The Winter War

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The Winter War
« on: September 06, 2013, 04:45:24 AM »
I'm planning to set a game of The Regiment in the Finnish Winter War. Here are some modifications and notes I plan to use. I hope the Swedes and Ostrobothnians out there take this in the light-hearted manner in which it was intended.

On November 30, 1939, the Ruskies (Soviet 163rd division) crossed the border between Finland and the Soviet Union and advanced from the north-east towards the village of Suomussalmi. The Soviet objective was to advance to the city of Oulu, effectively cutting Finland in half. Suomussalmi was taken with little resistance on December 7 (only two incomplete companies of covering forces led a holding action between the border and Suomussalmi), but the Finns destroyed the village before this, to deny the Soviets shelter, and withdrew to the opposite shore of lakes Niskanselkä and Haukiperä.

You are part of a regiment that has just reinforced the opposite shore of lake Niskanselka. Your main objective is to halt the Soviet advance. The Ruskies outnumber you 4 to 1. It is easy to count them because they are not wearing camouflage and they can’t ski. And those armored tractors with canons on top must be tanks. It is anyone’s guess why they are driving so many of them along logging trails in the middle of winter.

Choose a few secondary objectives from the list below. Each secondary objective is associated with one of the main ethnic groups of Finland. For each objective, two PCs should discuss how they are competing for that objective and invent something bad that will happen to them if they lose (Finns love to compete and are very creative about how they do it). Each of them marks experience when one of them wins the competition. Each PC should have one or two competitions. Details about each of the ethnic groups follow the list.

?   On Tavastian Time—locate and support a reconnaissance group that is taking too long to get back to camp

?   Cut and run like an Ostrobothnian---cut the Ruskie marching column along a logging road east of Suomussalmi

?   A Karelian Christmas Present—demoralize the Ruskies by attacking their field kitchens

?   Ask the Savonian—help a Savonian interpreter; he says he can tap into the Ruskies' phone lines (we think)

?   The Finlandssvenskar Plan—gather intel for the rest of the regiment from behind enemy lines

?   Tonight we are Laplanders—provide security for your kitchens and food supplies

Tavastians in Central Finland are salt-of-the-earth kind of people, reticent, stubborn, trustworthy, serious, pragmatic and strong. They are slow to get words out. They are slow to embrace change and slow to act. In fact, slow in every sense of the word.

Ostrobothnians in the west are the biggest show-offs. They are known for their vigor, explosive tempers and predisposition to using a puukko, a sheath-knife, to settle disagreements. If there weren’t any puukko fights and at least one death at a wedding, it wasn’t worth getting dressed up for.

Karelians in the south-east are the liveliest of the Finns. They are chatty, friendly, spontaneous and musical. Their dialect is frequently made fun of by other Finns because it makes them sound dim-witted. They like their food and have the best culinary repertoire in the country.

Savonians in the east are cheeky, witty and playful in a laid-back kind of way. They frequently use sayings, riddles, euphemisms and roundabout ways of expressing themselves. As it is impossible to get a straight answer to a question, the listener has to assume responsibility for the interpretation.

Finlandssvenskar (Finland-Swedes) are a Swedish-speaking minority inhabiting the coastal areas in the southwest. Of all Finns, they are the most sociable and community-oriented. Marrying one is like marrying a Finnish ice hockey player; you will be sharing your life not just with your spouse but with the rest of the team.

Residents of Lapland in the far north are known for their excessive appetite for reindeer meat, alcohol and sex. Considering the environment in which they live – the Arctic night lasting up to a couple months – you can hardly blame them.

(Much thanks to Wikipedia and the Xenophobe’s Guide to the Finns)


The Regiment
Designation: 27nd Infantry Regiment
Theater of Operations: Finland
Regiment Commander: Hjalmar Siilasvuo
Choose two strengths: inspiring, resolute, aggressive, cunning, honorable
And one weakness: aristocratic, inexperienced, modest, drunk

Your unit is Finnish
Operational Effectiveness:  0
Surplus: 2 supply
Sisu: 1

Choose 2 Advantages
•   Your unit was well armed by generous soviet deserters. When you attack, spend 1 gear for +1d.
•   Your unit contains a number of seasoned veterans from the civil war +1 OP
•   Your unit has some Russian speakers and friends across the border. Add surplus: +intel
•   Your unit has stolen some soviet materiel. Surplus: +1 supply
•   Your unit has access to horses, sledges and biplanes. Add +mobility.
•   Your unit the support of the best of the women’s auxilliary. Add: +lottas

And choose 1 drawback:
•   Your unit is comprised mainly of Tavastian farmers who can’t read this. Trouble: bumpkins
•   Your unit is comprised mainly Ostrobothnians, who exchange knives at weddings instead of rings. Trouble: hot-headed
•   Swedish merchants were supposed to flee *after* they unloaded your supplies. -1 Supply.
•   Your unit speaks many dialects, including Savonian. Trouble: incomprehensible
•   Your unit has been too modest to ask for replacements. Trouble: under-manned
•   Your unit has been on its feet since before the outbreak of war. Trouble: exhaustion

Company Commander
Major Matti Aarnio “Motti Matti”
Strengths: Flexible and choose one other: efficient, organized, experienced, calculating.
Choose one weakness: superstitious, lazy, manic, depressed, fatalistic, overconfident, drunk.

General Rules:

?   Instead of smokes, there is moscha (moonshine)
?   Instead of Grit, there is Sisu.

All Finns start with the Advanced move “get 1 Sisu.” But the Russians get tanks and bombers.

Add this to the list of options under “Blow Off Steam”
•   You are not drunk during the next battle

If you are drunk, take -1 ongoing but gain 1 Tough. If you want to sober up, try drinking some coffee and rolling in the snow.

All Finns start with the Ghost Soldier move, which is pretty much the same thing as the Sniper’s camouflage move (the Sniper should not take that move)

Ghost Soldier: When you hide from the enemy, roll +tactics. If you’re in a group, the person with the highest tactics rolls. On a hit, you evade detection. On a 10+, you also recover 1-stress.

Things that might be worth 1 moscha:
A Molotov cocktail
A care package from the Lotta Svard
A 240 page Russian Manual of Ski-Fighting (entertainment)
Use of a horse and sledge for a day
A blessing from a Karelian Spellsinger

Re: The Winter War
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2013, 02:52:51 PM »
For each objective, two PCs should discuss how they are competing for that objective and invent something bad that will happen to them if they lose (Finns love to compete and are very creative about how they do it). Each of them marks experience when one of them wins the competition
I love this idea and want to marry it.

Re: The Winter War
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2014, 10:03:28 PM »
Very cool!

Re: The Winter War
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2014, 02:20:28 AM »
We played so much that I needed to make some advanced moves. Here they are, along with a few basic moves that I "Finned."  In the Winter War, everyone got the Ghost Soldier move (basically the same as the sniper's camouflage move). I took it away when we moved to the Continuation War because it seemed appropriate; much of the interesting fighting was not in winter and it seems camouflage was not as big a differentiating factor. As a consolation, I came up with the Finnish Moves.

Also, it seems appropriate that we're using a version of The Regiment that's as outdated today as most of the Finnish army was back then.

The Finnish Regiment: The Continuation War

In the transition from the Winter War (1939-1940) to the Continuation War (1941-1944), Finnish soldiers replace the Ghost Soldier Move with a Finnish Move of their choice. Also, the following additional advanced improvements are available:

Advanced Improvements
•   Get a move from the Special Training List that isn’t in your playbook
•   Get a move from the Special Training List that isn’t in your playbook
•   Get +1 to a stat you have not already improved (max +3)
•   Get +1 to a stat you have not already improved (max +3)
•   Get a promotion and a unit (i.e., a squad, platoon or company, as appropriate)
•   Change your character to a new type (exchange some of your moves accordingly)
•   Create a second character to play
•   Advance 4 moves from the Advanced Moves List
•   Advance another 4 moves from the Advanced Moves List

The Special Training List:
•   Soldier Moves: Comrade in arms, Spray & pray, Section 8
•   Officer Moves: Fire Support, Tactical support
•   Medic Moves: In Their Time of Need, Medic, Inopportune Target
•   Sergeant Moves: Inspiring, Battlefield awareness, Lead the way, Look out!, Not as bad as it looked, Veteran instincts, Form Up On Me
•   Commando Moves: Close quarters battle, Improvise. Adapt. Overcome, Explosives expert
•   Sniper Moves: Deadly Aim, Advanced Marksmanship, Forward Observer
•   Finnish Moves: Vittu Tata Paaska, Freedom to Roam, Talking is Silver, Vittu Siella Helvetin, Jaeger Training, Karelian Spellsinging

Finnish Moves

Vittu Tata Paskaa (F*ck this Sh!t)

Name your escape route and roll +battle. On a 10+, kippis (cheers), you’re gone. On a 7–9, you can go or stay, but if you go it costs you: leave something behind, or take something with you, the GM will tell you what. On a miss, you’re caught vulnerable, half in and half out.

Jokamiehenoikeus (freedom to roam)

Roll +guts to reach somewhere nearly inaccessible to get to or away from something. On a 10+, you made it. On a 7–9, you get there, but take 1 stress (ignoring sisu) and are under fire in follow up actions, leave something behind or take something with you. This move is about brazenly surmounting dangerous obstacles like cliffs or mine fields.

Talking is Silver, Being Silent is Gold

At the beginning of a session, roll +tactics. On a hit, hold 1. On a 10+, take +1 Forward when you spend your hold. Spend 1 hold to appear at the scene of a battle or an important event, with all your gear, as long as your presence there can be rationalized. You may have been there for a while, but have had nothing important to say about it until now. On a miss, you start the game with something important to say (GM decides), but do not want to talk about it. If you do, take 2 stress (ignoring sisu).

Vittu Siella Helvetin Juhlissa Mitaan Saatanan Siinaa Tarjottu Jumalauta
(F*ck, There’s No Satan’s Booze Available at Hell’s Party Goddammit)

Swear profusely and publicly that you want a thing — could be a person, could be a service, could even be just a thing — take 1 stress (ignoring sisu) and roll +leadership. On a 10+, it shows up in your regiment for you, like magic. On a 7-9, well, people make an effort and everybody chipped in for you and close is close, right? On a miss, it shows up in your regiment for you with the devil’s strings attached. (Finns are known for bottling it up and not complaining until they explode. So when your compatriots see you explode, they realize you really must be hurting.)

Jaeger Training (Finnish: Jääkäriliike)

When you lead an action to begin a new engagement involving raid, recon, infiltration or ambush, your unit gets +1 to the operational effectiveness roll. When you petition up the German chain of command, take +1 to the roll. (Finnish Jaegers trained in Germany before the war and were basically the only Finnish commandos in their day. Their training was kept secret to avoid antagonizing the Russians. Also, there is the stigma of being associated with the Nazis.)

Karelian Spellsinging

You use folk-magic or similar means of divination for advice. Roll +luck to see what it directs you to do. On a 10+ mark experience and take a +1 if you do as your divination tells you. On a 7–9, take a +1 if you do what it wants and take 1 stress (ignoring sisu) if you don’t. On a miss, you divine something unusual and take 1 stress (ignoring sisu) if you don’t follow it. (Spellsinging is a Finnish shamanic tradition that involves chanting and sympathetic magic).

Advanced Moves


When you assault the enemy to seize territory or gain a tactical advantage, spend 1-gear and roll+battle. On a hit, you hammer the enemy with your weapon and seize contested ground under enemy fire as established. On a 10+, the GM decides if you push them back, force them to surrender, or if you gain an overlooking or flanking position.

Advanced: On a 12+, you don’t take enemy fire.

Covering Fire

When you provide covering fire, spend 1-gear and roll+battle. On a hit, you rake the enemy’s position with fire, giving friendly troops an opportunity; but, your VOF is reduced by one step. GM chooses: the enemy is suppressed or the enemy is pinned but finds cover and/or concealment. On a 10+, you also give the allies you cover +1forward.

Advanced: On a 12+, your VOF is not reduced by one step.

Hit the Deck

When you come under fire and hit the deck, roll +guts. On a hit, you scramble to cover and/or concealment, as established—apply them to whatever attack you’re facing now; but you’re also pinned. On a 10+, you aren’t pinned, just suppressed.

Advanced: On a 12+, you aren’t pinned or suppressed.

Push Yourself

When you need to push yourself through physical hardship, emotional trauma, or enemy fire, roll+guts. On a 10+, you keep calm and carry on. On a 7-9, you push through it; but you avoid a direct, honorable, or all-in confrontation with the problem at hand. Say how and why you take it slow, keep your head down, pass the buck, or cover your ass. GM says what it costs you: time, trouble, respect, stress, etc.

Advanced: On a 12+, you deal with the problem at hand in a particularly direct, honorable or decisive way. Say how and why you pick up speed, take on more than your share or act with proper Finnish humility. GM says what you gain: time, respite, respect, forgiveness, etc.

Combat Action

When you attempt a dangerous combat action, say what you’re doing and roll. If you do it... brute force, violence, or aggression, +battle. obersavation, wits, or maneuvering, +tactics. sheer nerve or luck, +lucky.
On a hit, you do it, taking fire as established. On a 7-9, also, you’re in a tough spot now. The GM will offer you a worse outcome, hard bargain, or ugly choice — concerning gear, stress, wounds, allies, exposure, opportunity, etc.

Advanced: On a 12+, you also do not take enemy fire.
This is the catch-all combat move. If a more specific move applies, use it instead.

Assess a Situation

When you assess the situation, ask a question about what the vittu is going on and roll +tactics. On a 10+, the GM will answer generously, including a few follow-up questions. On a 7-9, the GM will give you a straightforward answer. On a 6-, the GM will tell you something true, but incomplete.

Advanced: You also get +1 Forward toward dealing with your situation.


When you rally the troops before action, roll +leadership. On a 10+, hold 3. On a 7-9, hold 1. During the execution of the action, spend your hold 1-for-1 for you or a member of your team:
•   Keep your head down! Get 1-tough.??
•   You can do this! Get +1grit.??
•   Short, controlled bursts! Recover 1-gear.

Advanced: On a 12+, hold 4 and you can spend 2 hold at once (i.e., +2 grit, Recover 2-gear)

Help or Interfere

When you help or interfere with someone who’s rolling, roll +bond. On a hit, you give them +1 or -2. On a 7-9, also, you’re exposed to danger, retribution, or cost. When you help someone who’s in trouble, roll +bond and mark xp. On a hit, they can clear a condition, temporarily stabilize, or recover 1-stress. If you ignore a comrade who needs help, take stress equal to your bond and you both reset your bonds to 0. Normally, you cannot interfere with someone who’s in trouble; it’s just not done.

Advanced: On a 12+, they also take +1 Forward on their next move.

Blow Off Steam (Finnish)

When you use your downtime to blow off some steam, roll +moscha spent (0-3). On a 10+, choose two. On a 7-9, choose one:
•   Improve a bond by +1. They can do the same.??
•   You recuperate. Heal 1-wound.??
•   You relax and enjoy yourself. Heal 1-stress.??
•   You are not drunk at the start of the next scene or battle
On a miss, you gain little comfort; but, nothing terrible happens.

Advanced: On a 12+, choose three and you may choose the same option twice. If you choose “not drunk” twice, you gain the benefit of being drunk but not the penalty.


When you scrounge for spoils, roll +lucky. On a hit, you find gear or barter items worth smokes, depending on circumstances (usually 1-3). Or, if you’re scrounging an enemy position for intelligence, you find intel. On a 10+, choose two. On a 7-9, choose one:
•   You find it quickly.??
•   You find it without trouble.??
•   You hit the jackpot. 6-gear/moscha or major intel
Advanced: On a 12+, you get all three.

Will (Finnish)

When you impose your will, roll +leadership.
For NPCs: On a 10+, they will do what you want if you outrank them or promise to give them something they want later. On a 7–9, they will do what you want if you outrank them, but they will be bitter about it; if you don’t outrank them, they will do what you want only if you give them something they want now.
For PCs: on a 10+, both. On a 7–9, choose 1:
•   If they do it, they mark experience
•   If they refuse, they take 1 stress (ignoring sisu)
What they do then is up to them. On a miss, they turn the tables on you. Give them what they want, no strings attached, or feel guilty and take 1 stress (ignoring sisu).

Advanced: On a 12+, if it’s a PC, they take 2 stress if they refuse. If it’s an NPC, they will do what you want with no strings attached. Furthermore, you win them over and they become your ally. Choose what kind of ally they become:
•   ally: friend (impulse: to back you up)
•   ally: lover (impulse: to give you shelter & comfort)
•   ally: right hand (impulse: to follow through on your intentions)
•   ally: partisan (impulse: to pursue your interests in your absence)
•   ally: bodyguard (impulse: to intercept danger)
•   ally: confidante (impulse: to give you advice, perspective, or absolution.)

Petition (Finnish)

When you petition up the chain of command, roll+leadership. If you petition in person to a Finnish commander, you may spend 1 moscha to get +1 to the roll. On a hit, you find a contact who will try to make it happen if it’s at all reasonable. On a 7-9, the GM chooses a compromise:
•   You get something close.??
•   You get an old or “homemade” version of it.??
•   You have to go out of your way to pick it up.
•   You owe something in return.

Advanced: On a 12+, GM decides whether they provide something better, provide it more quickly than seemed possible, or make it permanently yours.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 02:34:04 AM by Siguson »

Re: The Winter War
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2014, 09:29:18 AM »
Is there any chance this could be made into a fancy pdf? I've gamed off of notebook paper, drawing maps on cheap graph paper and using dice with numbers I had to color in myself, but the younger kids I run for/game with expect like-it-was-paid-for production values with everything.

Re: The Winter War
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2016, 04:10:08 AM »
I'm currently planning on writing a oneshot about Talvisota and would really like to use the elements presented here. Is Siguson still active or does someone know how to contact him/her?
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