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John Prados' Third Reich» Forums » Strategy

Subject: 3R/JP3R Comparative Analysis by Nation: Soviet Union rss

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Ulrich A
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It is quite difficult to get my JP3R. It travels from America to Britain, from Britain to Germany, from Germany to the Austrian Customs Authority, from there to my local shop. This takes weeks, if not months. angry

So, while I can not play, I´ll do the next best thing, and make some analyses of the changes made from the original.

THE SOVIET UNION

1) Force Pool:

Some Important Additions:

3x 3-3 INF
2x 2-4 CAV
6x 1-4 CAV
6x 1-0 GAR
1x 4-6 ARM !
1x 5-4 TAC !
1x 5-8 SAC !

Removals:

2x 2-3 INF
7x 1-3 INF
1x 9 SURF

2) Conquest

Conquest of the Soviet Union has become even more difficult in JP3R. All 11 Soviet Objective hexes must be taken, 4 of which (Leningrad, Sevastopol, Maikop, Yerevan) are extremely tough.

3) Supply

All 11 Objectives and the map edges give full supply, and therefore Objectives can´t be taken by encirclement.

4) Air Force

Nationality DRMs have been removed. Big Winners are the Italian Navy and the Soviet Air Force. Both are now stronger than is really plausible.

To Sum It Up:
Avalanche Press is clearly on the side of World Revolution! All changes made are good for the Soviet Union -they have better average INF, +8 CAV, +1 very good ARM, +1 TAC, +1 SAC, have lost their bad Nationality DRMs, have better supply, and are more difficult than ever to conquer!
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Jeff Adams
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Perhaps more difficult to completely conquer, but they can certainly be effectively knocked out of the game. I never played the older versions, but this one seems to have a nice feel to it. In our games it's been touch or go whether the Soviets will make it.
 
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Ulrich A
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The overall balance between Axis/Allies has been very good in 3R. It may well be good in JP3R also, because Italy, too, has been made stronger. I wouldn´t be surprised, if Germany and the Wallies were made a little weaker, but I haven´t yet looked at them in detail.
 
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Mark Luta
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Do not be deceived by the addition of more weaker units, in this version the 2-step units are tremendously stronger than 1-step owing to their greater staying power. This is particularly important when fighting far from home cities, since reduced units can be rebuilt in place and used the next turn, while rebuilt units will have to be SRd to the distant front, and can then only defend. The mechanic also makes air support more problematic for the invader, since the home country can build airpower in the cities they will defend, while the invader also has to move or SR rebuilt air units back to the front, which then cannot be used at all that turn, and must be kept out of counterair range as they will be vulnerable to an enemy air effort.

Also mitigating the increase in the Soviet force pool is the permanent removal of ground units which are eliminated at the end of the turn out of supply. Again the 2-step units are much less vulnerable here, as they can lose one step and then hopefully escape or be resupplied for the end of the following turn, while single step units would be eliminated immediately. Still, the Soviet player has to be extremely careful to not to permanently lose too many units, and ideally no 2-step units in this manner at all.

Another major change is the Soviets now have much greater incentive to defend more strongly in the north, at the expense of the south, owing to the higher value of Moscow and Leningrad. Once the Soviet and German player both realize this, it becomes an interesting guessing game as to whether the Germans are going to strike north with enough strength to overcome the fiercest Soviet defenses, and what the Soviet player is going to take away from the northern front to defend objectives in the south. A bit of luck to either side in a large battle can be decisive.

Large battles are given the possibility of becoming epic in this version, owing to the ability to attack along a line of units as one attack. This is normally how the Soviets will be able to deal significant damage to the more powerful German units--in a typical attack on one hex, the Soviets will have some of their weaker units destroyed but will only end up hitting German BRP stockpiles, perhaps on occasion flipping a 3-3 infantry (there is significant advantage therefore to attacking a stack with reduced German armour wherever the opportunity presents itself, of course). But attack a half-dozen or more hexes simultaneously, and the damage can be horrific, to both sides. This is the 'attrition' option from the old games, writ large!

The Soviet player must also at all costs avoid going to negative BRPs whenever their fortress cities are under attack. Normally, these locations are nearly impossible for Germany to take in one turn, unless they get a lucky roll. But, if the Soviet BRP stockpile can be driven negative, then only a number of hits equal to double the weakest defending unit plus one (plus two for Leningrad from the European objective city bonus), a much more achievable total to clear the fortress of defenders.

For several sides including the Soviets, it is worth noting that air units (TAC) are considerably less useful on defense than they were in the older games. They cannot have factors eliminated to avoid losses to ground units, and add little to defense beyond the air battle which they engage in with air support--the extra dice rolled on defense will matter only if it results in the elimination of attacking units. Conversely, TAC is crucial to the attacker, as it receives the armour bonus when supporting armour, and extra dice for every other factor supported. It is also needed for airborne drops, as escorts whenever enemy TAC could intercept the flight path of the airborne and fire on it unopposed.

The diplomatic table is also both helpful and hurtful to the Soviets. It might get them a free declaration of war on Finland, if Finland declares war on them first (and the Soviets want to attack Finland early whenever possible, it is likely Germany will end the war with the Molotov-Ribbentrop conditions before a conquest results, but any Finnish 3-3 infantry reduced can only ever be rebuilt to 1-3, which will make them much less a threat to Leningrad). A war with Turkey, on the other hand, is a major commitment and might see the German player considering an early attack on Russia, if sufficient forces are sent south to effectively crush Turkey. Even a Soviet defeat of Turkey leaves open another front for Axis advance. Romania is also very much in play, and certainly possible for the Soviets to gain as an ally, depending on how events fall out. On the other hand, an early attack on Romania could result in a declaration of war on the USSR by the Western Allies, a potential nightmare scenario probably best avoided in the early war.
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Ulrich A
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markluta wrote:
Do not be deceived by the addition of more weaker units, in this version the 2-step units are tremendously stronger than 1-step owing to their greater staying power.


I somehow get the idea you didn´t read my post carefully. I noted that strong units (3/3s, a 4/6, some Air) were added, while weak units were removed.

Quote:
The mechanic also makes air support more problematic for the invader, since the home country can build airpower in the cities they will defend, while the invader also has to move or SR rebuilt air units back to the front, which then cannot be used at all that turn, and must be kept out of counterair range as they will be vulnerable to an enemy air effort.


True, and that´s another reason why I believe the Soviet Union is now stronger.

Quote:
Another major change is the Soviets now have much greater incentive to defend more strongly in the north, at the expense of the south, owing to the higher value of Moscow and Leningrad.


As I see it, Leningrad is impossible (not going negative with the Soviets, or anybody else, should be a no-brainer), and Moscow is just as easy or difficult to take as any other Objective.

Quote:
But attack a half-dozen or more hexes simultaneously, and the damage can be horrific, to both sides. This is the 'attrition' option from the old games, writ large!


This is actually one of the (less common) changes that hurt the Soviet player. In the early game, he will not be able to afford creating holes in his own frontline by such counter-attacks. The old Attrition, otoh, was riskless.

Quote:
For several sides including the Soviets, it is worth noting that air units (TAC) are considerably less useful on defense than they were in the older games.


Of course, but my point was the added Air plus removed National DRM help them in the mid-to-late game tremendously, once they start to attack with OAS. I am always talking about the direct comparison to 3R, where the Soviets stayed week in the Air to the end.

Quote:
On the other hand, an early attack on Romania could result in a declaration of war on the USSR by the Western Allies, a potential nightmare scenario probably best avoided in the early war.


Why should the Western Allies ever want to do that? Are you assuming they go nuts?

Anyway, I don´t think Diplomacy as such either helps or hurts the Soviet player a lot, compared to 3R, so I didn´t include it in the list.
 
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Mark Luta
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The main reason I can see for France and/or Britain declaring war on the Soviet Union over Romania, would be in a game where 'Why Die for Danzig' comes up and the alliances are completely open. I have never played a game where this happened. But, since the idea is to win outright, I suppose if Germany is doing badly early on, it might be necessary for the Western Allies to declare war on the USSR, given this opportunity (which is only likely to exist if France is still around, meaning Germany might be doing badly!), to prevent the Soviets from steamrolling over Germany to an easy win. Players do have to be conscious of how steeply the random event chits can skew the game in favour of one nation, and be on the lookout for situations where the events, combined with either bad luck or bad strategy, puts a nation in serious danger of being knocked out ahistorically.

I did read your posts, my comments were pointers to anyone interested to highlight issues, not to dispute point by point.

Overall, the Diplomacy track probably helps the Soviets quite a bit. They will be hard-pressed to gain allies since they start so low on the tracks, and may have a war forced upon them, but they also have little to do early with BRPs and so can use them opposing German efforts to get the allies they really need. Very rarely in this game does Germany invade Russia with all their historical minor allies. And with a little luck on the die rolls, Germany will end up spending quite a bit for the allies they do have.

And you might think that not going negative is a good idea, but it is nearly impossible for Britain to avoid going negative during 1940, and possibly in 1941 as well. If the Soviets are really on the ropes, they may have to go negative to avoid holes in their lines. But, other than the problem with the fortress defenses it won't really hurt the USSR as much since they can set up defenses with only 1-step units in front that are going to be destroyed anyway.
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Ulrich A
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markluta wrote:
The main reason I can see for France and/or Britain declaring war on the Soviet Union over Romania, would be in a game where 'Why Die for Danzig' comes up and the alliances are completely open.


Ahhh, I understand what you mean. Though I must say I come to a totally different conclusion.

I believe Why Die for Danzig is the best German event in the game. Germany should set up in the West and roll over France in 1939.

If Britain wants to help France at all, they will have to pay for the DoW. In the unlikely case the Soviets want to help France, they have to Dow Poland first, making it a German ally!

The typical way all this should develop is an easy Sealion in 1940, followed by a strong attack in the East early 41. As I see it, the question with Danzig is not if the Allies can afford to declare on the Soviets, but if they are able to survive that event!

My take on Diplomacy is that it should be seen as a kind of Strategic Warfare, helping the economically stronger side to force Burp exchanges if they want to. Seen from that perspective, Diplomacy helps the Axis in the early war.
 
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Mark Luta
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You entirely miss the point of Why Die for Danzig: If this chit comes up, historical alliances are completely out the window. France might want to ally with Germany, gain Poland as an ally, and join Germany in heading east, leaving Britain out in the cold...Or perhaps Britain will join Germany, and divide the world...I have never actually played a game where this chit came up, but it would surely open a whole pregame round of negotiation, since it would be pulled before forces are even set up.

The potential for Sealion in this game is not high, it is much more realistic than in previous incarnations, where all too often the Royal Navy would miss interceptions even on a German channel crossing, a very unrealistic situation. Since Germany has only 1 2-factor LC, their first problem is Britain is going to try to bomb it as soon as they build it. Then, if Germany actually has a realistic chance of mounting an invasion, Britain is going to put air units on the sea approaches--CV and TAC (and submarine, for that matter) can pick which enemy naval forces take the hits, so they will target the LC with troops embarked first if necessary. If the German LC somehow survives, a 2-factor LC can land 2 units in a beach hex--which are going to be very well defended if Britain expects an invasion. So, more likely, the 'historic' plan is going to be followed by Germany (the same one Napoleon had a century and a half earlier) where they disembark a single corps (technically the units are roughly double corps in this game, but a technicality) on a difficult but undefended stretch of British coastline, putting down a beachhead with no chance of exploitation that turn (since one lead landing unit must be infantry), along with a paratroop unit which somehow evaded air interception. Then, if not thrown back into the sea on a later British impulse, the Germans face the daunting task of using their probably now-depleted naval forces, along with air, to hold supply routes over the sea open, and still have enough naval and air forces to escort additional forces with their LC all over again...(This was the point someone else was making in another thread about the need to take Gibraltar as a prelude to an invasion of Britain, so the Italian fleet is available in the Atlantic.) The way to make this work is to force Britain into negative BRPs in the fall, so they will be unable to send fleets to sea in the winter (though most likely, Britain will counter by scrapping enough fleets to come up with the 5 BRPs needed to send fleets to sea and prevent this).

And of course, while all this is going on, Germany is spending like mad and the USSR are growing stronger...Also note that in this game, even the capture of London does not automatically mean Britain surrenders, it only gives more DRM towards that. So, the old tactic of dropping German paratroops on London and hoping for good dice is not necessarily a winner (and if Britain does not surrender, the paratroops would probably be out of supply the next turn, and possibly soon permanently eliminated).

Other than against a neophyte British player, I think Sealion is mainly a threat to Britain in this game, rather than a serious option. It is a very good threat, the Battle of Britain can be tried and with a little luck to Germany the British economy hobbled by air attrition. Or if Britain has made the mistake of invading a neutral nation (without the Churchill Directs chit) before the USA enters the war and so cannot receive lend-lease BRPs for a year, then the invasion becomes possibly more likely.

It should even be noted the fall of France is not a done deal in this game. The French surrender itself requires a die roll, granted it is highly likely once the Germans make good progress into France and if Germany offers Vichy to France. But even under the best of scenarios, roll two 1's in succession, and France fights to the death--the true nightmare scenario for Germany, with now both Romania and Poland potential French allies, the USSR may be seeing Germany as then besieged by the Western Allies, rather than the other way around....
 
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Ulrich A
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markluta wrote:
You entirely miss the point of Why Die for Danzig: If this chit comes up, historical alliances are completely out the window. France might want to ally with Germany, gain Poland as an ally, and join Germany in heading east, leaving Britain out in the cold...Or perhaps Britain will join Germany, and divide the world...I have never actually played a game where this chit came up, but it would surely open a whole pregame round of negotiation, since it would be pulled before forces are even set up.


Wait a minute, let´s not get too superficial here.

France can´t actually ally with Germany, because the only alliances allowed are those specifically listed in 5.2:
Major Power Alliances.
Major Powers may only make the alliances listed below.


But France could conceivably go to war against the Soviet Union, and not declare on Germany; but that wouldn´t keep Germany from, at a later, convenient date, declaring on France, if the French were ever so foolhardy to take that course of action...

And along similar lines of argumentation, all other counter-historical pseudo-alliances make little sense...

Believe me, it is as I said: The point of Why Die for Danzig is that Avalanche Press wants to drive home the fact that for the Allies the historical choice was to die for Danzig or die, period.

The chit simply speeds up German conquest, and makes it easier, and that´s the intention behind it.
 
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Ulrich A
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markluta wrote:
If the German LC somehow survives, a 2-factor LC can land 2 units in a beach hex--which are going to be very well defended if Britain expects an invasion...


This is a more important argument. However, don´t forget that Sealift is possible with SURFs. In a General Offensive, Germany can land 2 units at a Beach, exploit with 1, land another one on the now friendly Beachhead by sealift, and drop 2 Paras, getting 5 units into England. They should definitely try to bankrupt Britain before invading -you told me yourself this is possible-, which will severely weaken the defense. (As it is, Winter invasions are possible, if bankrupting the British takes that long.)

Later reinforcements can come by Sealift. Even entering England gives a chance of Surrender, taking London makes it extremely likely. So difficult: yes, impossible: certainly not, particularly if you have nothing else to do in 1940.
 
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Mark Luta
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Rather than pontificate on what the game designers might, or might not have intended, you might be more informed by playing through the potential mayhem which would result if, say, the Western Allies are at peace with Germany because Poland cedes Danzig, and then Britain declares war on the Soviet Union, invades Portugal, spends BRPs on the Spain track and then next turn assigns a conquered Portugal to Spain...Lots of implications here (for one thing, do not forget that since the USA will not be sending Britain BRPs for a year, the big BRP prizes in the Atlantic will not be available for raiding before at least Fall 1940)!
 
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Ulrich A
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markluta wrote:
Rather than pontificate on what the game designers might, or might not have intended, you might be more informed by playing through the potential mayhem which would result if, say, the Western Allies are at peace with Germany because Poland cedes Danzig, and then Britain declares war on the Soviet Union, invades Portugal, spends BRPs on the Spain track and then next turn assigns a conquered Portugal to Spain...Lots of implications here (for one thing, do not forget that since the USA will not be sending Britain BRPs for a year, the big BRP prizes in the Atlantic will not be available for raiding before at least Fall 1940)!


I fail to see your point.

Assume the British get Spain as an ally, what good will it do them? This is not the Napoleonic Wars.

Germany will take out Spain after taking out France, and collect the Burps. Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.

And, again, why should the Brits declare on the Soviet Union? They can´t even get there, not even if the Germans were happy with the role of amused bystanders, because the British cannot ally with Germany, so they can´t enter or cross German territory.

Sooner or later, they would end up at war with both the SU and Germany. They must be mad to follow such a course of action. shake

The Germans will ignore the British antics, simply do their thing, and win.
 
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Alexander A Person
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I think that the game designers only see the UK declaring war on the USSR after Germany is nearly gone, in 1944 or later. In one of the versions of the 1945 scenario, this is explicitly stated. I _have_ had games where Sweden became a UK ally, but then the Germans had to invade it. In such a situation, the War for North Africa could be fought up in Scandanavia, and the allies could end up next to Leningrad.

The point of a war that late in the game would be to adjust the objective city counts so that US/UK have more objectives than USSR. If the USSR takes over the Balkans, they can end up with a large number of objectives. Neither side would expect to actually _conquer_ the other, just to gain enough objective cities to win the game.

I've never had Spain as an ally of the UK. Note that if the UK declares war on Portugal, they get a universal -1 modifier for declaring war on a neutral.

The USSR will get this modifier too if they invade Finland or Romania by DoW (instead of war being declared on them after Molotov-Ribbentrop).
 
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Ulrich A
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avalonnnz wrote:
I think that the game designers only see the UK declaring war on the USSR after Germany is nearly gone, in 1944 or later.


But can they? I seem to remember you can´t declare war against an ally??
So either the UK or SU would have to be neutral, which is unlikely in 1944.
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Colin Raitt
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Britain and France lose influence with Romania if they don't declare on Russia. Pushing her into Hitler's arms as she needs protection from a major power. Historically the Russians waited till the fall of France before demanding Bessarabia. Before then, Romania's friendship with France was enough to keep the commies in check. The Western Allies would be ill advised to declare on Russia, though she couldn't reach them through Germany she was much more powerful potential ally than Romania.
 
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