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Daniel Thorpe
British Columbia
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Posted this as a comment, but it kept growing till it turned into a mini-review. So, I'll re-post to see if anyone else who's played the game wants to comment...

How do you turn the Polish campaign, widely perceived as a walk-over, into a good game? Plan West does two very smart things.

First, it focusses on the first week and a half of battle at a close operational level. Units are divisions or smaller and turns only a day each. At this scale the frontier battles, where the Poles held on desperately, are a real dog-fight. It takes the Germans a couple turns of hard slogging to earn their breakthroughs. Even then, there's a tense balance between closing the pockets that form, relieving East Prussia, and occupying Warsaw (an instant victory), all in terrain crossed by numerous rivers and lakes. 10 Turns and a 3/4 size map cover this phase in a compact package that ends before things get boring. Which means leaving out the Russian drive through Eastern Poland, but - since that was more an occupation than an invasion, after the real fighting was done - no loss.

Second, this is not the blitzkrieg wielding Wehrmacht of 1941 or even 1940. The Germans invaded Poland on the hop, with a horde of recently recruited divisions and a doctrine still in evolution. Thus, the Poles get a shift in their favour on Turn 1 (a reverse surprise bonus!) and the Germans don't receive their good command chits till a few turns in. The historical set-up also scatters the small number of powerful Panzer divisions badly, while German Infantry divisions are no stronger than the better Polish divs. As the game progresses, and the German player fights through the frontier defences, starts receiving the better command chits, and gets the Panzers concentrated into a couple of breakthroughs, you can see the Germans learning the techniques they would unleash on France a year later.

There are a couple of rough edges: out of command units can be stalled, motionless, forever - which seems odd at this scale. And the CRT contains no split results, where both sides take losses. This is wrong, given how attritional WWII combat actually was (Plan West mimics its design ancestor, "A Victory Lost", here).

Still, this is a game with a coherent theme and a fascinating point of view. I had more fun with it than the majority of hex wargames I've played recently.
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Andrzej Sieradzki
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We don't stop playing when we get old, but we get old when we stop playing.
Thanks for a competent review. I realize with a kind of pleasure, that the Polish 39 campaign has been recently rediscovered by several game designers and this title is the second in a row in an annual perspective. The former game was Summer Lightning: The Invasion of Poland 1939, of which I'm learning the rules by now.
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