From: Denver Colorado
For PBEM the game is utterly borked.
Germany is tied to the rail of 'national morale' that will always drag down its ability to stand its ground, completely irrespective of other attritional aspects of the war. The morale loss in January of every year is the single biggest obstacle Germany will face from 42 on. No one will share the morale increase formula, but my personally collected data shows that Germany has less than a 5% chance to increase unit morale in a successful attack or defense, an almost 100% chance to lose a morale point in an unsuccessful attack, a mandatory loss of 1 morale point (with a probabilistic chance to lose 2) if it loses a defense. This is my chief complaint with the game mechanics. The same equations that drive German morale down also drive Soviet morale up, and the reciprocals of Soviet morale increases are far, far more generous to the Soviet side.
The Soviet player has all the advantages. He can lose Moscow and Leningrad and still preserve a 6 million man army by December 1941, with which he can then drive the German player back, limited only by movement allowances.
The Soviet has huge hindsight advantages that are denied to Germany, indeed, Germany's rails ensure it commits all sorts of inefficient force 're-organizations" that will result in hundreds of tanks and artillery pieces leaving the eastern front to sit in "reserve pools". The Soviet is free to look at his TOE per year and skip the inefficient unit types, increasing his force growth over history, and creating a fighting force that is perfectly tailored to the game mechanics.
The air war in this game is beyond ridiculous, with the Soviet having the ability to destroy the Luftwaffe entirely by 1942 (house rules are always used on this point, but still, it should stand as a warning to you about the other oversights in this game engine).
The Soviet can field brigades of 1,000 men and 10 artillery pieces that can effectively slow down an entire panzer division of 14,000 men and 120 tanks. There is no such thing as an 'over-run' so the Soviet is free to remove divisions from the front (to raise their morale in the rear) and replace them with conscript-type brigades that cost exactly as much movement to attack, and that never shatter.
The Soviet player understands the production system, which is so designed that the category of "Heavy Industry" (which basically produces supplies) are irrelevant if captured by Germany. This results in the Soviet evacuating all of his armaments (the much more important bottleneck to Soviet production), and then using the excess rail capacity to permanently embed a high-quality Army and its subordinates, creating a lightning quick-response team that can show up at any 1942 danger zone and be used as a de facto fire brigade. By the middle of 1942, the Soviet front is 5-hexes deep, encased in fortifications that will bleed the German dry. Maneuver warfare ends there, at which point you have a detente that predictably transfers power from the German to the Soviet, who then slams turn after turn into the German defenses with his perfect army until the German player quits out of frustration with tedium, or the Soviet says he's bored and quits. Most games see Germany falling in 1944, if the game even evolves to that point (which is very rare these days).
Whether you have a "Stalingrad" or not, you will see the units that surrendered at Stalingrad removed from the map for no reason reflective of your unique game.
One partisan unit can shut down supply to your army groups for 2 weeks in 1941, effectively doing more to stop you than the entire Red Army. If that's not bad enough, the engine allows the Soviet airborne brigades to drop 200 miles behind enemy lines (right on the rail line) where they will land perfectly and also shut down the rail for two more weeks. People do this. This is legal. This is why you should not play PBEM (unless you know your opponent's sportsmanship).
I could go on.
Remember that when people point to AARs where Germany wins, it's to one of the 4 or 5 best players in the game, without exception. Look in the "Opponents Wanted" section to see how many Soviet players are looking for German opponents (especially "experienced" German opponents). The reason for that disparity is that people who enjoy the German history of the Russian front have moved on, realizing that this game was never really intended for us.
Save your money. PBEM in this game is a recipe for outrage.
Spring 2018-Playing: Demyansk Shield: Frozen Fortress; Advanced Squad Leader,
Rulebooks: ASL (always ASL), Holland'44, Demyansk Shield: Frozen Fortress