A brief review of Red Winter: The Soviet Attack at Tolvajärvi, Finland – 8-12 December 1939 based on playing a solo scenario and a couple of Scenarios with my regular war game opponent.
Firstly the components. These are up to GMT's current high standard. The counters are oversized (very good for ageing eyes!) and very well produced. The rule book is very clearly laid out and there is a very informative play book including around 15 scenarios. There are some other very nice touches such as The quick play card with mini scenario, the list of easy to overlook rules, MP value for road movement marked on the map from entry hexes.
The map is well done, the colours are muted but terrain is clear and the colours add to the wintry feel. The victory hexes are also clearly marked.
The only minor criticism of the components would be the box, firstly it is full size and not the new extra strong type - a thinner more sturdy box like that used for the new edition of Ardennes '44 would have been better.
The game plays very quickly, many scenarios play in around an hour and there were few rules queries even on the first play. The game is also very light on information markers so the map remains uncluttered and units are clearly visible. The game only has a single map sheet so requires relatively little table space.
The game does have some elements new to me in WWII games. Firstly there is the lack of AFVs. There are some available to the Russians but only in later scenarios and at the cost of VPs to he opponent. You therefore have an almost exclusively infantry game, yet the game retains variety of strategy (with both sides on the offensive in different phases of the war). Also the shear number of scenarios ensures replayability.
The night rules are also different to other games, with the Russians having to balance staying warm to being easy targets for Finnish raiders adding more variety to play.
I'm looking forward to playing the full campaign game and would recommend the game to anyone interested in this uncommon theatre of WWII.