Axis & Allies WWI 1914 Preview: Movement and Combat Rules

Axis & Allies 1914 in Action

For the next preview of Axis & Allies 1914 we will go over the rules for movement and combat. The phases of a turn are as follows:

  1. Purchase and repair units
    • Your battleships may be repaired for free as long as they are in a sea zone containing a naval base that you control.
    • Tanks may not be purchased before to the fourth round of play. Starting turn four, tanks are in play.
  2. Movement
  3. Combat
  4. Mobilize new units
    • All new land and fighter units mobilize into your capital territory (the British Empire may also mobilize into India).
  5. Collect income
    • Contested territories are not counted toward your income

Before we dive into movement and combat there are a few new concepts with regard to territories in this version of Axis & Allies. Territories are one of the following:

  • Friendly – controlled by your power or an allied power or an unmobilized alled minor power
  • Hostile – controlled by enemy powers or an unmobilized enemy-alled minor power
  • Contested – Occupied by one or more powers, at least one from each side. No power controls a contested territories and thus no income is gained from contested territories. If every space on the map was contested, nobody would receive income. Contested territories arise fromt the fact that land battles only last for one turn of dice rolling and that units stay in the territory after battle (unless they are destroyed of course).

Land Movement

All land units move 1 space. Land units that begin in a friendly territory may move into any adjacent territory. Land units that begin in a contested territory “can only be moved to territories that are controlled by your power, or to territories that are also contested and already contain units belonging to your power.” Unfortunately, this rule is a bit ambiguous and depends on what is meant by already. Already could mean that the territory had to be contested before the movement phase. Already could also mean that it has to be contested immediately prior to movement but not before the start of the movement phase. If the latter is true, then you could move units from a friendly territory to an adjacent hostile territory, making is contested, and then move units from an adjacent contested territory into the newly contested territory. It’s a bit more complicated but I prefer this, the latter, interpretation. The latter interpretation is complicated and does not fit the simplicity nor the spirit of the rules. Our interpretation at this point is that already means at the beginning of your turn.

Another consequence of the contested movement rule is that if you have, for instance, Austria-Hungary units in Germany on the Western front (more than 1 territory away from Austria-Hungary), then they cannot move out of combat.

All of your territories that contain units must have at least one infantry. Tanks, fighters, and artillery must always be accompanied by at least one infantry before you end your movement phase. it doesn’t matter where the infantry come from as long as the previous movement rules are obeyed.

Fighter Movement

Fighters may move two spaces and must end their movement containing land units belonging to the same power, friendly allies do not count for this rule. Unlike previous versions, fighters do not need to return to a friendly territory. They can start in a contested territories or friendly territories and end up in either type but alway must land with a land unit from the same power. Fir the first space they pass through, fighters may go across hostile, friendly, or contested territories and sea zones.

Sea Movement

Transports, submarines and battleships move two spaces. Cruisers move 3 spaces. All sea units, however, must stop their movement when then enter a hostile sea zone. A sea zone is only considered hostile if it is occupied by enemy sea units except for submarines and transports. Submarines and transports do not make a sea zone hostile. Even though enemy submarines and transports do not make a sea zone hostile they can be attacked but the attacking units must stop in that sea zone.

Submarines are able to move through hostile sea zones without stopping.

Transports are not allowed to enter hostile sea zones without being accompanied by at least one sea unit that belongs to the same power. Transport loading and offloading rules are the same as previous versions of Axis & Allies. For instance, you may pick up units from two separate sea zones and or two separate territories, move (or not move), and drop of units into only one territory. Once a transport unloads it’s cargo, it’s movement ends. One difference from previous versions is that a transport may carry any two land units and/or fighters. All of these are allowed: two tanks, an infantry and a tank, artillery and a fighter, two fighters, and more permutations.

Naval Mine Fields

If your sea units pass through or end in a sea zone containing an enemy naval base, then they are subject to strikes by mines. This applies for each naval base encountered so be careful when planning your naval movements. The mine strike works as follows: for each sea unit, call out it’s name, roll one die, and remove the sea unit if the roll is one (except for undamaged battleships, which become damaged instead).

Amphibious Movement

Before land units may unload from a sea zone into an adjacent territory, that sea zone must be friendly or made friendly by attacking and destroying enemy ships. Again, amphibious movement is only allowed if the territory is friendly. As a reminder both transports and submarines are do not make a territory hostile.

When unloading units into an adjacent territory, one of three conditions are possible.

  • The territory is friendly. No special event occurs.
  • The territory is contested. You are re-enforcing your forces or allied forces. You are not required to attack. If may not do a battleship bombardment into contested territories.
  • The territory is hostile. You must conduct an attack. Before the attack begins defending artillery may make an pre-emptive strike. “The defender rolls one die for each defending artillery unit, scoring a hit on each roll of 3 or less. You must then immediately remove one unit for each hit scored (attacking tanks do not absorb hits as they are being brought ashore).” Again, recall that you always must have at least 1 infantry in the territory.

Land Combat

After the movement phase, conduct combat in any order. Except, before an amphibious assault my occur, as needed, the adjoining naval combat must be resolved first.

Combat is not required to be conducted in territories that were contested before the movement phase. However, combat is required for newly contested territories.

1. Place dice on the battle board. Instead of moving your units to the battle board use the dice instead.

Put one die for each infantry in the infantry box. Infantry attack on 2 and defend on 3.

Put one die for each artillery in the artillery box. Artillery attack on 3 and defend on 3.

Put one die for each tank in the tank box.

Tanks attack on 2 and defend on 1.

On the attacker side, move either one tank or one infantry for each artillery into the upgraded box for that unit type. If you have one tank, one infantry, and one artillery, then only one unit is upgraded. Upgraded infantry attack on 3. Upgraded tanks attack on 3.

Determine air superiority. If only one side has fighters, then they have air superiority. Otherwise, each side rolls one die for each fighter. A roll of 2 or less is a hit and the enemy fighter is removed. Air combat is simultaneous so each side gets to roll. Air battle continues for many rounds until only one side has fighters or neither side has fighters.

If one side has achieved air superiority, then move all of that sides’ artillery units into the upgraded artillery box. Upgraded artillery attack/defend on 4.

Now the main battle begins. If the attacker has one or more fighters remaining, roll one die for each and a roll of 2 or less is a hit.  The attacker picks up the dice in each box and rolls them one box at a time. For each die that rolls the attack/defense number or lower, a hit is scored. Next, if the defender had fighters remaining, then they roll one die for each fighter and a roll of 2 or less is a hit. Next, the defender does the same for each box of defending units. After each side has rolled once the battle is over and each side removes their casualties. Attacking tanks have a special ability where each tank can negate one hit scored. When removing casualties, you must always have at least one infantry unit. In many situations this means that you will be removing more expensive units like fighters or tanks before infantry.

Naval Combat

Unlike land combat, naval battles may last for many rounds before concluding. Naval combat is conducted in the following four steps:

1. Attacking Units Fire or Submerge

2. Defending Units Fire or Submerge

3. Remove Casualties

4. Press or Break Off Attack

Notice that the submarine rules are a bit different in this editions. Whenever a sub can attack, it can submerge instead. However, during the round in which they submerged, they still can, and in some situations must, be taken as casualties. As a defending sub, you actually get to see how many hits were scored before deciding whether or not to submerge or attack. If a submarine submerges and is not taken as a casualty, it is not involved in the next round.

After each round, the attacker may decide to call off the attack. When the attacker breaks off the attack, all units remain in the contested sea zone.

Amphibious Combat

As previously mentioned, units may only unload from a transport if the sea zone is friendly. For instance, if an attacker breaks off an attack and enemy surface warships (cruisers and battleships) still remain in that sea zone, the attack may not unload transports.

Again, as mentioned above, if land units are unloaded into a hostile territory (not previously contested), then the defender fires a pre-emptive artillery strike. Those artillery are allowed to participate again in the regular battle.

If the attacker has battleships present in the adjacent sea zone, each battleship may fire once in the land battle. “However, the number of battleships that can bombard is limited to the number of units that offloaded from transports.” Battleships may only bombard into one territory and that territory must be hostile. If the territory is already contested, then battleship bombardment may not occur.

Updates

March 15, 2013 at 11:12am PDT: Updated the land movement section regarding movement between contested territories. Updated the amphibious movement section and the amphibious combat section to correct the rules regarding battleship bombardment.

March 15, 2013 at 1:12pm PDT: Updated details about purchase and repair units.

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About the Author (Author Profile)

David Jensen has been operating Axis and Allies.org since 2000 and writing about Axis & Allies since 1997.

Comments (8)

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  1. Juno says:

    Thanks for the preview, can’t wait to play!

  2. Brian says:

    This looks interesting.

  3. Bordeaux says:

    When you capture an enemy territory, and at a later turn you pull all of your troops from that captured territory, will that territory revert back to the original controller or does it stay under your control and specified as such with your control marker placed on that territory?

  4. Bordeaux says:

    If you capture an enemy capital city, on your next turn, can you place new land units on their capital city?

    After capturing an enemy capital, on your next turn, can you place new sea units on their enemies naval bases?

  5. Matthew F says:

    Hi I’m having some problems with the way the tanks work in axis and allies 1914. I understand that tanks attack at 2 and defend at 1, tanks get a promotion to attack at 3 when you match 1to1 with artillery. What I don’t understand is say if you are the attacker and I am the defender. You attack me with 4 tanks and 1 infantry and I as the defender have 3 infantry and 1 artillery you roll 5 die get no hits, I defend, I roll 4 die score 4 hits. How can I defend if your tank absorb all my hits?

  6. Marcus says:

    Can US cruisers move before turn 4?

  7. larson says:

    i want to know if there are rules against fighters attacking naval units. i understand they only move two, but what’s to stop a fighter in a coastal space attacking an adjacent sea space? it is not mentioned in the rule book explicitly…

  8. Kevin says:

    Hi. My question is regarding subs. Do they still have the ‘sneak shot’ advantage as in other versions or is this not in play in WW1 rules?
    Thanks,
    Kevin

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