From Marshall Art in the 'Heresy' thread in the general section....
However, I do fully agree that with the current balance issues the Allies are too vulnerable against a quick-AV strategy which may or may not include the Russian double-team. I played back-to back games with Lucky1 and xianing where the Axis player always gained at least a victory, sometimes even an AV with very similar strategies. While the respective WA strategy might have been sub-par it still supports the pro-Axis balance argument. It is quite easy to win as Axis while it is very hard to prevent an AV as Allies and almost impossible to win without the A-bomb.
In order to tackle this some adjustments in either Russian and US WR or the addition of either another Russian or US factory might swing the balance back to an even situation.
During the past two months' 'sabbatical' I have played very many PBEMs of Global Glory (over 20) against a variety of opponents. A common theme has been that I have won about 90% of my games as Axis (thanks to Forwarn for wrecking my batting average) and have won perhaps only 10% of my games as Allied. When I lose as allies, I lose big. This tends to be the AV variety. When I win as Axis, this (to my shame) has been less the result of AV, but more the result of beating the clock - probably because I generally eschew the early attack.
While I am immensely grateful for the greater variety of strategy and play afforded by Global Glory, I do think the following issues have had a negative impact on the Allied ability to win (*i.e., compared to pre-1.02 and earlier patches):
1) Increased production costs/time for fighters. While this arguably hurts Germany and Japan as well (esp. Japan), it means that fewer fighters are around to defend against rail, industry and naval attacks. In my mind, this keeps the game interesting. However, with the decreased cost of air units and greater population pools, the Allies were previously more easily able to impose mastery of the skies. Throw in the long-range penalty and this difficulty is more pronounced. So I would argue that game play has been improved, with a negative effect on play balance.
2) Increased production costs/time for heavy bombers. While this does hurt Germany to a certain degree (keeping in mind that she starts with 2 bombers vs 0 for England), the impact is more heavily felt by the WA who are less able to mount a strategic or other bombing campaign against Germany. As with fighters, I would argue that this has made the game more enjoyable (ooooh a damaged bomber hurts!), but there is now an impact on the WA ability to wear Germany and Japan down. Again, this is also affected by the long range penalty.
3) Advanced transport rules. I actually love the influence of ports on amphib / transport cababilities. These have increased the strategic importance of otherwise neglected areas (e.g., Norway, Malta). And, without a doubt, transport rules do hurt Japan. But, they also contribute to making it rather more difficult to invade Japan (choking US ability to move troops quickly across the Pacific and to amphibiously attack Japan). If Japan has a reasonable number of ground units, amphib attack is nigh impossible within game timeframes. While challenging, and undoubtedly realistic, game play has been improved with possible effect on play balance (detect a theme?).
4) Delayed US entry into the war. First, I should preface this by stating that I cannot recall whether US war readiness / DOW thresholds had been raised or, if they have, whether this was significant. However, there are a number of factors that contribute to a delayed US entry. For one, sub attacks have a lowered chance of causing a war readiness penalty. Again, I think that this is a gameplay improvement (allowing for a real, protracted war of the atlantic) that comes with a game balance cost. Too, there are real incentives for Japan to delay her entry into wider conflict - the prolonged and larger US gift is significant. Although there are also real costs to Japan for delaying too long, there is definitely a considerable incentive to keeping the US out of the war longer (especially if there is an early attack on Russia). As is my theme, this allows for greater variety of strategy, but I think this issue can sometimes be problematic in terms of game balance when one considers that game end dates have not been modified.
As I have observed (receiving and giving), the allies are most devastated by an early, concerted attack against Russia (e.g., over 17 armour leading a winter 1941 attack by one of my more capable opponents). Throw in a reasonable sub menace, low amphib capability and a late US entry (e.g mid to late 1942) It is it extremely difficult (nigh impossible) to counter the quick strike strategy. Even where AV does not occur, Russia tends to be so ravaged that Japan (and sometimes Germany) are easily able to beat the clock (esp. since the A-Bomb only works if Russia is at war with Japan). My only counter (with limited effect), to date, has been the massed build of uber-arty by the Soviets. However, this then reduces things to what another person has labeled Gary Grigsby's artillery game. Fortunately, by lowering WS for artillery, things appear to be brought back into balance vis a vis infantry. But this too will impact Russian ability to resist an early German attack (her infantry are laughably weak in late 1940/early 1941).
Of course, there are exceptions to every situation, and my strategy as Allies may be less effective than as Axis. I am hoping to hear what others think. I would, however, make a few observations / suggestions.
In my playtesting (so far) of the new changes, I think they will result in a SLIGHT weaking of Germany early-on. To wage an effective sub war, Germany will now have to produce more subs herself and will, as a result, have to forego production of some land / air units. Obviously, this burden can now be assumed by Italy, Rumania and Hungary. However, these minor axis units, while better than militia, will be less effective than their German counterparts. Too, the two fighters, one tac bomber and one sub recevied by Germany with Italy and Rumania will be less effective than currently is the case. However, England will also be affected - the units produced in India (often crucial for the war in the Med) are now penalized. So, having noted these issues, I would still argue that the proposed changes do not significantly offset the potency of a very early Russia rush (squeeze or no squeeze).
I have given the issue some thought and have come up with the following possible solutions (with credit to Marshall Art):
1) Give Russia an additional factory (not in Kiev!), but also delay the bump to x2 productivity by a turn or two. This will provide a slight disincentive to a super early German attack, while not appreciably increasing Russian production in the near/medium term. In the late game (assuming a reasonable amount of damage to Soviet resources), Russia's production will probably be more limited by available/undamaged resources.
2) Extend the end date by a season or two, moving back victory dates accordingly. While this does nothing to affect the potency of an early attack in reaching AV, it does give the allies a bit more time to stage a comeback if they survive. As in economics/finance: greater reward goes hand in hand with greater risk.
Marshall Art also suggested some tweaking to US WR/DOW thresholds. Perhaps he might suggest what he had in mind.
Anyhow, I hope this thread is not too invisible in its current location. I look forward to other thoughts and comments.
< Message edited by Lucky1 -- 1/1/2009 4:13:35 AM >