I strongly suggest don’t bid if you are 4 or 5 players and playing face to face. Those games are complex to play and allies struggle to coordinate. Any bid could easily unbalance the game and favor the Axis. Even 1 ipc to Japan can mean 1 IC, 2 trannies in Japan 1, a very important change.
I play one FtF game with another 3 guys each week and believe me, I know what I’m saying. Last time, without any bid, Axis bought 1 bb and 1 ac for Mediterranean sea 😮 and they gave us the Allies the fight of our lives mainly because of bad coordination
I think the game is close to balanced, but there is good reason to think it might not be.
basically, if russia were any weaker (or either axis player any stronger), there might be a high number of games where a) novice players would have a terrible time as russia gets pwned, or b) early bad luck by russia would allow for allied defeat even with superior play.
In other words, if germany has the ability to force a battle early in the game against the least resilient allied power, then even when played badly the axis always have a chance of an upset win in that battle. The stronger you make the axis initially, the more risk that the game is decided by luck in spite of any allied skill very early on.
Having said all that, I think it’s pretty darn balanced and I’m just suggesting theories for why it might intentionally have been left with some imbalance.
Here’s another complete system; very easy to use. If you have seen the game show “Name that Tune” then you’ll get the concept immediately.
Caspian Sub Bid Rules
1. Roll for high roll to see who gets the first bid.
2. Conduct the bid like “Name that Tune”. The player with the first bid says “I can win with the Axis and X IPCs.”, where X is the number of IPCs the bidder receives to play the Axis. You are always bidding to play as the Axis.
3. The other player either lets the first player have the bid or counters with a bid that is smaller than the first bid such as, “I can win with the Axis and X-2 IPCs.” This is a bid-down system.
4. Keep going until a bid is accepted. If the bid ‘goes negative’, then the bid becomes “I will take the Axis and give the Allies X IPCs.” Counter-bids then become higher values given to the Allies.
5. Once the bid is accepted there is a pre-game bid placement turn. Whoever is getting the IPCs may buy units to place on the board.
a) Unit costs are normal
b) Land units can be placed in any territory a power controls
c) Naval units can be placed with other naval units or in territories adjacent to a power’s land
d) There is a limit of 1 bid piece per territory
e) Powers cannot put their units in another power’s territory (i.e. no German pieces start in Japanese territory)
f) IPCs do not have to be spent on units. IPCs not spent on units can be given to any of the team’s powers.
At this point, the game has gone on so long that I fail to see the massive statistical difference you would get from having, say, eight IPC instead of four on G1. It really just comes down to the tactical errors your opponent makes, and how well you take advantage of them, be they ever so slight.
The massive difference of bids 4 and 8 can mean taking Egypt with enough to deter a counterattack or can mean 2 extra units deterring or thwarting an attack on Ukraine. If Egypt isn’t to be countered, then the UK has all sorts of options. Still, it comes down to the dice - you have a point that it doesn’t always matter 4 to 8 and so on. With two units to Libya, Germany can expect to take it with 4 units plus their plane(s). With just one unit to Libya and good rolls, they could end up with the same 4 troops sitting in Egypt.
But its simply usually enough for germany to shred africa with minimal investment, hold it until the US is forced to divert troops, at which time Japan has spread the rising sun across the entire swath of the southern pacific and the indian ocean, and is usually able to reclaim the dark continent for axis hands, while at the same time putting the serious hurt into Moscow.
How are the Allies managing Africa in your games? Is Germany taking South Africa as America first lands Algeria? Africa is almost always the first place I go with the US and UK. Lately the US has been in the Med for long term control. Unchecked Japan will definitely plow through Africa.
And it is not the INF that creates the extra Russian deaths, it is the FIG and ARM living longer with the extra fodder AND the extra single roll of a 2 which gives you a 33% chance of an extra death in and of itself.