then the Texan may

   not attempt to blow up the magazine.

3. To blow up the magazine the Texan must move the closest Texan

   leader counter from where ever it is to the magazine hex by

   the shortest possible route that it can legally move by the

   rules. In this case the leader counter is considered to have

   an unlimited amount of movement points with which to make his

   move. The Texan leader counter must move through hexes

   containing Mexican units and/or their Zones of Control if

   these hexes constitute the shortest route. If the Texan leader

   counter reaches the hex where the magazine is located then the

   magazine blows up.

4. Each time the Texan leader counter enters a hex containing a

   Mexican unit and/or its Zone of Control that Mexican unit may

   fire at the Texan Leader counter. This includes a Mexican

   unit in the same hex as the magazine. Each Mexican unit which

   does this may only fire once no matter how many hexes under

   that unit's control or occupation the Texan leader counter

   enters. The fire attack is treated as a normal fire attack.

   The Texan leader counter is considered to have a Morale Rating

   of 10 and may not use its leadership Rating to modify the

   Damage Check dice roll. When a Damage Check dice roll exceeds

   ten (after all modifications) the Texan leader counter is

   killed and the attempt to blow the magazine fails. A Mexican

   unit which fires at the Texan leader counter may still fire

   during its normal Combat Phase for that turn.

5. When the magazine blows up all units and artillery markers in

   that hex and all adjacent hexes are eliminated. In addition

   all wall hexides in the seven effected hexes are destroyed and

   considered to be clear hexsides for rest of the game. (If this

   does not seem a powerful enough blast for some players

   remember that this was Mexican gunpowder which was not very

   powerful in the first place.)





   On the map the Wooden Wall that runs between the Long Barracks

and North Wall is not high enough. Many authorites agree that the

wall was as high as the Outer Wall. However this wall was a hasty

repair job to seal a breach in the wall that existed since the

previous year. The wooden slates in the wall had spaces between

them that allowed Mexican troops to climb the wall like a ladder

during the final assault. Thus the Mexican units should not be

able to cross these Wooden Wall hexsides as fast as the normal

game allows. To remedy this situation use the follwing rules:

1. The wooden wall in hexsides 1304/1305, 1204/1305, 1204/1205,

   and 1105/1205 are now considered to be Outer Wall hexes. This

   means that it now costs +4 movement points to cross those

   hexsides. However due to the construction of the wall, Mexican

   units do not have to roll to see if they have any ladders in

   order to climb the wall, they may cross at will.

2. There are no Inner Wall hexsides or Rooftop hexes behind this

   wall. However Mexican units may still enter the hexes behind

   the wall. (There was an earthen berm behind the wall

   reinforcing it which the Mexicans used to come down off the

   wall.) Mexican units must still pay the +2 movement points to

   cross the Inner Wall hexsides adjacent to these hexes if they

   want to move to the Level 2 hexes adjacent to them.





   The current twelve turns represents an hour of real time.

Since the final assault lasted 90 minutes the Mexicans are

getting short changed in terms of time. Granted after an hour the

issue was no longer in doubt but the game's victory conditions

are based on how well the Texans do versus their real life

counterparts. With all of the advanced rules in this article the

Mexican player will be hard pressed to win in twelve turns,

considering that many of these rules favor the Texans. Thus it

seems only fair to give the Mexicans all of the time that they

had historically in order to complete their mission.

1. The game now lasts until turn 18.

2. Rule 16.6 is changed to read as follows: The Texan player wins

   automatically if he has any combat units or leaders alive at

   the end of game turn 18.

3. Rule 16.5 Victory Point Schedule is changed to read as


   Texan VPS       Level of Victory

   17 or fewer     Decisive Mexican Victory

   18              Substantial Mexican Victory

   19              Marginal Mexican Victory

   20              Marginal Texan Victory

   21              Substantial Texan Victory

   22 or more      Decisive Texan Victory

4. All other rules in Rules Section 16.0 remained unchanged.





   It is my hope that these rules increase the game's level of

sofistication and the players' enjoyment of it too.