7 Days of Westerplatte
Designer: Łukasz Woźniak
Publisher: G3/ST Games
Time: 45 – 60 minutes
Reviewer: Jonathan Franklin
Times Played: 3 (with review copy provided by G3 Games)
Plants vs Zombies, the co-op, set in WWII.
7 Days of Westerplatte is an amazing story. Stop now, go here and read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Westerplatte,then come back for the rest of this review.
Up until last month, I thought of this as an important historical chapter in WWII.Today, it seems more relevant than ever.
The players are Polish soldiers holed up in a depot trying to hold off the German forces for 7 days. The Germans are represented by a deck of cards filing towards your defended position. There are five columns of Germans, represented by the letters A through E. You have five positions along the wall of the depot that defend against those five columns.
Fortunately, your positions are defensive and are protected with a wall of bricks. When you are not at the wall, firing on the attackers, you can fall back to buildings that offer benefits, such as more ammunition, more mortar grenades, more bricks, more landmines, etc.
Photo by Henk Rolleman
There are only two ways for the game to end. You lose if two of the six buildings have no bricks (protection). You win if you survive 7 days. Each day is measured in defeating/surviving 8 German cards (more on that later).
The play of the game is quite simple, with each turn consisting of two movements and one action, in any order.
Your play area is a trapezoid with five points on the wall and six buildings. You may move between adjacent buildings, between adjacent wall positions, or between a wall and building connected to each other. Each move is a move action, so the most distance you can cover in a turn is two spaces total. You may take an action at the wall, attack, or take an action in a building (improve morale, rebuild the wall, push the Germans back, or get landmines/ammo/mortar grenades).
Photo by Kai Mölleken
After you take your two movements and action, the Germans respond with howitzer or heavy machine gun fire. If there are bricks in the wall, one or two are removed, depending on the strength of the gun. If there are no more bricks in the wall in front of the gun, one of the two buildings behind that gap is hit. In the only aspect of kindness in the game, the players may choose which of the two possible buildings is hit. Buildings are also protected by bricks, but often those are taken out later in the game, raising the stakes considerably.
The German card in columns A through E each attack the depot if they can. Howitzers are remain the back of a row and can take out walls every turn. Heavy machine guns need to be moved up slowly before they can attack the wall, giving the Poles more time to get in place and respond.
Each turn, after the Germans attack, a new German card is added. The card specifies which track it should be placed on. Sadly, if that track already has a card on it, the new card is placed in the first empty track to the right, so there will be no rest. If a German card is drawn and all five columns are already full, the Poles lose a morale point. Morale is an important part of the game and morale can also be lost in air raids and other ways. Morale is represented on one of two tracks on the board. As you lose morale, you may lose bricks (protection), movement, or even ammunition. Finally, the new German card tells you which columns advance, so not only do you get a new enemy unit, but other heavy infantry units advance. Fortunately, stronger units advance more slowly.
After each ‘day’, which is defined as 8 discarded German cards, an event card is drawn, which can affect the course of the battle, from negative events like the loss of bricks or destroyed paths to positive events like increased morale or more landmines.
There is more to the game than that, such as teaming up at a single location, a resupply after the third day, and other treats I won’t spoil.
I love the Polish trend towards more historical games, including Kolejka, Letnisko, The Outcast Heroes, and Mali Powstancy. I have them all and would be happy to play any one of them at any time. 7 Days of Westerplatte is a great addition to that group, even though I am not a war person. Really, it is more about logistics and picking your battles. It is a co-op and has the potential for alpha player syndrome, but because the event cards and coming German cards are unknown, it has a strongly reactive/tactical element which makes it pretty clear what needs to be done.
Another excellent aspect of 7 Days of Westerplatte is that it has variable difficulty levels, both by having two morale tracks, but also with the ability to skew the event cards towards the positive, neutral, or negative events. Finally, if it is too easy with harder events and the harder morale track, you can flip the buildings to their harder sides, giving you less ammo or fewer bricks per visit.
In short, I really liked 7 Days of Westerplatte as a 60 minute co-op for 1-4 players.
Other Opinionated Gamers Opinions:
Opinionated Gamers Ratings:
I love it –
I like it – Jonathan Franklin
Not for me –