Through his excellent wargame podcast, Wargames To Go, Mark Johnson introduced me to the concept of postcard wargames. These are mini-microgames that make One Page Bulge look like Fortress Europa, but don’t let that fool you. They might not fill a table or a weekend, but the right mix of mechanics can make for a challenging and pleasant session of pushing cardboard chits around a mapboard.
Turning Point Simulations has a collection of free postcard games listed on their website. They include one, complete with die-cut counters, with every purchase you make from their website. I played the first one, the solo game Rattenkrieg, and after a quick read through of the rules, me and my youngest were ready to start slaughtering some Nazis and Commies.
This was a fast win, but it was still a close-run thing. It required a lot of luck, and in subsequent plays where the dice didn’t so heavily favor the Germans, they were slowly ground down by the surviving Soviets. As such, this seems like a historically accurate representation given that the Germans have to win fast or they won’t win at all.
So far, I’ve gotten 90 minutes of table time out of a free game that fits on a postcard. Even if I never play this game again, it was already time well spent. Especially given that it served as a chance to show my three year old how these games work. (She likes the green ones.) Try pulling off that trick with a round of Advanced Squad Leader.
Edit to add: The Australian Wargamer has a second review that I found just after writing up my own experience.