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Subject: Russians stuffing the border rss

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Doug Harned
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In the game we are currently playing it is S/O '40 and the Russian player has spent thier efforts and energy "stuffing" the border to prevent the Axis from DOWing Russia in spring of '41.

Being noobs this is the first time we've used this strategy in the game.

My comment/question is this. It appears that there is little or nothing preventing the Russian from pursuing this strategy. And it also appears that unless the Germans are very lucky in pulling chits that there is little likelihood of them being able to reach the required 2:1 garrison advantage required in '41. And, although there are lots of things that the Axis can do (Persia, Japan, etc...)to "punish" the Russians for pursuing this option, there still seems to be the fact that if Russia decides it to be so the Axis can be prevented from a '41 Barb.

Is this the experience of others in the game? Are there house rules that in some way modify the game to prevent a Russian stuff?

The reason I ask is that the game is SO well designed in terms of allowing almost any strategy it's odd that in this one case the initiative appears to be taken from the Axis (not the case with France '39 strategy, Spain/Med, Sealion, etc...).

Thanks.
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Patrick Bauer
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There is a definite risk the Soviet player takes when adopting the stuff the border strategy and it's two fold. Primarily while it can delay the Axis attack, when Barbarossa does occur the losses can be tremendous. It can be a swift and sudden end to the USSR. Secondarily the more units stuffed on the western frontier, the less that are available to deter Japan from taking Vladivostok.

I'm not sure a house rule is appropriate. If you're going to take a viable Soviet strategy away, what are you going to give them in return? The Axis shouldn't have all the initiative and this particular strategy should tip towards a Japanese reaction...of course that doesn't help if you're only playing the European scenarios.
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Steve Fowler
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While making calculations in respect to the garrison ratio, how and when you reveal your chits plays an important part. To say it is guaranteed is an overstatement. The options chosen, such as CBVs can provide many extra units for the Axis. Early heavy naval builds by Ger can push the door open easier for the USSR. As in all things WiF the strategy flow chart has many paths. There is a time and place for all strategies.
Oh, and if you fail and are caught in limbo land (east Poland and west of the Dnieper) you may and most likely will pay a steep price.


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Bruce Jurin
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The design idea was to make the Soviets have a choice. If you don't allow the Soviets a very good probability of avoiding a DoW, then players will use a backward defense; as Patrick said, if you stuff the border you have a high probability of avoiding the German DoW, but if the Germans can pull it off, the Soviet army is not in good defensive position and can be crushed.

So the idea is to try to make a good strategic choice for players.

However, it is true that the options and kits chosen can skew results. One exploit we have seen over the years is the USSR getting into a de facto phoney war with Japan, and therefore getting MIL and the advantages of being an active player, and then stuffing the border; the Soviet player never takes three resources in the Pacific map on purpose (A phoney war) so Japan can't demand a peace.

The usual solution is to change option 50 to allow Japan to force a peace from the phoney war in some way, or have Japan and the USSR also in a pact at the start fo the game..

However, besides some gamey situations like that one, for most kits/options the rule appears to give some tension to the decision.

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Doug Harned
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Thanks for the responses. I did notice one thing last night looking at the board. In our game all the Russian chits are fd (offensive). Doing the math that could very soon become a very large liability in trying to prevent a German attack.

I also see where a "gamey" move (such as Bruce describes) where the Russians might DOW Japan in a phony war simply to gain the ability to choose Land options (thus allowing a quicker pull back from the border in the fall/winter '41).

I guess we'll see how it goes. Right now I'm in the process of taking Spain (another 1st for us) and have my eye on Iraq/Persia. Never tried a '42 Barb and would like to see if I can align Turkey in the process.
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Wendell
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Even if the Soviets do stuff the Germans until 1942, even then the disengagement from the border could be very perilous for the Soviets. It is definitely a high-risk strategy for the USSR and I'm not sure it's worth the risk.

Also if the Sovs do a phony war against Japan, if I'm the Japanese I would grab Vlad and the resources near the Pacific coast. Oh the Soviets decide to defend against Japan? Well that will reduce the odds of keeping the Germans from achieving the garrison... Oh they don't defend? One fewer factory and a few fewer resources to build Soviet units to put on the border...
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