Last year, Patch and I decided to celebrate the upcoming release of Hakkaa Päälle by playing scenario G17 “Hakaa Paalle” from Volume 29, Issue 2 of the General (pity that neither of us can afford the module right now). It’s January 1940, when a running firefight starts between the Finns and Russians. There’s Deep Snow, Extreme Winter, Drifts, skis, and winter camouflage.

The Russians enter first with 20 628s and 6 LMGs, followed by 12 squads of 838 Finn supermen (assault fire, spraying fire, no cowering, underlined morale, stealthy, and can declare HtH CC) with 4 LMGs. The Finns need to have at least 10 more CVP than the Russians at the end of ten turns, and the Russians can exit off the west edge without penalty (both sides enter from the east). The map is a board and a half (longwise) east-west (so 50 hexes for the Russians to get away), and two tall, with all the buildings, walls and hedges removed.

Patch took the Russians, who have already spent 2 MP before entering, so his first turn was occupied by ducking around the woods near his entry area, and got backed up a bit. The Finns entered, and moved laterally towards a group of woods near the board edges, trying to find a way to get into range before the Russians could get past. Patch managed to pin two squads with a long-range shot from a pair of LMGs to slow me down slightly.

Full map, showing both sides first turn movement. Stacks are taller than usual thanks to all the skis.

Patch continued racing forward for his second turn, with a LMG section headed for much the same area I was. I took a couple of long-distance LMG shots, and got a PTC for no effect.

Situation, Russian Turn 2.

As I approached the tree line, Patch got a couple of good shots off with his LMGs (I forgot where a couple of them were for a minute). He ended up pinning two squads and breaking two more. Thankfully there were still some woods in range, and I didn’t need to worry about getting a leader to them.

Situation, Finnish Turn 2.

Naturally, with DM on, even Finnish supermen didn’t rally immediately. I was surprised when Patch started moving squads into the woods ahead of me. I had expected a running fight as Patch struggled to keep the range open, and use his greater number of LMGs to keep the pressure off as he ran for the west side. Instead, one group kept distance, while the rest headed into the woods before I could get there.

I had expected the 10-2 stack to go into N4 and out of range of the only HS in view, but they headed towards the woods too, and the leader pinned on a lucky 1MC that also reduced a squad to a broken 227 HS on a ’12’. A later lucky potshot with an LMG got a K/2, though the remaining HS kept going.

Situation, Russian Turn 3.

Annoyingly, only one of my squads came back on my turn. The HS in 19H10 fired to try and do something about the LMG in 16K4, but missed. I mostly continued to work my way around the woods line, trying to get in front of his forces, but I sent some forces adjacent to P9, and only suffered some concealment loss while moving, though one squad broke to Final Fire. My return fire broke both squads there, but couldn’t get a double-break. During Advance, I stayed a bit aggressive, but I forgot that skis are a problem in CC and neglected to have anyone take them off.

Situation, Finnish Turn 3.

Patch got one squad back in his rally, but lost two HSes to Fate (aided by extreme winter causing CR on an ’11’ outdoors), and I rallied both of my broken squads. Patch flooded into the woods to get at my advanced squads, though I managed to pin the west end of his line, and my Sniper went off to reduce his to a 2. His force along the north edge turned south to charge the 10-1s firegroup, and Patch lost another HS to a FL.

I manged to pin his 9-1 and break a squad in DFPh without using anyone who was still concealed, but that still left a lot of guys next to me, including the 10-2. His fire broke my squad in N9, and revealed my leader there (not bad for a 20 -1 shot…). I contemplated self-breaking to evacuate the rest of the line, and probably would have if the skis had occurred to me, but I had firepower and stealth advantages.

In 19P9 it was one squad vs one with no result despite Patch getting a +2 for me wearing skis. In M9 I managed to get Ambush and Withdrew until I could get the skis off.

Situation, Russian Turn 4.

I didn’t get my one squad back for my turn, despite having the 9-1 right there, though Patch got a HoB on his one rally for a Fanatic 628. I shifted everyone to concentrate on the woods that were now the main center of gravity for everyone. I shifted the 10-1 over from his flanking/advanced position, but Patch managed to break the squad with him. Along the south side, I started fading back behind the orchard-road, trusting to my superior firepower and range to chew him up if he tried to shoot it out long-term.

After reshuffling in APh, I had a decent line, anchored with firebases in the detached woods in the west and a concealed squad in N8. A second squad reinforced the Melee, and I went HtH to finish it before Patch could stick more men and the 10-2 in there. I got lucky and killed him without any losses.

Situation, Finnish Turn 4. Some carried skis have been removed for clarity.

The only thing that happened for Patch’s RPh was him repairing a LMG he’d broken earlier. Patch had a 24FP attack into my victorious squads, but a high roll only broke one of them. A second attack got a 3MC to CR it and break the other. A good roll revealed the other end of the line, but they passed the 2MC, and then pinned on a second from a 30FP attack.

This was actually slightly better than I figured would happen, and it tied up the bulk of his troops in Prep, leaving me a lot more options for what did move. Which wasn’t much, and wasn’t far, as the north group stayed lined up at the limit of my normal range. I managed to break 16S4 and R4 in DFPh to whittle down that group while also pinning P1. Multiple attacks broke the HS in 19M9 and reduced the squad there to a HS. Sadly, I had forgotten that part of the idea was to use N8 and J10 to Encircle that location.

Even after all that, N8 self-broke before the squad and 10-2 in N9 could get at my pinned unit.

Situation, Russian Turn 5. More skis removed for clarity….

All four of my broken squads refused to rally for my turn, which left me worried that I was going to get swamped by surviving Russians soon. This was not helped by Patch getting two HSes back. Both flanks opened up, and a squad broke on each (including the fanatic 628 squad). Movement was minimal, as the center was out of LOS, and I had no desire to go rushing him at the moment.

DFPh wasn’t too bad as Patch lost another LMG, but he broke the only unbroken unit in Q9, though he didn’t manage to reduce the others. We were now half-way through the scenario, and the score stood at 8 to 1.

Situation, Finnish Turn 5.

Out of several attempts, Patch only got one rally for his turn; his Fanatic squad HoBed again, to go Berserk. Thankfully morale can’t get any better than 10. Meanwhile, I finally rallied a LMG squad that had been sitting around for a while.

I was thinking that the ‘zerkie would target 19L6, but of course the HS in K10 was closer. I didn’t think things through and only fired when he entered my hex instead of hitting in bypass of the previous hex to leave residual there. At least he did reduce to a HS on a failed 1MC. Past that, despite some good rolls, my fire was ineffective, as all I could manage was a single pin. My Sniper went off twice to pin his Sniper both times (Patch pointed out later that I should have relocated the Sniper, but I hardly ever think of that). On the other hand, Patch did manage to break my flank protection in T10. Patch finally ran two of his brokies to the edge of the board, each taking a single Interdiction MC as they left my LMG’s normal range, and one of them failed it.

Patch piled a second HS into the CC in K10, but there was no result.

Situation, Russian Turn 6. Showing why the skis are a hindrance to IDing units.

I got a single squad back out of four tries, and Patch got another Fanatic 628 (would have been berserk, but there was no one in LOS). Mostly, I skulked a little and brought up my rallied guys to reshuffle the line a bit. I had hoped the Melee might drag out a bit, but my HS went down at the cost of one of his. (Score: 11-2, hovering just shy of what I’d need.)

Situation, Finnish Turn 6.

Patch managed to self-rally a squad that had run out to the board edge as well has a HS in 19N10. I only got one on three tries, but it was the squad in T9, which was by far the most important one at this point. With his forces in good shape, Patch went in to assault my line. (He also noted that he should have done it the turn before, when I had more broken guys, and that was something I had been afraid of.)

He first moved up a LMG squad in Q10, giving me the rare chance to fire on a concealed unit with FFMO (winter cammo will preserve concealment when using Assault Movement). The 628 ELRed down to a 527, ensuring that the very end of my line would stay safe. Q9 fired off his LMG as another stack moved adjacent, but didn’t get a result. Patch then moved more units in there, and the resid got a PTC to reveal a 9-1 and squad. Q9 SFFed to break the 9-1, but the squad was unaffected by both the 2MC and 1LLTC. The 10-2 and a squad moved into O9, and I revealed a squad to get a 3MC, which they both passed easily. Next, another squad moved into N8, who was pinned by fire from O7. Two more squads moved in and were unaffected by the resid, or SFF from O7.

Meanwhile, the group to the west moved up, out of LOS of T9, and R9 was too busy with the east. His rally in T10 did move into view, but good rolls on both sides kept the 1MC from my LMG from doing anything.

In DFPh, the leader-led group in R9 did nothing, but Final Fire from O8 broke the 10-2, and the LLTC pinned the squad with him. That made it safe to reveal P8 who broke both of the squads in P9, cutting the entire assault down to two squads in N8. Their fire wounded the concealed 9-1 in O8 and broke the squad there. Q10 was in open ground and forced to surrender, which put the technical score to 13-2, if I could hold on.

Situation, Russian Turn 7.

I rolled Gusts for Wind Change on my turn, which precipitated a session with the rulebook. In these conditions, they cause extra drifts to appear next turn, right before the Wind Change DR. I didn’t get any rallies, but Patch’s 9-1 froze to death on an ’11’, and the resulting LLMCs cost him another HS.

My squads in T9, with only open ground behind them, opened fire on the advanced line of Russians, breaking T10, but were unable to do anything else. Everywhere else, I started pulling out of LOS or normal range.

Patch’s DFPh went poorly, but he still managed to break one of the squads in T9, and the squad in O7. T9 was forced to surrender, but O7 was able to use the orchard and short ranges to get away. The second squad in T9 went into CC to save their buddies and eliminated the capturing squad in HtH. Which rearmed the prisoners as a green 538. All of this had driven the CVP up to 20-2 (including the prisoners).

Situation, Finnish Turn 7.

The new drifts went to out of the way places, and didn’t really change anything. Patch managed to self-rally another HS and the 10-2 rallied and inspired the broken squad and a half to come with him. Meanwhile I couldn’t roll under a 9 for any of my rallies.

Patch’ remaining squad adjacent to U10 fired, but only succeeded in generating a hero. Patch shuffled units forward without giving me many good shots, but the 10-2 immediately broke again on a NMC, though the squad with him was fine. Also his self-rallied HS broke to a LMG shot as he came in range.

During DFPh, U10 managed to break V9, but could not affect T10. The R9 firebase got a K/2 to reduce the visible squad in P9 and broke the concealed HS that was with him. Q9 followed up with a LMG shot that broke the surviving HS and eliminated the broken one. After their main fire failed to shift the 628 adjacent to them, M5 took a long range shot to break him.

Patch still had a substantial force in O8 (three squads, one of which had Prepped and two of which had just moved in), and they managed to reduce a broken squad to a HS. The lone survivor of his western force went into CC, presumably with some hope of rescuing the prisoners as well as not taking point-blank firepower. He managed to reduce the guard squad (the re-armed greens) to a HS, but lost the squad in the process. (23-4 including prisoners)

Situation, Russian Turn 8.

At this point, it was pretty much certain that I would win, though we continued to see how Patch’s current line would hold up. (He had a nice 5-hex chain with two squads at one end, but only a pair of HSes in the middle.) I rallied a squad in L4, giving me a mob of three on that flank. Patch got his 10-2 back, who rallied the squad and a half with him in N10.

I was wondering if I should try and take the line apart again, or fade back and let my longer range preserve me. M5 fired to try and break up his strong flank, but only caused a squad to go berserk. At that point, I decided to move.

As the rest of the south flank came around, Patch tried to set up a fire lane, but only malfunctioned the LMG. And then a shot at a second unit eliminated another LMG. He did pin a squad in S10, and wounded my 10-1 as he pulled out of R9. (The irony here was that it took me rolling for residual FP to generate a good result.)

While the green guard HS moved west and out of the way, the squad and hero from U10 moved up and got a 1MC on P7 that CRed the berserk squad and broke the other one. Patch conceded at that point. (24-4)


It’s actually a pretty interesting scenario featuring lots of open room with troops that have very short ranges. And while long (I’d kind of like to see a slightly smaller version aimed at 7-8 turns), it did move fast; we were generally getting a full Game Turn done in each of our two-hour on-line sessions, and we’ve had small scenarios that we could barely do a single Player Turn of in that time.

On the other hand, the ski rules need work. Carried skis are put on top of the unit, which causes fields of identical generic white counters that blur the identification of who is where. Worn skis are, uniquely, put underneath the unit, causing trouble with remembering who’s dropped theirs completely. Two-sided ski counters for worn/carried would help, though exacerbate the fields of white counters problem. Finally, the counters have no size (unlike horses, motorcycles and bicycles), and the rules don’t even offer guidance on what happens when a squad deploys, or a Hero is generated.

Patch got nailed hard with some really bad luck. His 10-2 deserves a dishonorable discharge after pinning once and breaking twice on three or four MCs. The Extreme Winter hit hard with three losses to it, one being his 9-1 leader, plus a number of LMG malfunctions and eliminations; only three of his six LMGs were left, one of them was malfunctioned and the other two were currently unpossessed. Meanwhile, I had never malfunctioned an LMG.

Though, I did have a decent share of bad luck: With a morale of 8 and self-rally capability, my squads should have been coming back after about three player turns (two rolls at seven or less, plus the initial 3 or less under DM), and I had too many guys trying to sit out the entire scenario, and it really made turns 5-6 desperate.

But, the luck was good when I really needed it. Pinning the 10-2 during the initial push into the woods threw that off, and the breakup of his big pushes were not entirely likely. The initial CCs also saved me from paying for my mistakes with the skis.

I have to say though, that pushing into the woods really played into my strengths. I really think he should have just run for the board 34 woods and then fallen back to the west side.