I've just finished a solo Barbie scenario with Soviet operational win on 8 axis VPs. It was meant to be a campaign game but considering the position and relative forces it seems pointless to continue. Smolensk and Kiev both fell on August II which seemed ok, but very little further ground was gained. Smolensk was even lost once and then recaptured. At end September, the Soviet armies had 36 more steps than the Typhoon setup. The Germans were only down five steps vs eleven in the Typhoon setup, but this didn't seem a fair trade.
October I weather was forecast as rain with Rasputitsa starting immediately and lasting for four weeks.
The initial turns were rather scary for the Soviets with limited ability to place IDMs and Emergency Mobilization delayed until August. Because things seemed thin I abandoned Talinn, a position I have usually held for some time to the inconvenience of the axis in previous games.
I found the demobilization of early mech corps very useful and usually did so at the earliest opportunity. There were few counterattack opportunities in July and early August so losing the ZoCs in axis retreats was a non-issue. I quite liked the replacement small mechs once all the early mechs were gone.
Leading Strong had much more impact on the Soviets than Germans in 1941 - and I probably forgot about it a few times but not often enough to affect the result.
I will admit that in solo play I do better as Soviets than Axis. Somehow the Soviets always seem to know where the Germans want to go and they carefully attend to the defence.
My general impression is that there aren't enough losses, for either side. One of the charms of TitE is that the Soviet are able to counterattack often and sometimes effectively. I have a feeling, though, that it is a little too easy. All accounts one reads, even through to the end of the war, report very heavy Soviet losses on the attack. Getting away with a single step at worst is a bargain. I would be inclined to impose a further penalty, namely the loss of an additional step whatever the result of the combat. But this loss is temporary. The Soviet player chooses any participating step for the loss and then adds the cost of building that step to his resources. No permanent loss but it will take some time to recover, meanwhile the position on the map has degraded.
The Dev team is confident that the Summer of '41 is nearly fixed. Now we will be looking at late '41+, even as we remain interested in more playtest feedback, including the Summer of '41. You guys can house all you like, of course--as I have done for decades--but we will go with the simplest possibles ways to get good results. ETO will be much larger than TITE, so simplicity is sought wherever possible.
Tom, I guess you were using the new 8 RP spending limit. Since you are a good Soviet player, I recommend the SL at 7. As Germans, vs SL=7 against a good player, I have eliminated nearly 15 Steps vs 3.5 lost per turn through my Aug 3 turn. I had a poor beginning, including Rain, but Aug has been lucky. I only have 6 Objectives, but should enter Oct with 9+. I like Panzerblitz Assault now. In another game against Jeff and Alan, with my Soviets at SL=8, I am definitely ahead of the Typhoon RP's at the end of the Summer. I have had an edge with luck (as always against these poor guys), and have enjoyed my usual advantage of planning moves between live sessions (since I am not good in "real time"), and yet they have 9 Objectives, and are threatening more. Dnepropetrovsk will fall, Leningrad is in peril, Kharkov will likely fall in the Autumn, along with Orel. With the old SL=10, our game would be over, in that the Axis would have no chance. Less Soviet Steps, through new spending limits, is showing itself to be an elegant aid to a previously large Soviet edge in '41.