Russia is not too strong, if anything, I find they are a bit weak. Obviously, they are not the push-over country they once were! I mean, common, in Revised, Anniversary and Classic if the Allies didn’t rush to dump massive amounts of troops into Russia, Russia fell to the Germans very easily. That’s very ahistorical and not a very good game, IMHO.
Now, if to state that Russia is too strong, to me, means that Russia has a decent chance of taking Berlin. That does not seem to be the case. The whole objective for Russia to take Berlin seems like a sick joke to me as the odds of Russia ever getting Berlin appears to get darn close to zero, whereas the odds of Germany attaining victory in Moscow will, eventually, be assured, without significant Allied involvement.
Have you considered using the Italians in Russia? I know, a strange thought! After all, because all the Italian NOs are in or near the Med, we feel we have to invest 20 rounds of Italian income into attaining and maintaining them! But do we really? Are the objectives how you win the game? No. How do you win the game? You get victory cities. How do you get victory cities? You move into position and attack them.
Now, Russian stacks CAN be an obstacle, I do not disagree. It is wise to have German aircraft present with your armies so as to dwindle the odds of any Russian attack! But you cannot stack aircraft on newly conquered land! But wait! YES YOU CAN! Italy attacks the territory, taking their lumps (which will be countered, in part with the income from the land) and Germany moves in to reinforce! Now you CAN land your planes preventing Russia from attacking your armies!
This puts Russia in the position of having their armies circumnavigated or retreating them! Sure, they could swing around north or south to get around your armies, perhaps moving in to threaten your reinforcements, but common, is that really a threat? Really? Germany is earning 50-60 IPC, Russia is earning 30-40 IPC. You don’t think you couldnt build a second army and squeeze the Russians to death between them? Or perhaps you use one to hold the Russians out and the other to beat them into submission in their victory cities?
The whole point is: Use the Italians like a can opener. It’s slower on land, but it is also more effective on land! Russia CAN be beaten if the Americans don’t help, just like in every other version of the game. However, unlike other versions of the game, you actually have to think of a plan to defeat Russia, it isn’t just a given. Germany has 8 Tanks, Russia has 2 Tanks. Germany has 11 Aircraft, Russia has 3 Aircraft.
Yes, Russia CAN slow the Germans down. Yes, the Americans WILL isolate and neutralize Japan (how could it be else when America is so massively over powered?) but with Italian support, you might be able to break Russia before America can swing around and stop you. That’s how you win against an American Pac-Strat. It requires a sprinkle of luck, a modicum of persistance and a heaping helping of wit and strategy. But it can be done!
PS: I’d like to see it permissible for America to attack Japan if Japan invades Russia. It’s just plain silly that Japan can invade Russia to begin with. It’s always been silly, and it will remain to be silly! But I see the utility in it, I just think the America people would get ROYALLY TICKED OFF if Japan just started driving through Russia.
PPS: I wouldn’t mind moving the 2 Infantry in Karelia and 3 Infantry in Vybork back to Novosobirsk or Timguska to alleviate some pressure on Germany. I don’t think it’s really needed most of the time, but I could see an issue if the dice go really sour for Germany.