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.
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:
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.