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Defiant Russia




Defiant Russia: Soviet Options
The Final Cut

This is the promised companion piece to my earlier installment of Axis Options: The Final Cut. Now it’s time for me to complete the long-delayed Triumphant Russia, but YOU can keep playing!

Axis Minor Restrictions

These rules almost made it into the game under 11.4. However, despite its overall simplicity, Defiant Russia has a fair amount of chrome and special rules for a game of its size. I did not want to overwhelm the novice.

Units of Axis minor countries may only stack with units of their own nationality or German units. Except for Finnish units and the lone Spanish unit, no Axis unit may operate north of hex row 26xx.

Black Death

The Soviet Union performed more amphibious operations than any other nation except the United States. They were mostly small-scale assaults, but were pivotal in the coastal campaigns. Deploy the 1-3 marine division at start, in Sevastopol. It has no ZoC, does not count for stacking and never needs to trace supply. It can never move more than three hexes from the Black Sea/Sea of Azov coast.

Guardian of the Revolution.
A Black Sea Fleet marine.

The marines can naval move in the Soviet Movement Phase from port to port (Odessa, Sevastopol, Rostov, Novorossisk, and theoretically Constanta) if both ports are Soviet-controlled. It can also begin in a port and move to any coastal hex, though if it does this the Axis player rolls one die and the unit dies on a result of 1 (1 or 2 if landing in an Axis ZoC). This uses its entire movement allowance. Sea movement of the marines does not require the Black Seas fleet, but cannot be done at all if the fleet has been eliminated.

Free Poland

For a state that on paper was committed to human progress, Stalinist Russia fell far short of Utopia in building socialism. The Katyn Massacre was just another of Stalin’s betrayals of humanity and the Marxist ideals he claimed to hold. While the Red Army would eventually form Polish exile units on Soviet soil, it wasn’t until much later in the war.

For our purposes, however, if Katyn never happened, it would have been entirely possible for Polish units to rally around the Hammer and Sickle in 1941. The Soviet player receives the (2)-3 Polish Exile corps as a turn five reinforcement. A unit with a combat value in parentheses defends using that combat strength, but attacks at half that value. The unit has only one step, but rates as a corps. Thus it has a zone of control and counts for stacking. It can never be replaced and is worth one casualty point per 13.0.

Red Finns

The Red Army had two weak Finnish divisions operational during the Winter War. Here they are retained as a full-strength rifle division for the Continuation War. The Red Finns are a division-sized unit, thus with no zone of control and not counted for stacking. It has a value of 1-4 and becomes available as a turn three reinforcement at Leningrad.

The unit can never be replaced and is worth one point per 13.0. In addition, the unit can never move or attack south of hex row 37xx. Like the White Finns, it is always considered to be in supply if in Finland.

Helmsman of Communism

Substitute the Sariego piece for the Stalin piece. It (He? I?) follows all the normal rules for Stalin, but the Soviet Union is now a much nicer place to live (no purges, gulags, etc.) and communism is achieved. Hey, its my bloody game so give me my non-materialistic ego trip!

Try this rule to go with the piece. True collective leadership means no man is indispensable; the new general secretary is not worth a VP under 13.0. Thus only 12 Victory Points are possible, allowing for ties. With Moscow no longer a potential 3-pointer, you will find the complexion of the game will change.

Can an Austrian noble scion lead the people?
The Sariego coat of arms.


Stalin remains a minor functionary, a ‘gray blur’ within the party leadership. Democratic Centralism remains the norm in the Party and Leon Trotsky is first among equals in the Politburo.

Replace the Stalin counter with Trotsky, who also starts in Moscow. Trotsky zooms across the Rodina in his armored train, bringing reinforcements, supplies, and plenty of good propaganda to spur the troops. Trotsky has unlimited movement ability in the Soviet movement phase, but can only travel along rail lines. He can move three hexes in the Soviet Exploitation Phase.

Leon Trotsky, Comrade Sariego’s lost twin.

He does not count for stacking and neither does his movement affect normal Soviet Rail movement. Trotsky can add +1 to the attack of units he is stacked with only if they are attacking along the rail line. He adds +2 to the defense of his stack regardless of where any Axis attack is originating.

He can only retreat by rail. Roll one die if any Soviet unit with which he is stacked suffers a step loss. He is eliminated on a result of 1. If the Soviet stack is totally wiped out, he is eliminated on a 1 or 2. If he survives he must retreat if his stack did so. As he is tied to rail lines he can be retreated separately from the stack, up to three hexes away. If his retreat takes him through an Axis ZoC and no Soviet unit is present, roll a die for each such hex. A roll of 1 and he is killed. Trotsky has the same Victory Point value as Stalin in the original game.

To download the counters, click here.

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William Sariego
June 2005