The Halls of Montezuma is the new card driven design from David Fox and Michael Welker, bringing a strategic and operational look at the American war with Mexico, tracing the war's history from the opening battles along the Rio Grande to the U.S. invasion of Vera Cruz and the occupation of Mexico City by the future American Civil War leader, Winfield Scott. The Halls of Montezuma (HoM) is a card-driven game that rests on the lower end of the GMT game complexity meter, while still capturing all the tension, uncertainty, and chaos of the conflict.
The American player is cast in the role of President Polk, dealing with a reluctant Congress and an army with excellent commanders but few professional troops. The Mexican player takes on the unique role of handling an unstable central government dependent on the popular and patriotic but volatile Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (who begins the game in exile). Military forces maneuver throughout parts of Mexico, Texas, and territory that would become the southwestern border region of the expansionary United States, depicted on a point-to-point map of the theater of war.
The Mexican-American War was a war of great contrasts, offering the gamer attractive and unusual options. The United States can conduct a protracted ground war or attempt a naval strangulation of the Mexican economy. Mexico can mass large armies or spread its forces for varied probing attacks that exploit American weaknesses. Combat in HoM uses a combination of doctrine, weapon systems, leadership, terrain, and other factors along with a randomized intensity level which allows the game to cover everything from small border skirmishes to full-scale pitched battles. Special rules provide a flavor for this unusual war by adding, among other things, local revolts, the often harsh Mexican climate, Indian raids, Guerilla bands, the founding of the Bear Flag Republic under John C. Fremont, the overwhelming personality of Santa Anna, and even the desperate American need for accurate maps of Mexico.
HoM offers a single campaign scenario playable in two to three hours, given sudden death victory conditions. This makes the game ideal for an evening of friendly play as well as for tournaments and play-by-email. If you enjoy the other CDG's, HoM brings you the Mexican-American War in a format that hearkens to the design elegance and playing time of We The People ?, the ground-breaking game by Mark Herman. HoM uses mechanics and cards to capture the excitement, tension, and uncertainty of this rarely simulated conflict from American history, the war that was a training ground for so many generals who would become fierce enemies in a later conflict. Can Mexico emerge as a new North American power or will the United States fulfill its Manifest Destiny?
- Rules booklet
Deck of 80 Strategy cards
Deck of 30 Action cards
Two 10-sided dice
One 22x34 mapsheet
Two player aid cards
One and one-half 5/8 inch counter sheets