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 Author Topic: Game imbalance - Look at the Unit IPC totals  (Read 4640 times)
akreider2
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 « on: January 23, 2010, 02:38:05 pm » 0

I've only played two games, so I'm taking a risk here, but I think there is good evidence that the game is weighted in favor of the Axis.

In the Revised version, after the first Russian turn, the Allies would typically have a total unit value of 75 more than the Axis.

In 1941, at the start, the Allies have only 4 IPCs more of units.

I did a statistical study of the Revised version and found that each gain of 1 ipc in total unit value for a side increased the probability of winning by 3.9% (see http://www.campusactivism.org/blog/node/189).  Territory held is also important, but I think the territory balance is similar in the two games (the Axis starts out with less). Typically if an Axis player's units would equal the value of an Allied player's then they would have won the game in Revised (I'd guess 95% chance against a player of equal skill).

The Allies need more IPCs to run an Atlantic convoy.  While Japan can get overstretched, I think the Axis generally has a stronger position.
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axis_roll
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 « Reply #1 on: January 23, 2010, 09:48:18 pm » 0

One factor that you can not compare directly between the two games (revised vs AA50) is the number of territories in AA50... much greater than in Revised.

I agree that the axis have an advantage, especially early.

In order the win, they need to recognize WHERE they have the advantage and continue to push that advantage.
Another factor that differs between AAR and AA50 is the economic differences in mid-game.

Usually the AXIS have the advantage in AA50 as opposed to the economics being even or an Allied advantage you would see in Revised.
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Funcioneta
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 « Reply #2 on: January 24, 2010, 06:16:12 am » 0

Usually the AXIS have the advantage in AA50 as opposed to the economics being even or an Allied advantage you would see in Revised.

That's the key. Since axis has also the military advantage (mainly due position), allies have no hope unless axis play crappy or get multiple horrible rolls. Call 1941 the fantasy scenario and 1942 the unbalanced but with a slim hope
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DarthMaximus
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 « Reply #3 on: January 25, 2010, 08:32:39 am » 0

I'm not as far on the Axis bandwagon as others, they do have an adv, but it is not as dire as many say.

Our own league stats (where we actually bid for the Axis last year    ) showed in roughly 230+ games the Axis winning at a 58% level.  Not terrible.  Straight up it is probably in the 55% range give or take.  It is definitely not on Classic level where the Allies won at 95+% rate or Revised which was probably also 90+% given how good Allied strats got.

Allied strats always trail Axis, the typical Axis game has remained unchanged (go after Moscow), taking out London or Washington are still unlikely in most games.  But the Allies have to alter some of their thinking.

The Economics in AA50 can be somewhat leveled assuming you can clear the Med early (rds 1-3).  Essentially you can reduce Italy to 9-10 ipc and take them out of the game, so if you can keep the US at 48, UK ~30, and Russia ~30 then you are at 108.  Meaning as long as you keep Germany at the 40 ipc level and Japan at 60 you are in the game.  Obviously Japan can get even bigger but you can also have a Russia earning 40 with their big NO or a more poweful UK/US depending on who takes Fin/Nor/Alg/Lib/NWE and eventually France or Pol.

The big thing is the margin for error isn't great for the Allies early on and a bad rd 1 or 2 purchase may be all the delay the Axis need, but to counter that the shear number of attacks the Axis do in rds 1 and 2 mean some are going to go poorly or not as planned so you have to be able to capitalize.

At this point I think the UK holding Egy through G1 is a big boon to the Allied effort.  1-2 inf bid in that region means the Italian fleet should die on UK 3 and Ger/Ita never make it beyond Egy or Sud.

One big thing I've learned is not to over buy Allied transports early.  It isn't like Classic or Revised where they get to defend so even if you can't use them they can serve as defensive fodder.  You only need 2 UK trns for the first 3-4 turns and 2 US trns works nice b/c you can use some income in the Pac.  In most cases you won't be able to ship more than 3-4 units so you don't need the excess trns.
Given UK's economic state you may only need 3 trns total in the Atlantic, so don't waste 7 ipcs for a 4th, 5th, 6th trn if you'll never use them.  For the US if you go to Alg you only need 3 trns for a resonable threat to Ita, don't set up a 3x3 or 4x4 shuck with tons of trns if Japan is running wild in Asia/Afr and the Pac.  Start small, get your early troops to Afr then shift to Fin/Nor, but give yourself the first few turns to see how things shape up.
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Funcioneta
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 « Reply #4 on: January 25, 2010, 08:59:40 am » 0

Obviously Japan can get even bigger but you can also have a Russia earning 40 with their big NO or a more poweful UK/US depending on who takes Fin/Nor/Alg/Lib/NWE and eventually France or Pol.

That smells KGF like hell. You have some good points, but I'd like see a elaborated KGF article for 1941, including counters for possible Polar Express, Japan SBR-dash-to-Moscow-and-London, axis tech rush, and western axis fleet buildup. Also including the variations in case of a Egypt bid. And then let's see

Until then, I don't see how allies can win in a normal game: axis simply has too much options and can afford too many mistakes
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Subotai
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 « Reply #5 on: January 25, 2010, 09:23:02 am » 0

I guess most or all the playtesting for AA50 was done in multiplayer games, in 1vs1 the tactics and strategy is much more effective. It's not impossible to win as allies in AA50 w/o a bid, but there are only two ways, either axis have very bad luck rnd 1, or the axis player is not even semi decent.

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DarthMaximus
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 « Reply #6 on: January 25, 2010, 09:38:13 am » 0

Obviously Japan can get even bigger but you can also have a Russia earning 40 with their big NO or a more poweful UK/US depending on who takes Fin/Nor/Alg/Lib/NWE and eventually France or Pol.

That smells KGF like hell. You have some good points, but I'd like see a elaborated KGF article for 1941, including counters for possible Polar Express, Japan SBR-dash-to-Moscow-and-London, axis tech rush, and western axis fleet buildup. Also including the variations in case of a Egypt bid. And then let's see

Until then, I don't see how allies can win in a normal game: axis simply has too much options and can afford too many mistakes

You are definitely right that the Axis have tons of options, I haven't played that many AA50 games, but I still see the vaste majority of Axis players going heavy land or air and going after Moscow.

I guess it it would be like a KGF, BUT unlike previous versions, the US should probably do something in the Pac (split resources to some extent).  I think the US should protect its 2nd NO for as long as possible.

No matter how you play, I think the German trans are target #1 and the Ita fleet should be target #2.  I don't care if you spend all US money in the Pac, but you have to kill those Axis ships as early as possible.

In Revised it was common to bring the US Pac ships to the Atlantic, but in AA50, I think if you keep the UK dd, US DD/AC + 2 ftrs, then it isn't so bad to buy a sub or two per turn to keep J honest.  Your US bombers in Wcan can threaten a lot and you don't need to commit them to Afr or Europe until rd 3 or 4.  So you should be able to deter an early aggressive moves towards the US.

As for counters to specific Axis strats
- I think a modest US fleet can deter Polar Express and hold your 2nd NO.  Say spend 12-18 per turn for the Atlantic and 30-36 for the Pac.  You can't sink Japan's fleet but you can move yours around and you can still shuck 4-6 inf to Afr or Europe.
- SBR campaign on Mos.  The US probably has to be much more aggressive in the Pac.  Perhaps a sub campaing in the Pac.  J would still have to buy DD's, or an aggressive move to Sol would probably prevent the bombers from going to Mos.
-I prefer not to play with tech, it's too random.  Every country should buy rolls, so it is hard to come up with specific counters.
-I haven't encountered too many games where the axis contest the Atantic with ships, but an aggressive Russia would be needed and shoot for the big NO in Rd 3 or 4.

But again, I haven't see all this stuff, but that is the fun I guess, trying out all the new strats.  It looks like AA50 has more variety in play then previous versions and with all the Axis attacks you don't see as many of the exact same setups when you get to rd 2 or 3.
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DarthMaximus
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 « Reply #7 on: January 25, 2010, 09:48:34 am » 0

I guess most or all the playtesting for AA50 was done in multiplayer games, in 1vs1 the tactics and strategy is much more effective. It's not impossible to win as allies in AA50 w/o a bid, but there are only two ways, either axis have very bad luck rnd 1, or the axis player is not even semi decent.

But due to the number of attacks on G1 and J1 you can't call it bad luck when one attack fails.
If G has 8 attacks all at 95% to win that still means they only win all of them 67% of the time, and say J has 10 attacks at 95% that means they only win all of them 60% of the time.  Now taking Ger and Japan's fake turns here and 18 fake attacks each with 95% individual chance to win, then you are looking at winning all of them only 40% of the time.  It is actually far more lucky to expect the Axis turns to go as planned.  B/c Japan lost at Pearl or Ger gets slaughtered in Egy is not luck, its falling right in the middle of expected results.  When you have 15 attacks some are going to fail and that is not luck.  The key for the Allied player is to learn how to exploit the various weakeness that occur when say Pearl goes bad or Ger fails in Sz 2 or Egy.  That takes time and games.  Now there is no doubt, that if Ger and Japan win all their battles then yes, they have a big advantage.  Afterall they just killed a bunch of allied hardware and lost few of their own in the process, but again that only happens in less than 40% of the games.
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Funcioneta
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 « Reply #8 on: January 25, 2010, 12:00:56 pm » 0

Subotai, I doubt AA50 overall had much or any playtesting, multi or 1 to 1 (I don't want repeat me with Asia and such). The only area where some playtesting was done was Europe (and a good testing at least at land). Anyway, testers duty is doing a proper playtesting both for multi and one to one, specially in a special edition. If WOTC doesn't give them enough time for playtesting then is WOTC fault and not testers fault

DM, you have good points again. In particular when you say at least some income must be spent in Pacific to ensure Japan doesn't abuse. Is possible the solution for this puzzle is a real KGF and not just a ignore Japan strat as almost everyone did in Revised. Also good measuring on axis round 1 chances. I'm esceptic still anyway

A thing maybe we are forgetting is: yes, allied gameplay improves with the time, but axis gameplay also improves. I've learned a couple of nasty tricks lately because I suffered them ... in particular one of them is really hidden (1942 scenario). Maybe there is some room to explore for allies, but axis players discover a new trick here or there sometimes
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Gamerman01
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 « Reply #9 on: January 25, 2010, 01:03:28 pm » 0

Func is right.

We are the playtesters

It is so fun to play various A&A fans from all over the world, on this site.  Every person plays a bit differently, and sometimes a new strat kicks my butt.

As soon as you start getting set in your ways - that is, if you keep using the same strat - you will get whipped by somebody.

The in-game and between game adapting is a big part of the appeal.  And about the time you get comfortable with a version of A&A, they come out with another one.

Ah, and tech helps make every game different, as well.  A matter of taste, whether one likes tech or not.  I play both ways, because both ways have their own appeal.

Just happy to be an A&A player

Oh, and on the topic - I think game is balanced 50/50 with no bid or rule changes when players get 20-35 games under their belt, which is where I'm at.  I am totally indifferent to which side I take.  Both sides are fun, and both have a roughly equal chance to win, I think.

Axis dominates when you have played 10 games or less, I think.  Like Darth said, the new transport rules take some SERIOUS getting used to.  I used to lose my whole fleet with the Allies in the early games, way too often.

After several games of breaking yourself of Revised habits, you realize the Allies have time to sit back and build up, and then crush.  No need to panic, no need to get excited.

DM, I don't see much of this hard going after Russia that you describe.  Axis often win by economic means, by holding 6-8 of their 8 NO's for several turns.  That wins games for the Axis.  Rushing to Moscow is a deathtrap.

DM, you are so right about the European Axis fleets being critical.  Axis should not just lie down and let them be destroyed.  A destroyer or two protects the Italian fleet against air strikes.  A carrier G1 is standard operating procedure for me.  Germany cannot afford to concede Scandinavia.  It's cheesy how Russia gets 10 IPC's even if she doesn't hold any of those territories herself, but dem's da rules.  Plus, with Scandinavian territories being worth 5, I contest them and/or hold them with G as long as possible.  Russian NO of 10 = death.
 « Last Edit: January 25, 2010, 01:11:02 pm by gamerman01 » Logged
DarthMaximus
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 « Reply #10 on: January 25, 2010, 02:15:04 pm » 0

DM, I don't see much of this hard going after Russia that you describe.  Axis often win by economic means, by holding 6-8 of their 8 NO's for several turns.  That wins games for the Axis.  Rushing to Moscow is a deathtrap.

Yeah, I don't mean a tank dash or anything, but 2 of Germany's NO's directly relate to the Russian front.  Take the 3 boarder spots for one and then Kar or Cauc for the other.  Exception would be an Italian can opener for a direct shot on Mos.  Germany/Ita don't have to rush, but they do put presure on the Russians from the very start.
And yes again on if the Axis can get the economic lead for a long time they can simply prolong the game, but that is usually b/c the Allied player can see the inevitable fall of Moscow.  Typically London and Washington are safe from immediate threat.

It's cheesy how Russia gets 10 IPC's even if she doesn't hold any of those territories herself, but dem's da rules.  Plus, with Scandinavian territories being worth 5, I contest them and/or hold them with G as long as possible.  Russian NO of 10 = death.

The chessiness of the NO's can go both ways though, since Ger/Ita can help each other in gaining theirs.

I will say, I haven't played too many games with Germany adding to the Baltic fleet.  I could see how it would present problems for the Allies, but I'd worry it might relieve some pressure on Russia.  Then again if you hold Nor and Fin maybe it pays for itself after a few turns.  I think I'd be afraid of a UK sub buy, meaning I'd probably have to now buy a DD for my Ger fleet too or see a bunch of subs attack with planes for support.
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Gamerman01
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 « Reply #11 on: January 25, 2010, 02:45:31 pm » 0

I will say, I haven't played too many games with Germany adding to the Baltic fleet.  I could see how it would present problems for the Allies, but I'd worry it might relieve some pressure on Russia.  Then again if you hold Nor and Fin maybe it pays for itself after a few turns.  I think I'd be afraid of a UK sub buy, meaning I'd probably have to now buy a DD for my Ger fleet too or see a bunch of subs attack with planes for support.

Right now, UK3 I have 4 SS, 3 DD, CA, 2 CV, 4 FTR in SZ7 off of France.  And yes, that's a GERMAN fleet.  Building fleet with G is not for the faint of heart.  The distance between Berlin and Moscow in territories works both ways, you know.  This move may backfire, but I don't think it will.  The US has all 3 bombers in Australia.  While the US is away, Hitler will play
USSR has a big army, but so does G at this point.  USSR army is not more than 1 TT from complexes.  And Nwy and Fin are very Gray.

G carriers commit 14 to the sea, but the 2 fighters, of course, can always abandon ship if necessary.
I think a Baltic sea build is a valid G strategy.  Just ask Func.
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DarthMaximus
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 « Reply #12 on: January 25, 2010, 05:41:55 pm » 0

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Zhukov44
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 « Reply #13 on: January 25, 2010, 06:14:35 pm » 0

I play alot of ll/nt games, so perhaps my concrete experience is vastly different.  From what I can tell from play and observation on the TripleA live server, the more experienced the players are, the greater the Axis advantage.  With the benefit of experience, its easier to manipulate NOs and favorable map dynamics to your favor and win without major risks.  On TripleA, it looks like the average bid is ticking up from 6 two months ago to around 8 now. Myself and others don't believe its a fair match at 8--it's fun to be Allies and play the challenging role so people end up with Allies at less then they are worth.

To detractors of KGF in 41, the true test is not whether KGF can be stopped, but whether some other strategy works better.  Like other Allied strategies, KGF will usually fail as long as the bids are inadequate.   Rather than diss KGF, present evidence that something else works better.  Otherwise the gripe may be with the map design.

The perception KGF is boring or un-fun may be unduly based on how KGF played in past versions.  41 KGF plays out way differently than Revised KGF.  It's a fast dynamic historical gaming experience....8 rounds of tense action.  In the planning, precision, and team-work required to pull it off, 41 KGF more closely resembles Revised KJF than Revised KGF.
 « Last Edit: January 25, 2010, 07:50:38 pm by Zhukov44 » Logged
Khobai
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 « Reply #14 on: January 25, 2010, 08:18:11 pm » 0

The problem is that Japan is overpowered. Japan starts with too many units, Japan has no major opposition in Asia or the Pacific (even if USA goes 100% Pacific its no real threat to an experienced Japan player), and Japan doesnt cap out on income until the mid 70s while everyone else caps out in the 50s.

To balance the game, Allies need a stronger presence in China, India, and the Pacific. China should have its fighter moved and gain 4 extra Infantry. UK should get a starting factory in India as well as 1 infantry on both Borneo and East Indies. And the US should start with a fighter and a submarine at Phillipines as well as the southern pacific carrier being moved up to protect west coast fleet. If Japan wants those islands or India it should have to FIGHT for them they shouldnt simply get them automatically by round2.
 « Last Edit: January 25, 2010, 08:28:58 pm by Khobai » Logged
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