Over the last week, I've been trying to wrap my head around setting up the strategic game for a world war set in the Germanys of 1958, and I've been struggling a bit. Despite all of my research, there are many holes in my info, and I'm at the point, where I have to bite the bullet, and just make some decisions to move ahead.
One of the things that I'm doing is creating a 1958 version of GDW's The Third World War, which at the moment involves sorting a lot info, filling in gaps, and deciding how far I want to go with board game design (not something that I'm really interested in).
A second issue that I've been addressing is the differences in my alternate history with respect to available forces, resources/technology, and changes to politics. With the premise being that the US leads an attack on East Germany with intent to unify East and West, and put the USSR in "its place", I constantly struggle with my real world view that NATO never could have pulled this off.
Trying to sell myself on the idea that a more hard-line Soviet leadership could catalyze a more "McCarthian" movement in the US, and that it could get (enough of) its NATO allies to make it happen, has been more problem than expected. I have to keep reminding myself that it is a fictional game.
While the purpose was to create a framework for a series of linked and interdependent miniatures battles, I keep getting lost in the real world politics of the day (or at least, what little I know of it). A big "just go with it" is the US convincing West Germany that the only way to avoid a war in the west is to invade the East.
Other issues involve France being concerned enough with the Soviets to draw attention and forces away from their African problem, and then there is the the problem of the UK economically supporting/surviving a war, and so on. I also struggle badly with the idea that the Netherlands, Belgium and Canada would be willing to get sucked up into the American Red Menace craziness.
Other challenging considerations include having understanding of the Soviet limitations of the day. They don't have many nukes, or at least not a lot of good ways to deliver them. Really just a handful of Scuds, and bombers that would take a pounding. Oh some would get through, and each one that did would have a tremendous "impact', but there probably would not be a lot of repeat offenders. And though I really want to play a conventional war, I have to accept that the "Atomic Battlefield" was the American plan of the day.
So right now, I've mostly distracted myself with deciding what forces are available, inventing some units to fill in my informational gaps, and creating 1958 vintage counters for all of the forces involved.
While working on all of this, in the back of my mind is the thought that it could all go wrong (like any version of a third world war could be things going right?), and instead of months of Cold War miniatures games, I find that the game ends in a couple of days with nuclear apocalypse, or that Pentomic divisions were such a bad idea that the Soviets are in Normandy faster than I can say, "Red Menace".