I think this is an interesting discussion but as this is a game, I think almost everyone's experience is completely colored by the person who is controlling the troops opposite them, their individual play style, strengths and weaknesses, etc.... As Pelton has played the most games, I tend to view his comments about the game with more weight than others save perhaps that he wins too much (weak opponents?) and he doesn't play the Russians.
To me, I find the game has the right balance and feel to it. Chaos thinks the Germans are too powerful in '42, but in his game the Germans have pretty much penetrated to near historical depths. And remember, his experience is also colored by playing against someone widely regarded as a top German player. So perhaps against a GHC player not as experienced, he would think differently. Almost every one of his comments talk about the Soviets being too weak and the Germans being too powerful. Yet in the end, he has a decent chance of drawing or winning against a top German player in what his first (or one of) games of WiTE. What more do you want, a crushing Soviet win in every game in 1943? I do understand that many of the comments are driven by the desire to have the game be more "historical" but it's a game and the opposing general is by far the biggest factor and it wouldn't be an interesting game at all if it were totally one sided.
In my current game as SHC it's March 19th '42 and the soviet losses are probably average (3.7m) and German losses are higher than normal (1.15 M). My guess is that I'll be over 5 million losses by end of summer and he'll be around 1.4 million or so which are low and high respectively compared to other games here. I still hold Lenningrad and Moscow and in the south, the lines are west of Kharkov and Kursk. I have tons of space to fall back, but don't really feel the need to (yet). Every turn I launch probably 25 attacks just to continue building morale and usually win most of them. I have 222 HI and 356 Armaments, so production shouldn't be an issue, though I have 7 million men OOB but another 415k in the pool because I can't arm them quickly enough despite all the armament industry.
Here is a screenshot of the entire front showing the very start of my turn. I have only done some recon and attacked one panzer division to push it forward so that I can encircle it and route it. This game is probably as typical as any other game. Without the artificial weakening of the soviets and the Germans continuing to build new forces at faster than historical rates, I probably go over to the offensive much sooner than historical. But in this game, that probably won't happen and eventually his panzer forces will rebuild and he'll drive me back to probably Voronezh by the end of the summer and that will most likely be the extent of his advance. As for German players almost always attacking in the south in '42, well who the hell wants to tangle with the ridiculous CV walls, horrid terrain, and soviet commitment to hold Moscow? The south is far more panzer friendly so all GHC are going to push there because it's also far more weakly defended than the north. In my current game I'm still waiting to see where he'll make his major push (panzers west of Moscow, west of Rostov, and west of Kharkov) and once he concentrates, i'll thin my lines in other places and shift massive force to oppose the concentration.
I point all of this out because I feel the game is balanced and doesn't need major changes. The player controlling the troops matters more than anything else and who you are playing definitely colors your perspective. Is it coloring mine - a little perhaps, but my perspective is that the SHC is just fine, takes it's lumps, but has a never ending capacity to rebuild itself and without the game settings as they currently are, GHC will never ever win a game. Look at Pelton's game v Smokeindave. He nearly pushed him off the map and there's a chance he'll lose, most likely draw. In my current game, at one point in late September my opponent finally made a major breakthrough and encircled almost the entire western front. I probably lost nearly a million men. If it weren't for the mud, Moscow may have been in trouble. But there was mud, new lines were built, and my OOB is now 7+ Million March '42 and I hammered him all winter long. I think these examples show just how hard it is to actually win as the Germans unless you win on turns 1 to 18 by knockout. Which by the way, are by far the most interesting turns in the game. After that the game settles into a slugfest of static lines and more limited breakthroughs and becomes more tedious to play. Turns 1-18 as BOTH soviet and German are tense and exciting. So given the massive size and increased power over '41 of the Soviets at the start of '42 in most games, in order for the game to be viable, the Germans need the tools currently available to them because otherwise they'll get crushed. How many times have the Germans actually won the game in 1942 after failing to deliver the knockout in '41 (by knockout I mean massive losses, capture Moscow, advance to the Volga, etc...)? It's rare in the extreme for the Germans to win if they don't essentially win the game in 1941. Chaos - you are a good player, but you complain too much over minor issues and losses that don't impact the overall result of the game. Pelton's encirclement south of Rostov in your game won't matter. It's like crushing 500 ants in a pile of 100,00 of them. Even in his follow up which my guess is that he ends up destroying a few more armies after mud in that area, it won't matter. Come '43 you'll have a massive army and will begin the long drive to the west and my prediction is at worst you'll draw and have about a 25% chance to win. So a never ending series of posts about how the Soviets are too weak and the Germans are too strong and there is no way you lose the game, at worst you'll draw, decent chance of winning. If the changes you suggest are added, it would be near impossible to play the Germans with any success. It's hard enough to play the Germans now. As you say, you need to play the game out to the end to see how it goes and perhaps if you're in Berlin in spring '45 you'll change your thinking.... But your game with Pelton is definitely one of the most tense and well matched games going right now, so obviously the game system is working on the important levels and major changes aren't necessary. Historically, the Germans totally controlled the initiative in '42 and they should in the game as well. Again, Chaos, you really need to play the Germans to get an understanding of just how challenging it is. Simply never enough stuff to accomplish what you need to accomplish in '42 and you push in one area while the Red Army hammers you mercilessly in others. Strong soviet players will begin hammering you in '41 in more quiet parts of the front as the Germans never really have enough strength to both adequately hold the length of the line AND launch the type of hell for leather high risk advances that are necessary to have any shot at winning the game.
Between equally talented players, the SHC will win probably 40% of the time, draw 50% of the time, 10% german wins. And remember, a draw is not a draw in the war, it's based on the Soviets not totally destroying the Germans and capturing Berlin by a certain date. So historically speaking, other than the 10% German victories, 90% of the time the Russians win the war. Feels about right to me...
As to my game, I have no doubt that I will face at least another 500,000 man encirclement as '42 progresses along with several other smaller ones. It's part of my play style as I don't abandon heavily fortified positions until I'm forced out of them. I don't mind losing a million men so long as it takes many many weeks to lose them and so long as I'm forcing the Germans to bash their head against high CV stacks to earn the encirclements. THe further west that is held, the more the troops build up due to tons of manpower and the more the Germans have to fight rather than just get cheap encirclements the better. So if you consider a game between two average players, which I'll say my game is (perhaps I'm on the cusp of almost being "good" as SHC), the Germans have a hard road ahead of them in just about every game, '42 included. When designing or balancing a game, I would think you have to use average play as the measuring stick, you can't use perfect play as the measuring stick. And given average play, the Germans need all the help they can get.
Just my .02 cents. Oh, and to me, Vigabrand's post regarding his game as SHC is probably similar to my game and a more accurate assessment of what is going on in most digital battlefields....
Very large map image link below!
Situation March 42
< Message edited by mattp -- 8/30/2015 10:36:57 PM >