A desperate battle for territory and survival is about to be waged across a bleak and snowy landscape of forests, swamps, and frozen lakes.One sheet of 5/8 inch counters
Red Winter is the first in a proposed series of games covering battles of the 1939 Russo-Finnish Winter War and World War II at a rarely gamed scale: company sized combat units and 90 minute game turns. The Winter War games of the series will be characterized by highly fluid frontlines, wild flanking maneuvers by night, Finnish night raids, and a low unit density across a wide and shifting front. Future Winter War games in the works include the battle for Ägläjärvi, and WWII games in the works include Operation Dauntless (the Allied flank attack near Caen, France, in June of 1944), and several Pacific theatre battles of WWII.
In Red Winter, players assume the roles of the Soviet and Finnish commanders during the unusual battle for Tolvajärvi, Finland, controlling the actions of Finnish ski infantry, Soviet tanks and heavy machine gun companies, mortars, anti-tank guns, and other combat units. The game map is populated by forest, suo (wetlands), small Finnish settlements, and a network of crude roads and trails. However, the dominant feature of the map is a system of sprawling, frozen lakes. Combat units can very often gain favorable positions by crossing these lakes, but they do so at considerable risk…Units caught out on the ice make very inviting targets!
Based upon recent Finnish and Soviet sources, Red Winter is the product of several years of research and development. It was designed with an emphasis on speed, ease of play, and competitive play balance. The rules are built upon classic hex & counter wargame mechanics in combination with novel and well-integrated systems for ranged attacks, unit recovery, Finnish night raids, and sub-zero weather attrition losses. Low counter density and individually simple mechanics combine to allow each player the luxury of completing his turn in about five minutes. This means the full 40 turn campaign game is playable in a single, long afternoon. The large 5/8 inch counters and oversized hexes further enhance playability. And the Play Book's illustrated examples make it easy to jump right into the action.
The Game Situation at Tolvajärvi
The game situation at Tolvajärvi is unique for a Winter War battle. Due to the mobile and fluid nature of the front, both players must remain flexible in their plans at all times, exploiting their opponent’s missteps as they occur. Unlike the popular notion of a Winter War battle such as Suomussalmi/Raate Road, the Finns cannot simply surround the Soviet road columns and cut them into out-of-supply pockets. Both sides are evenly matched at Tolvajärvi, but the Soviets begin with a strong numerical superiority. The Finns are hanging on by their teeth initially. But if the Finnish player can balance the acts of trading losses for time and ground for losses, he may be able to weather the onslaught and accumulate enough reinforcements to turn the tide. If he is skilled, he may then be able to mount a full-scale offensive against the Soviet invaders, as did the Finns historically.
The game includes a 40 turn campaign as well as over a dozen shorter scenarios which cover portions of the full five day conflict. All scenarios have been balanced for competitive play.
Getting Started Play Aid (includes Tutorial Scenario)
Two identical Player Aid Cards
One 22x34 inch mapsheet
Four 6-sided dice
One Turn Track Play Aid