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Strategy in
Defiant Russia




Our Right Brain: The Red Russia Map
By Beth Donahue, Graphic Designer
September 2007

I’ve been with Avalanche Press for almost two years as graphic designer, and have never seen a map like the playing board for Red Russia. According to the game’s developer, Kevin Canada, the map is unique from other Russian Civil War titles because players can actually campaign across every geographic region where the Russian Civil War raged. The map is a bit geographically askew because it is designed to show the “spread” of Eurasia from the edge of Russia in 1918 to the Sea of Japan.

The game is played using individual “Areas” instead of the map itself, which gives me complete creativity over the background artwork. Instead of leaving the earth green and the ocean blue, I decided to give the water an intense teal to offset black landmasses. I also wanted to give the map an eclectic quality, so I used a greenish-gray texture on the background. Why black land? So that the game’s Areas, which I made a deep garnet, would be highly visible and jump off of the map. I wanted them to be the most noticeable piece of the map, considering you use them to play the game.

Red Russia’s map is covered with approximately 125 land boxes called Areas. Each Area represents a town or city important to the struggle, either as a place of battle (such as Saratov) or of political importance (such as Moscow). Every Area contains the following information: the name of the territory, a Money value, a Garrison value, and a Manpower value. Some Areas also contain special information such as a port, a WWI German occupation line, a rail center (used in the optional rail movement rule) or a food production center (used with the optional famine rule). I created graphics to represent each Area’s specific information, such as an anchor to represent a port or wheat to represent a food production center.

An Area square with all the graphics used in Red Russia.

William Sariego, the game's creator, designed “transportation lines” to connect the Areas. These lines actually represent more than just movement between the Areas; they symbolize the relative development of the transportation infrastructure between Areas, the geographic distance between Areas, or the difficult terrain separating Areas.

According to Kevin, the single lines represent Areas with good, easy terrain or some sort of transportation infrastructure between them (rail lines, roads, bridges, river barges, etc.) that might facilitate movement. The double-dash lines represent a limited terrain, significant distance, or a lack of any major transportation infrastructure serving to restrict or otherwise limit movement by military forces. The dotted-dashed lines are “trans-territory” routes that represent very poor or limited transportation infrastructure connecting the major geographic regions of the former Russian Empire or the vast distances covered by the route.

Transportation lines in Red Russia.

William Sariego created four separate sub-maps depicting the major regions of fighting. Kevin used those to develop a 35” x 25” map making it easier to envision the entire region. Using his computer, he designed the landmasses and Areas, and then mocked up a full-size map . . .

. . . which I then used to create the final version.

Hope you enjoy!

Which faction will sweep the many areas of Red Russia?
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