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

  • '22 '21 '19 '15 '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  :-D


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

  • '22 '21 '19 '15 '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?

  • 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17

    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”?

  • '22 '21 '19 '15 '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.

  • 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17

    @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.


  • 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.

  • '17 '16 '15 '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

  • '22 '21 '19 '15 '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

  • 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17

    @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.


  • I must say that I thought 20 possible IPCs were a tad much.
    An At War NO of 5 is a good start. Then make the 3 others (if you believe 3 are necessary and historical ) worth only 2.
    I know someone said 3.


  • “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.

    Due to the change in Russian NO’s I’d limit this NO to continental europe territories, so no Iraq, Libya, Somalia…


  • @variance:

    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

    Agreed!  If Russia controls Berlin the game is over.  How about an NO that actually affects the game?

    And we’ve never played a game where Japan even attempts the outer perimeter NO.  All that for $5?  Giant waste of time.

  • Sponsor

    The only issue I have with all this is, how will Russia be spending this new found income?…against Germany!

    Yes… the balance problem is the German advance to crush Moscow, however, the Pacific dominance of Japan is a bigger issue in our games. Is there anything here that will prevent Japan from doing what it does?


  • @Young:

    The only issue I have with all this is, how will Russia be spending this new found income?…against Germany!

    Yes… the balance problem is the German advance to crush Moscow, however, the Pacific dominance of Japan is a bigger issue in our games. Is there anything here that will prevent Japan from doing what it does?

    Tanks/mechs into China or thru the middle east to India?

  • '14 Customizer

    Russia could support China now with some troops without weakening the capital.

    USA can play more of a Pacific role since Russia is more secure.

  • '22 '21 '19 '15 '14

    In almost every game Russia has been the weak link, going back to the earliest days. Russia just doesn’t start with a sufficient unit roster or collect enough income to stand on its own through normal purchasing. Instead what usually happens, is a drive on Moscow in one form or another as the principle means by which Axis achieve victory. This is because the competent Axis player will realize that the center around Eurasia is ultimately the key to everything, since it has the most income, production, and factories. It also has the strongest strategic significance (since it is where all three Axis players can potentially converge on the enemy at a capital.) It provides a straightforward objective that the Axis player can rely upon… throw everything at the center! link your Axis forces! and then use the turn order advantage! to can open the core, or rush defense with tanks and fighter shifting, with the aim of eventually breaking the Russians on a 1-2 punch! You guys have seen this play out I’m sure. Its enough in the history and foundation of A&A that we see it happen in practically every WW2 game.

    Now I understanding the dilemma in the Pacific is this, Japan is a monster at the outset! and this puts the US player in a bind, since they are the only player that can really affect the outcome in the Pacific. If they abandon the Atlantic and throw everything against Japan, even then, its still hard to overcome them over multiple rounds of purchase. All the while you know, if you don’t send anything against Germany, then Russia could very well fold before anything in the Pacific even matters. What are the Allies to do? Well they often default to the simple strategy of rush aid to the center to try and stabilize an unstable Russia.

    But imagine, if the Allied player can count on Russia being a bit more stable, it then becomes easier to use your UK and US units in other ways. Like dedicating the necessary resources to a stall on Japan, or fight Italy or Germany, rather than just propping up Russia. Likewise for the Russians themselves. When you give Russia enough to purchase additional tanks or artillery or stack a little deeper for defense, they can then afford to put up a stronger resistance against Japan.

    So far we’ve seen at least 3 NOs, that nobody here seems to enjoy, and which feel rather irrelevant to the gameplay. The first OOB Russian NO mentioned at the head of this thread. The +10 the first time Russia takes Berlin, which is just extraneous. And the Japanese Outer Perimeter, which is too onerous to achieve. Why not just ditch all 3 and try to come up with something better? I have suggested a few ways to get Russia a reasonable +5 ipcs.I like to award a +5 for no Allied units on red land. But you know that NO alone will not be sufficient, for all the reasons mentioned above about the Axis players aims at the center. Especially when you consider the double bombing threat that G and J can bring down on the Russians. They need at least another reliable +5 to maintain.

    I have been considering a way to simplify the supply route idea into just a single NO. I wonder what people might think of this?

    +5 ipcs if Russia controls any one of the following three territories: Archangel, Caucasus, Amur.

    Theme: Access to Lend-Lease Materials, via Arctic Convoys, the Persian Corridor, the Pacific Route etc.

    So long as the Russians control at least one of those three territories, they get +5, so its fairly simple for the Soviets to achieve (Axis must deny all three territories to lock out the Russian NO), but its purchasing power and TUV scope is also fairly limited (the most you can get is +5 for it.) This gives you basically two decent Russian NOs, to replace 2 rather impossible Russian NOs. Putting the Russians into a reasonable +10 ipcs range once at war, and a likely +5 ipcs into the endgame. Now if the Russians accept direct western aid in the form of units, then their potential bonus will drop by -5. But if they can at least manage to hold 1 of the 3 listed routes into the Soviet Union, they will still get their +5. I think it would do a lot to ease the pressure of the other Allies to manage the center crush. Basically what we give Russia here, the other Allies can then afford to divert in other directions.

    2 russian NOs ditched, and 2 gained, to fix the Center. Or you could try some of the other combinations of Russian NO tweaks suggested above. Depending on where you’re comfortable range is. Whether 5-10, 10 + ipcs awarded. I tend to favor the later, especially when I play in groups where the skill level of all players is not necessarily matched up to perfection. 10+ allows more room for Allied mistakes, or terrible roll recoveries, or first round breaks. But +5 may be enough to for the most diehard.

    But now that you guys brought up the “Next worse” NO hehe. Seriously, what are we going to do with the Japanese Outer Perimeter Islands! It really would be nice to see something done with this. If you eliminate this NO, and replace it with another you could open up some more options. A Soviet Japanese NAP objective, that gives a +5 to Russia and Japan so long as they are not at War with each other? (a way for it to work, where both sides have something to gain from it, as well to lose?) Or perhaps an additional US objective or Anzac objective that draws the fight against Japan. It seems like we could do better than the perimeter NO. I don’t really see Japan needed much more money than they already have access to, so I’d probably kill the NO, and give another power an extra one instead.

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