One other thing that interests me, is linking up with the Finns no longer considered a compelling reason to try really hard to take Leningrad in 41?
How so? On the priority list LG is much higher than any city in AGS sector, and even Moscow is secondary and treated as such by almost all players (... that post here) -- and that's so for exactly the reasons you mentioned.
For Axis it seems that by now a sort of "most-optimal Barbarossa" strategy has crystallized. For the Red Army, this is still lacking. There are tutorials for building units and SUs, and some general strategies, but no nearly as successful recipe as for the Axis players. Maybe with the state of things at present, Red success depends very strongly on one or two lucky turns of mud (lucky also in the sense that it can also screw your own efforts, say delay critical fort-building in LG's back door or get your reinforcements stuck, or the units that just wanted to retreat and will be overtaken then in the next turn without chance), or some luck cutting off Axis spearheads here and there -- and not only once. The balance seems to be somewhere at 3-4 turns lost for Axis in at least 2 sectors before September, the earlier the better. With 3-4 turns extra the Soviet side gets the chance to catch up with reinforcements and reforming sensible defenses, not just patchwork that is unconnected or in lvl <<3 forts. That's just my impression from the AARs, though, from playing AI it is a little different, but with >110% settings not so much.
I tend to agree with you regarding strengths, and the ZOC thoughts have come up as well before, or what Carlkay said (and so many others before). Soviet replacements and reinforcements should be causally linked to the progress, aka more and quicker in case of dire disasters, and less in case of a well controlled, casualty less Sir Robin -- and that ought to somehow also apply to the Germans, aka less importance on economic mobilization in case they stand in much more excellent shape by or after winter 41 and "war seems to be won and over soon anyways". There is also the issue with static phases, make you feel that the defender sits idle on his butt for 7 days (except for reserve moves), but watching the enemy tramping past with big eyes instead of interposing, meeting engagements or anything along those lines. Also the VP versus morale thoughts, time-depended VP changes, VP-summation per turn and such have been tossed around.
Plenty ideas have been juggled around in these forums, many sound interesting, others very tough to balance (aka the morale-VP thing might easily spiral the retreating side into faster defeat, not even to mention that the basic question is unanswered whether losses stiffen or weaken the will to resist? -- maybe it must be a bit random then?), and again other too micromanaging or just too detailed (when I remember one of Joels post in the early days here, one goal of this game is to be much simpler than WitP-AE; beer and pretzels, and yet not sacrificing too much depth). As many as ideas, you'll also find just as many opinions here on what is right and wrong, when the Soviets would have surrendered and when not, etc. History and its causality is often a soft matter, open to debate without ascertainable conclusion. And such are game-rules, often to your personal taste and "idea of how it had (best) been". Anyway, tossing ideas around may be fun, and perhaps the devs can gather an impression here what kind of changes/new features/improvements (part of) their customership would value in the next titles. That could only be for the good of this series. There is certainly no harm in it, and discussing stuff also doesn't mean WitE is bad at all. In many aspects that is raising a high bar even higher, but as usual: the closer you get to a goal, the more perfect you want it.
< Message edited by janh -- 11/8/2012 6:20:36 PM >