It's great that you like this type of AAR. I actually enjoy writing it, and I do believe I play better (or less badly, if you prefer) by writing it. Writing an AAR like this forces me to consider what I do and why I do it.
About game speed, I am divorced and having my four year old daughter home every other week on top of a full time job. That does limit the amount of time I can spend on WitE. But I promise you this, if I win the Eurojackpot lottery next week, I will spend some more time playing in the future.....
Actually, I do not feel my population modifier suffer much because of the loss of Moscow. I still hold some 2500+ population factories by turn 27, and I produce 100.000+ men every turn. Moscow itself is only 90 population points (or 3600 men pr turn), as the Germans have taken no land behind it. The real hit is the 50 VP the Germans get every turn they hold on to the city (Bitter End Scenario).
My army is weak, because of a series of early war blunders on my part. I am only gaining strength slowly because I focus a lot on forcing attrition on the Germans - at this point in time I inflict as many AFV losses on the Germans as they are able to build, meaning that their Panzer forces are not currently gaining strength for the summer. They also have about 1500 guns less than at game start.
I have been very close to building a series of fortified zones already, but time has never really been right. Their fortification bonus is only really relevant once your other forces has built up to level two. During the summer and fall of 1941, I never felt I got there before my troops were overrun or outflanked. Now, in winter, I find that my limited reserves must go to my frontline divisions, meaning that the "STAVKA diggers" are very low on manpower and construction points. Becuase of this, I never really have gotten to level two except in the north. I probably should start building forts along the line here to ensure a better defense in the unlikely event that the Germans attack here come summer.
I did write about "preservation of force", I recall. Problem was that with running away fast early war, I soon ran out of terrain to run away from and this effectively caused the loss of both Leningrad and Moscow. If I were to start the game again today, I would certainly have made some changes to my early war strategy in the north and been more willing to trade manpower for time.
I know it sounds crasy but I like reading these AAR's as well. The game is now three turns ahead of the AAR's and I ususally read every report before posting it. My general feeling is "Wow that was a long time ago I wrote this."
But keep on enjoying the read.
To be is to do -- Socrates
To do is to be -- Jean-Paul Sartre
Do be do be do -- Frank Sinatra