I’m less concerned with tipping my hand than with limiting my enemy’s options, newpaintbrush. Killing the German fighter in the Ukraine has a ripple effect that spills over into multiple battes on G1. It also helps to minimize an aggressive German stacking of Karelia on G1, as some forces have to be dispatched to the Ukraine to deal with Ivan’s bold move. Nextly, a Luftwaffe of 6 fighters and a Bomber is pretty formidable, especially in a late game situation. Say it’s turn 14, how many ways have you found to use that fighter from the Ukraine? How about 14 times on offense and 14 times it’s been parked somewhere to provide extra defense. That’s a big deal to this monkey.
Balance that against greater late game flexibility against Japan, 14 turns of those two tanks threatening and defending territories. I know that losing a German fighter is a pain, but the way I play the Allies, it’s pretty difficult for Germany to make best use of its fighters anyways (the Allied Atlantic fleet gets big pretty fast; if Germany goes east with fighters, the Allied transports offload into Archangel and/or Algeria; if Germany goes west with fighters, the large Atlantic fleet makes the Luftwaffe pay for sinking it - and then, the Allies can rebuilt very quickly. Plus, I’m spending UK and US funds to neutralize Germany’s units in that case; I like that better than using USSR funds to neutralize Germany’s units. Which is not to say that West Russia/Belorussia is SUPERIOR, I think that it is at least equal, though.
I do place my Russian builds as you said, 3 inf/ art in Caucasus, and 2 inf/ arm in Russia. The fighters typically return to the Caucasus region.
Yeah, pretty much like I’ve seen and played (when I do do Russia/Ukraine). I’ve opted out of this line because of the possibility of Germany building 2-5 transports in the Baltic. Moscow placed fighters can reinforce London on R2, allowing the UK in turn to buy 3 fighters on UK1 (possibly inf/tanks instead), while the US moves in 2 inf 1 art 1 tank, reinforcing London (although losing its transports); if Germany went the whole hog on transports, UK can produce inf/tanks and be safe by a considerable margin.
My standard UK1 purchase is 2 transports/ 3 inf/ arm to bring maximum pressure to a single theater on UK2. The Ukraine aggression along with a British enhanced capacity to put boots on the ground quickly = a sustainable Russia much of the time, IMO, discounting the fickleness of crazy bad luck.
As far as the 2 armor into the Ukraine goes, that’s a gambit for sure. I play by the odds only, for otherwise you might as well get out your pouch of chicken bones to portend the results. If I can’t depend on math, or live in fear of bad dice, what’s the point? And the odds of that battle yield a Russian victory with 1-2 armor left. Good enough for me. Discounting a German bid placement in the Ukraine of course. If I’m playing a particularly ferocious opponent, I do use 3 armor to make sure they have to dedicate 3-4 infantry to retake the Ukraine.
But if you commit 3 tanks, haven’t you REALLY killed off Russia’s flexibility, and done a slightly cost-inefficient attack? And if you do run 2 tanks, as I mentioned, it’s risky. Let me be clear, I think that IF the outcome were really in question in the first place, attacking West Russia/Ukraine would be extremely solid, even definitely superior, to West Russia/Belorussia. But just about every game I’ve played Allies (using TripleA ladder rules), I end up throttling the Axis anyways. So my thought is, why take the risk of a Ukraine gone bad, when you can just take the “sure bet” with Belorussia? (You can fail in Belorussia, but rarely “horribly” like you can with Ukraine). I know, you can stretch German air power WAY thinner, and pose a real threat to Germany’s southeastern territories initially, but I think the loss of the Russian tanks makes it at least a fair trade for Germany.
My final litmus test is my own reaction as Germany to a Russian player’s opening move. Here are my two reactions:
“Crap, the Ukraine is dead…”
My reaction, if Russia committed three tanks, is “Yeah, baby, three Russian tanks! I didn’t need that fighter anyways! YEAH BABY!” If Russia committed two tanks, I’m like "oh wellz, now I don’t have a safety for the German battleship/transport vs UK destroyer off Anglo (if I send the Med fleet east), or possibly I don’t have an added fighter punch to Anglo-Egypt (if I send the Med fleet west)
“Sweet, I’ve still got my fighter!”
I do like to have a safety for Anglo-Egypt, or added punch to Anglo-Egypt, but I start building fighters G2 at latest against KGF anyways, so the loss of a single fighter is not horribly disastrous. Really, what I try to do is to just trade territories like mad while Japan builds up for the kill.
When all else fails, that alone tells me what I need to know.
JamesG- I love the 3 inf/ 3arm combo, but I’ve slowly moved away from it toward inf/ art on an approximate 5-1 basis, and here’s why. I hate leaving Russian armor on the front to die (but I do enjoy it as Germany…), therefore I always find myself hoarding armor when I play Russia. It’s a personal problem I have. For me Russian armor tends to stack as mobile defense or be used in a single decisive battle- not bad ideas in and of themselves but counter to my need for continuous Russian aggression vs. Germany. Russian artillery, on the other hand, I have no problem leaving to die. Cheap offense to complement the small Russian air force, and expendable.