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Subject: RED WINTER Preview and Rules rss

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Mark Mokszycki
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This forum is devoted to previewing my upcoming game Red Winter- The Soviet Attack at Tolvajarvi, Finland, December 8th-12th, 1939.

It's also a cry for help, asking all you BGG wargamers out there to please point out any ambiguities that appear in the rules before I "finalize" them.

Some background: This game covers this pivotal battle during the Soviet invasion of Finland,
at a scale of 425 yards per hex, 90 minutes per game turn. The game will contain several short scenarios as well as a full campaign game lasting 4 days (41 turns). Even the campaign should be playable in about 4 hours since the turns move very quickly for a wargame.

I've been working on the game on and off for pushing 2 years now, and the rules have been through numerous changes and improvements. Those of you who helped playtest 6 months ago will find that a lot has changed. Hopefully the new game will play faster and smoother, and the rules will be simpler and clearer. Numerous problems popped up in the last round of playtests, and I realized that several things really needed to be improved. I thank everyone who participated before- for all your help, your insights, and your patience!

The Red Winter forum originally started here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/1622192#1622192

You can still go there to check out all the old photos and posts, if interested.

I decided to move the thread here since the topic heading of the old thread was no longer relevant; I am not looking for playtesters at this time. However, there will probably be another final round of playtests after the finishing touches have been put on the rules, maps, and counters, mostly for the purpose of fine tuning the play balance.

My plan is to post the rules here, a section at a time, and field any questions and feedback. In return, you guys can help me edit the current rules by pointing out any glaring omissions, typos, awkward sentences, and generally anything that doesn't make sense. For this, I thank you in advance!!

Also feel free to ask questions and offer suggestions. I'm all ears.


UPDATE ON 3-17-08
The near-final drafts of the counters, map, and tables are now on display at this location:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/2164560#2164560

There is some concept art posted there as well.
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Here are some of the latest map samples from the very talented Michael Evans. Note these are NOT THE FINAL MAP. It is constantly evolving and improving with each new version. Michael has been very busy living up to my high expectations. For example, the border color and Terrain Key location have already changed!

These images will give you an idea of the overlook look, however, as they are fairly close to what you can expect.

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Mark Mokszycki
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Here's a peek at the tables (also, NOT a final version). I had originally envisioned some of these going on a player aid card, but thanks to Michael's considerable abililties, that probably won't be necessary.

UPDATE: I have deleted the old image, and added the latest version. This will still undergo a few minor tweaks, just as a rules reference number following each table caption.

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Mark Mokszycki
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I'm sure Michael will chime in with the latest graphical updates in the morning. He has gone nighty-night for now.

Here are the rules, which I will be posting a few sections at a time:


Red Winter
- The Soviet Attack at Tolvajarvi, Finland, December 8th-12th, 1939 -


All game text (c) Mark Mokszycki. Last Living Rules update: 3-14-08

GAME RULES

Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction
2.0 Game Components
3.0 Sequence of Play
4.0 Movement
5.0 Terrain
6.0 Stacking
7.0 Zones of Control
8.0 Combat
9.0 Assaults
10.0 Ranged Attacks
11.0 Special Units
12.0 Reinforcements, Replacements & Recovery
13.0 Digging In
14.0 Supply
15.0 Night Turns

PLAY BOOK

16.0 Scenarios
17.0 Designer's Notes
18.0 Historical Notes
19.0 Order of Battle
20.0 Variants and Optional Rules
21.0 Extended Example of Play
22.0 Glossary of Terms and Abreviations
23.0 Counter Manifest
24.0 Index



I'll use italics for side comments throughout. The Play Book is still a work in progress, though coming along nicely.

 
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1.0 Introduction.
Red Winter is a low to moderate complexity wargame that loosely simulates the fighting between Finnish ski troops and Russian invaders around Tolvajarvi, Finland, during the Winter War of 1939. The players assume the roles of the commanders of the Finnish or Russian forces and attempt to lead their troops to victory. The game has been designed for two players, but it can also be played solitaire in order to learn the rules or explore various “what if” situations.

1.1 A Note to Old Hands and New Players. If you have played wargames before, you’re probably already familiar with terms and abbreviations such as eZOC, CRT and LOS, in which case you can feel free to dive right into the campaign game. If these terms are Greek to you, don’t panic! It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Begin with some of the short scenarios, which will introduce you to the rules more gradually. You'll be up and running in no time.

1.2 Scale. Each game turn equals about 90 minutes. Each hexagon represents an area roughly 425 yards across. Units represent companies (infantry, tanks, heavy machineguns), with some platoons (engineers, Finnish mortars), sections (anti-tank guns) and groupings of two sections (Russian mortars). Each artillery counter represents a battery of four guns (Finns) or a battalion of 16 guns (Russians).

1.3 Setting Up. Backfolding the map along the creases will help it lie flat. Alternatively, some gamers place the map under a sheet of plexi glass to keep it flat and protect it. Give all Finnish units to one player, and all Russian units to the other player. Place all marker counters beside the board. Then choose a scenario from the Play Book (16.0). If you are new to wargames, we recommend you start with one of the short scenarios which are indicated as Introductory Scenarios.

Units are placed on the map and turn track according to the instructions for the chosen scenario. The letters and numbers in the upper righthand corner of the unit counters refer to their starting locations in the Campaign Game. If playing a shorter scenario, refer to the instructions for that scenario.

Units with a setup code consisting of a number are placed on the turn track to enter as a reinforcement on the indicated game turn. Setup codes beginning with a letter refer to hex coordinates on the map. For example, Q25 refers to the 25th hex in column Q. If a setup code does not appear on the front of the counter, try flipping it over; these units begin the game on their reduced step side.

Thanks to Cliff Churgin for his helpful comments regarding this section of the rules. Does this look better now?
 
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2.0 Game Components
The game includes a map, these rules, a set of counters (game pieces), a Turn Track, and a Play Book which includes the scenarios.

Comment: The Player Aid Sheet has gone away, as Michael has done a remarkable job fitting all the relevant info on the Turn Track and map.

2.1 Dice. The players will need to provide two standard 6-side dice in order to resolve many aspects of the game. Various aspects of the game resolved by a die roll. In all cases except Ranged Attacks, a single die is rolled. For Ranged Attacks, two dice are rolled and their results are added together to generate a number from 2 to 12. Dice are rolled at the following points during the game: Combat, Assaults, Ranged Attacks, Recovery attempts, Finnish Night Raids, Sub Zero Losses.

2.2 Counters. Most of the counters represent the various military organizations that took part in the fighting around Tolvajarvi. These counters are referred to as “units.” The remaining counters, called “markers”, are used to track various other game information such as the availability of artillery barrages and ammunition, and the current game turn.

2.21 Interpreting The Unit Counters. Combat units have various numbers printed on their counters to represent aspects of their performance.
-Upper right: The unit's starting hex location on the map, or its turn of entry if the unit is a reinforcement (see Setting Up).
-Upper right: Setup Code (see 1.3)
-Lower right: Movement Allowance
-Lower left: Combat Strength
-Lower center: Ranged Attack Strength (in parentheses)
-Lower center subscript: Range (above and to the right of Ranged Attack Strength)

Note that not all units are capable of making Ranged Attacks. Those that are will also have a superscript number above and to the right of the Ranged Attack Strength; this is the Range (in hexes) over which the unit can use its Ranged Attack Strength.

If a unit's combat strength is shown in black, its strength is doubled on the defense (this applies only to Machinegun units).

If a unit's combat strength is shown in green, it cannot attack (this applies only to Anti-Tank guns and mortars). It contributes its strength to a stack normally when defending.

If a unit's ranged attack strength is shown in yellow, the unit utilizes Indirect ranged attacks (10.0a). If its ranged attack strength is shown in white, it utilizes Direct ranged attacks (10.0b).

Units with a gray triangle in the upper righthand corner are special variant units for use with the optional game rules presented in the Play Book. They are not recommended for use in your first game.

I'm planning on creating an image to insert here which shows all the different types of units, as well as labels for what the various stats mean. I think this will be a lot better than the pure text.

2.3 Map. The map represents a bird’s-eye view of the area around Tolvajarvi, Finland. Note that both the town and the lake share the same name. The map has been overlaid with a pattern of hexagons (“hexes” for short) that are used to regulate movement and troop location, much like the grid on a chessboard. The various charts and tables necessary to play the game are located on the map for ease of reference.

3.0 Sequence of Play
After the players setup the counters on the map as per the scenario instructions, the game is played in a series of turns. Each turn is divided into four phases with the following sequence:

I. Russian Reset Phase

The Russian player flips all his "Fired" artillery to their "Available" side and adjusts his ammo according to the information on the Turn Track.

II. Russian Movement Phase

The Russian player brings reinforcements and replacements on to the map at this time (12.0). Each unit may perform only one of the following actions: move/assault, attempt recovery, take a replacement step, reconstitute itself from the dead pile, or place a Bonfire marker (Russian units on night turns only).

III. Russian Combat Phase

The Russian player rolls for ranged attacks and conducts combats. The Finnish player may roll for defensive support.

IV. Finnish Player Turn

As above, except the Finnish player conducts the operations in steps I-III, in order.

V. Mutual Sub-Zero Loss Phase (following night turns only)

At the conclusion of each Night Turn, both players, Russian player first, roll on the Sub-Zero Loss Table (SZLT) to determine step reductions (16.3). Russian must roll for all stacks which are not under bonfires. Finns roll for all units under "skull" markers. Then remove all skulls and bonfires (see night turns, 15.0).

VI. Victory Check Phase

Players check to see if either has won (see Scenario specific instructions). If not, advance game turn marker and restart sequence.
 
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4.0 Movement
During their movement phase, the active player may move some, none or all of their units on the map subject to some restrictions. Reduced infantry and MG units that do not move during their Movement Phase many instead attempt Recovery during this phase if they are not adjacent to any enemy units (see 14.3, Recovery).

4.1 Movement Basics. Each unit can move no further in one turn than its movement allowance (MA). Units move from hex to adjacent hex without skipping any hexes in between, paying the cost in movement points (MPs) for each hex entered as per the terrain type of the hex entered. See the Terrain Effects Chart (TEC) for terrain MP costs. Units move individually, with each unit completing it’s movement (and any assaults) before moving the next unit (Exception: see 4.4). A unit may not enter an enemy occupied hex unless conducting an Assault (see 9.0).

4.11 Minimum Movement Rule. Units may always move one hex, regardless of terrain cost. This does not allow a unit to enter prohibited terrain. It does allow a unit or stack to conduct an assault, regardless of MP requirements, so long as they begin their movement phase adjacent to the target hex.


4.2 Map Edge Boundaries. Units which move or are forced to retreat off the map edge are considered eliminated. They cannot be returned to the game.

4.3 Finnish Ski Bonus. Finnish infantry units are equipped with skis and pay only 1 MP per Frozen Lake hex. Unlike the road bonus, this ski bonus can be used to move adjacent to an enemy units, but it cannot be used to conduct an assault.

4.4 Stacks and Movement. Units that began the movement phase stacked (see Stacking) may move and/or assault together as a stack. In order to do this, all units must be eligible to enter the terrain type of each hex entered. The MA of the stack is equal to the MA of the slowest unit in the stack. As the stack moves, it pays the MP cost for each hex entered based on the highest MP cost for any unit in the stack for each given terrain type.

Examples: A Russian stack containing two infantry units and a tank unit cannot enter a frozen lake hex, as this terrain type is prohibited to the tank. A Finnish stack consisting of one infantry and one AT unit must pay 2 MPs per frozen lake hex entered, as the AT pays the highest cost in MPs for this terrain type.

A stack may not form or disperse during movement (units cannot be “picked up” or “dropped off” along the way), but not all units stacked together at the start of the movement phase need move as part of the stack. Thus, if three units began stacked, two of them could opt to move together as a stack, and even assault together, while the third unit moved individually.

4.5 Strategic Movement. (Also called "strat moves.") A unit which is four or more hexes from all enemy units at the start of its Movement Phase, and remains so at all times during its move including its destination hex, has 2 additional MPs available. Example: A Russian Machinegun unit with 4 MPs can move 12 hexes along a road when strat moving. Units must begin and remain on roads at all times during their movement when strat moving. Units may strat move on night turns.
 
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5.0 Terrain
Each hex contains a particular type of terrain, as shown on the Terrain Effects Diagram on the map. The effects of each are outlined on the Terrain Effects Chart (TEC), also on the map. A hex is considered to consist of the terrain type which occupies its center portion. There is only one type of hexside terrain- Bridge (5.28). Design Note: An abundance of small streams also existed in this area, but they were frozen solid and would have had little or no effect on gameplay. I chose to omit them so as to not clutter the map.

5.1 Prohibited Terrain. The only limitation upon terrain entry (other than having the necessary MA to pay the terrain cost) is that tank units cannot enter frozen lake hexes. Design note: The ice was thin enough in spots to make this a very risky proposition, and the Russians did not attempt it.

5.2 Terrain Types. The individual terrain types are described as follows:

5.21 Forest. The area around Tolvajarvi is dominated by spruce and pine forest. A good percentage of this forest also consists of deciduous trees. Please note that the CRT is calibrated so that attacking into forest is the norm. Forest costs 2 MPs to enter.

5.22 Swamp. This type of terrain might more accurately be called fenn or mire. This time of year it is frozen, so the going is only moderately more difficult than crossing forest, due mainly to an abundance of logs, snags, and tall dormant grasses. Entering swamp costs 3 MPs.

5.23 Town. These hexes contain small, mostly single story buildings of stone and wood. In game turns, they offer roughly the same amount of protection as forest or swamp, thus they are not treated differently on the CRT. All units pay a single MP to enter town. A hex is considered town regardless of whether the map graphic depicts a single building or multiple buildings.

5.24 Frozen Lake. The deep snow on the frozen lakes slows movement, especially for the Russian units. All units pay 2 MPs to enter a frozen lake hex, except Finnish infantry. Finnish infantry are equipped with skis and pay only a single MP unless they are conducting an assault into a frozen lake hex (in which case they would pay the normal 2 MPs to enter the hex, +2 to conduct the assault). Units in frozen lake are particularly vulnerable; their attack strength is halved when attacking (totalled, then rounded up). Attacking into a frozen lake provides a positive column shift (see CRT). Note that some frozen lake hexes depict coastline, snowdrifts, or small gray islands. These depictions are for graphical "flair" only and have no effect on play. Unless such a hex also contains trees or buildings, it is considered frozen lake.

Comment: Michael, thanks for the fix. This part sounded terrible before. Is this better?

5.25 The Hotel. The hotel is considered to be a normal forest hex for all game purposes except that when occupied by one or more defending infantry or MG units, the defenders ignore the first loss suffered in all combats for as long as they occupy the hex. Thus a 1/2 combat result would become a 1/1. Both Finns and Russians qualify for this benefit. The unit(s) need merely be defending in the hex with the hotel to receive this benefit. Units in the hotel still qualify for digging-in.

Comment: I'd like to insert a photo of the hotel here, along with some better descriptive text about the structure. Although not fancy, it was basically converted into a mini-fortress bristling with MGs and LMGs by the Russians when they finally captured it. Retaking it was difficult for the Finns.

5.26 The Gravel Pits. This hex is treated as a normal forest hex for all game purposes. It is included on the map for historical interest only.

5.27 Roads. Units moving from one hex to another via connecting roads pay only ½ MP regardless of the other terrain in the hex. This “road bonus” may not be used to move adjacent to an enemy (exception: see 11.1 Tanks). Note that several visually distinct types of roads appear on the map. The dark gray road is a major road. The brown roads represent secondary dirt roads or well defined trails. The white roads represent narrow foottrails, goat trails, or fishermen's trails. These three types of roads are for graphical "flair" only and have no effect on game mechanics.

Design note: The sources seem to be in conflict, but it's safe to assume that many of these so-called roads were merely crude foot trails. For example, the road leading around the north end of Hirvasjarvi was a probably a poorly defined trail that would have been of little use to tanks. In order to keep the rules weight low, I have opted to treat all roads and trails equally. I think this decision will have little impact on historical accuracy, especially when considering that the tanks enter very late in the game, and they will probably have more important destinations than the northmost trail.

5.28 Bridges. Bridges are hexside features that join two land hexes. Otherwise, bridges are treated as roads. Units do not pay any additional movement costs to cross them, but units attacking across a bridge hexside are treated as if they were attacking from frozen lake (attacker total is halved, rounded up). Bridges cannot be destroyed. Design note: These bridges are not free standing bridges per se, but more like raised causeways built upon rock As a result, "blowing them" would not have been a simple process, and the Finns did not have the time, equipment, or inclination to do so.

5.29 The Fire Tower. This hex is treated as a normal forest hex for all game purposes. However, control of the fire tower confers certain advantages to the controlling side. Only one side is considered to control the firetower at any given time. Control here is defined as the last side to have a unit occupying the fire tower hex, or projecting an unnegated ZOC on to the hex. The fire tower begins the game controlled by neither side. Strategic note: The Russians can clearly get there first.

5.291 Fire Tower Effects. The side controlling the fire tower is considered to have an "invisible spotter" in the fire tower with three times normal LOS range from the fire tower hex, unaffected by blocking terrain. Thus, LOS range from the fire tower is 6 hexes during morning turns, 12 hexes during normal turns, and 3 hexes during night turns, and intervening woods/ swamp/ town hexes are irrelevant when calculating LOS range from the fire tower.

Design note: The combat unit which moves into or adjacent to the fire tower hex is considered to be escorting a Forward Observer who then scales the tower, armed with binoculars and radio. This observer is not represented on the map by a counter, but he is considered to remain in the tower for as long as his side controls the tower.


6.0 Stacking

Up to five units of the same side, a maximum of three of which may be infantry companies, may stack together in a hex, irregardless of whether they are at full strength or reduced. The Pajari leader may stack for free. Stacking limits are enforced only at the end of each unit or stack’s movement (including Advances and Retreats after combat). Thus, a unit may be temporarily in excess of stacking limits as it moves, advances, or retreats through hexes containing other friendly units, so long as the stacking limits are observed at the conclusion of its movement. Units of opposing sides may never stack together in the same hex. Units forced to overstack at the end of their movement are eliminated.

 
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7.0 Zones of Control
Every combat unit exerts a zone of control (ZOC) into the 6 surrounding hexes, regardless of the type of terrain. These rules frequently use the term "eZOC" which means "enemy zone of control." Any time your unit is adjacent to one or more enemy units, your unit is "in eZOC."

7.1 ZOC and Movement. Units must stop movement upon entering an eZOC. Units that begin their Movement Phase in an eZOC may move directly from one eZOC to another, whether the new eZOC belongs to the same or a different enemy unit, but then must immediately cease movement. Units that begin their movement phase in an eZOC may pay +1 MP to leave the eZOC, in addition to the terrain type entered. They may enter another eZOC hex so long as it is not the first hex of their move, and so long as they end their move upon re-entering the eZOC hex. Units may not use the road movement bonus to enter eZOC, although they may use the road bonus when exiting eZOC (but they still pay the +1 MP).

7.2 ZOC- Other Limitations. Units may receive replacements while in eZOC so long as they are in supply (12.2, 14.0). Units which reconstitute from the dead pile may not be placed in eZOC. Units may not attempt Recovery or Dig In while in eZOC. Units forced to retreat into eZOC take an additional step reduction per stack (8.52). Units performing a multi-hex advance after combat (8.8) ignore eZOC when moving into the originally vacated hex, but must end their advance if they enter an additional eZOC.
 
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8.0 Combat
Units may combat adjacent enemy units during a friendly Combat Phase. Combat is never mandatory between adjacent units. The following rules must be observed:

a) All units within a defending hex must be attacked as a group, but any number of adjacent attacking hexes may attack the same defending hex.
b) Only one defending hex may be attacked per attack die roll.
c) Each unit may conduct only one attack during its combat phase.
d) Attackers stacked in the same hex may attack different adjacent defending hexes, so long as each attacking unit participates in only one attack.
e) Units may attack into terrain types which they are prohibited from entering, but may not assault into such terrain. Note: This really only affects tanks.

8.1 Conducting Combat.
Combat is performed via the following procedure:

1) Attacker declares which hex he is attacking, and which unit or units are attacking it. This includes declaration of all ranged attacks.

2) Attacker declares any number of available barrages he wishes to commit to offensive combat support (not applicable during an assault).

3) Defender declares any number of available barrages he wishes to commit to defensive combat support (not applicable during an assault).

4) Both players resolve barrages, in any order (all results are considered to occur simultaneously).

5) Determine the Combat Ratio.

6) Determine if any column shifts apply, and adjust the odds column accordingly.

7) Roll one die and consult the CRT.

8) Apply any losses called for by the CRT, either as retreats or step losses (attacker first). Note: in an assault, attacker must take all losses as step reductions.

9) Attacker may Advance After Combat if the target hex has been cleared of defending units (and must advance and stop after a successful assault).

10) All ranged attacks and combats against a particular hex must be resolved, and all results applied, before the active player attacks another hex.

8.2 Combat Ratio. Calculate odds by comparing the total combat strength of all attacking units involved in the combat to the total strength of defenders in the defending hex. MG units have their combat strength doubled when defending (only). Express these numbers as a simple ratio. This is called the “Combat Ratio” and it corresponds to one of the columns on the Combat Results Table (CRT). This is the default column used to resolve the combat.

Example: Two Russian infantry units with combat strength of 5 each attack a lone Finnish infantry unit, also with a combat strength of 5. Our combat ratio is 10 to 5, expressed more simply as 2:1.

8.21 Fractional Combat Ratios. If the ratio contains a decimal value, always favor the defender by dropping anything to the right of the decimal point. Example: A total combat strength of 9 points attacking against 5 defending would round to a 1:1 attack. When the combat ratio is less than 1:1 and the decimal value is not 1:2, 1:3, or 1:4 (0.5, 0.33, or 0.25), favor the defender by using the column with the smaller value. Example: 3 combat strength attacking 7 is a ratio of 3:7. This is not quite 1:2, so the attacker must use the 1:3 column to resolve the attack.

8.3 Combat Modifiers. Next, determine if any of the following seven special cases apply to this combat. If so, adjust the CRT column accordingly. Note that a summary of these cases is printed on the map for ease of reference. Some combats may qualify than one column shift. All column shifts are cumulative (see 8.31).

1. Frozen Lake Bonus. If the defenders are Finns in a Frozen Lake hex, the combat ratio is shifted 3 columns to the right. If the defenders are Russians in a Frozen Lake hex, the combat ratio is shifted 4 columns to the right. Design Note: The Russians wore brown and stuck out like a sore thumb on the unbroken white backdrop of the snow covered lakes.

2. Frozen Lake / Bridge Penalty. If any attackers are in Frozen Lake hexes or across a Bridge hexside, all such attackers have their attack strength halved (total the combat strength of all attacking units, halve the total, then round up any fraction). If other attackers participating in the same attack are not on frozen lake hexes or across bridges, their combat strength is unaffected. Example: A Russian unit in forest is adjacent to a Russian unit on frozen lake, and both wish to combat an adjacent Finnish unit in Forest. All units of both sides have attack strength of 5. The Russian unit in frozen lake has its strength halved (2.5, rounded up to 3). So we have a total attacking strength of 8 (5+3) vs. 5, which rounds in favor of the defender to a 1:1 attack.

3. Artillery Support Bonus. Each successful barrage shifts the combat odds by one column in favor of the firing player. Example: The attacker and defender each commit two artillery units to support a combat. Both of the attacker’s barrage rolls succeed, and one of the defender’s barrage rolls succeeds. The net result is one shift in the attacker’s favor (one column to the right on the CRT).

4. SMG Bonus. Finns gain a one column shift in their favor in Assaults when the defending hex is forest, swamp or town, regardless of whether they are attacking or defending. This bonus does not apply in regular combat- only in Assaults. Design Note: The Finns were armed with submachineguns (SMGs) and hunting knives, weapons that were very useful when the fighting became up close and personal.

5. Morale Bonus. The side with "high morale" status gains a one column shift in their favor, whether attacking or defending. This is doubled to two columns in their favor during an assault. Design note: Morale plays a larger part in assault style combat than it does in firefights. This is doubled to two columns in their favor during an assault. The Russians benefit from high morale status during the first day of the game (Dec 8 turns), as do the Finns during the final two days of the game (Dec 11-12).

6. Pajari Leader bonus. Pajari grants a column shift in favor of the Finns when he is stacked with any Finnish unit involved in a combat, whether attacking or defending.

7. Concentric Attack bonus. If attackers occupy two hexes directly opposite each other with respect to the defender (attacking from opposite sides), or from three hexes evenly spaced with one hex between each attacking hex, then the attacker qualifies for a 1R column shift. Play Note: When combined with the "Retreats and eZOC" rules (8.522) this has a greater effect than the 1R column shift might suggest. The defender never benefits from this bonus. The bonus does not apply to assaults since an assault originates from a single hex.

Comment: I'd like to include a pic here to illustrate what qualifies as a concentric attack. While commonplace to wargames, this might be confusing to newbies when they see in a text only format.

8. Defender "Dug-In" Bonus. If the defending hex contains a Dug-In marker, the attacker suffers a 1L column shift.

8.31 Netting Out Combat Modifiers. When determining which CRT column to use, add and subtract all right and left shifts to find a final "net" column shift from the original odds. Example: Two Finnish units with a total combat strength of 8 attack two Russian units with a combat strength of 6 during the first day of the battle, December 8. The Russian units are in a frozen lake hex. The initial odds are 8:6, which rounds down to 1:1. The Finns gain a 4R column shift for attacking Russians in a frozen lake hex, but the Russians gain a 1L bonus for high morale. The net column shift is 3R, so the final column used on the CRT is 4:1. For ratios greater than 6:1, apply all column shifts in order to determine the true ratio before determining which CRT column to use. For example, a 19:2 attack rounds to 9:1 odds, and if combat modifiers yield a net 2L column shift, the final odds becomes 7:1, so the 6:1 column of the CRT is used.

8.4 Combat Die Roll. Roll one die and cross-reference the number you rolled with the column corresponding to the final combat ratio. The numbers within the cell tell you the result of the combat. The number to the left of the slash corresponds to attacker losses, and the number to the right is defender losses.

8.5 Losses. Losses can either be taken as step reductions or retreat hexes. The attacker always assigns all losses first, followed by the defender. The owning player may decide how to assign retreats and step reductions in order to fullfil losses in any combination he sees fit, with the following parameters:

a) The attacking force must always take the first loss as a step reduction, and any remaining steps may be taken as step reductions or retreat hexes in any combination (attacking player’s choice). Exception: In an assault, all attacker losses must be taken as step reducitons.

b) A defending force suffering a combat result of 3 or more losses must take the first loss as a step reduction. Any remaining steps may be taken as step reductions or retreat hexes in any combination (defending player’s choice). However, note also that units which opt to satisfy one or more losses as retreats must also obey all retreat rules (see 8.7). If unable to meet all conditions outlined in 8.52 and 8.521, the unit or units may not retreat to satisfy the loss.

Example of allocating losses: A defending stack containing two Russian infantry units and an AT unit suffer a combat result of 0/3. They must take at least 1 loss as a step reduction, per 8.5b. They flip an infantry unit. They cannot retreat all units 3 hexes in order to to satisfy the remaining 2 losses since the AT unit cannot retreat more than 1 hex (per 8.521). However, if the defenders take another loss as a step reduction, the remaining loss can be satisfied by retreating all defending units 1 hex.


8.51 Step Reductions. A loss taken as a step reduction requires flipping one full strength unit to its reduced side, or eliminating from play one reduced strength unit. The owning player decides which unit or units to reduce.

8.52 Retreats. A loss taken as a retreat requires all involved units of the affected side to retreat one hex. It is not necessary for all retreating units to retreat to the same hex. Units cannot retreat into prohibbited terrain. Units must observe stacking limits at the end of their retreat (but not during, if a multi-hex retreat). If these conditions cannot be met, any remaining unfulfilled retreat hexes must be taken as step reductions. Whenever possible, each hex retreated must place the retreating unit farther away from all attacking units. Retreats do not require the expenditure of MPs; they are not part of the Movement Phase, and are expressed in hexes rather than MPs. Design note: Due to the scale of this game, retreats need not be towards a friendly supply source.

8.521 Retreat / Advance Limits.
No unit can ever retreat or advance after combat more hexes than half its MA (rounded down, but never less than one hex). Examples: An MG unit with an MA of 4 can retreat a maximum of 2 hexes, an Anti-Tank unit (MA 1) 1 hex, Russian infantry (MA 5) up to 2 hexes, and Finnish infantry (MA 6) up to 3 hexes.

8.522 Retreats and eZOC. Units may retreat into an eZOC hex only when no other option exists. Doing so incurs a step reduction to the retreating stack (in addition to any other step reductions already incurred). Note that this reduction is to the stack, not to each individual unit. If two attacking units start adjacent to each other (i.e. not stacked) and both retreat into the same hex in an enemy eZOC, they are considered a stack the instant they enter the shared hex and thus take only a single step reduction. Friendly units in a hex do not negate eZOC for purposes of mandated step reductions during retreats.

8.523 Retreats and Overstacking. If the only legitimate hex into which a unit or stack can retreat would result in overstacking, the player must continue to retreat the minimum necessary number of units by the minimum number of hexes until the stacking requirements are satisfied.

8.6 Eliminated Units. When an already reduced unit takes another step reduction, it is eliminated. Units that were in supply (14.0) at the instant of their elimination are placed in the "dead pool" box on the Turn Track card. This is basically a holding area. These units are eligible to be rebuilt later via Reconstitution (12.21). If the unit was out of supply (OOS) at the instant of elimination, it cannot be rebuilt and is permanently removed from the game; place it in the Eliminated OOS box.

8.7 Advance After Combat. If the defending hex is left vacated as a result of combat, any or all attackers may advance into the vacated hex. Stacking limits still apply. The advance is not considered movement, and the advancing units ignore MP costs for terrain. Advancing is optional, but if the attacker wishes to advance he must do so immediately after the hex becomes vacated. Units may not advance into terrain that is normally prohibited to them. Units that end an advance adjacent to an enemy unit may not attack again, nor may they conduct an assault as part of an advance. Mortars and AT units never advance after combat since they cannot participate in combats. After a successful Assault, the attacker must advance into the vacated hex (and move no further). No unit may ever advance as a result of a Ranged Attack.

8.8 Multi-hex Advances. If the defender retreated more than one hex, the attacking units may advance an equal number of hexes. The first hex of a multi-hex advance must be the original vacated hex, after which the attackers may alter their course. All units need not advance via the same path, so long as they all start the advance in the originally vacated hex. eZOC restrictions apply during a mutli-hex advance; if an advancing unit enters an eZOC hex, it must end the advance. eZOC is always ignored in the first hex of the advance, thus a unit may always advance into the original vacated hex. When performing a multi-hex advance, units may only advance as many hexes as the defenders actually retreated. If all defenders were eliminated, a multi-hex advance is not possible. Design Note: The victorious unit is busy mopping up scattered resistance and rounding up prisoners. All units have advance limits (see 8.521).

 
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9.0 Assaults
Assault is a special type of combat the takes place during the movement phase.

9.1 Criteria for Assaults. A unit or stack of units pays the cost of the terrain in the enemy occupied hex, plus two additional movement points, in order to conduct an assault against all defenders in the hex (but the units do not actually enter the defending hex just yet, and any penalties for attacker's terrain apply to the adjacent hex from which the attackers "launch" the assault). If a unit does not have enough MPs to meet the criteria, it may not assault (but see 4.11). Units cannot assault into terrain which is prohibited to them. Road bonuses do not apply during assaults; units pay the normal terrain cost to enter the hex.

Multiple units may only assault a hex together if they began the movement phase stacked. Multiple stacks can never assault the same hex at the same time, as per 4.1, although the same defending units might be assaulted multiple times sequentially during the same movement phase by different assaulting stacks.

Only infantry, tanks, engineers and MG units may assault. AT units and mortars never assault, though they still lend their defense strength to their hex when defending against an assault. Design Note: The Finns' greater mobility means they will have more oppotunities to conduct assaults, and indeed the Finnish SMG bonus will further encourage this kind of behavior. The Russian infantry MA of 4 means that they will rarely be able to move adjacent to an enemy hex and assault during the same turn.

9.2 Resolving an Assault. Neither attacker nor defender may commit artillery support during an assault. Assaults are resolved during the movement phase using the CRT, with losses allocated normally except that the attacker must take all losses as step reductions. If the hex is vacated as a result of the assault combat, the attacking units must advance into that hex and end their movement for the turn. If the attackers fail to clear the assaulted hex, they remain in their current hex and must end their movement for the turn, even if they had MPs remaining. Regarless of whether the Assault cleared the target hex, the attackers are still eligible to attack adjacent enemy units during the Combat phase.
 
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duckweed wrote:
5.24 Frozen Lake. The deep snow on the frozen lakes slows movement, especially for the Russian units. All units pay 2 MPs to enter a frozen lake hex, except Finnish infantry. Finnish infantry are equipped with skis and pay only a single MP unless they are conducting an assault into a frozen lake hex (in which case they would pay the normal 2 MPs to enter the hex, +2 to conduct the assault). Units in frozen lake are particularly vulnerable; their attack strength is halved when attacking (totalled, then rounded up). Attacking into a frozen lake provides a positive column shift (see CRT).


This reads a lot better now.

I've read through all the rules and they seem fine. I couldn't spot any glaring errors, but I might have missed some. Hopefully other people will find things if there are any. After reading it I've managed to get some of the flavour of the game and how the different sides will play, and I must say I'm really liking it. Some of the mechanics are new to me and sound really good, such as the concentric attack bonus. The way you position your units seems to only have an effect on an individual counter level in the games I've played, so being able to effect the outcome of a battle by positioning numerous units around an enemy unit in a certain way is really interesting.

As for the map graphics and tables, I'll be able to work on them later today after University. Just as a note, the images above can be scrolled sideways if it wasn't obvious, as they are pretty huge. The quality of the images isn't a reflection of the final product either, as they have to be drastically reduced in size and quality just so I can upload them for you guys to look at. Theres a lot of changes that need to be made to the tables content, so try not to compare the rules in them to those presented above if anyone is going to try this I'll start updating them later.

Out of interest, would anyone be willing to purchase this game if it gets published?
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Michael Barlow
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Well, two questions always pop into my head:

1. How many counters?

2. Solitaire compatibility?

But I'm definitely interested.
 
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1. One standard countersheet of the larger 5/8" counters, for a total of 140 counters. Roughly 90 of these are combat units, the others are various markers.

2. The game has been built from the ground up to work well solitaire. As such, there are no fog of war rules. All stacks can be observed by both players at all times.

If both players agree, you could incorporate a fog of war rule (no observable stacks) but this would make the game much harder for the Russian player, and probably throw off the play balance. Given the close proximity of the combatants, the numerous locals, the fire tower lookout, a handful of recon aircraft, the reliance on the road networks etc. I didn't feel fog of war was entirely necessary for realism.
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After still more proofreading, I just made some minor changes to 8.3 and 7.2. I added two more cases to the "ZOC- Other Limitations" specifically how eZOC affects retreat and advances after combat. It's redundant info since it's also covered in the sections relating to those topics, but I figure someone might be looking it for it in 7.2 under ZOC.

8.3 #7 concentric attacks- I just tightened up the language. Previously it referred to a "no retreat into eZOC" rule. This is misleading since you CAN retreat into an eZOC if no other option exists, but you take an additional step reduction when you do so. It has been fixed.

Michael, thanks for your comments above. I'm glad you like the concentric attack rules. I'm certainly not the first to use them. They have been a staple of many hundreds of traditional wargames over the past 30 years, and I always rather enjoyed them as they give the players a real incentive to carefully consider the consequences of their maneuvers. Usually they appear in games using a much larger scale; I don't know if any company-level games have ever used them. Red Winter uses a rather odd scale. This kind of thing is rarely done, and certainly never for the Winter War. But the size and nature of this battle lends itself perfectly to the company level scale.
 
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Latest version of the table design at the top of the map, now with everything a player needs, so no more player aid sheet it seems. Let me know what you guys think before the next update

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v340/primalace/REDWINTER-T...
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I really like having all the tables and information at the top of the map like that. I especially like the dual CRT tables on either side of the map for both players. A very nice touch in my opinion.
 
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Thanks. That feature almost got removed due to lack of room for the tables, but a clever move of the TEC onto the map gave us more room, so now both players have their own CRT within a nice viewing distance.
 
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Mark,

This is very cool and the game looks solid. Count me in if it goes to print and sale.

My two cents (mostly minor nit-picks) hope it helps.

Quote:
1.3 Setting Up. Backfolding the map and placing it under a piece of plexiglass will help it to lie flat.


Sounds like it assumes the player has plexi or that it is needed. How about "Backfolding the map along the creases will help it lie flat. Alternatively, some gamers place the map under a sheet of plexi glass to keep it flat and protect it."

Quote:
If a setup code does not appear on the front of the counter, try flipping it over; these units begin the game on their reduced step side.


How about adding something on the front of these counters to indicate it starts out flipped? (Like an R for reduced or a little curved arrow to indicate 'flip over.')

Quote:
-Upper right: The unit's starting hex location on the map, or it's turn of entry if the unit is a reinforcement (see Setting Up).
-Upper right: Setup Code (see 1.3)


I had to reread this a few times and assumed it was a typo. Isn't this the same thing? If so, how about

-Upper right: the unit's Setup Code indicates the unit's starting hex location on the map, or it's turn of entry if the unit is a reinforcement (see Setting Up section 1.3).

Quote:
0. Mutual Sub-Zero Loss Phase (5:30 a.m. turns only)


Is this phase described in more detail elsewhere?

Quote:
Both players, Russian player first, roll on the SZLT to determine step reductions.


I'd recommend spelling out "Sub Zero Loss Table" the first time and indicating the abbrevation will be used in the future. Also indicate where it is located. For example, "roll on the Sub Zero Loss Table (hereafeter: SZLT) located on the map..."

Quote:
I. Russian Reset Phase


Is this described in more detail elsewhere? If not, how is the Barrage limit etc. determined?

Quote:
6.0 Stacking ... infanty companies
spelling typo.

Quote:
Units forced to overstack at the end of their movement are eliminated.
Add something like, "owners choice, until stacking limits are met."

Quote:
7.2 ...ignore eZOC when moving into the orginally vacated
spelling typo on originally

Quote:
8.3 All column shifts are cumulative.
How about, "an individual combat (or attack?) may qualify for more than one modifider, in that case all column shifts are cumulative (for example, two right column shifts and one left column shift result in a single right column shift).

(on further reading I got to your example at the end of this section that covers this nicely)

Quote:
(total the combat strength of all attacking units, then round up any fraction)
"total the combat strength of all attacking units, halve the total, then round up any fraction"

Quote:
8.52 Retreats. A loss taken as a retreat requires all attacking units to retreat one hex.
Are you saying: If the attacker opts to take any losses as a retreat (after the first required step-reduction), then all attacking units must retreat the number hexes taken as a retreat. For example: on a result of 2/3, the attacker must take one loss as a step reduction, but could opt to take the remaining loss as a retreat hex. In the latter case, all attacking units must retreat one hex. If ALL attacking units cannot retreat the requisite hex, then all must stand their ground and both losses must be taken as step-reductions.

Quote:
8.522 Retreats and eZOC. Units may retreat into an eZOC hex only when no other option exists. Doing so incurs a step reduction to the retreating stack (in addition to any other step reductions already icurred). Note that this reduction is to the stack, not to each individual unit.
If two attacking units starting adjacent to each other (i.e. not stacked) both retreat into the same hex in an enemy eZOC, do they each take a hit or are they considered a stack the instant they enter the same hex?

Quote:
8.6 Eliminated Units. Units that are destroyed as a result of combat are placed in the "dead pool" box. This is basically a holding area. If the unit was in supply at the instant of its destruction, it is eligible to be rebuilt later via Reconstitution. If the unit was out of supply (OOS) at the instant of destruction, it cannot be rebuilt and is permanently removed from the game (see 12.21 and 14.0).
How about "Units that are destroyed as a result of combat -while in supply- are placed in the "dead pool" box .

Quote:
8.8...thus unit may thus always advance into the original vacated hex
reword - eliminate one "thus"

Quote:
If all defenders were eliminated, a multi-hex advance is not possible. Design Note: The victorious unit is busy mopping up scattered resistance and rounding up prisoners. All units have advance limits (see 8.521).
This feels a bit wrong to me...isn't there scattered resistance - or perhaps the threat of squad sized ambushes - left behind from a hastily retreating unit? Obviously your call, but a small unit that folds under a 6:1 attack (or more) shouldn't slow down a superior formation more than a nearly even 2:1 that forces a two hex retreat (not looking at CRT here but you get my point). I’d suggest a automatic few hex advance on a KIA result.

Quote:
9.2 ...If the attackers fail to clear the assaulted hex, they remain in their current hex and must end their movement for the phase, even if they had MPs remaining.
Can 'failed assaulters' still attack in the combat round?


Mark, again, this game looks great. I love the setting, the scale, the map art. The rules look fantastic, particularly the assault rules and the Finnish chrome.

Get this thing published! thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup


edited because I clearly cannot spell 'assault'
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Thanks for the feedback, and especially Andrew's. I'll go in and fix those things in the near future, as I agree with pretty much all your points. This is the kind of feedback I need!
 
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Some parts from Andrew's posting which deserve a "real response"

Quote:
How about adding something on the front of these counters to indicate it starts out flipped? (Like an R for reduced or a little curved arrow to indicate 'flip over.')


I suppose there's no reason we couldn't do that, but peronally I don't think it's necessary. I've played dozens of games that do it this way. If you don't see a setup code, just flip it over. It's usually pretty obvious, even before you see it written in the rules. But maybe I should tighten up the language in the rules. What do other people think about Andrew's proposal?

The Mutual Sub-Zero Loss Phase- yes, it is indeed covered in detail later in the rules (under 15.0 Night Turns, which I haven't posted here yet) but I should probably add a reference to 15.0 in the sequence of play. Thanks.

Quote:
I'd recommend spelling out "Sub Zero Loss Table" the first time and indicating the abbrevation will be used in the future. Also indicate where it is located. For example, "roll on the Sub Zero Loss Table (hereafeter: SZLT) located on the map..."


Right you are. I'll fix it. I normally try to spell things out the first time, but then rules get bumped hither and yonder...

Quote:
I. Russian Reset Phase

Is this described in more detail elsewhere? If not, how is the Barrage limit etc. determined?


Yep, same situation as above. It's covered under section 10.0 Ranged Attacks, but I should add a reference here in the sequence of play. Thanks.

Quote:
Units forced to overstack at the end of their movement are eliminated.
Add something like, "owners choice, until stacking limits are met."


Good idea. I'll fix it.
Quote:

8.52 Retreats. A loss taken as a retreat requires all attacking units to retreat one hex.
Are you saying: If the attacker opts to take any losses as a retreat (after the first required step-reduction), then all attacking units must retreat the number hexes taken as a retreat. For example: on a result of 2/3, the attacker must take one loss as a step reduction, but could opt to take the remaining loss as a retreat hex. In the latter case, all attacking units must retreat one hex. If ALL attacking units cannot retreat the requisite hex, then all must stand their ground and both losses must be taken as step-reductions.


Eeek... that part is worded just plain weird. I meant that a retreat requires ALL units of that side to retreat. I don't know why the word "attacker" is in there because it should apply to both attacker and defender. In answer to your question- yes, that's what I meant. I'll try to make it clearer.

Quote:
If two attacking units starting adjacent to each other (i.e. not stacked) both retreat into the same hex in an enemy eZOC, do they each take a hit or are they considered a stack the instant they enter the same hex?


Interesting question, and one I've never seen addressed in other games. But the tighter the rules, the better. I'd have to say they become a stack at that instant and thus take a single hit. I'll add it in there.

Quote:
This feels a bit wrong to me...isn't there scattered resistance - or perhaps the threat of squad sized ambushes - left behind from a hastily retreating unit? Obviously your call, but a small unit that folds under a 6:1 attack (or more) shouldn't slow down a superior formation more than a nearly even 2:1 that forces a two hex retreat (not looking at CRT here but you get my point). I’d suggest a automatic few hex advance on a KIA result.


I could see it argued either way. Flavor text aside, this is the norm for most wargames if you really think about it. It's kind of the same thing as saying you can't advance after combat if there is no combat. Ever wonder why units which encounter (and subsequently defeat) enemy units every turn move further than ones who don't? Yet very few games (except maybe Blitzkrieg '41) allow you to advance after combat if there is no combat. This always seemed just plain wrong to me. Why should you gain a free hex for having taken out a unit if the guy who isn't even fighting can't move? But at the same time, I understand why we have the convention.

Maybe the problem here is with my flavor text. My thinking was that when you force an enemy to retreat, you are busy pursuing. When you flat out eliminate him, your push then "loses steam" as the fighting has ended. You mop up, take prisoners, treat wounds, and generally catch your breath.

Incidentally, the "1 hex advance limit upon eliminating the enemy" is not an original idea of mine. It's a convention I've seen appear in numerous other games I've played. I included it because I thought it would simplfy things, and serve to avoid a "gamey" situation whereby units that attacked could gain more ground per turn than those who never encountered any resistance.

I'll give the thing some more thought. I'd love to hear what others have to say on the topic.

Quote:
Can 'failed assualters' still attack in the combat round?


Yes. I assume this would be obvious since the requirement for combat is starting the combat phase adjacent, but maybe it's not so obvious after all. I'll add it in there just to tighten things up. Thanks.

Again, THANKS for all the valuable feedback, Andrew!! I really appreciate your time and effort.

 
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duckweed wrote:

8.8 Multi-hex Advances. If all defenders were eliminated, a multi-hex advance is not possible. Design Note: The victorious unit is busy mopping up scattered resistance and rounding up prisoners. All units have advance limits (see 8.521).


Mark, the more I think about this (and after studying the CRT for a minute) the more I think this is a problem.

The defender decides whether to stand and die or to retreat, right? So a weak, reduced company that undergoes a 6:1 attack, and suffers a 0/5 result, can stand and die, thus stopping a full strength battalion in its tracks.

How about if the attacker can advance a hex for every loss that the defender 'should have' suffered but wasn't able to (i.e. 4 hexes in the example above).
 
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Quote:
The defender decides whether to stand and die or to retreat, right? So a weak, reduced company that undergoes a 6:1 attack, and suffers a 0/5 result, can stand and die, thus stopping a full strength battalion in its tracks.


In a nutshell, yes. You've chosen the most extreme of all examples, but the answer is still yes. Keep in mind that eliminating a unit doesn't really mean killing off every last man. It means that the unit has suffered sufficient casualties (maybe something in the ballpark of 25%) to render it sufficiently disorganized and demoralized so as to no longer fight as a coherent whole.

On the other hand, when the Finns opt to "stand and die" in your example above, they are fighting to the last man in order to stop the advance of that battalion. It's not unrealistic for a company to halt the advance of a batallion, especially considering the extreme terrain we're dealing with here (many of the defensive "choke points" are narrow spits of heavily forested land extending over frozen lakes).

In playtesting, this has been a critical decision for the Finns- whether to "stand and die" (and halt the advance) or merely retreat. Keep in mind that reduced units can take replacements and recover to full strength later in the game. A unit that is voluntarily eliminates itself cannot. (I realize that these rules haven't yet been posted... they are in section 12.0 Reinforcements, Replacements & Recovery).

Just offering a counter point. I'm not necessarily disagreeing with what you are saying, but I think it could be argued either way.
 
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duckweed wrote:
Quote:
This feels a bit wrong to me...isn't there scattered resistance - or perhaps the threat of squad sized ambushes - left behind from a hastily retreating unit? Obviously your call, but a small unit that folds under a 6:1 attack (or more) shouldn't slow down a superior formation more than a nearly even 2:1 that forces a two hex retreat (not looking at CRT here but you get my point). I’d suggest a automatic few hex advance on a KIA result.


Incidentally, the "1 hex advance limit upon eliminating the enemy" is not an original idea of mine. It's a convention I've seen appear in numerous other games I've played. I included it because I thought it would simplfy things, and serve to avoid a "gamey" situation whereby units that attacked could gain more ground per turn than those who never encountered any resistance.


Understood and agreed (Bitter Woods, one of my favorites, has a similar issue). But it doesn't really avoid the "gamey" situation you describe because a unit that encounters resistance, but where the defender chooses a lengthy retreat, still can move more than a unit that meets no resistance. I think your comment about 'chasing down' a harried enemy is dead-on. But so is the picture of Peiper rolling over a platoon of GI's with barely a hickup. Sorry I don't have any Russian-Finnish War examples - hopefully your game will get p500'd so I can learn a bit more about this campaign. It really is a great topic, but I haven't seen any interesting games on it - until this one.

Quote:
Again, THANKS for all the valuable feedback, Andrew!! I really appreciate your time and effort.


My pleasure, as I said the game looks great and the rules are already very tight. Some what off-topic: last night I was struggling again with the rules for Prussia's Defiant Stand and...lets just those rules are not nearly as clear as yours. There is some stuff there I really like, but the rules are pretty bad. Cavalry's role on the battle board is particularly opaque.
 
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duckweed wrote:
Just offering a counter point. I'm not necessarily disagreeing with what you are saying, but I think it could be argued either way.


Mark, I'm not trying to be argumentative either, and a designer needs to make hard choices. I respect yours, and will absolutely support your game with a preorder if you submit it somewhere.
 
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