Can Russia survive? (Alpha +3)


  • '13

    Although I have only played two games of G40 so far I have been playing strategy games for 40 years and A&A since it first came out. Someone posted that unless you’ve played this game 10-12 times you don’t know what you are doing and I believe it.

    Anyway, in both games, Moscow has fallen hard in G5-6. In the first game (about 6 weeks ago), Russia pushed everything up to the front to try and stall Germany as much as possible. In the second game, did the opposite and retreated leaving a 1 inf screen to keep German tanks from blitzing. Our third game is coming up and all in our group dread playing Russia almost as much as playing France 😞  I have searched the forum looking for advice and found tips here and there but no concise summary to help out those of us new to the game.

    After that first game, I did a test play-through to see what would happen if the Allies (mostly UK) brought whatever fighters and bombers they could to Moscow before G5 to bolster its defense. (Russia retreated all possible troops to Moscow to maximize defense but left a 1 infantry screen to stop blitzing) I tried a few different options for the Russian buys but it was mostly or all infantry. For the German player, I moved everything east of Germany into Russia for the attack on Moscow. Germany’s buys were all tanks G1-G3 and bombers G4. Germany’s IPC count includes France, Normandy, and Bulgaria.

    In the end, my recollection is that the simulator calculated a slightly better than 50% chance of German defeat (I think it was 57%). From a probability standpoint, the Allies can help Russia survive the G5 assault but just barely. The problem is that, as long as Germany is buying tanks, the Allies basically must follow a ‘script’ for 4 turns in order to maximize the defense of Moscow and that takes all the fun out of the game. And this scenario didn’t include the possibility that Japan could have tanks in Moscow by turn 6.

    What am I missing?



  • If germany is buying all tanks for those rounds, then it’s actually a lot easier to hold than if he were to buy mechs instead or slow round 1.  You should not be burning that much if on “screening” anyways.  If blitzes forward, then back, that’s no big deal.  Factories do block blitzing.  The only cases where you would try to block, is if you have a vulnerable army, you are preventing him from getting around your back towards siberia(intercepted by units coming home anyway) and to prevent him from getting caucuses and Volgograd.

    Have you tried investing in having allied air around persia 2 turns before the expected attack?  Then fly them in when it is clear that he will go for it?

    Japan won’t have much to threaten moscow itself by turn 6 besides maybe a token land force, and some air, unless of course, china died too early and/or Japan gave up on winning on his side.



  • cb - I’ve leaned this lesson the hard way - against solid players who run a G1 Barbarossa, and purchase mostly mechanized forces followed by air units once close to Moscow’s doorstep, Russia’s capital will fall.

    So against such reckless hate, you are required to start with a different mindset:

    • You start by admitting that Moscow will be in Germany’s hands eventually. In every other A&A version, losing Moscow pretty much meant the endgame was close at hand.

    • The next step is to be completely aware that an Axis Europe map victory requires 8 Victory Cities to be captured by the Axis. When I first started playing Global, I didn’t fully comprehend this and all that it meant, and still operated under the old ‘total war’ mindset.

    • Assuming those 8 include all of mainland Europe + all 3 Russian VCs, the Axis will have to capture either London or Cairo.

    • So prepare yourself for the defense of these two VCs, starting from the beginning of the game. The fall of Moscow then comes as no surprise, and your opponent wonders what’s up when Moscow falls and you shrug your shoulders 😉

    Several things to consider, without getting into extreme detail:

    • Find ways to create strength in the Middle East, so you can proactively ‘plug the hole’ (Caucasus/NW Persia area) after Moscow falls. An early investiture of Iraq and Persia by the UK, followed by an IC? That’s one way. And don’t forget to use the South African factory… 2 infantry and a transport can reach the entire Middle East or Egypt the following round.

    • Do you want your Russian forces to sacrifice themselves in Moscow to kill as many Germans as possible? Or do you wait until the last minute and vacate the premises? If so, think Samara, then Kazahk, then Caucasus. If you’ve been aggressively pouring UK forces into the Middle East, you’d be surprised how a large combined Allied army can put a stop to Germany’s African ambitions.

    So, another way to sum this up:

    Think of the fall of Moscow as the actual moment the game begins. Having this mentality allows you to take it in stride, purchase and move properly, and plan for the moves you’ll need to make to prevent an Axis victory in either London or Cairo.



  • And roll a lot of 2’s……Stal!!!  😄



  • By the way, since that battle in Caucasus is haunting me.  I rolled it 3 time with real dice at home, 2 times in triple a and not once did I even lose a tank!!!

    I don’t know if that made me feel better or worse 😐



  • And yes, roll lots of 2s… I almost forgot!  😉

    The concepts were developed before our game, eleven, and you were putting the hurt on me… but I had the dice gods on my side in that game…



  • You are correct!!  You are very precise with your words and write in a manner that is easy to understand.  You have helped me immensely!!!

    P.S.  Your going down next time 😮



  • It won’t surprise me to lose to you - you should have won the last one - but bring it on!  :lol:

    Everyone else is slow right now - if you get one going, I’ll be able to take a turn or two tonight - I think my bid is on our last thread.

    And cb4 - I’m pretty interested to hear what you think about changing perceptions about Russia falling.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    I find alot of people turtle too often with the Russia defense.

    I believe the secret lies in the ability/threat of Russian counterattacks.

    Separating German ground units from their air force is a major key.

    That is to say, do not expose your medium stacks to german attacks that will overwhelm them, but be prepared to counter attack moves of german stacks that are pushing towards the front.

    Focusing on Russian income and NO’s is also critically important.  Make a small task force of 3 or 4 units, to liberate Persia, and attack Iraq.  Iraq is worth 5 to russia.  Then continue to work your way into africa, and get one or two italian territories.  Again boosting your economy.

    And don’t be afraid to take some risks!



  • One thing that many forget is that one major reason the Germans didn’t invade Moscow was Hitler moved his Panzer forces South to Ukraine to take Kiev. If he had pushed straight on to Moscow he would have taken it easily.

    Hitler made several mistakes in Barbarossa, he attacked too late in the year because he wasted five weeks attacking Yugoslavia with forces that should have pushed into Russia. Also like I said earlier he diverted his tanks South, those two things combined with the brutal winter was the German Army’s downfall.

    Of course with the game experienced players don’t have the winter to deal with, don’t care about Yugoslavia and march straight toward Moscowas fast as possible.



  • The german’s could of easily taken leningrad off the march in 41 and stalingrad in the middle of the summer in 42, just hitler was an idiot and told his panzer generals to wait.@maverick_76:

    One thing that many forget is that one major reason the Germans didn’t invade Moscow was Hitler moved his Panzer forces South to Ukraine to take Kiev. If he had pushed straight on to Moscow he would have taken it easily.

    Hitler made several mistakes in Barbarossa, he attacked too late in the year because he wasted five weeks attacking Yugoslavia with forces that should have pushed into Russia. Also like I said earlier he diverted his tanks South, those two things combined with the brutal winter was the German Army’s downfall.

    Of course with the game experienced players don’t have the winter to deal with, don’t care about Yugoslavia and march straight toward Moscowas fast as possible.


  • '13

    @ghr2, Stalingradski - Very salient points that I will certainly look into for next game.

    My group has had the perception from prior A&A, AA Europe, and AA50 games that if Russia falls it’s game over for the Allies. That started to change as I retreated my last Russian stack and let Germany take Moscow. I proceeded to use them to harass the weak Japanese troops in western China and bolster UK defense with Russian aircraft. Also, in terms of total IPC counts between Axis and Allies, it was still pretty even with Russia gone. And I really like your idea about preparing for it. I need to think about that some more and then coordinate Allies along those lines next time.

    @Gargantua - Your recommendations make sense but we have not played with NO’s yet. Still trying to get a handle on the possibilities without them. My understanding from other posts is that the game is more balanced with NO’s and possibly a bid, so we will have to consider this for next game.

    Thanks for your responses.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    I feel that part of Russia’s problem with this game (in all the box rules, alphas and second editions) is that Italy can foothold for German aircraft if it comes to it.

    Something to consider however, is when your actions result in a worse situation for the allies (or axis.)  Sometimes I find these hypothetical discussions get tunnel visioned to the exclusion of all other events that could happen on the board.  I used to have arguments about how KJF would work in AAR with a previous moderator, and I mean knock down, drag out FIGHTS to the point Yanny and Djensen had to step in personally and do something about it.  Eventually he was taunted by the community into actually PLAYING me (of course everyone thought I was going to lose horribly) and of course, he implemented his anti KJF strategies but they worked so well he lost Berlin to America on like round 6 or 7 or some ridiculously LOW number.  He focused on one thing to the point he cost himself the game. (For the record, the contention wasn’t if the US could beat Japan, it was if Russia could hold out long enough for America to win.  I never actually bought anything for the front with the US, I just used the transport the US started with and a couple infantry that the US started with and went berserk with my Russians going full offensive.)

    Just a word of caution.  Make sure (especially NOW with as huge as the map is now!) to consider ALL the ramifications of what you want to do.  Not saying it cannot be done, not implying it either.  Just be careful to look around the board.



  • @Gargantua:

    I find alot of people turtle too often with the Russia defense.

    I believe the secret lies in the ability/threat of Russian counterattacks.

    Separating German ground units from their air force is a major key.

    That is to say, do not expose your medium stacks to german attacks that will overwhelm them, but be prepared to counter attack moves of german stacks that are pushing towards the front.

    Focusing on Russian income and NO’s is also critically important.  Make a small task force of 3 or 4 units, to liberate Persia, and attack Iraq.  Iraq is worth 5 to russia.  Then continue to work your way into africa, and get one or two italian territories.  Again boosting your economy.

    And don’t be afraid to take some risks!

    Garg - I admire your spirit, and that mentality can take you a long way toward holding out  😄 My standard Russian purchase for the first three turns has begun to include a healthy dose of artillery (at least 3 + per early turns)… as I noted to you in another thread, I call it “toothing the bear”. You have to get some fangs to go with the Russian infantry, and make up for the lack of air power for spot attacks. Sometimes an infantry and an artillery become your best friend when in need. So I very much back up your assertion that Russia needs to scrap and fight, tooth and nail, to hang on and not let Moscow fall.

    However… without some sort of a dice swing, a determined and skilled German player utilizing a full-on Barbarossa will take Moscow every time. I don’t see any way around it. Therefore, in the bigger picture, a savvy Allied player will prepare for it from the beginning of the game, recognizing that the game (unlike other versions, as cb4 noted) is not over with the fall of the Russian capital. It’s only over on the Europe map when 8 VCs have been taken and secured.



  • @Cmdr:

    I feel that part of Russia’s problem with this game (in all the box rules, alphas and second editions) is that Italy can foothold for German aircraft if it comes to it.

    Something to consider however, is when your actions result in a worse situation for the allies (or axis.)  Sometimes I find these hypothetical discussions get tunnel visioned to the exclusion of all other events that could happen on the board.  I used to have arguments about how KJF would work in AAR with a previous moderator, and I mean knock down, drag out FIGHTS to the point Yanny and Djensen had to step in personally and do something about it.  Eventually he was taunted by the community into actually PLAYING me (of course everyone thought I was going to lose horribly) and of course, he implemented his anti KJF strategies but they worked so well he lost Berlin to America on like round 6 or 7 or some ridiculously LOW number.  He focused on one thing to the point he cost himself the game. (For the record, the contention wasn’t if the US could beat Japan, it was if Russia could hold out long enough for America to win.  I never actually bought anything for the front with the US, I just used the transport the US started with and a couple infantry that the US started with and went berserk with my Russians going full offensive.)

    Just a word of caution.  Make sure (especially NOW with as huge as the map is now!) to consider ALL the ramifications of what you want to do.  Not saying it cannot be done, not implying it either.  Just be careful to look around the board.

    Your point is well taken - every strategy has to be viewed in the context of the larger map, and all of the theaters. A very important lesson.

    Something I try to ask myself during games is - my opponent has created a strength for themselves, but in doing so, what weakness have they created? So if they go north, do I counter south? If they go heavy air, do I counter with heavy land (air can clear land but can’t take it…)? If I see a group of subs purchased, will I make sure to get my shipyards to work on destroyers? Just something to think about.



  • I can’t remember how many VC’s you need to capture in the global game but like others have said on this thread, the game is not over when Moscow falls, especially if Britain is spending money controlling Africa and keeping the Atlantic and Med. clear of Axis ships. That allows the US to just buy gobs of troops and tanks and bombers that will be able to get intro France around the time that Russia is about to fall.

    Now I mentioned before that historically one of the big reasons Moscow wasn’t taken is that Hitler made blunders. So since hindsight is 20/20, obviously an experienced player is going to charge at Moscow full bore. One thing that I wish the game would do is instead of handing over your IPC’s when your capital falls is instead giving the power life as long as one VC is standing. That would give the German player a little more trouble in knocking out Russia so fast, maybe an extra turn or two. Now once all VC’s and capitals have fallen, then the power has to forfeit money and must wait until an ally emancipates them.

    This of course is only a thought and not a play tested theory. Since I have not played a full global match yet I don’t even know if the game is out of balance in the first place,  maybe Russia has to fall in order for the game to become a fair fight.
    I do like the idea since I feel a nation will fight until its major cities are all under enemy control, feels a little more realistic to me.


  • Customizer

    @Stalingradski:

    @Gargantua:

    I find alot of people turtle too often with the Russia defense.

    I believe the secret lies in the ability/threat of Russian counterattacks.

    Separating German ground units from their air force is a major key.

    That is to say, do not expose your medium stacks to german attacks that will overwhelm them, but be prepared to counter attack moves of german stacks that are pushing towards the front.

    Focusing on Russian income and NO’s is also critically important.  Make a small task force of 3 or 4 units, to liberate Persia, and attack Iraq.  Iraq is worth 5 to russia.  Then continue to work your way into africa, and get one or two italian territories.  Again boosting your economy.

    And don’t be afraid to take some risks!

    Garg - I admire your spirit, and that mentality can take you a long way toward holding out  😄 My standard Russian purchase for the first three turns has begun to include a healthy dose of artillery (at least 3 + per early turns)… as I noted to you in another thread, I call it “toothing the bear”. You have to get some fangs to go with the Russian infantry, and make up for the lack of air power for spot attacks. Sometimes an infantry and an artillery become your best friend when in need. So I very much back up your assertion that Russia needs to scrap and fight, tooth and nail, to hang on and not let Moscow fall.

    However… without some sort of a dice swing, a determined and skilled German player utilizing a full-on Barbarossa will take Moscow every time. I don’t see any way around it. Therefore, in the bigger picture, a savvy Allied player will prepare for it from the beginning of the game, recognizing that the game (unlike other versions, as cb4 noted) is not over with the fall of the Russian capital. It’s only over on the Europe map when 8 VCs have been taken and secured.

    I find it odd that you are suggesting Russia go offensive when Germany attacks. We have tried that in several games, usually because the Russian player gets bored with just being defensive, and just about every time all it ends up being is a waste of Russian resources and an easier time taking Moscow by Germany. Now I am talking NO SEALION, straight Barbarossa by Germany. The only times the Allies seem to do well is if Russia withdraws to Moscow and turtles up, making the Germans come and meet their huge stack of infantry. Then it either takes Germany so long to get Moscow that the US/UK end up defeating them in the west, or Germany actually fails to take Moscow which makes it even better for the Allies.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    Currently I’ve been leaning towards 1-3 tanks a round with Russia before going to war.  Not saying it has been working for me, but it was the same mindset, I wanted to have retaliatory strike ability and tanks (unlike Artillery) can defend better than infantry.

    Another idea I had, but have not used against humans before in 2nd edition, is a 4th aircraft for Russia.  The idea is to give them attack punch while not committing their resources to counter attack (planes have to retreat.)


  • '13

    @Cmdr:

    Something to consider however, is when your actions result in a worse situation for the allies (or axis.)  Sometimes I find these hypothetical discussions get tunnel visioned to the exclusion of all other events that could happen on the board. […] he implemented his anti KJF strategies but they worked so well he lost Berlin to America on like round 6 or 7 or some ridiculously LOW number.  He focused on one thing to the point he cost himself the game.

    Just a word of caution.  Make sure (especially NOW with as huge as the map is now!) to consider ALL the ramifications of what you want to do.  Not saying it cannot be done, not implying it either.  Just be careful to look around the board.

    Good advice, especially about winning the battle but losing the war. The map is huge and that creates so many possibilities. I just wish I had more time to play so I could explore them all… 😞



  • knp - were you talking to me, or Garg, when you said ‘you’?  🙂

    If it was me, let me give a little more nuance to what I’m saying. Just because I fully believe that Germany will destroy Moscow regardless of what I do, I choose to play Russia with teeth. But I don’t go all out and go crazy… I think a couple turns of 7 infantry/3 artillery/ a mech is a good mix. If I’m feeling feisty, take off two infantry and add an armor.

    Set yourself up to strafe if given the opportunity, and to use mobile forces to strike at range (Archangel can be a nice destination for Russian mech if it is lightly guarded and you can get the extra 5 IPCs, as one example).

    Garg is more aggressive than I, but I believe you have to not completely give Russia the appearance of the turtle by going 12 infantry a round, or whatever. To the German player, it’s a clear sign that you’re going total defense. I like to play defense, but show some teeth in the process  :evil:



  • @Cmdr:

    Currently I’ve been leaning towards 1-3 tanks a round with Russia before going to war.  Not saying it has been working for me, but it was the same mindset, I wanted to have retaliatory strike ability and tanks (unlike Artillery) can defend better than infantry.

    Another idea I had, but have not used against humans before in 2nd edition, is a 4th aircraft for Russia.  The idea is to give them attack punch while not committing their resources to counter attack (planes have to retreat.)

    Jen - armor for Russia is nice, and if the German player is taking their time gearing up (like I do, typically G3 or G4), then adding some armor is worth the money. If playing that style, I like to add a mech at an even ratio, to create a mobile force that can do some damage without losing armor.

    It also creates an interesting late game opportunity for mobility and spot attacks - if Russia decides to back off out of Moscow when the end is near, having mobile units can keep Russia a player for a long, long time. If all you’ve built is a giant monolith of infantry and artillery, your forces become entirely predictable. That’s no fun  😢

    As to a 4th Russian aircraft - again IMO it is best if going against someone who gears up slowly with Germany. I think of you see all navy from Germany on G1, it gives you the freedom to be a little more aggressive with Russia’s first purchase or two. Some people may disagree, but I prefer a 2nd tac to a 3rd fighter, despite the defensive shortcomings. My reasoning is this - I’m purchasing it for spot attacks, not to play defense behind a large stack of infantry. If you’re also buying a few armor with Russia, it matches up nicely with those as well. And, it’s still good on defense, unlike a bomber.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    I am torn, generally I have played with the axis going for Sea Lion but again, this is mostly Alpha 2 and Alpha 3 we are talking about, I have scarce half a dozen 2nd edition games completed as the time of this writing, so feel free to riddle my arguments with holes, I won’t mind! lol.

    However if Germany goes Sea Lion, (aka, 6-10 transports) then a 4th fighter or tanks for Russia just seems wise.  Probably more so the tanks since you can use them to spear into the Balkan States for the NOs too.  If Sea Lion is completely dead, then I know what strategy I am going to use for the rest of the year, cause no one will expect it and that’s how I win. 😛


  • '13

    I have played without NO’s so far. Thoughts on Russia surviving better with them or without them???


  • Customizer

    @cb4:

    I have played without NO’s so far. Thoughts on Russia surviving better with them or without them???

    Well, until Russia actually starts taking German territory, they only get the Archangel NO and that gets lost if the Axis have a warship in SZ 125 OR if there are other Allied units in Russian territories. So I don’t think it really hurts Russia to play without NOs.
    In most of our games, once Russia is able to collect the 3 IPCs per territory for taking Axis territories, at least other than Finland and Norway, it usually means Germany is losing anyway. That extra 3 IPCs per Territory tends to simply help Russia overwhelm Germany a little quicker than they would otherwise.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    I’d be in favor of changing the Russian NOs to something more historic anyway - not that Larry ever agreed with me.

    Russian NO 1:  SZ 125/Arkhangelsk - 5 IPC - Lend Lease
    Russian NO 2:  Leningrad - 5 IPC - retainership of Russias only real European style city, a major port for Russia and Russian pride
    Russian NO 3:  Stalingrad - 5 IPC - maintenance of industrial capacity, Named after leader of Russia (Russian Pride)
    Russian NO 4:  Finland + Norway - 5 IPC (has to be owned by Russia, not an allied nation!) - conquering of historical enemy nations
    Russian NO 5:  Poland + East Poland + Baltic States - 5 IPC (has to be owned by Russia, not an allied nation!) - conquering of historical enemy nations

    game effects?  who’s going to try and tell me that Russia does not need 10 IPC it can count on for the first few rounds of the game just to keep Germany from taking Moscow in the first 5-9 rounds?  I’d say with the changes limit it so that American, British, French and Anzac forces cannot enter any red territory or Russian controlled territory unless Stalingrad OR Leningrad OR Moscow are controlled by the Axis.


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