Today I would like to share short report from another exciting session during Armchair Dragons Digital Convention. Will tell you a little about event itself but also the game we played this time – White Eagle Defiant. I am great fan of this title so when I saw there will be possibility to play this and meet the designers – Ryan Heilman and Dave Shaw – I knew I have to attend. So, without further delay, let us see how it went!
Other White Eagle Defiant articles: White Eagle Defiant – what is in the box? White Eagle Defiant – first impressions White Eagle Defiant – fan-made scenarios, Part 1 White Eagle Defiant – fan-made scenarios, Part 2
Before talking about the actual play, short intro about fantastic event our session was part of. The Armchair Dragoons Digital Convention was an online boardgame conference held 15-17 January, 2021. Thanks to the mode – everything was organized remotely – that was the first time when I had opportunity to attend.
There were many sessions during this weekend – they are all summarized on the the livestreams & recordings webpage – and I had opportunity to attend two. One I am describing here, the other was a new creation by Ryan & Dave – Last One Standing. It was based on similar mechanics like Brave Little Belgium and White Eagle Defiant, but set in completely new environment. Check if you are intrigued!
So the White Eagle Defiant recreates the German, Slovak and Soviet invasion of Poland in September and October 1939 that marked the beginning of the Second World War. Germany and its Slovakian ally began the invasion on September 1, 1939; the Soviet Union followed suit on the 17th.
In this game one player controls the Germans, Slovaks and Soviets while the other commands the Poles. The German objective is to gain control of Warsaw and other designated Victory cities while preventing Polish forces from destroying their forts in East Prussia and recapturing Victory cities. If the German player does so in less time than the historical campaign, they win the game. Anything less is a draw or a win for the Polish player.
The title employ one of my favorite mechanics – point-to-point map and a chit pull mechanism to simulate the campaign and uncertainty of action. On top of this, random event chits are included to add variety to the game, reflecting the weapons (such as armored trains and aerial bombardment) used at the beginning of World War II. We also have specialized units, like German Panzers (which can roll two dice instead of one) and cavalry for the Poles (which can roll a “first shot” at the beginning of a combat round).
A Victory Point track allows for variable entry of Soviet forces (depending on the success of the German player in capturing Victory cities), as well as the possibility of the Allies launching an attack in the West (if the German player fails to do well in capturing Victory cities). Finally, a “blitzkrieg breakdown” track is used by the German player; if the turn ends before both German army group chits are pulled, the German player may elect to activate a group, but possibly suffer a “breakdown” while doing so – and if five such breakdowns occur, the German player automatically loses the game.
Enough of the introduction, let us move to the battlefield!
Tabletop Simulator Session
The game was held on Tabletop Simulator. I must say I am starting to appreciate that platform. For many years my default tool was VASSAL, but recently I see more and more games and designers using TTS. From what I heard, it is easier to use when you develop the game. It seems we might be witnesses to another shift in the online-boardgames area. Pandemic definitely fuels many changes in all aspects of our lives.
During this session I has opportunity to play Polish side – I think Ryan and Dave had a lot of fun from this as that was probably first time for them when person from Poland took command of Polish forces 🙂 My opponent was Chester, leading the Germans/Slovaks/Soviets. Let us have a look at short session report in form of below slide-show:
A close game, which could have gone any way should we have more time to continue. The system proved again to be a very interesting and exciting, with many close battles, maneuvers and changing situations.
Another day with ACDC convention, another quality time spent! And the White Eagle stands up to the expectations – this is really great game, which can go any way although my “valiant Polish defense” could fall any time. I am glad I could take part in this fantastic event, meet Ryan, Dave, Chester and many more. I hope for more in couple of months; I am sure I will take part!