Lesson 4: Molotov Ribbentrop Pact

People have been asking about the MOLOTOV-RIBBENTROP PACT so let me give it an explanation with some strategy notes here.  Here it the full text from the rules with some explanation….

Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact 

14.2 Molotov-Ribbentrop (Nazi-Soviet Pacts): The Nazi-Pacts include the Treaty of Non-Aggression Between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Molotov-Ribbentrop) and their secret additional protocol, as well as the German-Soviet Trade Agreement. This set of agreements may go into effect July 1939 (or later) if the German and Soviet players agree verbally.

Pact Provisions.

(a) Non-Aggression: Germany and the USSR agree not to declare war on the other.

(b) Sphere of Influence: 

a. The USSR may combat move units into each of the Baltic States and place a Soviet roundel there. No combat occurs.

b. The USSR may combat move into East Poland and Lubelskie and place a Soviet roundel in each after Germany occupies Warsaw.


NOTE: This is important because if the Germans occupy East Poland and Lubelskie without the pact, Soviet income goes up, but see strategy note below


c. The USSR may invade Vipuri (Finland). Germany may not Control/Align Finland until Germany is at war with the USSR. USSR may not attack other zones in Finland.


NOTE: What happens here is important to understand.  Normally, if the Soviets attacked Finland Germany would control Finland if they were not at war with the USSR. That would mean that so long as there was a Finland to speak of – that Russia did not take the whole thing, then Germany would have control of Finland – not Alignment which is full incorporation but “Control” – which means it could basically run Finland, using Finnish income to build Militia, Germany might even lend-lease to Finland.   The Soviet could run over the rest of Finland but then they face the possibility of Swedish aligning with the Germans per table 4-6 – So this is a benefit to the Soviets, allowing them to get one of their Victory Conditions which is Vipuri.  


d. The USSR may not attack Romania or Hungary.

(c) Trade: Germany and the USSR agree to mutually beneficial trade. As a result of the pact. The players do not actually exchange resources.

a. Germany gets 5 IPP per turn bonus income.   (NOTE: This is per turn, every turn even above their maximum and they don’t have to be at war to get it)

b. USSR gets 3 IPP bonus income and a free research roll.  (NOTE: This is ever turn, Russians get 3 IPP and a free roll on the technology chart)

(d) Basis Nord: Germany may build a submarine base in Murmansk. This base is eliminated immediately if USSR and Germany are at war. It may not be attacked by a nation that is not at war with the USSR.

(e) Baltic-White Sea Canal: Once per turn a German submarine may move to Leningrad (SZ16) during non-combat move and subsequently be placed in the White Sea (SZ6) for no additional movement costs.

(f) Northern Sea Route: Germany may move one naval unit per turn via the Northern Sea Route. This unit must begin its non-combat movement in SZ5 or SZ6 By expending its entire movement allowance (including Naval Bases bonus) it is placed in SZ7.25

NOTE: There really aren’t any great convoy targets in the North Pacific right away, your sub – if you send one – will have to scoot South to pick up some of the British lines once it gets there.   In an upcoming German set we are going to release a Merchant-Raider which is what the Germans really did send through the North Sea.  Another note – why in the world do you even need Soviet permission to use the North Sea Route? Good question – and the answer is that you need Soviet ice-breakers to get through as well as possible other help they can provide (weather reports, fuel, navigation charts etc..)

(g) Termination: Either player may declare the pact nullified at any point in time by announcing it. Once nullified the pact may not be signed again. The pact ends automatically if Germany and the USSR are at war.


Here is a strategy I saw used in play testing that can be interesting.   As the Soviets – refuse the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.  Germany will roll into Poland but won’t take East Poland and Lubelskie to avoid a big Soviet income increase.  That leaves those territories in British hands.   While there won’t be much there guess what the British will do?  Start building Militia, maybe even a minor factory.  If they can tempt Germany to hit East Poland they help the Soviets….then again…do they want to?  The British have to fear a super strong Soviet Union and so…who knows what will happen – but it does provide an interesting twist.

  4 comments for “Lesson 4: Molotov Ribbentrop Pact

  1. sophiedog2
    November 25, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Looking at Russia’s sheet I don’t see any of the income increases you mentioned. This may be the confusion.

  2. Luke
    November 25, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    Why would Soviet income go up if the Germans occupy Eastern Poland? Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see anything in the rules or either country’s reference sheet about that?

    • December 28, 2015 at 4:46 pm

      The Soviets increase their military spending in response to a perceived threat

  3. jjloftus
    November 26, 2015 at 7:23 am

    NOTE: This is important because if the Germans occupy East Poland and Lubelskie without the pact, Soviet income goes up, but see strategy note below.

    Why is this?

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