While as a new player there is a lot to take in since Germany has so much to do, it holds all the cards. As was noted earlier Germany has a huge number of advantages relative to its historical strength/alliances at the stated time frame of the game. OOB a determined push for Moscow is unstoppable in sufficient time. That is why on the first turn Germany can do an impossible number of things all at the same time: e.g. wipe out the UK home fleets, take France, strafe Yugoslavia, perhaps even do a G1 Barbarossa and occupy Bulgaria, maybe land an aircraft in Italy to protect the Italian fleet.
It distills down to Germany starting with far too much air power, plus too much armor, along with getting lots of “free” allied infantry units it shouldn’t have. Admittedly, some of this is clearly done to get around game mechanics issues that otherwise can’t be accounted for: simple historical force/division balances (rather than unit effectiveness/experience and operational/tactical doctrine), defensive advantage (in game mechanics) and a single ~6 month turn base preclude replication of the simultaneous assault on the Low Countries and armored penetration through the Ardennes into France resulting in rapid capitulation of all of France.
However, this has resulted in some serious distortions of the timeline. The distortions allow Germany to do far more than it should be able to, and far more easily than it should. In the game Germany doesn’t even need air power to take France and as a result is free to do things it shouldn’t be able to do immediately. Anyway, the following is offered as perspective, rather than actual house rules, alternate scenarios.
Historical considerations and how they impact game play:
- Holland/Belgium would not have any German units on them at the start of the game. Instead, Germany would have to do a simultaneous attack on them and France. Of course this would make Normandy unreachable on turn 1. Having the Low Countries already occupied by Germany means no Dunkirk…because those forces that were rushed in to protect the Low Countries were the ones evacuated along the border w/France.
- Denmark and Norway would have to be occupied during the 1st turn to open the Danish strait. They wouldn’t have a large number of forces already in them as this was occurring at the same time as the invasion of France. Instead, one would have to commit forces to taking/holding them. Not having the strait open at the start of the game means no battleship sally (along with all the extra air power) to wreck the entire British home fleet at the start. Having more of the fleet surviving changes the complexion of the game.
- While Slovakia was on board for the invasion of Poland, Hungary and Romania were not Axis members until late 1940. Romania supplied a lot of manpower during the war, but that would have to be activated by “occupation” on Turn 1 to even roughly simulate the timeline.
- Bulgaria was neutral until 1941 when it joined the Axis allowing the attacks on Greece and Yugoslavia through its soil but not by its forces. The four man infantry stack activated for it is problematic since it wasn’t a supplier of manpower to invasions of Greece/Yugoslavia or the Soviet Union. Instead they served as occupiers of portions of Greece and Yugoslavia.
- Finland shouldn’t be activatable as an ally until at least a turn later (e.g. through Norway after it is activated.) Again, the super-early Barbarossa would be problematic if Germany didn’t start with Norway in hand.
- Germany’s divisional dispositions at the start of May 1940 were 114 (primarily for the attack on France/Belgium/Netherlands), 7 for Norway, 15 on the Eastern front and 29 for “Germany” administrative/forming/training (~23 divisions had formed since January), other. Basically, there was very little that wasn’t on what would be considered Western Germany in the game–the exception being the Norwegian operation. Germany essentially had to go all in to assure success. It didn’t have a plethora of excess air and armor to deploy for other ventures (Yugoslavia or Russia) at this stage.
From what I gather the bidding system is a way of compensating for Germany on steroids that steamrolls over Russia before the US or UK can effectively engage. In light of the above, negative bids for Germany might be interesting…removing a few tanks, plus a few air units would accomplish much of the same. Germany would have to be more cautious in risking air or tanks, and couldn’t play as aggressively without squandering precious air power in dicey low probability attacks.