From: Santa Rosa, CA
Let me tell you that the movement from Rostov/Grozny to Kazan took meticulous forethought and planning, and then near perfect execution (as he pats himself on the back). It was not easy. I had to preposition units the turn before, including transports in the Black Sea and fully repairing all rail lines in southern Russia. That sucked up supplies (that had to be railed in). If the Soviets had been able to get at my transport in the Black Sea with any airpower, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. Part of my strategy was to build up fighter strength and make sure it wasn’t possible to lose the transport. I was also up against an army of mostly militia, which made life easier. The Luftwaffe was pre-positioned to support the move to Kazan. Basically once Stalingrad was taken by infantry/artillery (there was weak opposition), it was simply a matter of sending the Luftwaffe and armor north. Now all of this took a ton of supplies. I then had to decide whether I wanted to send in more supplies to repair the rail in Stalingrad and Kazan, or send in more troops. I choose the supplies. At the end of the turn I had used 100% of my rail capacity and I was unable to rail in any additional troops to assist the Panzers (I was able to send in a few supplies in case they are cut off). I even used the capability to tell each unit where it should get it’s supply from (an advanced technique that takes a few extra mouse clicks) in order to get the most out of my rail capacity. This entire strategy would be an incredibly risky move if the Russian army had much left to attack with, but it’s a mostly militia army that is lacking in supplies due to the beating it’s been taking for the past year (there's still some risk in it). If things weren’t going so well, the Germans would be spending a lot of supplies rebuilding rail lines that would be damaged again if hit by a Russian counterattack. I’ve been doing this at the expense of repairing resources which normally I’d be doing. The resource shortage will not hit me for another 6-12 months, and I saw an opportunity to go for the knockout now.
In GGWaW, the best strategies are those that react and respond to opportunities that present themselves. You have to put yourself in position to take advantage of them if they come along, but you never know for sure exactly when or what the opportunity will be (that’s why PBEM games are so much fun, every opponent plays differently and every situation is different due to the luck factor that is just enough to keep things from getting into a rut).
As for Japan and Siberia, again, there are extreme limitations to what Japan can do given the one rail line in Siberia. As Paul mentioned we’ve discussed adding some optional rules if this turns out to be a problem, but we’re not convinced yet that it is. Is it 100% realistic, probably not, but until you see the tradeoffs that Japan must make to execute this strategy, I wouldn’t jump to any final conclusions.
By the way, the AAR’s have been played using Advanced Supply rules. I strongly suggest that players try their first games with the standard supply rules (where you don’t actually move supplies on the map, just use them from a general supply pool). Although the game is much less realistic that way, it is a lot easier to play. Once you get used to the game, the gamers looking for added realism and depth should move to the Advanced Supply rules.
Since this game has been compared to Axis & Allies by many (mostly those that haven’t played GGWaW yet), I’ll give my personal ratings as to the “difficulty” (how hard to play) and “realism” ratings for these 2 games, and I’ll throw in a few others so you have some benchmarks. These are clearly subjective ratings representing my opinion only (1-10, where 10 is maximum realism and very difficult to play). By the way, I am a fan of A&A, especially A&A Europe, so I don’t mind the comparisons.
War in the Pacific 9/9
Steel Panthers 6/7
Axis & Allies 2/2