Some observations from my and Larry's ongoing game (now in NATO turn 13...almost 2/3 done already!)
RE: Sweden. IIRC, there are quite a few objective point values there in Sweden that are assigned to Pact from the start. Just guessing, but are those points there to offset any NATO objective point values that arose from the addition of Norway and the new northern sector of the map?
If so, I think Pact is overbalanced. Perhaps those values are an artifact of map addition, but I would suggest looking at those values (for both NATO in Norway, and Pact in Sweden) to make sure that NATO is not losing too much in the exchange. Just from a glance, it seems to favor Pact, esp. if Sweden is considered "off limits".
RE potential "shock and awe" effects for both NATO and Pact: there has been a lot of discussion about those effects and how they should or might play out. Speaking as a purist, I would like to see this scene stick as much to the original boardgame as much as possible while you are revising the orbat. The Pact's shock and surrender effects can be tweaked later if need be if NATO is truly overpowered.
I don't think they are. In fact, I continue to maintain that NATO already has a hard enough time of it in the original, and by adding more map (more territory to defend for NATO) as well as massively more Pact forces (w/ all the firepower they have at their disposal from the new SSR districts) it is NATO that needs more Irregulars, not Pact. There are just as many (if not more) shock effects that Pact can cause. Will you be adding Irregulars for NATO to help them defend those hexes, too? If not, then I think the game will be tipped even farther toward Pact victories.
Well, that's my two cents!! Also, I'm sure you've seen these, but if not, they are fascinating reads, offering insight into the original designs and rationale for "The Next War" boardgame. Much of the discussion will seem dated, but there are tidbits buried in these articles that have helped my push with NATO so well into the Pact backfield. Interesting to see how some of their comments about strategies and tactics are still applicable to fire and movement in TOAW.
Link to articles about The Next War boardgame: "Moves" magazines volumes 41 and 42 at archive.org is
the part two of the article talks more about strategy and tactices, that is in issue number 42
Ok, well, back to the board!!