Game-Breaker: The game can create scenarios that make you understand just how terrifying a prospect of World War 3 was to those living or serving in the armed forces at the time.
The human ability to exploit the unlimited aircraft ammunition can make even the hardest missions a cakewalk if those aircraft are armed with appropriate weapons, by a process of simple attrition. Having to defeat a Soviet fleet can be easy if your NATO airbase includes a squadron of P3 Orion aircraft. While intended for anti-sub work, they can each carry 4 harpoon missiles a very long way. Even though they are slow, the missiles aren't fast and most big Soviet fleets can shoot them down, you can repeatedly attack the group until they simply run out of missiles. This does however reflect that most major powers had huge stockpiles of weapons ready to go, and ships weren't easy to reload at sea.
The USA and Soviet Union both had surface warships with considerable long range Surface to Air Missile capability. In certain scenarios involving countries with lesser technology, particularly air to surface weaponry, attacking one of the top tier fleets would require significant sacrifice of planes using short range weapons to even reach attack range.
NATO lacks the longer range, supersonic attack missiles that the Soviets have. They rely on sub-sonic missiles like the Tomahawk & Harpoon, which are easily shot down by the Soviet fleets which are bristling with anti air and missile weapons, along with softening up strike using the HARM anti-radar weapon to degrade the Soviet fleets massive batteries of anti-air radars & weapons.
The 1980's era Soviet Union surface fleet suffers from a lack of air cover due to lacking aircraft carriers. US Aircraft like the F-14 have the ability to pick off any aircraft from well beyond the range of the Soviet aircraft.
Soviet forces in most large scenarios get squadrons worth of the TU series of long-range maritime bombers like the Backfire, Blackjack, Bear and Badger. Most of these aircraft can carry three long-range, supersonic missiles that are dual purpose, able to attack both ships and ground bases. A single squadron of 25 Backfires can carry enough missiles to destroy any base in the game or to take out an entire US Carrier group while blazing through the sky on afterburner for extremely long periods of time to reach the target before being intercepted. This is realistic as these forces entire role was sinking US Carrier Groups, and in many scenarios, the human player has enough aircraft at their disposal to complete their mission in a single sortie per airwing, without returning to base, rearming and going again.
The missiles are supersonic, hard to shoot down and will sink anything short of a carrier or Iowa battleship in one hit (and a carrier or Iowa will only be able to take a handful of hits anyway). To make it worse, they can be loaded with nuclear warheads.
A NATO fleet with an Iowa battleship can show you just how powerful the 16 inch guns the Iowa is packing are. They will sink any ship in the game in one salvo. There was nothing in the world that could withstand guns intended to duke it out with Japanese super-battleships during World War 2.
The Soviets had their own similar ship, the Sverdlov class Cruisers, which were the last gun cruisers built by the Soviet union. While they aren't a Battleship, they are still heavily armoured for the modern age, packing four turrets with triple 6 inch guns. They were intended mostly for shore bombardment, but if they got into range of an enemy ship they would do significant damage.
The Oscar class soviet submarine can be described as Backfire squadron in one boat. If it's close enough to detect a NATO carrier through passive sonar, it's close enough to unleash all 24 Shipwreck missiles into the carrier and almost certainly sink it, massively degrading the Nato surface fleet's ability to attack and defend itself. If it comes across a less well defended target such as a convoy escorted by basic anti-submarine frigates, it can threaten every ship in the group.
Submarines in general show why they are so feared by nations with large, expensive navies. If positioned correctly, they can silently lay in wait while the enemy sails over them, before launching a barrage of torpedoes that can do incredible damage to major capital warships. Even the lowest tech diesel submarines in the game are capable of sinking carriers, battleships or large amphibious assault ships.
The game accurately reflects the capabilities of the intercontinental ballistic missile submarines when given nuclear release. With no counter but to sink the sub before it launches, their ICBM's can reach across the planet in less than 30 minutes, and one submarine can take out several dozen targets.
Gorbachev was overthrown in a coup, killed and/or exiled by "Old USSR hardliners" in a replay of Red October. The "hardliners" to rebuild the Soviet military machine in about ten days and on the eleventh day launch a surprise attack on Europe.
Ex-Soviet Union "disintegrated" and rogue newly-formed republics attacked NATO/whatever with immense and totally unrealistic assets.
Sometimes the war broke out for no discernible reason ("We are at war for reasons which are not of your concern. Your mission is...")
It could happen that the surprise was SO total that the US had NO assets in the Atlantic, and UK had to go against the Soviets all alone.
If so, USA actually had no assets available for WWIII due to the turmoil caused by the Second Civil War.
NATO/BLUE orders usually started with "FROM THE THEATRE COMMANDER TO TF COMMANDER YYYYYYY".
There were more submarines in the Baltic than in the Atlantic - but all diesel ones.
Red Storm Rising reigned, and if the scenario didn't start with Keflavik already controlled by the Soviets, then NATO had to race to Keflavik before the Soviet got there.
...Meanwhile, US subs where attacking the Kola Peninsula with Tomahawks...
...This, of course, if NATO wasn't "resurging" and sending one to three battlegroups into the Barents Sea.
One scenario out of three had a convoy in it.
Captains escorting UNSPEAKABLY VITAL convoys to what-the-place were actually advised to ignore the "ships running aground" messages.
The USA had good reasons to be nervous about the Northern Front, since Norway used to secede from Europe and join the Soviets/CSI at random times,and for no discernible reason.
Once a week a submarine from either side defected, and had to be hunteddown/protected until the defection was complete.