Can you do a "review" on the scenario based on the AAR? How difficult was for each side, possible strategies, etc.
Sure, be glad to. I'll break it up into three sections: a general overview / review, then two separate sections for strategy and tactics: one for NATO and one for Pact. Overview follows; S&T for NATO/Pact are in the following two posts.
I would say that Mr. Cross's The Next War 1979 is one of the more challenging scenes. It is hypothetical but dwells in a sort of nether region between complete make believe and historical fact. Recall that in 1979 there was a Cold War with much sabre rattling between the US and the USSR. They would soon go to war by proxy in Afghanistan. So the board game on which the scene is based was timely. It was one of those monster games that I was fortunate to see in a game store in 1979 and I bought it at the time. That wasn't my first board game--I had subscribed to Strategy & Tactics magazine since about 1974.
I never really got to play the board game; I only managed to set up most of the air war and a few ground units and got through maybe four moves before I had to tear down the set-up I had in a spare bedroom. Over time I lost the game, so I was very happy to find it in the TOAW:II disc I bought some 20 years ago (I think it first appeared with TOAW:II, not sure.) I know it was in ACOW.
The best thing about the scene is its very well constructed event engine. Mr. Cross really captured the feel of the board game by including so many variations that can occur from the very first moves. It seems like the game never plays the same way twice. Some of the Pact countries may not participate, as happened with East Germany in this AAR. NATO too has that same variation; France and Italy were only in it for part of the AAR. I can't do the math exactly, but the number of different ways that this scene can start ... simply due to the Pact "Tension" choice, the Austrian option, and dice rolls for both sides w/re/to supply, reinforcements, and participation ... it must be somewhere around at least 20 factorial if you include the "Tension" options (over 1000 trillion possible variations).
That is a LOT of variation and is what makes the scene constantly re-playable. I estimate that I have enjoyed many hundreds of hours of entertainment playing this scene solitaire off and on for 20 years. To this day, I still learn something new or find some different kind of strategy and tactic.
I think it is best played as PBEM. Next best is solitaire. I think the PO is only lacking because of the complexity of the game--Elmer simply cannot take into account the nuanced strategies that a fleshly player will use. It is a complex scenario with a fair learning curve. It can last anywhere from 18 to 35 turns, depending on how long the Pact player rides the "Tension" option. NATO always moves last -- the game ends 17 moves after Pact declares hostilities.
The next two posts are possible strategies: one for NATO one for and Pact.