And why would it need to mean much? Victory conditions don't necessarily have to be based around a "realistic" political/diplomatic outcome.
As I said previously, these same developers felt comfortable assigning a VP threshold for the Japanese that would award a game-ending "win" for them despite the lack of evidence suggesting that the Western Allies would ever have laid down arms and just accept an in-place Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.
Indeed, it may well be that this is an acceptable auto-victory threshold because it represents Japan doing significantly better than its historical performance.
So why shouldn't the German player be given a similarly game-ending win for similarly exceeding historical expectations, even if there's nothing to suggest that Stalin would sign an armistice either?
Reg. Sudden Death: You do realize how tight these auto-victory conditions for Japan have been chosen in WiTP-AE? There are few people who have succeeded with that, and even then the game usually continued since both players agreed that the End was inevitable as long as the Allies have the means to achieve it.
The question would be: what corresponding auto-victory condition would the Soviets get in turn for lowering the VP-conditions for Axis presently to what you call a Sudden Death? The reduction of the Wehrmacht to 2.3M men? Or below 500 ready tanks? Or a rapid Soviet advance over say 20 hexes on a frontage of 20, emulating a crushing breakdown of a whole front part?
Victory is very clearly defined in Soviet terms, yet not in German ones, because it is all very speculative. As such, I am not interested in playing with such speculative victory conditions in 1941 or 1942 that I would reserve rather for a what-if game, which two specific players would have to agree upon -- playing on neither side.
Maybe an auto-victory by late 43 would be a choice, but none in 41 or 42 unless it is the Wehrmacht standing 200 miles east of Gorky with the Soviet Army in real shatters. By late 43, if the Wehrmacht, being intact, would hold Moscow, Rostov, Kharkov, Kursk, Leningrad or whatever you chose, then most players will automatically ask to quit the game if there is really no more point in getting to Berlin before 46. Kind of an auto-victory indeed...
LATE EDIT: In fact, the simply best rule to decide on defeat and victory would be an Axis player accepting a Soviet surrender because the Soviet player feels not be able to achieve anything like a victory with the tatters of his army and economy anymore, be it Berlin or just retaking Russian territory. So it is up to individual reasoning -- a natural houserule, of you like. As long as any sides still sees a chance to achieve something, it obviously isn't defeated...
Perhaps you should start a poll on the question which players would actually want to play GC on the Soviet Side with Sudden Death rules, and who wouldn't. I bet the minority would. The fun of the game for Axis is not averting the outcome, it is about the route to the end and how skillfully you can handle the trouble you will get into, and if you can do any better. And for the Soviets it is surviving, and getting to Berlin without have to use brute
force methods, but also skill and elegant tactics.
< Message edited by janh -- 12/7/2011 4:28:41 PM >