Thanks to another great design from David Thompson – published by DVG (DanVerssen Games) – we are able to further discover the fantastic world of “tower-defense” games in the Valiant Defense Series. It currently encompass:
- Pavlov’s House – which I played extensively and you can find my session reports, digital app and game review on this blog
- Castle Itter – game based on incredible true events, which you might familiarize yourselves with in the novel The Last Battle; you can find my impressions and digital app review here too
- Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms – which will be main topic of this article
- Battle of Lanzerath Ridge – an incredible defense by two dozens of US Troops during the Battle of the Bulge – more to be found in Designer Diary; the game to hit KS soon
So let me move now to the historical background of the Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms (or, how some abbreviate, SiPU), game mechanics and my initial session. Enjoy!
The Free City of Danzig (present-day Gdańsk) was crated in 1920, in accordance with the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. Over the next two decades the city became a flash-point in Polish-German relations, which culminated in the Danzig Crisis of 1939.
On the first day of the Second World War, German forces moved in to seize Polish installations in Danzig. Two of the installations were on alert and under orders to hold out: the Military Transit Depot on the peninsula of Westerplatte and the Polish Postal Office No. 1. The personnel of the post office repulsed repeated assaults, and were forced to surrender only after a day-long siege, when the post office was doused with gasoline and set alight. Though German propaganda cast these acts of defiance as futile and a failure, they were viewed by the Polish people as symbolic of their stand against a materially superior aggressor.
The Game components & rules explanation
In Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms you take control of the valiant defenders of Polish Postal Office No. 1 in the Free City of Danzig on the first day of the Second World War. Under your command, the defenders must fend off relentless attacks from the Danzig Schutzpolizei and two German SS units.
The goal of Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms is to recreate the incredible historic accomplishment of the Polish postal workers by defending the post office during the day-long siege. In the game, this is represented by playing through three decks of enemy cards
SIPU is divided into three Attack Phases (Morning, Midday, Evening). Each of them lasts typically six turns. Every turn consists of couple of phases:
- German Phase – play 5 attack cards. You reveal five Schutzpolizei/SS Cards from the German deck, one at a time, resolving the effect of each one before moving to the next. There are several different categories of Cards, based on the card effect: Assault, Grenade Bundle, Support and Howitzer.
- Defender Phase – take four moves and then four actions with Defender counters. Among actions we have Attack, Suppress, Recover or Special Actions (Command and Escape).
- (Optional) Clearing Phase – Assault counters inside the building remove defenders.
- (Optional, Attack 3 only) Escape Phase – Defenders escape from the building.
The game ends at the conclusion of the turn when the the third, Evening Attack German deck is exhausted or immediately if the defenders morale reaches 0.
That is enough for introductions – now, let us get to the actual session. As I think the picture is worth thousand words let me invite you to the story told with photos.
PS. You can click every picture below to open an enlarged version.
Attack 1 – Morning
Attack 2 – Midday
Attack 3 – Evening
That was game to remember! There were couple of critical moments, when German troops breached the Post Office perimeter. Howitzer and Infantry guns were truly deadly, the MGs pretty accurate. Still, the Defenders held valiantly and I managed to accumulate 24 VPs, equivalent of Minor Victory!
Let me now share my initial impressions of the game:
- This is definitely a challenging solitaire game with dedicated solo mode as a major way to play, not an addition to multiplayer version. I love such games, especially about WWII.
- The game theme – while unique and extraordinary as with every installment in the series – is pretty special for me as the Post office defenders were my compatriots; their fight was valiant but later on their fate was tragic.
- Difficulty level – the game is truly challenging and requires from you constant risk mitigation and risk taking. You do not have enough moves or actions and prioritization of scarce resources is key.
- Top quality components – I like the DVG products – large counters, shiny but useful map, good quality rulebook.
It is fantastic that the game about Polish Postal workers was created – I am truly grateful to David Thompson that he decided to made this topic of his game. It is also very interesting mechanically and challenging game, which I will definitely would love to try on higher difficulty levels. Stay tuned!