From: Fairbanks, Alaska
ORIGINAL: Commander Cody
It seems like Russian activation is a net positive for the AFBs, at least playing against the AI. Does that hold true in PBEM? I was thinking if I start a new PBEM of this it would be with a quiet Russian front.
I do like Juan's aircraft purchase system a lot. Although my game against Lowpe didn't go too far, he had near absolute air superiority.
EDIT: If you play against the AI, it might be best to ignore the aircraft purchase system.
My experience so far is that an active Soviet Union is a mixed bag for the allies. The Soviet Union simply can't compete in the air, which means that its ships an industry are vulnerable. I'm in a PBEM vs a Japanese opponent currently that is bombing my Soviet aircraft factories and refineries with impunity. On land, the Soviet Union's border forts, while strong, won't stand up to a concentrated push, so it's relatively easy for the Japanese player to cut off Vladivostok. Just like any other part of the map in 1941, if the Japanese player wants it in 1942, they can take it, and there isn't anything the allied player can do to change that.
All that being said, active Soviets do tie up Japanese forces, and it opens up a theater that is new to most of us, so I'm probably going to keep it in the mod, but I do need to do some tweaking. In all, while having active Soviets is a net positive for the allied player, it doesn't offset the Japanese advantage, and it doesn't necessarily change the accumulation of VPs either way - the Japanese player can choose to amass VPs by using their Manchurian forces in the Soviet Union, or they can use them in China.
As the game goes on, having an active Soviet Union will begin to be more of a factor as more Soviet reinforcements begin to arrive, but it's not until June of 42 that the first batch hits, and by then it's entirely possible that the Japanese player would have already taken the strategically important targets in the Soviet Union and eliminated most of its ground forces.
The stock game really isn't designed for the Soviet Union having to defend itself in 1941/1942, so there is room for improvement in the Soviet OOB.
*Tweak Soviet Union base forces to have enough Aviation support to handle the number of planes at each base.
*Add additional air-power to the Soviets - probably by adding a few Yak-1 squadrons.
*Take a hard look at fortifications and airfield build levels for Soviet bases near the front.
Meanwhile, in this theater, the Japanese also need a few tweaks, primarily in the form of more engineering units and additional aviation support.