|Detail of the Game Map|
The game purports to simulate operational combat in 'Europe in the '70s', and, this being the '70s, that means a Warsaw Pact attack on West Germany.
After a look at Boardgamegeek I found a couple of files that I thought would add to the game's appeal. One for some very simple, and abstract, rules to simulate airpower, and another that provided counters and a revised order of battle to represent the opposing forces in the late '70s and early '80s. Of course, I also discovered that Decision Games had released a revised and updated version a few years ago called 'Group of Soviet Forces Germany' with, amongst other things, rules for air power...hmm
Anyway, sticking with NATO, I may tweak the air support rules a bit further to allow attacks on units not engaged in ground combat i.e. supply units and follow on forces in keeping with the air-land battle doctrine. I've stuck to the revised order of battle but may change the rules around political reliability to reflect my prejudices and the wisdom of hindsight.
In the original rules the East Germans are seen as one of the least 'reliable' of Soviet allies with a 50% chance they will be 'unreliable' and either proclaim they will only fight in 'self defence', or opt for neutrality or even stage an all out rebellion. Only the Czechs are as shaky.The other Eastern Bloc states have reduced but varying degrees of reliability.
My assessment is that the Poles would have been most likely state to go dog on the Soviets in 1979-1985 and the East Germans would have remained loyal, so I'm going to amend the rules to reflect that.I think the Czechs would have been most likely to opt for neutrality or 'self defence' but highly unlikely to rebel given their experience in 1968.
I've also been musing over the political and military impact of crossing the nuclear threshold. As I see it, there would have been a strong chance that West Germany would have sued for peace if it looked likely NATO was about to initiate tactical nuclear warfare, given it was their soil on which these weapons would be deployed. This is pretty much the scenario Peter's outlines in 'Red Army'. So, if NATO decides to go nuclear I'm having them roll a die with a 50% chance that alliance collapses at that point resulting in an overwhelming Warsaw Pact victory.
If tactical nukes are used I also want to simulate the likelihood of the war escalating into a strategic nuclear holocaust as I believe that once the nuclear threshold was crossed there was a strong possibility of this. So, once nuclear weapons are used I'll roll a die in that turn and every subsequent turn and if it's a 1...then I'll metaphorically follow the design notes' instructions and soak the map in lighter fuel and light a match. In other words, game over, everybody loses.
One matter I've not decided upon is the 'accidental' or unauthorised use of nukes and the flow on effect of that. At this stage I'm unsure how to simulate it so may simply ignore it but if anyone has any ideas I'd be keen to hear them as I think if war had occurred this would have been the most likely way we would have ended up going nuclear.
Then there is weather and chemical warfare. Both are ignored or 'factored in', depending on how you look at it, in the original rules. I believe bad weather i.e. winter would have advantaged the Soviets in combat but would have slowed everyone down. So I'm thinking of shifting the odds one column in the Soviets' favour if it's a winter campaign but introducing a + 1 movement point penalty and reducing the likelihood of air strikes and airmobility. My reading of the impact of chemical warfare is that it would have slowed everything down, so perhaps reducing the movement allowance of every unit by 1 if either player declares that they're using gas? I'd assume that once one side used chemical weapons then the genie would be well and truly out of the bottle and everyone would be using them and/or taking the precautions that slowed things down.
One last factor I've not made my mind up about is refugees. I think that in the event of an invasion of West Germany NATO would have faced a massive problem with refugee traffic blocking roads and was going to reflect this with a movement penalty to NATO units in the first week of the war. Any thoughts readers may have are warmly welcomed.