Each year September 1st not only marks the beginning of the new School Year in Poland but also the anniversary of the Nazi Germany (and later Soviet Union) aggression on Poland which started World War II. Usually on that day I am reaching to the titles which depict those very sad and tragic events and today I would like to touch upon two titles which I am going to bring to the table this year.
One will be pretty low-level, operational combat depiction of valiant defense of the Polish Postal Workers on September 1st 1939. The second will be from completely different, strategic perspective, very vividly showing the role of Soviets in attack on Poland and further partition.
It is hard for me to say enjoy, but at least I hope you will like the article. Of course, once I play the game I will do also session report.
I am devoted fan of Valiant Defense Series by David Thompson. It currently encompasses Pavlov’s House (siege of Stalingrad), Castle Itter (Wehrmacht and Allies fighting versus SS troops!), Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms (which I am describing here) and recently released Lanzerath Ridge (an incredible defense by two dozens of US Troops during the Battle of the Bulge).
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 (so 5 attacker actions driven by cards);
- Defender Phase (four moves and four actions by Postmen);
- Optional Clearing Phase (Assault counters inside the building remove defenders)
- Escape Phase (Defenders escape from the building).
Let me share some of my experiences with the game. First and foremost, 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.
Secondly, the 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. Last but not least, top quality components – I like the DVG products – large counters, shiny but useful map, good quality rulebook. I am sure you would enjoy it!
More about the game:
White Eagle Defiant from Hollandspiele by Ryan Heilman recreates the German, Slovak and Soviet invasion of Poland in September and October 1939 that meant 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 two 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.
Be aware, that similar mechanics is used by previous game by Ryan Heilman – Brave, Little Belgium.
More about game:
It is always refreshing to see how others perceive the historical events of your country. It gives different perspective and is usually much more objective, not clouded by some martyrdom or false assumptions. I am always eager to familiarize myself with such opinions be it in books or boardgames. With that in mind I reached for above two games!