ORIGINAL: Mike Parker
I have played alot of wargames like this... from Tactics II through many versions of computer games. I just cannot seem to make my way vrs the AI on balanced (I have not tried handicapped as it is supoposedly bugged right now). The AI can produce units at a much fast rate than I can when I play the same faction... and I have analyed the PP system pretty closely and I cannot imagine I am doing anything wrong, not enough so that the AI seems to have about twice the number of extra units (i.e. built over starting) than I can manage in the same time period. I.E. I play the Entente and look at Serbia and build units through turn 6.. then I play the CP and on turn 6 the units I can SEE (although I purposefully do things stupid to see extra units) is about double what I would have been able to build.
I have no idea whether I'm just not doing something right, or whether the AI side gets some bonuses to production even on Normal difficulty, but I've seen the same thing you're mentioning. Now, I haven't done a unit count or anything but man, the computer seems to never have any shortage of people--and the AI's front line is always kept replaced and probably upgraded from what I can tell.
Playing the CP, I simply don't have the manpower to stop the Russians, much less beat them. That leads to a chain of events that results in failure in the West, too.
Of course, there are several possibilities. One is that I simply suck; entirely possible! Another is that the AI is getting bonuses--no idea if this is true, but it would help explain things. A third is that the Russians, at the very least, are represented with more combat power and flexibility than would have been the case historically--they certainly seem able to go toe to toe with the Kaiser's best a lot more handily than they actually did. Hell, the freakin' Austrians do better against the Russians than the Germans do!
One thing that I do see that I actually think might be worth looking into is the effect of winter and mountains both. It seems way too easy to conduct extensive and relatively rapidly moving campaigns through the Alps. The Italians, when they enter the game, seem to be far more mobile and effective than either history or the map would warrant. And the ability of armies in general to roam about in enemy territory fairly rapidly--infantry, even garrison infantry here, not cavalry--does seem a bit off.
The game is quite good overall, of course, but I am curious about some of these things.