Soviets needed quite a bit of love so I've focussed on them as the initial priority. The plan for the next week is to get the gameplay wrapped up and get things into an alpha state for initial testing. It's been interesting how much the early designs have needed itterating and we've gone back and forth on some key aspects of the production gameplay.
It's feeling quite solid now but we will know more once we can get some actual games in. Nonetheless I think I can go into our design philosophy with the Soviet faction, what we want to achieve and what you can expect from the reds.
The Soviet economy system is based around "grand offensives".
From an early phase the leaders in the Soviet union knew they were fighting a war of attrition. They were able to amass large strategic reserves unleashing huge numbers of troops that overwhelmed over-extended German positions.
In Blitz we aim to replicate this feeling by giving the Soviets big cash injections at key moments in the game.
These are broken down into 4 "offensives":
- Summer 1941 - "The Great Patriotic War" (tech 1)
- Winter 1942 - "Operation Mars/Uranus" (tech 4)
- Summer 1944 - "Operation Bagration" (tech 7)
- Summer 1945 - "The Iron Curtain" (tech 9)
This is combined with a rapid production capacity. Soviet factories will use red guard code to spit out T-34s in 2s, 3s and even 4s as mass production kicks in. Production is simplified into light medium and heavy chassis factories. The Soviets had a pretty well designed family of AFVs and this division follows history pretty closely.
For the Soviet player the economic gameplay has three main components:
- 1 - holding on until the next offensive
- 2 - managing upgrades to new chassis types vs mass producing tanks
- 3 - trying to keep as much cash as possible for the late game.
This last point is a major issue for the USSR. Four years of fighting had sapped their manpower reserves to critical levels. We want to leave the game somewhat open ended for the conflict to potentially continue into 1946 technology.
The "Iron Curtain" tech is the transition into this early cold war mode. The player has access to the most cost-effective units in the game with the T-54 and IS-3 tanks becoming available. The cash dump is greatly reduced but the national building will start to produce a (limited) constant income. Players who are able to enter the late game with significant cash reserves left will be able to produce large numbers of very powerful vehicles. Those who spent all their resources earlier might struggle to push through to final victory.
The Red Army will go through several phases.
The early period represents the disasterous winter war in the winter of 1940 and the summer of 1941 where you are struggling to construct the "Great Patriotic War" tech. Funds are extremely limited as you will only have your starting funds. Tanks available will be the early T-34/76, KV-1A and KV-2. Supporting this are very cheap T-26s representing the reserves of obsolete vehicles. They will also be backed up by plenty of infantry and AT guns.
Infantry and AT guns in the new release will be able to entrench. This takes about 30 seconds and essentially turns inf and AT guns into static defences. The Red Army used very aggressive tactics with their guns and they will have a faster deploy time allowing them to be used more aggressively.
The early game for the Soviets is about digging in and holding on.
The offensives give about 15 minutes of income in one go so the first offensive is a key moment for the Soviet player. It coincides with a production upgrade to the T-34 and the unlocking of T-70 light tanks. Upgrades to the KV are also possible meaning the Red Army will bounce back strong.
When fighting the Axis, this is the moment for them to start counter-attacking. It's critical for the Soviets to begin trying to capture oil derricks from the enemy to limit their income.
By the time you reach Mars/Uranus funds will again be low. However more T-34 production upgrades allows the Soviet player to transition into the mass assault mode that the Red Army was famous for. The BM-13 Katyushas become available giving the Soviets a mobile artillery piece. Artillery is the counter to entrenched infantry and AT guns so huge rocket salvos and mass tank assaults are the name of the game.
Bagration comes after the arrival of the T-34/85. If the Soviet player has been able to transition his production into the late game units he can produce these advanced T-34s alongside SU-76s and the powerful 122 and 152mm SPGs mounted on the KV chassis.
The endgame, as mentioned, is a transition into a reduced economy state. The T-54 combines low cost, amazing firepower and decent protection. Any funds remaining are well spent transitioning to these fantastic units. The ability of the Soviet player to end out the game will depend entirely on how well he has managed his bank account and, against the Axis, how much he has been able to prevent the enemy player from massing his own wealth.
I hope that gives a good idea of where we're going with the Soviets. The entrenching/defensive side of the game is really fun and adds a role for infantry I think was greatly lacking in previous releases.
When things are closer to finished I want to make a video that will highlight the faction in better detail and provide a tutorial for how to play them.
More to come