Review – Na Grunwald! from Egmont Polska, designed by Filip Milunski
Please note that a review copy of this game was provided by Egmont Polska
Na Grunwald! is a light war themed game game for 2-4 players aged 8+ set in the year 1408 covering the build up of a conflict between King Wladyslaw Jagiello of the Kingdom of Poland and the Order of the Teutonic Knights resulting in the battle of Grunwald. This is a game which gives you an appreciation of the strategic decisions faced by the Polish King as he had to manage his resources by raising an army of loyal knights, hire mercenaries, bring in enough provisions to maintain the army and build finances to pay for it all. Having a long time interest in military history, I was looking forward to playing this game, especially after how much I enjoyed another game from the same publisher and designer, Mali Postancy.
The components are of a very good quality. The main game board has a very effective period map representation of the area of the conflict, nicely thematic, with places for the various card sets. The various cards represent Polish and Lithuanian Knights, Peasants, Teutonic Knghts, Mercenary Knights, Provisions, Ducats and actions. Also included are chits for ducats, and provisions and tokens for a few game ending titles which gain victory points. Lastly, you have standard meeple workers and 4 larger Royal Officer meeples. The artwork by Marek Szysczko and game board design by Maciej Szymanowicz is very good and gives a goo sense of theme for the period.
This isn’t a war game per se. More a conflict resource management game. Ultimately it is all about building up an army and maintaining it while taking on the Teutonic Knights. The mechanics are card based. There are six areas for activity, 5 of which have cards. Each turn, the players place their meeples and Royal Officers in the areas they want to harness resources, be they loyal or mercenary knights, ducats, provisions, workers or starting the 4th turn, into conflict with the Teutonic knights. In 4 of the six areas, players vie to place the largest amount of meeples to be able to gain the resource they want. The 2nd highest meeples placed will gain you a smaller result in ducats or provisions, otherwise you lose out. This means you need to be careful about your choices and try and outwit the other players to get the resources that will gain you the most victory points. So in a way, this is also an auction game of sorts. Very interesting.
Not enough to just collect resources though. As the turns move along you will find yourself picking fights with the Teutonic bad boys and hoping to capture a few to help you collect victory points at the end. You can’t merrily just build your forces either as you have to ensure you can feed them some grub or they will not count at the end.
Another nice feature is the action card that are chosen each turn. Representing a number of historical events, these give specific actions for the players to take which may make a difference to their fortunes.
The gameplay system is smooth, logical and flows nicely with little downtime. There certainly is player interaction as you try and out place each other with your meeples to get the best advantage in resources.
Did it work for me?
I am becoming a big fan of Filip Milunski’s design approach and style. For the 2nd game I have played designed by Filip I have felt that I was playing an engaging, historically interesting and best of all, light enough to get it without feeling overwhelmed.
The great thing is that the placement and card choice system is simple and moves quickly. You can get a good high level sense of the strategic problem. The stress level is right as it is tough to figure out your best worker placements as they could be undone by the other players and you end up with not a lot which can be frustrating but in a good way.
If you are looking for a detailed treatment of the conflict, look elsewhere. This is a game to be played and have light fun in a short time span.This is a well designed, interesting and fun game which gives you historical flavor, easy mechanics, short play time – a winning formula.
Attention larger publishers!!! Another game from Egmont Polska which deserves wider distribution.
Boardgames in Blighty Rating – 7.5 out of 10
I would say yes although I’m not so sure 8 year olds would get it. I would say 10+
For more information about Egmont Polska Games go to – http://www.egmont.pl/en/