The US is fine. I disagree with everyone that says US is too strong. They can focus on Japan and neutralize them or remove them from the game and then swing back by turn 8 - 10. I agree with that, but not with forcing them to split their buys - wouldn't work anyway.
But ... Russia IS too strong. They need to start with less units, or make less money.
So far Russia played properly can hold its own WITHOUT help. That should not be the case. Even going hard on Russia from both sides and I haven't been able to crack it.
Russia needs to be reduced.
I have read your post on the Harris Game Designs website as well as all of the responses here on Axisandallies.org, and I still agree with you that Russia is too strong.
I am in an Axis and Allies group that has played several games of Global and we have yet to crack the Russian defense... The Russian turtling strategy is very hard to overcome with the current setup, and I don’t thing that it matters if the Germans attack north or south, the Russians can always fall back to the middle ground and protect Moscow.
I have looked at the game loggs that you posted, and they are right on with how some of our games have gone. Here are my observations based on the games that we have played. I will state beforehand that in all of these games, the German player used the standard G1 buy of a Carrier and 2 transports, or a Carrier, a destroyer, and a transport.
1) Game 1 – German player did the standard G1 buy, then on G2 bought a Major Factory in Romania and bought Infantry/ Art on G3 and tanks in W Germany. The German player launched an attack on G3 into Russia… the stack moved forward and the German player reached Moscow on G7, bud did not have the forces to knock out the Russians… the Americans and British eventually defeated the Germans on the Western Front
2) Game 2 – The German player did the standard buy on G1, but built heavily in transports on G2 (and did not buy a factory in Romania). He used the transports to launch an invasion of Leningrad on G3, and built mostly inf and tanks there after in Germany. In this game, the German superior fleet was able to hold off the British invasion for a longer period of time, but the investment in fleet seemed to doom the Germans as they where not able to defeat the Russian Stack that turtled back to Russia.
3) Game 3 – This was the closest game… the Germans did a standard G1 buy, but built all art units on g2, mech inf/ art on g3, mech on g4, and tanks on G5/G6. While the faster units help, you can still only get to Moscow so quick if the Russians are falling back and only leaving one unit per turn. In this particular game, the US went all in on the Pacific, so there is little pressure on the European front… we did not get to finish this game, but I am not sure if the Germans would have won this match.
Also, I have seen a lot of posts about using the Italians to attack Russia, and I just do not think that it is very feasible. Italy has so many things to worry about and so few resources to do them… in the 3rd scenario, the Axis (Italian) player was able to launch an attack into Russia through Persia, but it was easily crushed… there where just not enough resources to make the attack sustainable.
I think that there is some balancing in order here… Russia should not be able to defeat the Axis on their own with out significant help