Just a quick update that a new version of the Third Reich 1942 - 1945 (1.8) will (barring natural disasters) be available on Monday at the latest. Lots of changes have been implemented, here's a quick overview:
* Axis squad-based, some heavy weapons and some aircraft-based replacement rates reduced again, some Wehrkreis increased.
* Allied squad-based replacement rates (mostly Soviet) increased dramatically with additional supplemental disbands.
* Strategic Warfare and EEV system substantially overhauled; same effects but based upon a scale of 950 vs 100. Now allows for +1 to EEV per industry attacked per turn with an Axis absorption rate of -2 EEV per turn through Spring of 1944; then -3 EEV 44-45. Works to encourage a more systematic and sustained bombing campaign that can push the EEV and detrimental Axis effects higher than before. The greatest deterioration will still come through capturing the Ruhr Valley and Ploesti. Surrender of Axis minor allies now contributes to increasing EEV.
* Italian and Romanian surrender routines improved (less predictable results).
* Italian 2nd, 9th and 11th Armies (Balkans/Greece) and Regia Marina are now "unreliable" (chance to go static each turn)
* PLA units in the Balkans are now all (G)uerrillas. This area should now be a TRUE nightmare for the Axis.
* Thanks to Mike Goldsberry - a comprehensive review of US/UK forces by brigade/squadron - should now reflect the full glory of Western Air Power and adds a few ground units. Special Operations components increased to include "airborne deception divisions", more commandos, and an overall tighter TO&E structure.
* Soviet OOB adjusted to remove the AT Brigade "composites" - shifted support assets to the Army level rocket units, shifted AT and Assault Guns over to the Tank Brigades -- should apply to less "automatic overruns" and make the tank brigades more viable in the end game.
* A number of assault gun and anti-tank brigades added to the Axis OOB (missed previously).
* More formations start in a fixed status with TO disbands that can be used to activate them early at a significant VP cost.
* Mike expanded the map to include most of Iraq - past Basra and down to Kuwait City.
* Some super rivers reduced. Winter weather should allow more freezing to take place.
* Implemented 6 Axis TO's - can only select 1 on Turn 1:
A) Historical - +2 Axis Supply (original rate decreased by 2)
B) a slightly embellished Plan Kathleen -- Brandenberg's link up with the IRA in Ireland.
C) early Case Anton -- early disbanding of Vichy Forces in return for 1 Franco-German Corps and unfettered access to Vichy territories.
D) Herkules -- probably the strongest TO, gives the Axis a foothold on Malta - control of the island is not guaranteed. With new exclusion zones, Malta becomes a very prominent element of the Mediterranean (at least until Allies approach Tunis).
E) Arab Uprising -- maybe the most controversial element in which the main danger is Contagion.
F) Maus Battalion -- for those who love "special units" -- trades 15 turns of 3% replacements for a total of 18 Super Heavy Maus Tanks which will only drop into 653 Hvy AT Bn.
* Potential for Turkey to activate as Pro-Axis if Grozny or Sokhumi are taken by Axis.
Doing some minor tweaking and playtesting, just fixed the last of the known broken events.
Core issues with 1.5 are Axis replacement rates being too high, super-rivers play too significant of a role, the Strategic Bombing campaign is too reliant upon progress on the ground to have a truly significant impact, and some events are too predictable - and can be gamed by both sides.
The Herkules/Malta TO is included and may seem overpowered favoring the Axis, however this is the ONLY TO that will become "immediately known" to the Allied Player, applying to greater security in activating the English Home Forces and/or drawing upon English garrison forces in the Middle East. It also carries very substantial risk to 3x Italian Naval Task Forces which become "unreliable" (chance to go static each turn) starting on Turn 6.
The Ireland and Arab Uprising "cards" if played make for kind of mini-game unto themselves. If the IRA "somehow" manages to take Belfast - the entire GHQ Home Forces is withdrawn from play to quell a "general uprising" (which could well re-ignite problems in the Middle East, too). The Arab Uprising... however, should be 'pure fun' -- giving the Axis player a chance to play the same kind of campaign that the Allies get in the Balkans - but across "wide open spaces".
Overall - my intention is for there to be a greater degree of uncertainty and higher levels of risk for both players.
I'll post again once it is ready for download. Initially the scenario instructions will likely be only available on the web site with a simplified "need to know" text file. The full scenario guide and updated charts will take me a couple more weeks.
Finally... unless there are major snafus (which I hope won't be the case) this is likely to be the last update for the scenario. Mike Goldsberry might take over from here, but we'll also be starting (renewing) work on another project. In any case there are very few events still open, no more units available to the Allies, no more formations available to the Axis, and I'm really not sure a PO is going to be worth the effort.