When you think of Texas, nothing is more iconic than the Alamo. It became the battle cry of the Texas Revolution, “Remember the Alamo!” It’s a major tourist attraction, and when we reached the Battle of the Alamo in our history lessons as we cover US history, I knew we had to do a Battle of the Alamo simulation.
**This is Future Ticia here, I’m updating this post from 2012 because we’re studying the Alamo again for Texas history now, and I wanted to see what we did last time. I’m adding in affiliate links marked with an *, and some things I’ve learned since then.**
What inspired the Battle of the Alamo simulation
We did this a week or two ago, but I hadn’t downloaded the pictures and my friend I did this with has anxiously been watching for this to be posted, so here it is:
To start go to Junior General and look up their Alamo scenario. From there you can print off their figures, or you can use the massive number of ones you have. Or maybe that’s just me. With 3 men in my house who love to act out battles, and one or two others in the house who have at least a cough cough mild cough cough interest……….. There’s a lot.
How our Battle of the Alamo simulation went
In our version, the Mexicans had about 65 soldiers divided into 7 groups. Each group had a lieutenant who was in charge of moral (that determines if they can move forward). I’d recommend picking up these Napoleonic soldiers in white* and Napoleonic soldiers in red*. They are useful in so many ways. We also used my husband’s gaming mats* (though I think the tavern mat* we now have would work better).
The seventh group was held in reserve and didn’t have a cannon. The first 6 groups did.
I won’t go into big detail about how each round went because the scenario did a good job of doing that on the site. Our modifications: Each figure could move 6 hexes if they were able to move, and there were 30 Texans at the Alamo (that is not the right proportions).
At first, things looked good for the Texans. They had several successful canon shots, and they were able to take down most of the Mexican lieutenants. But, then both sides were out of cannon fire, several of their canons had been destroyed and there was a breach in their walls.
But then, the Mexicans were able to start scaling the walls and the sheer numbers started to overwhelm the Texans.
If the enemies are able to fire 6 shots for every one you are able to fire it does not bode well for you.
(This shot is actually from earlier in the scenario, but it does have one of the kids playing the Mexicans looking mighty pleased with herself)
And then their heroes died. Davy Crockett, Colonel William Travis, Jim Bowie. One by one each of the heroes died to Mexican bullets.
The boys lost it. They couldn’t handle the heroes they had fought with dying. Which led to a great lesson.
We talked about how the Texans must have felt when they heard the Alamo had fallen and how only a few survivors escaped. No quarter was given to wounded or sick. This was a huge mistake on the part of Santa Anna because it became a rallying cry for all Texans.
At the final battle of the Texas Revolution, the Texans yelled: “Remember the Alamo!” That cry led them to victory. It’s amazing how much morale can be changed by a small thing. Martyrs are a powerful thing.
What I learned from our Battle of the Alamo Simulation
Future Ticia here, like I said we did this five years ago in a co-op situation with kids ranging in age from five to 13 (essentially the age of my boys currently).
- I would split up the ages better. I made the mistake of letting the kids pick their placements, and all of the older kids chose the Mexicans.
- I’ve learned with these simulations I need to either shorten the scenario by eliminating soldier numbers OR set a timer. On this one, I would probably decrease the number of soldiers, because the final destruction of the Alamo is so key.
- I’d have some follow up activities planned, which I’m doing this time around, looking at the artwork, primary sources, and other details.
You model reminds me of the Alamo model in Deep Space Nine. 🙂
MaryAnne K says
I visited Texas one summer when I was a kid, and I remember three things: my mom reading “Raggedy Ann and Andy” to us at bedtime, it being incredibly hot, and visiting the Alamo. Looks like the reality of what happened there really hit your boys, this time.
Raising a Happy Child says
Poor guys. It's hard to acknowledge that battles were lost and people died for real in those wars of far ago.
I love the way you reenact battles. I have to try that with the kids some time.
Joyful Learner says
I learn so much from your history lessons than anything I learned in school!