Night Witches, Not Strike Witches

So, while I admit that playing Kantai Collection filled the slot for my World War II game in my theme of playing World War games (Cold War counting as an almost-WWIII), I shouldn’t so foolishly cast the European theatre to the side. After all, that’s the part of the war everyone remembers, not what went down in Japan.

So to remedy this, I picked up a World War II-themed game that took place in Europe: Night Witches. Made by the same guy that did Fiasco and played in the same way of Apocalypse World, Night Witches tells the tale of a team of women who flew outdated planes to drop bombs on German stuff to sabotage them. Sexism, death, betrayal, and all those lovely things you’d see on the battlefield ensue.

Now, this is where the problem begins to seep in for me. See, we’re playing as the Russians. The Stalin-run Russians. The Stalin-run Russians which had inspired a well known author to write not one, but two books satirizing the country. One of them was famous and is used almost every time people talk about something draconian and/or tyrannical, and the other one was 1984… if it was mashed up with Charlotte’s Web.

Yes, this movie exists. And its concept alone is awesome. Pictured: The author’s depiction of Stalin. Or Picard if he decided to voice a pig. I am not making any of those up.

As such, I fear that my depiction of Russia will be biased to say the least. For one, Russia back then was known to kill traitors, which the 588th Division, while some deviate from the norm, are not, especially since they are formed to help Russia win the war. Yes, there was sexism and homophobia, but I doubt they’re gonna pull a George and shoot them in the back of the head by the river.

Not to mention that Stalin himself approved of the all-women flying team, though under heavy duress and desperation. The worst the women may get is either a demotion or a trip to the insane asylum for roughly three months. I say this to help reassure myself that I shouldn’t make the Russians out to be the Capitol. I should also reassure myself that I shouldn’t make the Germans laughing jokes and have their higher ups be reduced to internet memes.

Sadly, these will be heavy urges for me to resist. So, I’ll implement a “Swear Jar” mechanic. In any case I am to make a reference to the infamous Hitler Rants videos or have the Russian government randomly execute people; I will mark one of the characters, which usually means something bad happens to them.

I’ve already picked out the engine for this game: Tiny Solitary Soldiers. It desperately needs to be used, and the fact that I’m playing a simple war game helps the decision making process. And as for what the overall Driver/Idea Inspiration will be, I chose the Russian Tarot Cards. I figured that, since I’m playing a game about Russia, I’d use Russian Tarot Cards.

Character Creation’s also simple, if a little more advanced than Titan World. We have our five playbooks that determine a character’s major trait, but we also have six classes for those characters to fall under. The difference is that the playbooks are for the character’s personality and not their class. To make a long explanation short, I’ll explain the ones I picked out for our quartet: Continue reading