'Siege of Queretaro' is another game from Blue Panther Games. When I order Poltava from them it was economical in terms of postage to order at least one more game, so I selected this one since it uses the same basic rules as Poltava and is in a setting which interested me.
The siege took place in 1867 at Queretaro, north of Mexico City. A Juarista army under General Escobedo trapped emperor Maximilian and his Imperial forces at Queretaro. The Juaristas have superior numbers, but the Imperial troops are well-trained and up for a fight.
I finally got this out and played it through yesterday.
Production-wise it's as lovely as Poltava with chunky easy-to-read counters and a lovely canvas map.
Here's the initial setup. It has more counters than Poltava, and the terrain has more of an effect - in Poltava there is terrain, but most of it constrains the battle, and you really only deal with redoubts and fortifications. In this game you are fighting in a city, and the surrounds are dotted with hills and orchards, all of which limit or assist you.
The green counters in the city are the Imperial troops. Victory is about controlling eight objectives in and around the city at the end of the game. Seven of them are worth 1VP each and there is one final fort that is worth 2VP. On the first turn the three Juarista armies enter the board - the Armies of the North, West and South. Both sides have the potential for reinforcements. Those of the Juaristas will turn up in the first ten turns, whilst the Imperial reinforcements are less certain and the Emperor must wait at least ten turns for them.
The end of the Juarista first turn, showing their forces ready for the attack. The Juaristas look strong, but many of their units are feeble National Guard which are OK if you can bring their numbers to bear, but can be vulnerable to destruction. The Juaristas need to use their better troops to spearhead the assault. There are possibilities for cavalry to operate around the margins of the city - you can see some Juarista cavalry on the left of the map.
The first Juarista assault was on the isolated Hill of Bells fort, and disordered the defending artillery.
A second assault ...
... took the fort. So by the end of turn two the Juaristas had taken an objective and had a toe-hold in the city.
The position at the end of four turns - there is some cavalry action on the bottom right of the map, and the Juaristas are consolidating their position around the Hill of Bells.
By the end of Turn Six the attack had shifted to the south-west walls of the city (top-left). The juaristas had broken in, but it was with National Guard and it was unlikely they'd hold their position for long without support from better troops.
The end of Turn Eight. The Imperials were still holding the walls, but the Juaristas were pushing forward from the Hill of Bells with decent troops. Imperial cavalry were fighting their Juarista counterparts to the north and east of the city. The Juaristas had also captured San Sebastian, an objective outside of the city walls on the centre-right of the map.
The position at the end of Turn Ten was looking less good for the Imperials. They had been pushed back from the outer walls to the west of the city (conceding more objectives) and were now forming a new line in the centre of the city near the objectives there. On the plus-side, they had recaptured San Sebastian.
The end of Turn Twelve. When the collapse comes, it comes quickly. The superior numbers of the Juaristas make it easy for them to block Imperial retreats, making it far easier for them to eliminate units. A steady advance was grinding down Maximilian's troops, and unless the reinforcements turned up the Imperials were simply going to run out of men.
It ended on Turn Fourteen with the last Imperial unit being eliminated, giving the Juaristas all of the objectives.
I will try this again one day - I realised that I made a couple of mistakes during the game which, whilst they probably weren't critical, might have affected the early stages differently. However it does look like the Imperials have a tough job here. The Juaristas simply have to keep attacking and eventually the odds will work in their favour. Constrained in the city the Imperials have limited retreat options and can be easily destroyed. I'm not sure I like this game as much as Poltava, which is, at heart, more of an open field battle; the Imperials seem to have limited options and are generally left reacting to the Juarista attacks. So an interesting game in a setting less well-known than others, but maybe not a classic I'd get out again and again.
Thanks for the review. 👏ReplyDelete
Yes, the subject is interesting - but the game itself does seem to have rather limited options. The Juaristas attack and the Imperial forces try to hold them off. The board, counters and cards all look to be a nice quality. I doubt I’d buy the game but sometimes I do use Boardgamegeek maps and rule mechanisms for movement and as battle generators.
I agree the setting is somewhat limited, but there do appear to be a couple of options for each side, and teh cards shake things up a bit too. But I'm not sure it has great replayability, and I suspect pulling off an Imperial win is next to impossible (so it's historical in that respect).Delete
The map and the OOB are useful though.