• What everyone’s safe Russia strategy? Let’s say Germany fakes Sea Lion and goes for Russia in G3, how do you defend Russia as allies?

    I usually build IC’s with Britain in the Middle East, but these get blocked via the Caucasus after G6/G7 or a little later. The US is mostly occupied in Asia, but sends in her transports to liberate Franse together with the UK, perhaps US5/US6. Than we have a stand-off in Europe and the game is usually decided in Asia where Japan can take India (and win the game) or loses the DEI, and the game…

    After UK6 we fly our UK airforce to Moscow to hold off the Germans. Russia takes Iraq and the Italian African possessions to gain income/bonus: 19 IPC total bonus. It depends on Japan how much Russia keeps in the east…

    Any thoughts on a strategy to defend Moscow, or do you concentrate on other targets as Allies?

    Thank you!


  • What I do as USSR is concentrate everything in the West and if Germany tries Sea Lion, I will take some of USSR more power units like tanks and fighters and send them east to scare Japan. The safest way I play USSR ironically is I leave the western border with Germany undefended and hope Germany invades because I want Italy to be isolated and it makes the other allies have an easier time.


  • My USSR aggression always is factored by what the Axis powers do. I have actually seen Japan go right for USSR on turn 1 which completely forced me to change my objective. So I usually play passive at first only because I want to see what Turn 2 Germany is buying because AnA players tend to be territorial with operations so lets say Germany pulls classic Sea Lion buy with Aircraft Carrier, Destroyer, and Submarine, that doesn’t mean Sea Lion is going to happening because Germany buying Turn 1 navy is still good enough if the objective is USSR first.

  • '21 '20 '18 '17

    Russia Isnt Safe

    The best thing that you can do as Russia is convince the allied players that they should attack you as late as possible.  Time is on the Allies side, the Axis need to win quickly.

    R1, Russia has nothing.  By R4, undisturbed, Russia can be pretty beefy.

    If they are going to hit you early and with all 3 Axis, and take the 7-10 income per turn from east Russia, then you are likely to simply lose unless you get rescued by the other allies.  The 18 infantry are key, just don’t leave them on the coast to get killed as long as Japan has more than 8 planes and 6 land units that can hit you.  Simply holding the East is a big victory, forget about attacking Japan until they hit you.

    I have tried many different buys and dispositions with G40 Russia but the general takeaways are

    1. units that can only move 1 space are going to be cut off from escape when Leningrad is about to fall, and there is no way to avoid it falling.  Trying to turtle a strongpoint other than Moscow invites a massive airstrike, so you must retreat
    2. if you attack with Russian mobility, you usually hasten your fall, rather than delay it
    3. no matter what your plan is or what you buy, the Axis will bomb you into submission, so
    4. the bid is necessary and the UK can sometimes stem the rout at the last minute

    If fighters were more effective interceptors (as in balmod) I would recommend putting these on your ICs as Russia cant afford repairs, maybe you would dissuade some SBRs.

    I wouldn’t leave any territory completely empty as they can blitz through, and if Italy clears the way (it does this to me every game, killing single blockers with air) then they can also blitz into empty backfield squares with 1 tank, unopposed.

    Not that you can block them…they will still kill your blockers by leapfrogging and threaten your counterattack stacks, that’s where I usually lose Russia is when one of my mobility armies that seemed “safe” gets hit by 16 german planes + more

  • '17 '16 '15

    taamvan expresses it well. Bids and mods are the way to go. When doing so, counterattacking when possible and throwing a aagun in with a larger attack or can opener blocker is good.

    It’s kinda fun to play Russia when they can make small counterattacks, slow Germany/Italy down. An extra air unit can help a lot. Pretty much for oob, retreat as slow as possible to Russia and hope for allied /uk help.

    Sometimes Germany can get over aggressive and if you have enough artillery you can kill a stack with a all in counterattack.

    Imo anyway : )


  • Like I said, it all depends on Germany Turn 2 buy because if Germany pulls classic Sea Lion on Turn 1 and follows it on Turn 2 with nothing but transports, that means Germany wasted a critical buy for land invasion of USSR and if Italy is focusing on a navy to deal with UK, a land beef up USSR on turn 4 is going to walk into Europe with minor problems. Which is why I always decide on USSR Turn 3 if I need to send anything east to stop Japan. But that is ONLY factored by Turn 3, I always assume the two turn Axis Turns are focused on USSR.


  • I was going to say that majority of bids too usually go to beefing the UK navy or adding a factory in Egypt which also plays into stopping Italy as if the Axis powers can take Egypt and hold it, UK and France basically lost Africa and the Middle East. I do also agree that you should buy infantry and artillery if you’re going to defend USSR to the last man but I also like to buy some aircraft on USSR Turn 1 to do some kind of feign attacks.

  • '21 '20 '18 '17

    The bid helps transfer pressure elsewhere.  If Italy is unnerfed, it can take the oil, help with sealion, ward off America, defend Germany, and contribute a nice stack of 2+ armor and 6+ mech to punch through the Russian line.  If Italy has an airforce (which will be dead if it gets forced into an attritional counterattack), it will be killing Russia too.

    If Italy is strong, UK cant put a base in Iraq/Persia, because Italy will own that.  If Italy is weak, its troops get cut off, no amount of German help will eff. hold the mehgrab/levant regions and the UK can focus on other things.

    That is why the bid is a game changer.

    Tirano and I discussed putting all the way up to a 38+ bid on the UK home fleets or France but there are few (better) ways to re-work the entire starting scenario than by putting UKs odds way up to hold/take/boggle the med, which only takes 18+ish.

    Still, there is no definitive answer about the effect of many artillery (4-5) you could place all over Russia that, over time, would make it impossible for the German endgame stack to stand next to Moscow (lest you attack it with 10+ arty).  No one on the boards uses the bid this way;  the reason is that Russia may or MAY NOT be in the war from game start, so if you add a bunch of extra stuff to RUS it may just sit there for a while whereas UK stuff can always have a new influence on the game from UK1.

  • '21 '18 '16

    There is no safe strategy except hide in Moscow and try to hold the south as long as possible until someone comes to help you. If no G1 DOW, buy tanks or arty. the key is to build up your forces with heavy lifters until Germany comes at you. Then buy all infantry. As soon as Germany runs out of gas (which they eventually will), slam them when you can.

  • '17 '16 '15

    @ShadowHawk

    yea I rarely see bids go to Russia as well. Sometimes a fighter. Guess that wasn’t the best way to make my point. Basically Russia needs outside the box help to have a chance


  • The only bid for USSR I ever requested was to put some kind of firepower in the East because the Japanese player, I never played against so we agreed to put an artillery over there. I got used around turn 5.

  • '21 '18 '16

    We have never used bids, only our creativity. The game is not that unbalanced like most feel. Our group has played many different strategies over the years. Some were one time novelties that someone came up with on Triple A and others were just whims. My biggest gripe about playing with bids is that it dilutes the game first of all and it dilutes a player’s ability to create new strategies that will yield a win. Our games are about 50/50 overall Axis/Allied victories.

    The other problem is that too many people seem to be afraid to lose. It’s a game and you can play again if it goes bad.
    My 2 cents.


  • The statistics are overwhelming.  In League play in 2015, the Axis won 251 games to Allies 210.  That 54.4% victory chance are for games that include Allied bids typically in the 20-30 PU range.  Take away the bid and the good players should be able to win as Axis approximately 75% of the time.  There are a few critical spots in the early game where dice can sway the game back to balance, but after that the game increasingly pushes more towards the Axis’ favor.

    The game is a bit more balanced in face-to-face matches where moves and battles are not so meticulously calculated.  Also there is so much more variation among player skill levels in most groups than found in the elite pool of League players.  A win a vast majority of live games in my local group, but struggle to win half of them in League play.  Still we have constant fights in the local match since some of the better players are insisting that game is balanced but also insist to play Axis without giving the Allies a bid.

    I am not afraid of losing, but I am afraid of wasting eight hours if the Allies fail to even the game back up with good luck early in the game.  No thanks.

  • '21 '20 '18 '17

    Mr. Harris,

    Your recitation of the facts has def. converted me, as I began by arguing minimal bias but now, I see the light.  Part of the effect is an insistence on playing the Axis if victory seems more interesting than variety.

    That’s why I keep seeking out the live play and disdain AAA.  The best warriors are there, but the game is much more fun in person and as we keep nostalgically stating, it is an immensely fun and attractive game that is just engaging to play (for 8 hours, after that…phew).  Going up against newbs isn’t interesting, but at least in our groups, everyone understands the rules, framework etc, so its not as if the competition isn’t exciting or that victory is ever certain, and if it were, we would just reallocate the most experienced players to opposite teams (or force them to change sides every week).

    The bid clearly addresses some of the shortcomings of the initial setup and playout, it adds choice.  Varied editions, and varied setups (G40,41,42 etc), conventions, and varied friends keep the game interesting.

  • '17 '16 '13 '12

    @taamvan:

    Mr. Harris,

    Your recitation of the facts has def. converted me, as I began by arguing minimal bias but now, I see the light.   Part of the effect is an insistence on playing the Axis if victory seems more interesting than variety.

    That’s why I keep seeking out the live play and disdain AAA.  The best warriors are there, but the game is much more fun in person and as we keep nostalgically stating, it is an immensely fun and attractive game that is just engaging to play (for 8 hours, after that…phew).   Going up against newbs isn’t interesting, but at least in our groups, everyone understands the rules, framework etc, so its not as if the competition isn’t exciting or that victory is ever certain, and if it were, we would just reallocate the most experienced players to opposite teams (or force them to change sides every week).

    The bid clearly addresses some of the shortcomings of the initial setup and playout, it adds choice.  Varied editions, and varied setups (G40,41,42 etc), conventions, and varied friends keep the game interesting.

    I used to think that live play was more fun, but it’s much less hassle to let the computer authorize move, count the units, discard casualties.

    I like rolling the dice, but when the battles get large it gets tedious too.

  • '19 '17 '16

    @seancb:

    We have never used bids, only our creativity. The game is not that unbalanced like most feel. Our group has played many different strategies over the years. Some were one time novelties that someone came up with on Triple A and others were just whims. My biggest gripe about playing with bids is that it dilutes the game first of all and it dilutes a player’s ability to create new strategies that will yield a win. Our games are about 50/50 overall Axis/Allied victories.

    The other problem is that too many people seem to be afraid to lose. It’s a game and you can play again if it goes bad.
    My 2 cents.

    Well do you do anything different? No Victory cities? House rules? Better allied strats? Or is it weaker Axis play?

  • '21 '18 '16

    As far as different, we do have some house rules but they are mainly to spice up the game. See my posts in the House rules section. They do affect the game sometimes but have only on about 3 occasions changed everything. What has really changed is the Allied play is much stronger. The tactics have shifted from attacking to developing strongholds as well as a lot of strategic bombing.

  • '18 '17 '16

    I like to counterattack as much as possible with the Russians against Germany. You have to take a good look at it first though to make sure that each counterattack is in your best interests. I do this to keep as much money in Russian hands as possible and out of German hands so that you can continue to build as many units as possible until you are overwhelmed. Hopefully you can last until the Americans show up in Europe and draw the Germans away from the Eastern Front.

    I made this video to demonstrate my Russian strategy, it’s about 38 minutes long;
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bq17jkmkuHc

  • '22 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '12

    WOW!

    “The game is not that unbalanced…”

    Come on in and play the league w/no allied bid and see what happens.  Axis play is tight and will thrash any unready allied player.  Like others say, check the stats.  Axis win CONSISTENTLY more.  I’ve played over 200+ games myself the past couple years. The Axis advantage is real.  The debate as to why the Axis win is old and more or less resolved.

    1. the VC conditions are way, way favorable to the Axis.

    2. the territory spread allows the Axis air force in Europe a magnificent defense/offense spread (DARK SKIES ANYONE?)

    3. the allies have too few IPCs since they have to ship most of their stuff while simultaneously defending their convoys from Axis air power…

    if you want a safe Russia strategy, here it is: don’t play.

    Russia is the sacrificial dog, it must play hide and seek, weaving and dodging the Axis while all the while getting ready for the final showdown. The fall of Moscow is if not the end, the prelude to the end!

    KILL!


  • Well said Karl.  I am sure that you would hand an easy defeat to anyone wishing to play Allies sans bid.  You sure win often enough even spotting the opponent a 20-30 PU bid.  There certainly are things that the Allies can try and they might work with either good dice rolling or a bad opponent.  Still, that is not a sign that the game is balanced.

    Aggressive Russia strategy can work if the German side is careless or has lost too many fighters in other regions of the board.  Otherwise Russia is trading infantry pieces with a defense of 2 for German pieces that would have had an attack of only 1.  The minor gains in territory might compensate for the trade, but it usually has minimal benefit for the eventual siege or encirclement of Moscow.

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