For those that may not have seen the first few posts in this new feature, we have asked the designer of All Bridges Burning: Red Revolt and White Guard in Finland, 1917-1918 from GMT Games VPJ Arponen, to provide us with text of some of the proposed Event Cards and also to give a short summary of the historical background as well as their use in the game. We will plan to post these Spoilers every 7-10 days over the next few months, or even longer if Vez is up for it. We are very grateful for Vez and his willingness to do this for us and for our readers. Thank you for your hard work Vez!

In our 7th Event Card Spoiler post regarding All Bridges Burning, we take a look at card #24 Red Revolt! Please keep in mind that the artwork and layout of these cards is not yet finalized and is only for playtest purposes at this point. Also, as the game is still in development, card details may still change prior to publication.

24. Red Revolt!

All Bridges Burning #24 Red Revolt!

This card is one ―and the only― pivotal event contained in All Bridges Burning. It simulates the launching of the Red Revolt in Finland in January 1918 by the Finnish working class movement. Historically, the revolt began with the Red Guards taking control in a number of the largest towns in the country. (For more information on the Revolt, see this InsideGMT post on All Bridges Burning.

The card plays a truly pivotal role in the game. It transitions the game from the build-up Phase I to the war Phase II. From that point on, the Senate and the Reds may make use of the additional March and Attack commands. Also the foreign powers, Russia and Germany, become active. In addition, the News markers now begin to make an appearance on the board following brutalities. The News may be transported and “cashed in” by the Moderates for certain benefits. Finally, hostilities begin to cause prisoners of war which in turn ramps up the Polarization of the country.

Pivotal events have made an appearance in a number of COIN Series volumes to date. Red Revolt! is a different kind of a pivotal event in that it belongs to no one and cannot be played at will by any faction. Instead, the event occurs automatically when the condition mentioned in the top part of the card is fulfilled ―that is, when 27 or more Reds and Senate cells, combined, exist on the map.

The historical background and reason to include an auto-triggering pivotal event in the game is that, even though the Reds actively launched the revolt, in a sense it was an inevitable consequence of the events of the previous months during which mutual hostility and mobilization of the White and Red Guards, respectively, reached a fever pitch. As the Finnish historian Risto Alapuro explained in his State and Revolution in Finland:

“After encounters with the bourgeois guards in several localities, and after the civil guards gained official status as governmental troops, it was decided, with great reluctance, to launch the revolution on 27 January. Not surprisingly, it was described as having ‘a defensive character.’”

As an historical simulation, it therefore seemed fitting to have the pivotal event auto-trigger when a certain number of cells, combined, exist on the map.

All Bridges Burning Workers Executive
At the start of the Red Revolt, the Reds distributed this English language leaflet to foreigners in Finland. (Image: Finnish Board of Antiquities)

In terms of the game dynamics, the pivotal event offers the Reds the opportunity to strengthen their presence in a chosen town, maybe even claw it back from the Senate hands by removing the Senate forces there entirely (see the second bullet point of the card text above).

As with the pivotal events in previous COIN Series volumes, the card replaces a regular event card and can thus be used to “bury” an unwanted event.

However, the Red Revolt pivotal event is not all the way advantageous to the Reds. When auto-triggered, the Reds’ eligibility cylinder gets placed in the Event box of the eligibility display. Given the way eligibility shifts in the 3-player system (see, the Reds playing the event offers one of the other factions a chance to make use of back to back commands against the Reds ―one limited command conducted immediately after the Reds have played, followed by a second command on the next card before the Reds play in the second eligible position. Such “double whammies”, as I like to call them, can be useful for stealing the momentum in a key space.

The next card in the series is #25 Disarming Russian Garrisons.

You can also catch up on the series to date by following these links:

#3 November Revolution in Russia

#8 General Strike

#9 Declaration of Finnish Independence

#27 The Reds Launch a Major Offensive

#43 Rough Justice

#45 Finland’s Fate Hangs in Balance

All Bridges Burning Banner 1

If you are interested in All Bridges Burning: Red Revolt and White Guard in Finland, 1917-1918, you can pre-order a copy at the following link:

Also, check out our interview with the designer VPJ Arponen to get better insight into the game.