Using the Update Kit and the most recent "published" ETO rules.
I foresee the Axis getting stalled very early, still, due to the Soviet advantages that still exist (or were put in for some reason). The Mech Corp trade for a 4-5-4 and 1/2 EP can really put the hurt onto parts of the advance. However, it is that in conjunction with the revised Soviet card draw of only 2 small cards on July '41 turn. Consider a most recent game, using the free set-up restrictions per ETO scenario book.
Turn 1 - Average Axis Player causes around 9-11 PPs of damage. Soviets start with Great Patriotic War and Enduring Deprevations in hand and spend 13 PPs on Turn 1 . Soviets flip some key positioned Mech units into 4-5-4s plus get EPs back. Soviet has +4 PPs overall (13 - 9 = 4) so far. Also get to increase their PPs due to Soviet Production Phase, well over 100PPs
Turn 2 - Soviets play Enduring Deprivations in Axis supply step ... all those isolated Soviets remain. Axis face stiffened line due to more 8-4s and 4-5-4s, so Axis cause on average 5-8 PPs. (Soviets select GPW (again since it is a Set Aside from last turn) and Militia Mobilized and play BOTH to flood the front). Twelve (12) Corps are placed, plus 14PPs to spend. More Corps and flipping all those 4-5-4s to 8-4s. So Soviets get 26 more PPs. Advantage now Soviets + 25PP (26-5+4=25PP) and it is only turn 2. Soviets played 3 cards on turn 2 alone.
Turn 3 - If the Axis have managed to move their front past Minsk, then only the armor is supplied due to the 12 hex HQ range (as it is still to early to jump the HQ forward) and are facing OOS Axis infantry and supplied Armor. GPW in two turns has allowed 3 Yaks onto the mats due to the replacement allowed per the card. *IF* axis can manage 8 PPs, Soviets respond back with 14 more PPs. Soviet advantage now +36PPs by turn 3. (However, if not this turn, by the next turn, Axis will be limited to no more than 3-5 PPs damage, as all units are 4-5-4s and 8-4s... and prospects for breakthroughs are slim.
You may quibble with the amount of PPs an Axis player may cause in these or subsequent turns, but I think most will be hard pressed to overcome the numbers with a competent Soviet player. Add to that the Enduring Deprivations which left a solid Soviet Force with no chance of reduction (as opposed to 50%) to your rear behind your thrusting armor, you can imagine the wreck to any time table.
Proposal to correct this imbalance - it comes down to the cards and what is available. The "at Start" for the Soviets should either be no cards (so they can't select GPW) or allowed only Scorched Earth. Axis success hinges upon a strict timetable, and allowing the Soviets a free turn when all there Isolated units remain is just nasty. Additionally, Soviets should be allowed to pick 2 Small Cards on their Turn 2. It should be only 1 card. Getting 36 PPs in two turns will stop any offensive.
Just some thoughts.
Definitely a positive change to remove the Enduring Deprivations. To me it was a -must pick-. It's not only that your Isolate Troops did not suffer attrition, but also your OOS troops were in supply and could attack normally!
The early Russian small cards add interest and options but except for Militia Mobilized, not too much power. An early upgrade of a Pe-2 so it can intercept out of reserves can worry the Luftwaffe a bit. Cavalry Mobilization may help to get that "Finger of Life" to the trapped front line troops. In the end it usually just give the German Army a couple more attacks in mid-July. Barbarossa has a dynamic first few turns. There is a pause as the HQs move to new locations. The Germans will then start moving forward again. If the Russian player has had play where they were building a line of improved positions and now you are using the newer play test restrictions, your line is not as strong as in those games of the past. September can see the Russian worry level getting higher and higher but, "Winter is Coming" you hope.
There are so many new rules, cards and weather that will be available for playtesting with the .5 Module that will likely be available sometime in January ( but I never want Ken Keller to feel any pressure about rushing his excellent work). My guess is that the Germans will be at a disadvantage, but not during the first few turns. Playtesting will tell us a lot more than guestimates. I don't mind saying I am excited by all this.
I'm content with the latest revisions in the pre-war card options. I don't have time to post the latest; just got off the phone with Frank and Lance and have HUGE tasks ahead of me now.
I think that makes sense in the early game. Although I haven't fully grasped the late game nuances, I can see this card being "abused" as part of a Soviet advance behind any BT they may punch into the Axis line. So I'm okay with that.
I would offer to put on the table if there needs to be another iteration with the Event Cards to balance Barbarossa's first 4-6 months, the possibility of only allowing an at-start hand of Scorched Earth and/or It Takes a Brave Man. I think this goes well with the historical surprise and accuracy of what was available to the Soviets. They were certainly all about Scorched Earth. They were also all about sacrificing units during the early war with counter attacks ... that were such a disaster.
(But I wouldn't allow any of the others to be an option.)
I am culling out the ENDURING DEPRIVATIONS card from ETO.
It is not so much the aspect of being hit by 8-4s. In fact, I didn’t mention that. It is the fact that these units are left behind your lines and NOT subject to an isolation roll. Instead, you are dealing with eliminating twice as much that were bypassed, as opposed to fighting half as much (on average). It is much easier to rid a 4-5-4 or a ?-4 than full 8-4s.
That is what the discussion is about. The delay to the razor thin timetable is the focus.
Enduring Deprivations causing trouble? It's not a bad card. It hasn't scared me much, but I'll keep an open mind. I don't usually put Germans where the can be hit by more that one 8-4 in the northern half of the front. Learning to corral the Russians takes experience and thought.
Interestingly, I'm looking at that afresh today.
I still think allowing the Soviets 2 Small cards in opening hand is to much for Barbarossa. Enduring Deprivations is a killer since it allows full strength units that were bypassed to remain unharmed to the Axis rear, with NO CHANCE for a isolated die roll. The heavy Axis units are out in front, so the big Soviet Armies left behind cause greater issues than normal.
Enduring Deprivations needs to be removed from a potential at start card. It's nasty on the opening turn given the make or break time table the Axis are working under.
Alan, isn't it just .5 EP for Early-Mech Conversions with an OLOC after the Coversion, rather than a full EP?
So you were right Brian, as we realized a while ago, and I like the fix noted above. GPW waits for July, and the Soviets still start with two of five possible Smalls , then draws two more in July. This is working well. Sounds like you are a good playtester.
Thanks for the expanded response Alan.... Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!
I'm busy scrubbing every card right now, for every game, and building out the unique ones for each. It is a vast undertaking!
Your advice is well taken and we have locked onto some of that already. Soviet staring card possibilities are:
The Soviet player’s choice of any two of those listed below (with the remainder setting up in the Soviet Deck):
17: Scorched Earth
25: Cavalry Mobilization
28: Enduring Deprivations
47: Orders from the Boss: Retooling
49: It Takes a Brave Man
Great Patriotic War is out for 2 Seasons once played.
For the Early War Mech Corps, the rules are shaping up nicely as:
[513.4] Reorganizing Soviet Early War Mech Corps: When play includes Vol. I: Thunder in the East, Soviet Early Mechanized Corps units have a limited time in play. By October 1941 their experiment has officially ended.
[513.4.1] Irreplaceable: Once USSR and Germany are at war, USSR Early Mech Corps units are irreplaceable. Permanently remove them from play when removed from the map. Prior to that, they are returned to their draw pool.
[513.4.2] Voluntarily Reorganizing: The Soviet player may Reorganize any number of (revealed or unrevealed) USSR Early Mech Corps units on the map regardless of their circumstances during the Soviet Demobilization Step in the following manner:
1. Replace it on the map with an untried (?-4) Soviet Rifle Infantry Corps unit and an Improved Defense marker (if there is not already one in that hex).
2. Remove that Early Mechanized Corps unit from play.
3. Receive 1 EP if its hex can also trace a (non-Motorized) OLoC (141.1 and 141.1.5).
[513.4.3] Mandatory Reorganization: In the Thunder in the East Barbarossa scenario, the Soviet player must reorganize all revealed and unrevealed USSR Early Mech Corps units during their Demobilization Step of October I, 1941; in a Combined Game commencing prior to Barbarossa, this date is War vs. Germany +2S.
These remaining conversions occur automatically and regardless of their on-map circumstances (which might cause overstacking; see 212.3).