How are people defending Odessa? It doesn't start with a garrison (let alone a hardened one) or an IDM. The only way you can get a hardened garrison there is if you play the Medium card that allows you to do it (sorry, forgot the card name, it's the one that allows you to convert 4 IDMs or garrisons to Fortified defenses or hardened garrisons respectively). The earliest and probably the only opportunity to do this is in the August I turn (you can't get a Medium card before then as the Soviets). That would seem to be the prescribed/mandatory play if you are to get anywhere near the historical result of having the city hold out for a 10 week siege. Without a hardened garrison, I don't see how it can hold out that long even with a maximum stack (14 defense) as any retreat result will kill the stack.
So I see that Alan and everyone supporting (i.e., play-testers) are nearing a new milestone for ETO and Update Kit ... so some release is over the horizon. (yeah!) Graham and I have been doing our own "play-testing" with ETO 042 and the 0.4 Update Kit ... however, I've been following the changes that are posted on social media (CSW, BGG, FB) and find it impossible to keep up with those changes in our game. For example, the Soviet Mech for 4-5-4s and EPs didn't make it past my turn 3 before it changed yet again. But that's okay because it is play-testing. Now I understand this is because I'm playing PBEM using VASSAL. However, what I don't understand (and not speaking for Graham here) is that each iteration I've been through, the game appears pro-Soviet. Yet the "tweaks" I see every so often appear to support a pro-German play-test result of some form. So I ask, do any of the play-testers use PBEM, or is it all FTF? Seems like there is more opportunity to mess up as USSR if playing fast and FTF, than at leisure where I can keep adjusting a defense that suits me using PBEM.
I wanted to get a sanity check on a game in progress. We've been speculating on the future direction this game and wanted to hear perspectives from others playing the ETO rules on the current board position. The question is: Which side has the advantage? How would you project the short-term (1941) outcome given the current position and disposition of forces? Turn: just finished the German half of the July III turn. Germans have 10PP, 13 EP, 13 FP, have 4 Armor steps destroyed (one remnant in a city ready for free stuff) and 1 Inf step eliminated, but otherwise have a full complement of units. Two HQs are moved forward (AGC, AGN), but still on 2 and 3 cooldowns respectively. The Germans still have their July card(s) unplayed. Soviets sit at 115 1/2 MP, 82 PP, 32 1/2 EP, and 42 FP. They have 80 Infantry front-line steps (excludes isolated units), 12 Mech corps (mostly big ones as the 1's and 2's have been eliminated), and 7 divisions still on the board (2 Mtn, 4 Abn, 1 Cav). And remember, they have their builds upcoming for the July III turn. The Soviets have an empty hand (all cards played). For context, Typhoon scenario start (which is 9 turns in time away) has the Soviets at 75 MP, 74 PP, 35 EP, 44FP, 85 Inf steps, and 6 divisions. After initial Blitzkrieg, the Soviets have been losing 5-8 steps per turn, so have had a net increase of 2-4 steps per turn. But they obviously haven't faced the first round of HQ refreshes yet. Air mat: Here's board positions: