The Representational Scale of Axis&Allies

  • Often when introducing new players to axis and allies they have a mental disconnect between the actual playing pieces, their stats and abilities, and what everything is meant to represent.

    It often causes them to suggest rule changes that would make sense if the playing pieces represented what they intuitively appear to be.

    For this reason, I’ve tried to articulate what the representative scale of things is, so that they can more easily understand things and why the rules by default are what they are (and in some cases there are OOB contradictions if this scale concept is considered valid)

    For example, what is a single infantry piece? We’ve always considered it an infantry division or brigade. This would have been between 5000-10,000 men I think, along with trucks and mortar sections and such, maybe even limited air support assigned to it like a couple fighter squadrons.

    What about a single tank piece? An armor division or brigade, roughly 2000 or so tanks and supporting infantry and halftracks and trucks and maybe limited air support.

    An artillery piece? Maybe 200 heavy guns, their crewman, supporting infantry and trucks etc.

    this would perhaps sound right, I mean I was reading wikipedia the other night and some big battles that would be a fight for a single territory in this game on teh eastern front involved things like 4 panzer divions and 37 infantry battalions if i recall correctly. (loose memory, i blame the party liquor)

    But these are easy, what does a single fighter or bomber represent?

    wings of aircraft or air combat groups I’d say, and it makes sense for the land based……but carrier based fighters are of a lesser number. Many new players chaffe at bombers defending on a 1, saying that as many guns as they have they should defend higher…but alas, they are speaking of its attack score, when its airborne, loaded down, and headed for a german ball bearing factory yes then it attacks on a 4 against any poor 109 pilots having to try and intercept it…but if its sitting on a RAF field when german tanks make landfall, getting it into the air loaded and headed in the right direction is unlikely, ergo defend on a 1.

    What then do the naval pieces represent? (and here is where naval bombardment and 2 hit battleships begin to make less sense to me)

    In keeping with the same scale, I’d always assumed each naval piece reflected a fleet of some kind…a transport represents a transport fleet of 6-12 liberty ships with 2-4 destroyer escorts for example.

    A sub piece represents a picket fleet of 4-8 subs, a couple destroyers or cruisers maybe (yet subs cant hit aircraft, so maybe just subs and their tenders, oilers for example)

    a destroyer piece represents a strike fleet of cruisers destroyers subs, maybe a small flattop with some fighters…

    a carrier represents a carrier battlegroup, 4 or so carriers and their aircraft, with some subs or cruisers to screen it maybe…

    and a battleship represents an line fleet (or other suitable term maybe) which contains a few battleships, cruisers, destroyers, subs, an escort carrier or two etc…

    Basically I’d always assumed that the higher a naval attack and defend value the more numerous the type of ships in the fleet.

    If this scale is correct, then a single roll of the dice in combat could represent days or weeks of fighting.

    And also loss of a unit may not represent the total destruction of a fleet, only most of its main ships.

    If this scale idea is valid, then things like naval bombardment are sort of twisted…a fleet bombarding a shore doesnt wipe out a defending infantry division so much as cost it a few companies and force it to take shelter against the bombardment, thus allowing amphibious assault troops to storm the beach relatively unopposed.

    What are all your thoughts on the scale of representation of individual axis and allies units, and what are the combat sequence implications of such (naval bombardment, submerging, opening fire etc)

  • You have made some pretty good aproximations. I am in agreement with you on just about every single unit, and your certainly right about naval bombardment not making sence.

    Remeber though that A&A is not a simulation and so the scale is never going to make sence. I like thinking that the scale changes depending on the front and countires involved.

    For infantry though you are drastically underestimating what each soldeir represents. One soviet soldeir could easly be 100,000 men or more, perhaps 20,000-40,000 is more realistic for the UK and Jap player; with 50,000-80,000 for the US, Germany and Italy.

    And for air units I have always said that they represent 1,000 aircraft each. Although 2,000 fighters on four aircraft carrier dosnt make much sence, now does it.

  • yer probably right about the infantry numbers, just checked wikipedia about barbarossa.

    yet the highest organizational unit i can find is division, then army, then army group.

    so perhaps it would be better to call an infantry piece and army, and a stack an army group.

    the naval units is whats hardest to pin down i think

  • the naval pieces should be much looser….as in a carrier piece doubtfully represents 4 carriers…id pin it at 2 at the most. The 4 carriers that attacked pearl harbor are always represented as 2 on the game board

    Dont forget these aproximations are varied from nation to nation, a german infantry might be only 5,000 SS veterans, while a Soviet infantry piece represents over 10,000 conscripts. Each have similar combat pontental, and are represented the same and cost the same.

    This is a very important part of being a good Axis and Allies player, knowing that each piece represents a vast numeber of men and machines. Its loss is not the death of a single man, but the casualty rate susstained by a division pushed to its breaking point.

    Seeing units as formations, rather than individuals, lends itself to manuevering better and seeing your peices as equal tools, each suited for a role on the battlefield, rather than injecting personality into the pieces.

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    BB= 4-6
    CV= 4-6
    CA= 8=12
    DD= 15-25
    SS= 30-60
    AP= 100-150 transports or convoy

    Inf= Army group
    Tank= Corps/Army
    Mech= Corps/Army

    Army= 3-5 corps, Corps= 3-5 divisions

    Fighter = 1,000-1,500 front line aircraft
    Bomber= 1,000- 1,500 front line aircraft

  • ^^^ might just go with that!


Suggested Topics

  • 1
  • 38
  • 32
  • 6
  • 1
  • 1
  • 17
  • 2
I Will Never Grow Up Games
Axis & Allies Boardgaming Custom Painted Miniatures
Dean's Army Guys