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?
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.
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.