For the game there are several tutorial videos on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5kQeO ... dwg/videos
). They can greatly simplify learning the basics of the game. Here are simple and clear rules. To figure out you need to start playing and read all the tooltips.
I do not agree that this is an alternative historical scenario. No more than any scenario in which the beginning of the game captures the historical situation. In this case, almost any war game is an alternative history.
I have a Russian official history of the Russo-Japanese War (the book was published in 1910). What I see on the map in the game does not contradict this book. In general, a small war was fought by the Japanese and the Russians in the north:
August 7, 1904 battle of the cruiser "Novik" from Port Arthur against the Japanese cruisers "Tsushima" and "Chitose".
On August 8, 1904, coastal settlements of Sakhalin Island were shelled by Japanese gunboats.
On August 24, 1904, a Japanese landing force with 2 armed transports (displacement of about 6,000 tons) unsuccessfully attempted to blow up the cruiser "Novik".
June 24, 1905, the landing of the Japanese troops at the fort Korsakovsky. Fight of the Russian coastal battery and seven Japanese TB destroyers.
On July 10, 1905, the Japanese (1 cruisers and 2 destroyers) bombed the post Alexandrovsky settlement.
On July 11, 1905, the Japanese landed near the De-Kastri settlement.
On July 13, 1905, the action took place at the Russian observation post at Cape Lazarev (2 Japanese TB destroyers, 1 company of Russian infantry, 2 Russian guns, and Russian torpedo launches from Nikolaevsk).
July 31, 1905 2 Japanese TB destroyers bombarded Lazarev Cape. An attempt to land the troops repelled by the Russians.
Perhaps there were other clashes, but I do not know about them.
P.S. Thanks for the good review of a good game!