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The worst National Objective: and one quick way to fix game balance. *HR


  • '14

    Updated: This list of Soviet NOs is the result of the discussion in the thread below. Thanks to everyone here who contributed ideas.

    Basically we are trying to replace the worst NO (referenced in the thread title) with a better one.  😄
    The latest drafts reads as follows…

    National Objectives: Soviet Union

    *If the Soviet Union is at war with at least one European Axis power, then…

    "The Great Patriotic War" Theme: Soviet Sphere of Influence.
    +5 ipcs if there are no units belonging to other Allied powers present in any territories originally controlled by the Soviet Union.


    "Arctic Convoys" Theme: access to Allied Lend-Lease material, support to Russia via the Arctic supply route (Archangel and Murmansk).
    +5 ipcs if Allies control Archangel and Karelia, and sz 125 is free of Axis warships.

    "Persian Corridor" Theme: support to Russia via the Trans-Iranian supply route.
    +5 ipcs if Allies control Persia and Northwest Persia, and sz 80 is free of Axis warships.

    "The Northern Trace" Theme: support to Russia via the Northwest Staging route, and Alaska-Siberia Air Road.
    +5 ipcs if Allies control Amur and Alaska, and sz 1 is free of Axis warships.


    "Red Advance" Theme: Propaganda value and spread of communism.
    +3 IPCs for each original German, Italian, or pro-Axis neutral territory that the Soviet Union controls.

    "Final Offensive" Theme: National Prestige.
    +10 ipcs (one time only) the first time the Soviet Union controls Germany (Berlin).

    • Optional +5 ipcs suggested for the separate condition “At war in Europe” when playing without the added supply routes. Suggested +5 if at War in Europe and “not at War with Japan” (NAP). These only if game balance recommends them, or as a bonus against opponents of varying skill. Otherwise “At War in Europe”, serves as a necessary condition which must be met to activate all Soviet NOs, but which awards no ipcs itself.

    Initial discussion…

    Many of you already know my feelings on NOs, and the many reasons I don’t like them in general. But there are a couple NOs that strike me as particularly lame… Lets just look at Russia…

    5 ipcs if Russia is at war, sz125 has no Axis warships (all sea units except transports), Archangel is Russia-controlled, and there are no allied units in any originally Russian territories.

    This NO is the most annoying for me. Not only is it too wordy, but it has basically no influence on the game until the game is more or less decided. The promise of this NO is defeated by the fact that the potential pay off is too low for all the effort required to achieve it.  Just a measly 5 ipcs, chump change in the grand scheme, and this chump change is far too easy for Germany to deny them. Its relatively simple for G to cover sz 125 through Russia’s turn, covering it against UK or for a whole round would be different, but Russia moves immediately after G. Its also too easy to hammer Arch, or to put the Russians in a position where W. Allied assistance is critical. The other Russian NOs: 3 ipcs for each originally German, Italian, or Pro-Axis neutral territory that Russia controls. And 10 ipcs one time only, the first time Russia conquers Germany (Berlin), are both endgame NOs, and the latter is pretty pointless since by the time that Happens the game is over already. So basically all of Russias NOs are rough, and don’t do them a whole lot of good on balance. Considering how Russia is already nerfed right out the gate, collecting in the mid 30s while Axis are dropping well over 100 ipcs a round! and considering how all winning Axis strategies (in every A&A game ever!) involve a Moscow crush, its pretty obvious that this NO is just way too low at 5 ipcs. For all practical purposes this is the only Russian NO that is achievable, the only one that can have an impact on the mid game, and its just far too easy for Axis to shut down. For gameplay, this NO should probably be worth three times as much, or even better…
    Each condition should be worth 5 ipcs independently. This would at least bring the total number of Russian NOs in line with those of their enemies, and give a real reason to go for it rather than just give it up, in favor of W. Allied support. Hell they should probably be worth 10 ipcs each, but I’ll settle for 5 if you really want to get a Russia balance that works. Just tweaking this single NO, you could probably get around the need for an Allied bid.

    Moscow is the game, and Russia is woefully under powered. I mean, on balance, its debatable whether theses NOs should even have an “at War” condition required, but since it reads that way above, at least the value should be higher, so they can actually have an effect once Germany rolls in heavy with their DoW.

    So I suggest a revised wording for this NO might read something like…

    Russian National Objective

    5 ipcs: if Russia is at War.

    5 ipcs: if at War, and sz125 has no Axis warships (all sea units except transports)

    5 ipcs: if at War, and Archangel is Russia-controlled

    5 ipcs: if at War, and there are no allied units in any originally Russian territories.

    Under crush conditions, this would at least guarantee Russia 5 ipcs a round, and give them a chance at an additional 15 ipcs on top of that, if they can meet the requirements of each independent objective condition. It makes sense to award this NO cash separately for several reasons. First because game balance would benefit, but more importantly because it just makes sense to diversify the way that “Aid” can get into Russia. You figure, even if the Axis had the northern route blockaded with uboats, and even if Murmansk was frozen over, and even if the Germans were on the doorstep of Archangel, you know FDR and Churchill would still have found a way to get supplies into Russia to continue bleeding Germany. This is why I think Russia should get 5 ipcs, automatically just for being at war.

    The other three conditions each awarding 5 ipcs would bring Russia (at war) up to the level needed for them to actually compete instead of folding, at the critical time when the center crush in is full swing. What do you think? I’d see no reason to modify the other Russian NOs (even if they are unlikely to have an influence unless the endgame has Berlin beat.) That would give Russia 6 NOs. The same as Germany.

    What NO’s do you like the least? And if you could change just 1 National Objective to fix the game, which one would it be?
    The one above would be mine  😄


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    I believe Russia is so easily crushed in 1940, because it has no useful (and historical ) NOs.
    A 5 NO for being at war is a great start. Never considered it; good work.
    I think YG split the 125/no Allies in Russia into two and that would work for me  too. Russia needs 10-15 while at war, to counter Germany’s 10-15.
    Overall, I have to agree with you that this is the stupidest NO.


  • 2019 2018 2017

    I think there’s room for some additional supply-based NO’s for the USSR:

    • Persian Corridor: 5 IPC if Russia is at war and the Allies control both Persia and Northwest Persia.
    • Vladivostok Route: 5 IPC if Russia is at war, Amur is Russian, and the Allies control either the Western US or British Columbia - maybe combined with several sea zones not beign hostile.

    The first one is easily achieved by the Allies, and the second one may give Japan an incentive to take Amur, which they wouldn’t normally do.


  • '14

    @wittmann:

    I believe Russia is so easily crushed in 1940, because it has no useful (and historical ) NOs.
    A 5 NO for being at war is a great start. Never considered it; good work.
    I think YG split the 125/no Allies in Russia into two and that would work for me  too. Russia needs 10-15 while at war, to counter Germany’s 10-15.
    Overall, I have to agree with you that this is the stupidest NO.

    Exactly! So here you’d always have 5 ipcs once at war. And you’d have another 5 ipcs that is fairly simple to achieve,  provided you keep your territories clear of W. Allied units. That gives you a baseline of 10 additional ipcs each round to the Soviet Union.

    How you want to approach sz 125 and Archangel is less significant. You could make them 5 each or 5 together. Whatever seems best.

    This is better than a pre-placement bid for Allies, because it does not break any opening round combats. The immediate impact is less pronounced, but once the DoW occurs it provides Allies with a significant leg up in the most critical region of the board, the center!

    It is simple to implement because it involves the same components as the OOB national objective. But increases their relative value for cost of achievement.

    Consider that the 5 ipc at war alone, after a few rounds will add up to the value of a standard bid.

    The rational here could be things like airlifts, loans, overland supplies via south Asia etc. But once Russia is at war, they are considered to be at +5 ipcs in aid baseline for the duration of the game.

    By separating the no W. Allies on Soviet land aspect from the Arch/sz125 aspect, you create a seperate incentive for each. So if you can’t secure sz 125 or Arch without western units at least there is still a trade off and a chance at 5 ipcs. Likewise if you can’t secure the northern route,  but can at least keep western units out of Russian territories,  you still have a shot on +5. This would give Russia a decent chance of collecting 10 ipcs in NOs each round, once they are at war.

    I prefer this method to any bid dynamic I’ve seen, since bidding effects opening combat and breaks opening strategy from the OOB situation.

    @Herr:

    I think there’s room for some additional supply-based NO’s for the USSR:

    • Persian Corridor: 5 IPC if Russia is at war and the Allies control both Persia and Northwest Persia.
    • Vladivostok Route: 5 IPC if Russia is at war, Amur is Russian, and the Allies control either the Western US or British Columbia - maybe combined with several sea zones not beign hostile.

    The first one is easily achieved by the Allies, and the second one may give Japan an incentive to take Amur, which they wouldn’t normally do.

    This is a cool idea as well, and probably superior to the 3 ipc NOs for Axis territory siezed, or the 10 for Berlin. Those are some of the routes I was thinking of, when suggesting that the West would surely have still found a way into Russia, even if the north was locked down. Since after all, part of the strategy was to help finance the war effort in Russia and bloody the Germans by proxy, while preparing for the Atlantic crossing. I think it just makes more sense. And Russia has the most need.

    This is far better handled through a simple NO change=Money, rather than by adding or removing units at the outset= preplacement bid. Don’t you think?


  • '14

    Ps. How about this, if you wanted to keep the wording and character of the NOs very similar, then each supply route should follow the sz 125/Arch dynamic. One land territory and one convoy zone free of Axis warships. So basically like this…

    Russian National Objectives:

    USSR Joins Allies: +5 ipcs if Russia is at War with the Berlin/Rome Axis

    Soviet Sphere of Influence: +5 ipcs (at War) if there are no Western units in any originally Russian territories

    Arctic Supply: +5 ipcs (at War) if sz 125 has no Axis warships, and Archangel is Russia-Controlled

    *Optional supply NO expansions…

    South Asia Supply: + 5 ipcs (at War) if sz 80 has no Axis warships, and Persia is Allied-Controlled.

    Far East Supply: + 5 if (at War) if sz 1 has no Axis warships, and Soviet Far East is Russia-Controlled.

    I would suggest Soviet Far East, over Amur (even though Vladivostok makes sense as well) mainly because it would draw Japan  towards North America, and create a target area which is pulled even farther to the north. sz 1 is also conveniently nearby and can be reached from the harbour in Japan in one move.

    Soviet far east, unlike Amur, is contested out of North America, which makes it more interesting strategically, and it is closer to a viable convoy lane (giving sz 1 and the whole north pacific a greater significance to the Japanese warplan). Also lends itself well to the name of the objective in shorthand.

    This keeps all three supply objectives consistent. Each has one key land territory, and one associated convoy Sea Zone. This would provide Russia with a total of five achievable objectives. +5 ipcs baseline once at war, +5 ipc to encourage Russia to stand on its own without Western units on its land. And then three supply objectives +5 ipc each, which the Axis can contest (either on land, or at sea for each.) This would give Russia a potential income boost between 5-25 ipcs per round, but would result in a likely spread somewhere in the +10 to +15 ipcs range. Far superior to a pre-placment bid on gamebalance, since the influence would be ongoing. It keeps with the OOB system of NOs, but doesn’t mess with the opening round combats.

    The Soviet Sphere of Influence aspect might get traded out at some point in order to cover one of the supply route NOs, so a likely trade of -5 from W. Allies landing in order to secure a +5, +10, or +15 along the supply routes. Since Russia is unlikely to hold them all, and might not hold any, I still like the idea of giving them that baseline +5 just for being at War and joining with the Allies in Europe. It would also strengthen the incentive for them to keep Western units off their land, if they can count on +10… (+5 at war, and +5 no western units.)

    This is like getting a Russian fighter, or a mech/tank combo, every round that the USSR can maintain without Western units occupying red territories directly.  If you wish, you could also retain the other two Russian objectives, the +3 Axis land and +10 Berlin, but I think you could probably ditch those altogether if you wanted since they’re obviously endgame, and a pretty unlikely endgame at that. The NOs above would give you more in terms of playbalance since they would effect the midgame, rather than just endgame. Any thoughts?

    08.jpg
    Soviet Far East Supply.jpg


  • '14

    Pps. If this alone balances the game for Allies, and I think it might, it would be extremely easy to print a clarification adendum to the rules. All you’d have to add is a single word, a semicolon, and two periods.

    Here is the original wording of the rule…

    “5 IPCs if the Soviet Union is at war with at least one European Axis power, the convoy in sea zone 125 is
    free of Axis warships, Archangel is controlled by the Soviet Union, and there are no units belonging to
    other Allied powers present in any territories originally controlled by the Soviet Union.”

    Here is my proposed interpretation of that wording…

    5 IPCs each;
    If the Soviet Union is at war with at least one European Axis power.
    The convoy in sea zone 125 is free of Axis warships, Archangel is controlled by the Soviet Union.
    There are no units belonging to other Allied powers present in any territories originally controlled by the Soviet Union.

    Here is the wording in TripleA

    “5 ipcs if Russia is at war, sz125 has no Axis warships (all sea units except transports), Archangel is Russia-controlled, and there are no allied units in any originally Russian territories.”

    Here is my suggested revision…

    +5 ipcs each;
    If Russia is at war.
    Sz125 has no Axis warships (all sea units except transports), Archangel is Russia-controlled.
    There are no allied units in any originally Russian territories.

    I mean the ambiguity is there in the original wording already, we are just choosing to read/interpret it with each condition awarding the +5 separately.

    So simple! Replaces the bid 😄

    I posted a version of the simplest change I could think of in the forums above. http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=34569.0  Just a few simple marks, one colon, and two semi-colons added in (I went with semi-colons as better than periods, since the commas are already in print, now all you have to do is make a couple dots above them). As easy as possible to write the change into the rulebook with a pen or a pencil. I meant actually to post that in the HR forum, but got excited and so dropped it in this forum. I’ll keep this thread open for anyone who wants to discuss their NO gripes, or how the redrafted Russian NO plays.


  • 2019 2018 2017

    My general idea was to add one NO for Russia that would be easy to get and hold, and one that would be available unless Japan would do something about it.

    The easy one is the Persian Corridor of course (I rather like that term because it was also used in the actual war). I’d prefer to keep Northwest Persia in as a requirement, because it makes sense historically and is easy to accomplish for the Allies anyway. It does weaken the NO slightly of course once the Caucasus falls to the Axis. But requiring SZ80 to be free makes perfect sense.

    I thought about the Soviet Far East, but I picked Amur because it would be more of a dilemma to Japan whether or not to take it. If Japan does take it, they activate the Mongolians for Russia. Using the Soviet Far East will probably make Japan decide that taking out the Soviet NO is too much of a risk, because it can be reached directly from America as you pointed out. But with Amur, the temptation is there, and probably there’s pressure form Germany to take it out - but Japan also knows that pushing north is not their best general strategy.
    SZ1 - agreed, that makes sense. Or maybe SZ8, to have the Aleutians as an additional prize for Japan if they want to fight it?

    On the whole, I really like the general idea: fix the game balance, and do so by helping Russia.



  • I believe that any house rule or new national objectives that benefit the Allies and replaces the bid system, needs to effect both sides of the map and are a bit harder on Japan than on Germany.



  • I must agree that Russia indeed is woefully underpowered.
    ALL it’s NO’s are so damn easily denied/undone if all axis focus on Russia + Middle East region.

    -SZ125 free of axis warships? Not ever going to happen before it is already too late. Impact on the game: nil.
    -Spread of Communism? Axis will just sacrifice a few Japanese (moving directly after Russia) to remove Russians from Africa/ME. The Axis’ aim here is to win economically, not by conquering enough VCs. Russians in Eastern Europe is pointless to discuss I guess ;-).

    Therefore I like the idea of changing the Russian NO’s.
    I like Herr kaleun’s suggestion about the ‘Persian Corridor’ a lot as well (just need a clear allied path between Persia and Moscow during Russia’s turn).
    The allies should be able to get at least 5IPCs into Russia per turn (through lend lease), using the route via Archangelsk, Persia, or Amur. Maybe even 5IPCs per turn per clear route. So that would be 15/turn, -5 because Germany easily denies the Archangelsk route, -5 because Japan so easily removes the Amur-option (even when Germany goes Sea Lion and the Siberians stay in the Far East), leaving 5IPCs per turn for the Persian route, which the allies should be able to keep open.

    Spread of communism now only counts for Eastern-Europe/Scandinavia.


  • '14

    @Young:

    I believe that any house rule or new national objectives that benefit the Allies and replaces the bid system, needs to effect both sides of the map and are a bit harder on Japan than on Germany.

    By strengthening Russia, this is basically what we are doing.

    The problem with offering a bid in G40, like many of the previous games, is that competent players will always use the bid to break an opening battle. This takes the whole game balance by side down to a single roll in a single round, generally against (or in support of) the weakest link, whatever that is determined to be for the game. Its very hard, once you depart from the OOB conditions, to find a bid that actually works, since there is a very strong potential that you’ll be taking a broken situation, and then breaking it in the opposite direction. In G40 the political element makes this even more complicated than it was in the earlier A&A games (not everyone is at war at the outset, and players gravitate towards spending their bid where it will have the most dramatic impact as early as possible.) This may have been an alright expedient in some of the earlier games, where the pre-placement bid was comparatively low (under 10 ipcs), and fairly limited in scope, but don’t think the bid works particularly well in G40, because the TUV gap is so much broader.

    The Allies require a minimum of about 10 ipcs per round in Russia, once at war, just to maintain at the center. Otherwise the center will fold, just like it does in every A&A game, and the whole Allied strategy in later rounds just devolves to stacking Moscow as deep as you possibly can, with as many Western units (e.g. fighters) as you can get into the area. This puts even more pressure on the Axis and especially Japan to race towards a Moscow crush as quickly as possible. If on the other hand you give the Russians a consistent leg up on income, this dynamic changes from being an entirely defensive stack fast and prep for the inevitable, to one that at least encourages some trading and forward offensives by the Soviets. Consider that if you can get around 10 ipcs to Russia per round, once at war, that is the equivalent of a Fighter a round, or a mech/tank combo, or 2 inf and an Art combo. Superior to almost any bid you might offer the Allies in terms of TUV, and less annoying for the Axis player, since it doesn’t break their openings. Put the emphasis and the action where we need it, in Russia.

    @Herr:

    My general idea was to add one NO for Russia that would be easy to get and hold, and one that would be available unless Japan would do something about it.

    The easy one is the Persian Corridor of course (I rather like that term because it was also used in the actual war). I’d prefer to keep Northwest Persia in as a requirement, because it makes sense historically and is easy to accomplish for the Allies anyway. It does weaken the NO slightly of course once the Caucasus falls to the Axis. But requiring SZ80 to be free makes perfect sense.

    I thought about the Soviet Far East, but I picked Amur because it would be more of a dilemma to Japan whether or not to take it. If Japan does take it, they activate the Mongolians for Russia. Using the Soviet Far East will probably make Japan decide that taking out the Soviet NO is too much of a risk, because it can be reached directly from America as you pointed out. But with Amur, the temptation is there, and probably there’s pressure form Germany to take it out - but Japan also knows that pushing north is not their best general strategy.
    SZ1 - agreed, that makes sense. Or maybe SZ8, to have the Aleutians as an additional prize for Japan if they want to fight it?

    On the whole, I really like the general idea: fix the game balance, and do so by helping Russia.

    “Persian Corridor” works for me, I just tacked on the “supply” to distinguish the three route related NOs, from the two other more baseline NOs. The only reason I thought it might be a good idea to attach a sz80 and sz 1, was to make these NOs read essentially the same way that the Archangel/Sz125 NO reads, e.g. with an associated convoy lane.

    I see the logic of Northwest Persia for the Trans-Iranian railway, but I’m still not convinced its necessary to include NW Persia. The territory of “Persia” has a value at 2 ipcs (so its easy to spot), it already borders Iraq, and also borders the Caspian, which would probably have been sufficient to transport goods out of Persian into Russia, even if the route through the Taurus was cut off. From a gameplay standpoint, doesn’t including Northwest Persia, also require the inclusion of Caucasus? At which point I feel the rule gets a bit wordy. That is my thought anyway, just for simplicity.

    I like the idea of changing the Russian NO’s.
    I like Herr kaleun’s suggestion about the ‘Persian Corridor’ a lot as well (just need a clear allied path between Persia and Moscow during Russia’s turn).
    The allies should be able to get at least 5IPCs into Russia per turn (through lend lease), using the route via Archangelsk, Persia, or Amur. Maybe even 5IPCs per turn per clear route. So that would be 15/turn, -5 because Germany easily denies the Archangelsk route, -5 because Japan so easily removes the Amur-option (even when Germany goes Sea Lion and the Siberians stay in the Far East), leaving 5IPCs per turn for the Persian route, which the allies should be able to keep open.

    As to the Pacific supply route, I would continue to make the case for Soviet Far East over Amur.  The logic here is historical, since our primary supply route into Russia via the Pacific was the “Northwest Staging Route.”

    We built a highway all the way from the west coast of the the States/Canada up to Fairbanks in Alaska, and launched support into Siberia via the air. See here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ALSIB

    Also provides a good name for the Russian NO: Alaska-Siberia Air Road, “The Northern Trace.”

    Sure, Amur/Vladivostok would force Mongolia into the fight, but the actual supply route into Russia didn’t go through the Port/Amur, but rather through the Far East and Siberia, out of Alaska via the Air.

    I think in this case, it would be nice to give a nod to the history. Also given the geography, I would say that sz 1 is the ideal candidate, both because it is a convoy lane (easy to spot) and because it is within 2 spaces of Soviet Far east (easy to spot), and finally because it can be reached from Japan but covered from North America for the purposes of disruption.

    The main port in Alaska, Anchorage borders this sea zone, and was likewise used to supply the air staging out of Fairbanks, so it makes sense here as a point of disruption (arguably we don’t need to attach any sea zone, since the actual supply was by airlift, you could make a case for Persia by rail or out of India not needing sz 80 too , but I think it makes sense for consistency with the other the NO to have 1 Land: 1 Convoy.) So here, Japan would at least be required to launch a sub to cut off aid, which could in turn draw off US destroyers on the counter, and put the focus on the North Pacific (when the US really wants to focus south) encouraging Pacific conflict between Japan and N. America along this route. Sz 1 also gives Japan a way to disrupt the aid out of North America, without requiring a DoW against Russia.

    I favor these names…

    Additional National Objectives: Soviet Union

    “Persian Corridor” support to Russia via the Trans-Iranian supply route:
    +5 ipcs if Allies control Persia, and sz 80 is free of Axis warships.

    “The Northern Trace” support to Russia via the Northwest Staging route, and the Alaska-Siberia Air Road:
    +5 ipcs if Allies control Soviet Far East, and sz 1 is free of Axis warships

    Anyone object to these? My thought would be to try and fix the game simply by adjusting Russia’s NOs, since that gives us the most bang for our buck, with a fairly minor change. I still don’t like NOs, but since they are the way G40 was designed, let’s at least give the Russians some NOs that make sense.

    I also think it’s important to recall, that a strong Axis player will always find a way to shut down these supply NOs eventually. The more territories and sea zones we try to encompass as necessary conditions, the easier it is for them to disrupt. Even the original NO for Arch and 125 doesn’t encompass all the sea zones and territories it should from a strict logistical historical stanpoint, but it would be too wordy to require Murmansk/Karelia. Likewise if you try to require Alaska/W.Canada, or Northwest Persia/Caucasus. At some point the rule just gets too complicated. I still believe that even with additional supply NOs, Moscow will still get crushed if we don’t give them a steady +5 just for being at war, and a steady +5 for no Western units on red land. So the NOs above should be in addition. The supply NOs can and will be contested, but at least with a baseline of +5 at war, and another +5 for no Western units, Russia will have the resources to fight for their contested supply routes.

    I suppose this thread is the one gathering the HR discussions, so I’ll edit the headline.


  • '14

    I have made the argument here for the baseline Soviet National objective, trying to work it out of the Errata  😄
    It definitely has me excited. Uses only the wording of the NO that is already present in the Official Rules
    http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=34569.msg1332895#msg1332895

    If you really want to redraft the NOs though, and wanted to include three supply route objectives. You might consider redrafting each of these to include 2 land territories and 1 convoy sea zone, so that all three read exactly the same. This would require re-drafting the Arctic supply route NO so that it included an additional land territory to match the Persian Corridor and the Northern Trace NOs.

    For example a completely reworked Soviet National Objective list might read something like this.

    National Objectives: Soviet Union

    "The Great Patriotic War" Theme: the Soviet Union joins the Allies. *
    +5 IPCs if the Soviet Union is at war with at least one European Axis power.

    "Soviet Sphere of Influence" Theme: National prestige.
    +5 ipcs if there are no units belonging to other Allied powers present in any territories originally controlled by the Soviet Union.

    "Arctic Convoys" Theme: access to Allied Lend-Lease material, support to Russia via the Arctic supply route (Archangel and Murmansk).
    +5 ipcs if Allies control Archangel and Karelia, and sz 125 is free of Axis warships.

    "Persian Corridor" Theme: support to Russia via the Trans-Iranian supply route.
    +5 ipcs if Allies control Persia and Northwest Persia, and sz 80 is free of Axis warships.

    "The Northern Trace" Theme: support to Russia via the Northwest Staging route, and Alaska-Siberia Air Road.
    +5 ipcs if Allies control Soviet Far East and Alaska, and sz 1 is free of Axis warships.

    "Red Advance" Theme: Propaganda value and spread of communism.
    +3 IPCs for each original German, Italian, or pro-Axis neutral territory that the Soviet Union controls.

    "Final Offensive" Theme: National Prestige.
    +10 ipcs (one time only) the first time the Soviet Union controls Germany (Berlin).

    *could be considered optional, or as a conditional “At War” before the other objectives are awarded.

    The first objective listed “War in Europe” could be optional, but I think it would help, especially during the endgame if Axis are dominant. Likewise we could explore these NOs as either “at war” required, or independent of the DoW. But either way, at the very least, we can provide Russia more cash via supply and more cash for not having Western units on their land. This would be my corrective for center balance over a bid.

    My case for the Soviet Far East over Amur for the Northern Trace is this…  If Japan decides to invade Russia in Amur to deny the NO, Allies have no viable response, on account the Japanese push overland from Manchuria/Korea out of sz 6. It’s also debatable whether Russia even gains from Mongolian entry, since these units are largely stuck out of position. So for Japan the incentive and ability to shut down the NO is likely too high to make the NO viable. Japan doesn’t really need sea zone 5 to contest Amur, since they can just stack sz 6 and go with the conveyor belt overland to cover Amur and shut down the supply permanently.

    Soviet Far East on the other hand, would bring more sea zones into play, especially sz 5, but also sz 4 and sz 3. Most importantly, it is contestable out of North America and can be reached from sz 10. Conceivably USA could try to hold it for the Russian NO (even at the cost of the -5 for western units on red land) if they want to pursue a Pacific strat out of the North. Things like an airbase or even a facility in Alaska could potentially be viable, if there was a greater incentive, which this NO would provide.

    Before balking at the amounts, recall that these would be for a game with No Allied Bid! and that it is quite probable that Axis will still be able to contest all the supply routes. The +5 for no Western units on red land would give them an easy NO, once it is separated into its own condition, provided they can keep Soviet land free of other Allies. It seems likely that Allies will be able to hold at least 1 of the 3 supply routes into Russia, but perhaps not without utilizing western support. So that still leaves you in the +5 range. But if you add to this an At War +5 ipcs, that puts Russia in the baseline range of +10 extra bucks from National Objectives a round, at least once they they start fighting. The other three supply NOs are here to draw the Axis off the center crush initially, by giving them more to do at the outset. At any given time Axis will probably be able to shut down 2 out of 3 supply routes, but if just one stays open, then there is a good chance that Allies can keep Russia at the +10 baseline, even if they have to start accepting Western units on Red territory to hold on to the supply. This should make the no Bid game feasible for the Allies against an Axis opponent of equal skill.



  • Good Work Black Elk, I like it… +1


  • '14

    Thanks YG and definite thanks to Herr KaLeun and everyone else providing input on this and providing the substance. Something about three routes just feels right doesn’t it?

    I truly believe this will provide an entertaining solution on game balance without totally busting the opening. It wouldn’t immediately affect the Sea Lion potential or the game in the Med on Italy/Cairo, or India or the Pacific, but eventually it could affect all these areas via the leg up for the Soviets that Allies would receive. It’s also convenient, in that, if the 3 supply NOs and the Soviet Sphere of Influence aren’t enough, we can always add the War in Europe NO for an extra +5. I’m optimistic.

    I think they would look slick on a card, in a comprehensive NO expansion deck too. For players that dig cards. Which I definitely do  😄



  • rename “War in Europe” to “The Great Patriotic War”


  • '14

    Definitely! Done 🙂

    I edited the lead post so its easier to reference. Any other thoughts on how to improve these?
    I think the names are feeling pretty solid now. Good call.



  • Are all of these limited to russia being at war?


  • 2019 2018 2017

    I wasn’t aware of ALSIB, thanks for the historical note. Though on a broader scale, I’d say that Vladivostok would be possible as well, as it was part of the general Pacific Route. But it’s probably a matter of taste.

    More importantly: isn’t it a bit too much to include all of these? I’d say that Russia can get three or four of these NO’s most of the time, rendering 15-20 NPC’s every round. That’s a lot more than the average Allied bid! That was also one reason for suggesting Amur: I actually wanted to make it pretty easy for Japan to take that NO out. It creates a whole new dynamic on the Far Eastern front. And those Mongolians as well as the Russians already there, may make it hard for Japan to take China.
    But I can see your point to the contrary as well. I suppose it would have to be tested.

    In order not to overpower it, I suggest that the “Great Patriotic War” (as much as I like the phrase) would not be an NO in its own right, but rather a requirement for “Soviet Sphere of Influence”, “Arctic Convoys” and “Persian Corridor”. And maybe require war with Japan for “Northern Trace”?


  • '14

    Yeah, I was thinking we could reserve The Great Patriotic War as optional here, only if it proves necessary after trying the others on balance. For people who just want a quick G40 fix, without the additional two Supply NOs, they could use the At War bonus as an alternative. But with the 3 supplies routes it play, Russia may have enough that you don’t need to award the extra 5 for it. In this case it is just a condition that precedes the others.

    I’m pretty open to using Amur over Soviet Far East, if it works better on balance. I was playing solitaires last night to see how each one worked. I think Japan should be able to shut down The Northern Trace without too much cost, sz 1, forcing USA to trade destroyers, and Alaska are also options, as well as contesting the route in Russia directly. But at least this gives Japan something to else to consider.

    for Amur I think you will see a Japanese DoW against Russia more often, but either territory Amur or Soviet Far East, both have strategic interest. I’d like to playtest both to see which one offers the most for the Pacific gameplay.

    So given all that, perhaps a reading more like this, for the current draft… we can make Soviet Sphere of Influence the “theme” of the Great Patriotic War NO. And leave the +5 for being at war in europe as strictly optional.

    National Objectives: Soviet Union

    *If the Soviet Union is at war with at least one European Axis power, then…

    "The Great Patriotic War" Theme: Soviet Sphere of Influence.
    +5 ipcs if there are no units belonging to other Allied powers present in any territories originally controlled by the Soviet Union.


    "Arctic Convoys" Theme: access to Allied Lend-Lease material, support to Russia via the Arctic supply route (Archangel and Murmansk).
    +5 ipcs if Allies control Archangel and Karelia, and sz 125 is free of Axis warships.

    "Persian Corridor" Theme: support to Russia via the Trans-Iranian supply route.
    +5 ipcs if Allies control Persia and Northwest Persia, and sz 80 is free of Axis warships.

    "The Northern Trace" Theme: support to Russia via the Northwest Staging route, and Alaska-Siberia Air Road.
    +5 ipcs if Allies control Amur and Alaska, and sz 1 is free of Axis warships.


    "Red Advance" Theme: Propaganda value and spread of communism.
    +3 IPCs for each original German, Italian, or pro-Axis neutral territory that the Soviet Union controls.

    "Final Offensive" Theme: National Prestige.
    +10 ipcs (one time only) the first time the Soviet Union controls Germany (Berlin).

    • Optional +5 ipcs suggested for the separate condition “At war in Europe” when playing without the added supply routes. Suggested +5 if at War in Europe and “not at War with Japan” (NAP). These only if game balance recommends them, or as a bonus against opponents of varying skill. Otherwise “At War in Europe”, serves as a necessary condition which must be met to activate all Soviet NOs, but which awards no ipcs itself.

    What does everyone else think, Amur or Soviet Far East?

    @Herr:

    I wasn’t aware of ALSIB, thanks for the historical note. Though on a broader scale, I’d say that Vladivostok would be possible as well, as it was part of the general Pacific Route.

    The Pacific Route does seem to offer a much different flavor than the Northern Trace, but it also seems like something that would only be possible if Russia and Japan are not at war.

    I wonder if this might be simplified? As a stand alone NO I would write is like this…

    "Pacific Route" Theme: Non Agression Pact with Japan, access to Allied Lend-Lease material, support to Russia via convoys from North America and the Pacific.
    +5 ipcs, if the Soviet Union is not at war with Japan.

    This would give the Russians an incentive not to DoW Japan. Considering that if Russia and Japan are not war, then this NO would probably have been out historically, or would have to change to something much more complex, like control of Amur, and no axis warships in sz 6. But I think this NO might be interesting as just a simplified way to get Russia +5 ipcs during the initial rounds when they are not at war with Japan. Just like the other NOs, being at War in Europe should be a requirement to activate this aid.

    Japan would then be under pressure to shut down the Pacific Route +5 with a DoW, but only at the risk of activating the Northern Trace NO. Under these conditions we could attach Amur to the Northern Trace rather than Soviet Far East, so that if Japan does go to war they are more likely to face Mongolian entry.

    Also how do you guys feel about the inclusion of Karelia to the Arctic Convoy NO? I think it would make sense, so that this NO matches the formula of the others: 2 land, 1 convoy each, but again I’m pretty open here. I think the most important thing is just making sure that the Soviet Union actually receives enough NO cash once at war to fight, because otherwise its just a lot of text without much meaningful purpose to the gameplay, same as the OOB stuff we’re trying to fix. I think the way reads above, we’re much closer to a bid free game, which should be the goal.

    Right now Persian Corridor will give +5 for at least a few rounds after Germany DoWs, after that its harder to say, since it is certainly possible for Axis to put the squeeze on Persia or sz80. Soviet Sphere of Influence will award +5, at least for as long as Russia can justify keeping Allies out of their land, but eventually that one will be unsustainable too.

    Arctic Convoys, and the Northern Trace are going to be harder for Allies to achieve, and its likely that Russia will not receive any money for these, beyond maybe a round or two. But they will both provide distractions for the Axis, so they do have an influence on the gameplay.

    The question is, will all that be enough on balance by sides? It seems most of you feel that it would. But if not,  then I suggest +5 to the Soviets for the “at war” condition in europe,  +5 for the “not at war” condition in the Pacific. Either of which could be optional. If we need them.

    These two “War condition NOs” could also serve as an alternative to the supply routes, combined with just The Great Patriotic War NO, and the OOB NOs. In which case the most basic three for Russia would be.
    +5 if at War in Europe, then…
    +5 if no western units on originally red territory, The Great Patriotic War: theme Soviet Sphere of Influence.
    +5 if not at War with Japan.

    This last formula would work for people who are less interested in the Supply routes with expanded NOs, but something very simple to track. I think either would probably work.

    @Herr:

    That’s a lot more than the average Allied bid!

    Recall that pre-placement Bid units are inherently more valuable than units which enter the game in later rounds through the normal purchasing mechanics. Comparing them at a 1:1 doesn’t take into account the strategic advantage of extra units on the board at the outset. Even going back to Classic, whenever the Bid was restricted to normal income, the ipc amount was always higher than the amount you’d award in pre-placement units, because the ability to break a battles can yield more on the TUV trade in the first round when you bid pre-placement. Also, I think +15 ipcs in Supply is being a bit optimistic for the Allies’ chances. sz 125 is fairly simple to cover with G, so that knocks 5 ipcs right there. Persia seems likely, but again sz80 isn’t all that far away from Japan. Amur is doable for Axis as well, if at a cost of some annoyance in China. So all the supply routes could be contested. That just leaves the +5 ipc for no western units on red land, which is a nice aspiration for the Soviets, but it can be hard to maintain once under pressure. If that one goes, or is traded out to hold on of the supplies, then Russia is still down in the +5 ipcs per round range or potentially down to zero in NOs.

    If it balances just with the supply and the Great Patriotic War, then that’s great, but if those NOs are not enough, then we have the “At War in Europe” or “Not at War in the Pacific” ideas. These could be kept at the ready to boost the Soviets if needed, or as an alternative to bidding for the weaker player.



  • The “Persian Corridor” NO seems too narrowly focused territory-wise as to make it unreasonably out of reach for the Axis to deny it.  But can be easily tweaked by adding Egypt and India as territories the Allies would also have to control in order to collect it.

    If we accept that NOs are based (even if only loosely) on historic scenarios, this one would seem to need to encompass a few more territories.   For example, say Egypt and India are both Axis occupied, does one really think the “Persian Corridor” would be funneling any supplies?  Deliveries via that route - historically speaking - depended in large part on the Suez remaining open and the British maintaining a position in India (i.e. the Japanese not threatening it from the East).    Of course some supplies traveled by sea around the horn of Africa, but for practical purposes, Egypt and India are the fulcrum points that render the supply corridor open or closed.

    Add Allied control of Egypt and India to the NO, and I think it becomes more balanced. Otherwise, it has the practical effect of being way too difficult for the Axis to deny it - particularly should the Taranto moves continue to hobble Italy and effectively foreclose European Axis advances in the Mediterranean.

    Both Egypt and India are already recognized by the game design to be critical territories by virtue of their VCs and canal control. Seems natural they should factor into an NO designed around the very region they border.


  • 2019 2018 2017

    @gtg21:

    The “Persian Corridor” NO seems too narrowly focused territory-wise as to make it unreasonably out of reach for the Axis to deny it.  But can be easily tweaked by adding Egypt and India as territories the Allies would also have to control in order to collect it.

    I’m not sure why it should be a requirement for an NO that it can be easily contested. For example, the US has several NO’s that are difficult to reach for the Axis, too. And maybe there’s a requirement for the USSR to be at war for the NO to work (the debate on that is ongoing), plus of course, the Allies need to actually occupy the neutral territories in question, which also takes some time. Considering that the game as a whole seems to favor the Axis, a reliable extra source of income for the USSR seems in order.

    @gtg21:

    If we accept that NOs are based (even if only loosely) on historic scenarios, this one would seem to need to encompass a few more territories.   For example, say Egypt and India are both Axis occupied, does one really think the “Persian Corridor” would be funneling any supplies?  Deliveries via that route - historically speaking - depended in large part on the Suez remaining open and the British maintaining a position in India (i.e. the Japanese not threatening it from the East). Of course some supplies traveled by sea around the horn of Africa, but for practical purposes, Egypt and India are the fulcrum points that render the supply corridor open or closed.

    In fact, the Wikipedia article on the Persian Corridor states:

    Supplies came from as far away as Canada and the United States, and those were unloaded in Persian Gulf ports in Iran and Iraq. Once the Axis powers were cleared from the Mediterranean Sea in 1943 - with the Allied capture of Tunisia, Sicily, and southern Italy - cargo convoys were able to pass through the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal, and the Red Sea to Iran for shipment to the USSR.

    This seems to imply that the longer route around Africa worked well enough before 1943, even though I admit that arriving at that conclusion from the Wikipedia quote is a bit tentative.
    I also wouldn’t see any reason for the Allies to stop using this supply route if Japan would have taken India. The one thing that would stop it of course, would be a strong Japanese naval presence - which is precisely what the SZ80 requirement symbolizes.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    The British in WWII used both routes to get from Great Britain to the Indian Ocean (and vice versa): through the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal, or “around the Cape” (of Good Hope, in South Africa).  Each route had flaws and virtues.  The Mediterranean / Suez route was much shorter, but it was much more open to German and Italian air and surface attacks in the Mediterranean, especially around the Malta choke-point.  The Cape route was much longer but comparatively safer.  I think that the route choice in any given case depended on such factors as the urgency of the shipment (for which the Mediterranean / Suez route was preferable) and the value of the cargo (for which the Cape route was safer – for example in the case of troop transports, which were viewed as very important to safeguard from attack).



  • @Herr:

    I’m not sure why it should be a requirement for an NO that it can be easily contested. For example, the US has several NO’s that are difficult to reach for the Axis, too.

    I didn’t mean to imply that a NO had to be easily contested.  Just that this one - in the context of how its currently written - seems to me to be beyond the reach of being reasonably contested.    Perhaps adding Allied control of Caucasus would improve it?

    I like all the others.  And I like the Persian Corridor NO in principle - but it does seem off to me.  In part because I can envision a board scenario where the USSR is collecting it but any objective person would look at the board and think “That’s nuts!”.  Axis control of the Caucasus is probably the best example.  Afterall, there are Russian territory control corollaries in both of the other Lend Lease NOs.  Why not this one?  Seems reasonable to factor in the fact that the supplies need to reach Russian territory somewhere, and the Caucasus is undeniably the entry point for this NO.

    A separate question I have is what is the basis for making the 3 Lend Lease objectives collectively worth 15 IPCS?  And not 6 or 9?  It doesn’t seem like anyone is too concerned with the idea of Russia dropping an extra 5 infantry per turn (assuming all NOs are collected).  Do people really think the game is that tilted in favor of the European Axis on an average player level?  Seems to me splitting the baby and going with 9 total IPCs would be the more prudent approach rather than risking an unintended consequence of a different kind of imbalance.


  • 2017 2016 2015 '14 '12

    The worst NO is the one that says Russia gets $10 for the rape of Berlin.
    The second worst NO is the one that says Japan gets $5 if they control Guam, Wake, Midway, Gilbert and Solomons


  • '14

    Thanks CWO  Marc, I was hoping you’d drop by and help vet some of these.

    I think the basis for the relatively high value of supply value of the NOs awarded, comes from the fact that Allies are returning so few victories. OOB no bid, and it is virtually impossible for Allies to win. Russia is so nerfed to begin with, and all there objectives are stalled on the DoW. I agree it’s debatable whether the Persian Corridor might be a gift, but sz 80 does provide Japan with some options. If it came down to attaching Egypt or India, I would probably substitute just one of these for Northwest Persia to keep with with the 2 land 1 convoy formula. But I do believe on balance that Russia needs more money. Considerably more than they receive OOB, if you’re going to support a no bid game for Allies.

    I agree the 10 ipcs for Berlin is probably the worst of all. It leads me to think that most of the NOs in G40 were probably included before the game was thoroughly playtested. That one is just enitrely pointless, it is not a game driver, the objective to take Berlin is so obvious and so decisive already, it doesn’t need an extra NO to make it happen. Total waste of space in the rulebook hehe


  • 2019 2018 2017

    @gtg21:

    @Herr:

    I’m not sure why it should be a requirement for an NO that it can be easily contested. For example, the US has several NO’s that are difficult to reach for the Axis, too.

    I didn’t mean to imply that a NO had to be easily contested.  Just that this one - in the context of how its currently written - seems to me to be beyond the reach of being reasonably contested.    Perhaps adding Allied control of Caucasus would improve it?

    I like all the others.  And I like the Persian Corridor NO in principle - but it does seem off to me.  In part because I can envision a board scenario where the USSR is collecting it but any objective person would look at the board and think “That’s nuts!”.   Axis control of the Caucasus is probably the best example.  Afterall, there are Russian territory control corollaries in both of the other Lend Lease NOs.  Why not this one?  Seems reasonable to factor in the fact that the supplies need to reach Russian territory somewhere, and the Caucasus is undeniably the entry point for this NO.

    Agreed. Adding ownership of the Caucasus as a requirement seems quite reasonable, for the reasons you mention.

    @gtg21:

    A separate question I have is what is the basis for making the 3 Lend Lease objectives collectively worth 15 IPCS?  And not 6 or 9?   It doesn’t seem like anyone is too concerned with the idea of Russia dropping an extra 5 infantry per turn (assuming all NOs are collected).  Do people really think the game is that tilted in favor of the European Axis on an average player level?   Seems to me splitting the baby and going with 9 total IPCs would be the more prudent approach rather than risking an unintended consequence of a different kind of imbalance.

    I’ve been wondering the same…. it all depends on what the NO’s would precisely be in the end. Maybe I’ll do some scenario analysis, but I seem to have more plans than time these days.


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