Gonna toss my hat in the ring here:
In most wargames I favour Axis but I've been playing WITE as Sov (trying to get a new GC started, btw). I find WITE has some problems, some which could be solved as tweaks, others go deeper. Still great game though. If it wasn't we wouldn't be here typing away, after all.
Beginning with some major problems. Maybe the largest problem in WITE is actually the air war. The greatest advantage the Axis had in the war, and the last one to peter out, was in the air. Several of the large Soviet counterattacks of the early weeks were stopped not by panzers or panzerjagers, but by aircraft. Not only that, but Axis interdiction positively wrecked large scale soviet troop movements in the early part of the war, especially for the Soviet cavalry units (its hard to hide horses).
The second major problem is that, tactically both armies fight the same. This makes very little sense to me. The soviet army had a mass/quantity echelon doctrine, whilst the Germans had a mobility doctrine. The entire point of the mobility doctrine (as theorized by Guderian) is that a numerically inferior force can achieve local numerical superiority by concentrating its assets where they are needed. But instead what we have in WITE is every combat element firing on every combat element, which effectively turns every attack into a frontal assault.
Continuing on mobility, the absence of flanking rules is a severe blow to the Axis. TOAW, for example, had a rule that if a unit was attack simultaneously on two flanks, its assets were split in half, which is to say, half the combat power would fire at each attacker, except for mobile elements, which could shift around to where they were needed. This is true of combat at every scale, be it army or tactical level, and yet its not in the game. Things such as tactical suprise become impossible, and yet most of the Germans offensive victories were the result of mobility, not frontal assaults. It aslo is worth mentioning that the Soviets won the decisive battle of the Eastern front (in Glantz's view) at Stalingrad by a combination of whitling away of German combat power and by outmaneuvering them.
There are other larger problems, but these are well documented, such as logistics and infinite railroad supply.
As for things which would be solved by tweaks: disabled soldiers come back much too slowly, which leads the blizzard to have a harder effect than it normally would have, this has been well documented before and so I won't talk it more now.
Also, the experience and morale of the Red Army in 42 seems to be too high. The average red army soldier suffered from being rather green and there was a shortage of heavy weapons at the time (a consequence of the realocation of industry and the large pockets of 41). This came to a head during the second battle of Kharkov. Whereas south of the city Soviet cavalry units were able to exploit far thanks to the clear terrain, in front of Kharkov proper the soviet advance stalled as Axis soldiers in entrenched positions refused to surrender and the soviets often could not dislodge them. This is largely forgotten thanks to the ensuing flank attack that lead to another large soviet pocket.
Bombardments in general also appear to be somewhat lacking. Though the Soviets eventually get artillery divisions, pre assault bombardments were a major part of soviet doctrine but also by the Axis powers (Sevastopol and lest us forget, the actual beginning of operation Barbarossa featured a gigantic artillery bombardment).
Another tweak has to deal with manpower, we've seen games where the Axis have taken Leningrad and moscow and hugh swathers of the south (the wolf and the bear, stickied AAR) and the soviets wtill had a flood of units by games end despite much higher losses in both manpower and cities. Not only that but they were still able to bash the Germans back to Germany due to morale and experience being higher than it should (as aforementioned).
HQ mulling, of course, is an exploit, a gamey exploit, and has to go. This can clearly be seen by the defense of muling coming not from a historical explanation (as there is none, its basicaly the American Red Ball express on steroids) but from a balance perspective. Indeed, there are many balance problems, but they need to be solved by adapting and creating adequate in game systems, and not through exploits.
Lastly, an issue I've brought up before, I think that the Smolensk-Moscow highway should be included on the map. I understand everything that's been said about not including roads and the scale of the game etc, and I understand. My counterpoint is simple: when reading Rauss and other generals, especially come winter 41, that is almost there only preocupation (and the object of many of the soviets attacks). Pretty much the entirety of their defensive considerations revolved around holding key villages (for both sides, this is modeled well for the Axis, less so for the Soviets) and protecting the highway at all costs, no matter how crazy their defensive set ups would appear to be.
As for the soviets running away, I agree with Flaviusx, its a bad soviet strategy. That said, with a good implementation of air interdiction, it would also become an impossible soviet strategy. Such things should not be hardcoded out of the game, but be made infeasible though changes in the actual mechanics.
And in regards to paradrops, well the only large scale use of soviet paratroopers (IIRC) was a catstrophe for the soviet union. That said the soviets made great use of smaller sclae paradrops to aid partisans, which is already partially modeled. In order to simulate what a bad idea large scale paradrops are for the sovs, one need to simply make the casualties from paradrops be a combination of both the units experience/moral combined with the aircrafts experience/morale. As soviet transport aircraft are very shoddy, that would result in very high losses.
So yeah, those are my observations, haven't played PBEM in a while though, so maybe a lot has changed. Here's hoping the improvements being developed for WITW will be patched into WITE.
< Message edited by notenome -- 5/9/2012 3:21:52 AM >