The name “Balanced Mod” begs a conclusion. A better name would be “Different Mod” as it contains a lot of really fun ideas, but not all of them are particularly balanced (esp. SBR and China Guerilla Warfare). Some of the stuff (esp. Marines and NOs) are completely different than other, previous incarnations of that idea, and I don’t really understand why the Marines get to ride on the capital ships as it isn’t realistic IMO and would prevent you from bombarding AND landing, or combat AND noncombat. The Vichy Rule is sorta fun too, but its more for flavor than balance, I think.
The game will never be exactly balanced. What most people who have argued this for several years would say is much like what Simon33 just said; you have to first learn how to exploit the critical paths in the game, avoid non-critical or inefficient distractions, and you’ll magnify the Axis starting advantage. Against noobs, even a 100 bid wont prevent moscow’s fall because they’ll put the bid down in the wrong place. Against most players, russian isn’t the recipient of the bid, because players correctly understand it would be more powerful to put it with UK v Italy and leverage that advantage over 10 turns, than waste it on a blowout you lose on turn 6. Argothair probably makes the best point that the game designers probably intended for Moscow to fall in almost every KRF game, and that its actually a healthy part of the fun of the late game (with really only 4 surviving powers, not 9) once you get there.
Having said that, Dave and I have begun playing with 1 extra Russian fighter and 1 extra armor in Urals, and 4 of the $5 Axis bonuses reduced to $3. It has a DRAMATIC impact on the balance of the game rest of the otherwise unchanged game, even though I reckon the value to be only about $36-$44 bid equivalent.