Lots of tension now with Russia and Ukraine. Is this the beginning of a new Cold War? How does the Ukraine situation game out in Supremacy 2020?
Yes, Putin’s excuses about defending Russian civilians in Crimea are lame. Since when has Putin been concerned about suppressed civilians? What is the real deal? Let’s look at this situation in Supremacy terms.
The Ukraine is of vital interest to the Russians. It is adjacent to 4 Russian home areas, including Moscow. The Ukraine is a neutral minor power. If you were the Russians, would you want EU troops based here? With 1 good attack out of the Ukraine, an EU player could take out Russian oil in the Caucasus and 2 cities. Is this Russian paranoia? Partially, but Imagine if Canada and the US were not so friendly. Canada was a potential enemy. Now, what if Canada massed troops in Ontario. From there they could easily strike at anytime into New England, the Mid West and the Rockies. Not very secure feeling is it? Ok, but why would the US see Canada as a potential enemy in the first place? Now we go back to the Russian paranoia. It’s not the Russian population in Crimea that Putin is worried about. It is the huge, strategic vulnerability this would open Russia up to if the Ukraine did fall into the EU camp.
Then there is the economy. The Ukraine has 3 different company cards: Oil, Mineral and Grain. Nice. Who owns those companies? Presumably, any player that happened to pull those cards. The US? The EU? The CW? What more motivation do you need as Russia? If you occupy Ukraine, you can seize all 3 of those cards. You get stronger. Whoever holds those cards gets weaker. And what are they going to do about it? Let’s take a look at the options:
US: What is the US going to do? Nuke you over Ukraine? I doubt it. How are they going to get to you? First they need to build/concentrate a huge fleet. Second they need to build a big ground forces. Then they have 2 moves to get the armies into the theater, then back to get more troops. For the same expense, the Russians can built 3 times as many armies in Moscow and have them in Ukraine next turn. The US can’t win this war.
CW: The Commonwealth can build in Great Britain. 1 naval move and they are into action. A much closer reach than the US but still a disadvantage. To concentrate effectively on Russia, they run the risk of ignoring or depleting their other scattered world regions. If you strip these bare, other powers are going to feel very tempted to bag a few of them for their own. Now where are you?
EU: The EU really has the best chance of countering the Russians. They can build and pour infantry into the fray just as fast as the Russians. –As long as they have very good relations with the US and CW. How close are they? Do they have the EU’s back? In the real world, I don’t think the EU has to worry about the US or CW suddenly invading Spain while European troops are tied up in Ukraine. It is possible in Supremacy. This is why diplomacy is so critical in this game. If the EU can really trust their allies, they can freely drive east. The slightest doubt will force them to maintain a rear garrison instead of sending everybody to the Russian front. That disadvantage might be all it takes for the Russians to win. If this alliance between the US, CW and EU is so critical, can the Russians break it? Even if the Russians can sew some minor doubt here, it can pay off huge dividends.
Now what if the EU loses badly and ends up with Russian troops pouring into Europe. Do they nuke? Yes, they could. This war could be very explosive either way, no matter who wins.
What about the real world? The Germans can supply the military muscle but are they allowed to deploy in the Ukraine according to their constitution? Who else could deploy into the Ukraine and slap down the Russians? The French? The Italians? Spain? Sweden? Greece? The UN? The EU doesn’t have the unified and coordinated strength yet that they muster in Supremacy.
Individually, it is hard for the EU, US or CW to stop the Russians. The key here is alliance. If the 3 can pull together and cooperate, they should be able to shut the Russians down. The EU will be forced to carry the main burden for a turn or 2 until the naval powers can land forces. Timing and cooperation are key.
Japan: If I was Russia, I would ignore them in this situation. It’s going to take a long time for them to get to Ukraine. What are they going to do? Invade Vladivostok? There is nothing there to lose really. They have to fight a long expensive campaign from there to get to Moscow. In theory, Japan can only supply half the troops that Russia can. Why? Because they have to build the navies to land them on the continent first. Russia will always have more armies in a fight.
China: Now this one makes me sit up and take notice. China is a potential threat to Russia. As a Russian, I don’t think I’d be willing to go into Ukraine without China’s blessing. Just like the EU must trust the US and CW, Russia must be able to trust China to put a strong effort into the west. Every Russian army guarding the Chinese frontier is an army that can’t be fighting in Ukraine.
This is an interesting point to consider in the real world as well. Nixon’s China strategy was huge. What do we have today? China and Russia working more closely. The closer they get, the more aggressive they will act in the game. Does that hold true in the real world as well?