Addressing AAP40 Game Balance: "So Easy, A Caveman Can Do It"



  • So my best friend in Dayton says to me, “Why don’t we just give the U.S. their extra 40 IPC bonus immediately to spend on US1? Instead of making them wait to collect it at the end of their first turn and not be able to spend it until US2? As soon as the Japanese attack and bring the US into the war, right then and there, move the US IPC marker up 40 points on the IPC chart.”

    So we tried it over three games yesterday and today, and I’ve got to tell you, they were the three best games of AAP40 that we’ve played. The game situation resembles more of the post Pearl Harbor situation as anything else. So we started calling it AAP42. 😄

    We had no idea what was going to be the effect of this on the game, but we were hoping for something simple that would give the Allies a boost and make them competitive to play in the game.

    It was my best friend Tim’s idea, and I’ve got to say that I didn’t have much hope that it would work out. You get to the point where you have to start tinkering around with a game like this, and who knows what’s going to happen.

    We buy games to have fun playing them, and we don’t want, nor do we have the time, to waste “playtesting” them. That should have been done before we bought the game. Time is just too short these days, and we want to spend the time we get to “hang out” (translated, that means bullshitting & beer drinking).

    So after coming to the conclusion that AAP40 is broken, we weren’t going to spend a whole lot of time trying to fix it. It was real close to being called a bust.

    We got three games in, about 15 hours of play. The first game went about 6-7 turns in before we stopped to start over. I think the second game went about 8, or maybe even 9 turns in before we reset. In those two games, the Allies were most decidedly in the hunt for a win. We just played far enough into the game to make a determination as to whether or not the Allies had a shot of winning in the game. Then we started over to see if it could happen again. The last game was 5, maybe 6 turns in with the same result.

    I would highly recommend to anyone who feels that the game is unbalanced in favor of the Japanese, to give this simple change a try.

    THANKS FOR THE PIC CRAIG!



  • An elegant solution if it works. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the US relief fleet A Turn Too Far to keep Japan from winning the game. The obvious problem is it may swing the pendulum too far the other way.



  • So how do you use the extra 40 to stop the strategy you posed for Japan?



  • well from a 17 purchase to rebuild the lost material to 57, there is already a big difference. Time is against the allies when Japan do its J1. But by giving more money to USA asap, that allows USA to be a bigger threat faster, which in turn slows down Japan, which should help the remaining allies. Never tested, just making logic

    Robert



  • @Omega:

    well from a 17 purchase to rebuild the lost material to 57, there is already a big difference. Time is against the allies when Japan do its J1. But by giving more money to USA asap, that allows USA to be a bigger threat faster, which in turn slows down Japan, which should help the remaining allies. Never tested, just making logic

    Robert

    Pretty much what you’re saying is exactly what we saw from playing (3) three games this way just this past Wednesday and Thursday.

    With a J1 attack, the British loose a BB (20) & x 2 transports (14). The ANZACers have been losing a sub (6). The US loses a DD ( 8 ), x 2 transports (14), a bomber (12), x 2 infantry (6) and a fighter (10). That adds up to 90 IPCs of loses for the Allies right out of the gates.

    Not looking at mainland China, the Japanese may lose a fighter (10) against the British BB, and potentially 2-3 land units in the PI (lets sat x 2 inf. and an arty=10). There is a low probability that the Japanese may also lose a DD vs the ANZACer sub ( 8 ).

    In a worse case scenario, the Japanese lose 28 IPCs destroying 90 IPCs of Allied units on the first turn.

    More often than not however, it’s going to a Japanese exchange rate of 20 for 90. Not a bad way to start the game for Japan.

    When you also consider the fact that Japan starts the game with a huge advantage in air units (at the end of a typical J1 attack, the Japanese may have lost one fighter, and the US a fighter and a bomber. At that point the Japanese have 100 IPCs more in air units alone, than the Allies combined) and a sizable advantage in naval units (after a typical J1 attack, the Japanese have somrething like a 67 IPC edge in naval units), we’re talking some serious IPCs.

    Think about it, 100 IPCs more in planes; 67 IPCs more in ships; and a 70 IPC opening attack swing all adds up to a 237 IPC advantage for the Japanese! Gimme a freakin’ break!

    And some genious thought the Japanese needed Kamikazies too!?! 😮

    WTF!!!

    So the US gets what amounts to an extra 40 IPCs on the first turn…then that’s it.



  • BTW, there’s a guy on harris’s website that is so obsessed with historical accuracy that he wants Japan to have a 5 ipc NO for controlling Manchuria and Korea.



  • Hopefully, Larry will provide an official change to the setup to make it more balanced, like he did with the original pacific.



  • @calvinhobbesliker:

    Hopefully, Larry will provide an official change to the setup to make it more balanced, like he did with the original pacific.

    That’d be fine with me. 🙂

    In the meantime, we’ll be playing by giving the US the extra 40 the instant the Japanese attack, to spend immediately on the following US turn after the Japanese attack.

    The first three games went well, and we realize that snags may pop up which we’ll deal with as we come across, but so far, so good.

    The extra 40 makes the US more of a threat sooner, and forces Japan to defend Japan & SZ6 more, which has come at the expense of the Japanese taking a good bit of it’s air out of China.

    That in turn has made China a little more survivable.

    Which in turn helps the British a bit.

    All of it helps the Allies.

    Most importantly though, it made the first three games we played competitive and…wait for it…fun!

    Well, it was always fun for the Japanese, beating down the Allies game after game, but I mean fun for the Allied player too. 🙂



  • @calvinhobbesliker:

    BTW, there’s a guy on harris’s website that is so obsessed with historical accuracy that he wants Japan to have a 5 ipc NO for controlling Manchuria and Korea.

    We are trying to balance the game while he thoughts more money at Japan.
    Those Territories are already worth 6ipcs



  • Thats why i dont post thee evar. Besides Larry never posts anything ever anymore. I Think his computer broke.



  • @Yoper:

    You mean this?

    LOL!!! 😄 😄 😄

    That’s what I was looking for!!!



  • May I take the liberty Kauf. OH YEA, he means it. This really did balance the game!



  • I will give this a try next time I play Japan.

    Of the proposed game balances I’ve seen (US immediate 40 bonus, no J1 attack, negative J aircraft bid) this seems to disrupt the concept of the game the least.



  • @Van_Trump:

    I will give this a try next time I play Japan.

    Of the proposed game balances I’ve seen (US immediate 40 bonus, no J1 attack, negative J aircraft bid) this seems to disrupt the concept of the game the least.

    That’s exactly what we found, that this change was the least impactful toward scrambling the original intent of the games set up.

    “Buckeyeboy” is my best friend Tim, and he is the one who came up with the idea. You know, you get to the point in a game where it’s just not balanced, and especially with a game like Axis & Allies with all it’s variables, and you start thinking about what to do to balance it. There’s just so much that can be effected, and I for one was thinking, you change one thing and its going to ripple on down the line. I was thinking that to find what it would take to balance the game, it was going to take a long time and a lot of playtesting.

    I’m not saying we’ve hit the nail on the head, but we did give it three shots last week, and amazingly it seems to be what we’re looking for.

    I mean, to actually achieve what you were trying to find as far as balancing up this game on the first try seems kinda like hitting the lottery to me. BTW, Tim, if you get a good feeling about any numbers in the near future, send me a PM!  😄

    The three games we played were fun, competitive and very much still along the same lines as games we’ve previously played. That extra boost to the US war effort seems to be just right in opening the game up for the Allies without being overwhelming. It also keeps with one of the games main concepts, that being that the US player is still free to choose how to spend the IPCs depending on what strategy he/she wishes to pursue.

    Tim very rightly pointed out during one of our phone bull sessions that changing the actual set up by adding pieces, whether by bid or directly, was going to be way too drastic, and was going to change to original intent of the game way too much.

    By adding 40 IPCs to the US immediately, the games we played were great. Granted we stopped once we had gone far enough into the mid-game to determine that we had a game on our hands.

    I would highly recommend to anyone interested to give this a try. I think I can speak for Tim on this as well as myself too, in saying that we think you’ll like what you find.

    @Buckeyeboy:

    May I take the liberty Kauf. OH YEA, he means it. This really did balance the game!

    Right on brother! That’s what I’m talking 'bout!  😄



  • I went out to Dayton last week, my best friend Tim and I (he goes by Buckeyeboy on here) played 6 games of AAP40 from Monday around 7:30 to Wednesday around 7:30. Drank lots of beer, ate many “Lucky Sandwhiches”, and I got to see just how huge the AK Steel plant down there is.

    Of the 6 games we played, 5 we played by giving the US their 40 bonus IPCs “immediately” on the turn the Japanese attacked, which was turn 1.

    The last time I was out there, we played 3 games by giving the US the 40 IPC bonus immediately, and all three games went into the mid game turns as anybodies game. We stopped there because we wanted to reset and see if the next game would yield similar results. All three games did.

    Our aim was to see if by giving the US the 40 IPC bonus immediately, if it would balance the game any. So we were kinda playtesting the idea.

    This time around, we played the games just a little further longer, until we could sorta see that one side or the other had gained an advantage, and had the upper hand.

    After the first 4 games this time around, we played two that had the Allies having gained a clear advantage, and two where the Japanese had gained the upper hand.

    They were all great games too, plenty of battles with both sides in the game.

    Then I had the great idea to try playing the game as the Allies agian with the OOB rules. That game went just as every other game we’d played with the OOB rules, the Japanese rolled while the Allies just kinda sat on the sidelines, never really getting into the game full swing.

    Then we went back to the “immediate 40”, and had probably the best game yet. We played it to a complete standstill, and ran out of time. It was anybodies guess as to who was going to gain an edge in that game. The last turn we played saw a huge naval battle in SZ37 which saw the annihilation of both fleets involved, which included 3 CVs per side!

    Anyway, a pretty good playtest session. 5 games using the “immediate 40” meathod, and they went 2 Allied, 2 Japanese and 1 undetermined tie.

    The problem we found with the OOB rules was that the Japanese could attack J1 taking the PI & taking the Celebes. On J2 they took the rest of the DEI. On J3 they took Singapore, and built a major IC there on J4.

    By turn 4, both China and Britian were down to earning 4-5 IPCs each, with China nearing elimination in the game. The Japanese would play extremely smart up to that point in the game, conserving it’s forces and not giving the Allies any cheap victories.

    Once this point in the game was reached, the Japanese were pulling in 65+ IPCs to the US & ANZACs 65-70 IPCs, and the Japanese were matching US-ANZAC buys. The US-ANZAC forces still hadn’t come even close at that point to making up the gap in strength the Japanese start the game with, and so the game stumbles forward into its end game with the Allies fighting an uneven match.

    We played well over 150 hours of the game using the OOB rules trying to figure out how to stop this strategy as the Allies. The game really was no fun to play as the Allies. You even knew what the Japanese were going to do each game, yet there was nothing the Allies could do about it. We came up with some really imaginative Allied moves, but the Japanese start with enough pieces to counter anything the Allies did.

    By giving the US their 40 bonus IPCs immediately as soon as the Japanese attack, the game takes on a whole new feel. The Allies are suddenly fun to play.

    Most important of all, the Allies can do some serious damage if the Japanese just plod along doing the same thing every game. For the very first time, as the Japanese, we’ve suddenly been watching the Allied moves with a close eye and starting to formulate counter moves to the Allies!

    So we’ve played 8 games now with the immediate 40 change, and every game has been a good one.



  • I like the idea.  However, it might not give any reason to do a J2 attack, which I think is important.  An idea I came up with would be that the U.S. gets the full 40 immediately in a J1 attack, 20 immediately in a J2 attack (at the end of the turn they will collect the normal NO for 40), and 10 immediately in a J3 attack (again, collect the NO for 40 at the end of the turn).  I am interested in seeing at least J2 as a viable alternative.  Let me know what you think of this.

    I posted this in the original thread that got moved.  I would like to see players actually consider a J2 attack, and this might do it.



  • @Butcher:

    I like the idea.  However, it might not give any reason to do a J2 attack, which I think is important.  An idea I came up with would be that the U.S. gets the full 40 immediately in a J1 attack, 20 immediately in a J2 attack (at the end of the turn they will collect the normal NO for 40), and 10 immediately in a J3 attack (again, collect the NO for 40 at the end of the turn).  I am interested in seeing at least J2 as a viable alternative.  Let me know what you think of this.

    I posted this in the original thread that got moved.  I would like to see players actually consider a J2 attack, and this might do it.

    I think in J2 and 3, the US gets 0 extra money



  • @calvinhobbesliker:

    @Butcher:

    I like the idea.  However, it might not give any reason to do a J2 attack, which I think is important.  An idea I came up with would be that the U.S. gets the full 40 immediately in a J1 attack, 20 immediately in a J2 attack (at the end of the turn they will collect the normal NO for 40), and 10 immediately in a J3 attack (again, collect the NO for 40 at the end of the turn).  I am interested in seeing at least J2 as a viable alternative.  Let me know what you think of this.

    I posted this in the original thread that got moved.  I would like to see players actually consider a J2 attack, and this might do it.

    I think in J2 and 3, the US gets 0 extra money

    I do J2 attacks sometimes, they sometimes work, but by that point you were able to injure the Chinese.



  • Someone tried to put extra chinese infantry on all empty territory?

    Does it make a difference?



  • @Napoleon:

    Someone tried to put extra chinese infantry on all empty territory?

    Does it make a difference?

    It made China an annoy bitch.


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