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Thursday, 14 July 2016

Have a Heart Post-Game Analysis

So how was it as a reflection of Conquistador Warfare? 

Not bad I think. I’ll now try to set out why I think so.

First the movement system is fine and will not need change it did just what I wanted.

The big news was the loss of commanders on both sides. For the Mexica historically that was a frequent occurrence so let’s examine the death of Pedro. 

Small groups of Spanish cavalry did occasionally become unstuck and their loss was always keenly felt.  In Pedro’s case he led, on the table top, two bases of Spanish cavalry into the rear of 16 bases of Mexica. He destroyed 4 of them outright but the remainder turned and hit him with sling shot and Atl Atl at close range.  He threw a 1 and was eliminated.  Reasonable enough I think. Had the initiative not passed to the Mexica, Pedro may have destroyed the whole command and that too has precedent. So dramatic though it was, and that’s not a bad thing in a game, I’m happy. 

Two other things that need comment are fire power and melee.  Taking them in order the sling's concussive power proved effective against the Spanish as it mostly did during the Conquest.  Mexica slingers however were not elite troops and our two units both took heavy casualties and one of them routed.  The Mexica archers achieved little against the cotton armoured Tlaxcala nobles partially because of poor dice but also because they were not great troops. 

The Tlaxcalla archers were more effective (I rated them specialist) driving off Mexica slingers but they could not hold the line of battle.  Atl Atl were thrown by all the high status warriors on both sides to uniformly poor dice save for unit that helped see off Pedro, a few more games needed perhaps.   Over all the key to effective native firepower is numbers at close range and that I think is right.

The Melees were all characterised by low dice on the Mexica side so collapse for them came more quickly than it might have.  That said I think the troop quality, factors and mechanics of the game seem to work. The role of the Tlaxcala came through very clearly and the Spanish swordsmen were just right.

I am now clear on how the Mexica prisoner taking rule will work. In practice the Mexica commander will need to pick the right moment to attempt it and play one of his valuable tactical advantage cards to reinforce the chance of success.  He may lose his advantage in melee if he does so.  But if he pulls it off Mexica morale will soar and the Spanish will start to get shaky.  The idea of dancing a little jig before having one’s heart ripped out and fed to a Demon genuinely frightened them.  

I’ll be testing all that and Spanish firepower in the next test game.  Thank you for reading this and I hope you are finding the development of Have a Heart as interesting as I am.

The very fine images in this blog are detail from the paintings of Diego Rivera and illustrations from the Codex Mendoza.


  1. Sounds good so far. Your notes on the Mexica slingers and Tlaxcala archers sound just about right.

    Taking prisoners sounds tricky and rightfully so!

  2. Yeah, that's how they lost Cortez they could have killed him but wanted to take him alive.