I am wondering if there has ever been a reconsideration of how victory is ascertained in WITE and victory points accumulated? From reading various AAR, and playing a campaign so far to mid-1943, it seems that the victory points and victory conditions tend to encouraged stereotypical play. Much of this is due to the way the morale is set up with set dates triggering changes regardless of what is happening on the map. This seems a shame. For example:
Both sides were governed under totalitarian systems made even more so by a variety of wartime decrees. Although Hitler and Stalin were dictators, to some degree they also ran leadership systems that could leave them vulnerable to bad outcomes. For example, Stalin seems to have genuinely feared being purged himself in June/July 1941 when he withdrew to his dacha (although some theorize he was just employing an Ivan the Terrible tactic of playing dead and seeing who made their move). Hitler, of course, was the target of numerous officer conspiracies well before July 1944. What did these dictators fear?
If we judge their actions, both Hitler and Stalin placed tremendous value on the gain or loss of land and populations, beyond the economic or demographic value well into the symbolic. Both gave repeated "not one step back orders" and designated various regions as subject to hold at all costs. Each region on the map had a variety of concerns attached to its seizure or loss. Hitler needed to continue projecting an aura of invincibility to ensure the continued support of often wavering foreign allies. Stalin feared with good cause the uprisings of various nationalities submerged within the Soviet system, e.g. the Ukrainians. Without attempting to model such concerns, the players have little reason to regard the battlefield as anything more than a series of mathematical calculations amid the overall desire to utilize the game rules to their fullest.
Hence, most Soviet players do not bother to attempt anything close to the dogged defense of the Motherland in 1941, much less the constant counterattacks the Soviets launched, knowing that this attitude merely leads to larger pockets and surrenders and is more or less hamstrung by the hard-wired morale system. Similarly, German players, under no compulsion from higher authority, not only will never allow themselves to be caught in a Stalingrad, but will adopt early on tactics that trade space for time all the way to the gates of Berlin. The blizzard mechanic seems to have been of such great debate because German side players adapted to it by using tactics that resulted in the voluntary surrender of huge tracts of conquered land without a fight. The +1 rule seems to be an attempt to encourage the Soviets to attack more into the teeth of a morale system that otherwise would keep them hopelessly on the defensive until late 1942.
In its next iteration of WITE, whether as part of a War in Europe or WITE 2, Matrix really needs to give some thought to how they interplay of tactics, morale and victory points work. Without hamstringing players too much by forcing them to do X, Y or Z, there can be a subtle but powerful series of interlocking incentives which provide potential morale and VP gains if attempted. I think AGEOD and its strategic choices events are a potential model. They allow players to make the choice of whether or not to adopt historical concerns, with pluses and minuses. Matrix might also consider the AGEOD "engagement points" (EP) system as a possibility. Here is an example of how it might work:
German example: Hitler throughout the war gave repeated "stand fast" orders based on a variety of considerations. He also set various objectives for political reasons. In the south of Russia, his interests were affected not just by his dreamed of seizure of grain, industry and oil, but also the political impact on the Romanians, Bulgarians and even the Turks. The stand fast can be simulated by giving the German player, throughout the game, the opportunity to issue such orders for certain regions and cities. The option would be triggered by a game mechanic that reflects whether a certain area is threatened or simply based on off-map developments. Successfully fulfilling such an order would gain EP and the EP, if accumulated in sufficient quantity, could open up new event trees. Certain events would have both upsides and downsides, e.g. if the German player goes against Hitler's historic aversion to inciting the Soviet nationalities independence movements, e.g. Vlasov, the Ukrainians and Cossacks, etc. this can have the downside of shutting down other event trees, e.g. those that would otherwise automatically be counted on. It is reasonable to assume that a policy of encouraging Soviet national independence movements would have undermined other aspects of Hitler's power. On "not one step back" orders, it gets dicier. Hitler had a personal desire to maintain power that often diverged from sane military concerns. I think one way to go would be to model how giving up territory without a fight would impact the minor allies. Or perhaps an added one-time VP bonus for the Soviets every time the Germans gave up ten hexes without a fight.
Soviet example: using the EP type system as our example again, the Soviet's could receive incentives to hold onto as much of the Motherland as possible for as long as possible. You could have later gains in Soviet morale not based on set date triggers, but rather "purchased" by EP gained for holding key areas as long as possible. Some of the "not one step back" mentality is modeled by the need to extract industries from capture/destruction. But it went far beyond that. The Soviet Union by 1941 was only 20 years past the Civil War. Stalin knew that giving up lots of land could lead to political problems. Perhaps one way to go would be to allow German options to raise Hiwis, receive labor support from Soviet nationalities or have the option of raising Cossacks based on whether they have taken certain regions. You could also imagine similar one-time VP bonuses for hexes the Soviets give up without a fight.
I should also mention a random event system would spice things up tremendously.
The idea of all of the above would be to import historical political considerations into the strategic decision process - not inflict hard-wired restrictions. Incentives and penalties would be subject to player choice. There should be potential gains from valuing some of the same things Hitler and Stalin did and likewise losses based on what they feared. Right now, that doesn't appear to be the case. Hence, stereotyped play and the triumph of the spreadsheet/mathematical calculation approach.
AGEOD doesn't always do it perfect, but I think their EP system is onto something. WITE, IMO, desperately needs an injection of "soul" into an otherwise solid skeleton.