We’ve talked about this a lot, Axis and Allies is what I term a “decisive battle” game.
Defender can’t retreat,
everything you commit on offense has to risk death during the counter if they take the land (this is what leads to the strafe/retreat after killing all but 1 unit tactics)
everything (good) you commit on defense has to survive the next turn or it can’t live to fight another day (this is why its really good to own land because fighters can come and bolster your stack)
Lets face it; in order for the game to be exciting and also realistic, Russia is just on the ropes. With equally good players, Russia cannot guarantee its survival (regardless of openers, buys, battles chosen etc.) against 100% of what Germany has to give. Russia in almost every game will be a whipping boy, getting smashed and surrounded from every side.
The key then is to understand that survival, and not much more, represents victory. The “more” is forcing Germany to
- advance slowly and blocking key squares (archangel is this in almost every edition)
- lose tanks because infantry are dying; to wit;
- suffer unsustainable attrition that means the Moscow final showdown is less than 50% odds in Germany’s favor, which is to say;
- using luck or lack thereof to your advantage, knowing that Germany can’t sustain the maximum force at length if its losing air and tanks throughout the game, or if its buying navy or bombers it will run out of numbers and meat shield guys.
You want to make Russia’s fall so costly and pyrrhic for Germany that they lose by winning. Losing Moscow really sucks because Axis get all that $$ and income, but in some games that’s just going to happen and you need to figure out some way to either distract Germany’s focus right before it delivers the coup de grace, bolster Moscow with every allied piece that can come, or kill its partner to avoid that outcome being the end of your game.