Heavy Bombers - FAQ change and other options



  • As most seem to agree, Heavy Bombers were quite overpowered in the Milton Bradley edition.  In it, other techs added 50% to effectiveness, while rolling three dice for HBs added 200%.  One of the most obvious house rule fixes was to reduce HBs to rolling two dice, resulting in an added 100% effectiveness - still overpowered compared to other techs, but not as bad. And this was what originally appeared in the Anniversary Edition.

    The Larry Harris Tournament Rules strategic bombing modification (roll two dice, choose the higher, and add 1), results in a 57% increase in effectiveness (the better of two dice is chosen for unit combat). The Feb 5, 2010 FAQ change uses a simplified version of this which omits the “add 1” (matching the new Pacific procedure), resulting in only a 28% increase in effectiveness for strategic bombing.

    One other possibility is to roll 1 die and add 2 for strategic bombing, which also gives a 57% increase in effectiveness (for tactical combat, the FAQ/LHTR approach of rolling two dice and choosing the better is used).

    For comparison, here are graphs of these various strategic bombing approaches:

    My instinct is that either the One Die Plus 2 or LHTR approaches are best, while the FAQ/Pacific one seems underpowered, but I haven’t played enough to be sure.  What are your experiences and opinions of these various options?



  • I don’t play tech too often, so my experience is a bit limited.

    But my experience makes me say that you may need to add to the HB’s SBR capability as your gut tells you because there are other ways to offset the pure ‘SBR via HBs’ game plan in AA50:  radar and Increased Factory Production.

    My gaming group also uses the optional escort rules, which even further limits SBRs (and HBs).



  • Thanks for the input, guys.  I’ll try that, then.



  • The new neutered “Medium Bombers” as I call them are now MUCH less useful, and in several games where I and/or my opponent has rolled them in the game, we have not even built one!  In one game, I rolled Medium Bombers for Japan in Round 1, and I still haven’t built one yet!  This weakening of this tech has now caused a restructuring of the most desirable Chart 2 techs, which overall in my opinion are as follws:

    1)  Long Range Aircraft - For all nations, this is pretty much the best Chart 2 tech now.

    2)  Jet Fighters - Once again, for all nations, this is pretty much the second-best Chart 2 tech now.  If I can get Long Range Jets for Japan or the US, then I am one happy player!

    3)  Shipyards - If gotten reasonably early (Turns 1-3), then this tech is great for all 4 of the naval nations (Japan, UK, Italy, and the US) and rarely useful for Germany (especially in the '42 setup where a German naval strategy is more possible).

    4)  I suppose that this is the new slot for Medium Bombers in most cases, but of course, if SBR’s, Paratroopers, and/or a large enemy airforce is a problem, then Radar would bump them even lower.  And in a Pacific naval war, Super Subs may be more useful for Japan and the US OR in a German naval strategy, Super Subs could be more useful for Germany or the UK than Medium Bombers.  Even Italy may profit more from Radar and/or Super Subs more often than from Medium Bombers.


  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    @Bardoly:

    The new neutered “Medium Bombers” as I call them are now MUCH less useful, and in several games where I and/or my opponent has rolled them in the game, we have not even built one!  In one game, I rolled Medium Bombers for Japan in Round 1, and I still haven’t built one yet!  This weakening of this tech has now caused a restructuring of the most desirable Chart 2 techs, which overall in my opinion are as follws:

    1)  Long Range Aircraft - For all nations, this is pretty much the best Chart 2 tech now.

    I agree.  Medium (neutered heavies) bombers suck.  Even before they were officially neutered (rulebook left them ambiguous - just said roll 2 dice for each bomber) LRA was the best tech in most cases.

    When not in league play, I usually play +1 range for LRA instead of +2.  I like it much, much better as do those I play with.  +1 still adds PLENTY of options, and still presents a pretty good threat/surprise factor.  +2 is over the top and can “ruin” a game sometimes.

    I just finished up a game where I had 3 American bombers that would be joining a large naval showdown in Z62 against the Jap fleet.  I rolled heavy bombers right before the attack, and figured my odds would be much higher.  Well, 2 bombers hit twice, and one bomber missed twice.  Result - 2 hits.  Result without “heavy bombers” - 2 hits.

    Increased production, radar, and improved shipyards all help to negate opponents’ heavy bombers.

    As you can see on Lema’s graphs, the 2010 FAQ knocked SBR damage down to an average of 4.5 and a maximum of 6.  “Neutered” might actually be putting it mildly.  If the opponent has radar or increased production, you’re only doing as much damage as you risk suffering on average, when you have heavy freaking bombers.  As Lema said - underpowered.

    However, I think 2 hit heavies are a bit overpowered.  I like 1d6 + 2 for SBR - not sure about conventional attacks….  Still leaning toward 2 hit heavies hitting on a “4”.  Will have to try some variations for non-league play to see what I like.



  • I can’t take credit for the idea but forgot who said it. Anyhow, one compromise I read for conventional attacks is making Heavy Bombers roll 2 dice at 3. The strength in HB’s was always rolling multiple dice for the potential of multiple hits for a single unit. If it’s too strong at 4, knock it down to 3. Has anyone tried this before?


  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    @Fleetwood:

    I can’t take credit for the idea but forgot who said it. Anyhow, one compromise I read for conventional attacks is making Heavy Bombers roll 2 dice at 3. The strength in HB’s was always rolling multiple dice for the potential of multiple hits for a single unit. If it’s too strong at 4, knock it down to 3. Has anyone tried this before?

    I very nearly suggested this in the post I just made.  I haven’t run the math, but I’m thinking it’s too weak, and that’s why I didn’t suggest it.  It almost needs to be 1 at 3 and 1 at 4, I think.



  • @gamerman01:

    @Fleetwood:

    I can’t take credit for the idea but forgot who said it. Anyhow, one compromise I read for conventional attacks is making Heavy Bombers roll 2 dice at 3. The strength in HB’s was always rolling multiple dice for the potential of multiple hits for a single unit. If it’s too strong at 4, knock it down to 3. Has anyone tried this before?

    I very nearly suggested this in the post I just made.  I haven’t run the math, but I’m thinking it’s too weak, and that’s why I didn’t suggest it.  It almost needs to be 1 at 3 and 1 at 4, I think.

    Regular bombers hit 66% of the time. Rolling 2 at 4 will get 1 hit 50% of the time and 2 hits 25% of the time. 75% of the time, you’ll get at least 1 hit


  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    @calvinhobbesliker:

    @gamerman01:

    @Fleetwood:

    I can’t take credit for the idea but forgot who said it. Anyhow, one compromise I read for conventional attacks is making Heavy Bombers roll 2 dice at 3. The strength in HB’s was always rolling multiple dice for the potential of multiple hits for a single unit. If it’s too strong at 4, knock it down to 3. Has anyone tried this before?

    I very nearly suggested this in the post I just made.  I haven’t run the math, but I’m thinking it’s too weak, and that’s why I didn’t suggest it.  It almost needs to be 1 at 3 and 1 at 4, I think.

    Regular bombers hit 66% of the time. Rolling 2 at 4 will get 1 hit 50% of the time and 2 hits 25% of the time. 75% of the time, you’ll get at least 1 hit

    I thought they got 2 hits 2/3 * 2/3 of the time = 4/9, not 25%.



  • @gamerman01:

    @calvinhobbesliker:

    @gamerman01:

    @Fleetwood:

    I can’t take credit for the idea but forgot who said it. Anyhow, one compromise I read for conventional attacks is making Heavy Bombers roll 2 dice at 3. The strength in HB’s was always rolling multiple dice for the potential of multiple hits for a single unit. If it’s too strong at 4, knock it down to 3. Has anyone tried this before?

    I very nearly suggested this in the post I just made.  I haven’t run the math, but I’m thinking it’s too weak, and that’s why I didn’t suggest it.  It almost needs to be 1 at 3 and 1 at 4, I think.

    Regular bombers hit 66% of the time. Rolling 2 at 4 will get 1 hit 50% of the time and 2 hits 25% of the time. 75% of the time, you’ll get at least 1 hit

    I thought they got 2 hits 2/3 * 2/3 of the time = 4/9, not 25%.

    No, I’m talking about the proposed version where you roll 2@3, instead of 2@4


  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    25% would be 2 hits with 2@3

    So 2@3 would be
    At least 1 hit = 75% of the time
    2 hits = 25% of the time

    1@4
    1 hit = 66.7%
    2 hits = never

    2@4
    At least 1 hit = 88.9%
    2 hits = 44.4%

    Best of 2 dice @ 4 (current FAQ)
    1 hit = 88.9%
    2 hits = never

    1@3, 1@4
    At least 1 hit = 83.3%
    2 hits = 33.3%

    And now I have run the math.



  • Yep  😄
    Now anyone can decide what is too strong



  • Interesting ideas - so many choices!  😮


  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    @Lema099:

    Interesting ideas - so many choices!  😮

    🙂 Yeah, it’s almost a relief sometimes to play in the league where you don’t have any choices.

    When not in league, I’m now going to decide between 2@3 and 1@3, 1@4.

    I played 2@4 (2 hits possible) for quite awhile, and it’s a bit too strong especially for killing fleets.

    Best of 2 dice (current FAQ) and max 6 damage on SBR is too weak, I think.


  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    @Lema099:

    Interesting ideas - so many choices!  😮

    Hehe - we could add more.  How about 1@4 and 1@2?

    At least 1 hit = 77.8%
    2 hits = 22.2%

    Compare this to 2@3.  Slightly better chance of getting a hit, but slightly less chance of 2 hits.

    Also, I remember seeing on this site that some folks play 1@6

    So, at least 1 hit = 100%
    2 hits = never

    Again, a little better than best of 2 dice @ 4, but no chance of double hit.



  • I really prefer the 2 hit HBs. Sure they can do some damage but they have no staying power in combat. Myself I was never worried about them if my opponent got them.


  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    @a44bigdog:

    I really prefer the 2 hit HBs. Sure they can do some damage but they have no staying power in combat. Myself I was never worried about them if my opponent got them.

    They are real hard on fleets, though.  Especially the long range variety.



  • @a44bigdog:

    I really prefer the 2 hit HBs. Sure they can do some damage but they have no staying power in combat. Myself I was never worried about them if my opponent got them.

    What’s staying power  :?


  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    @calvinhobbesliker:

    @a44bigdog:

    I really prefer the 2 hit HBs. Sure they can do some damage but they have no staying power in combat. Myself I was never worried about them if my opponent got them.

    What’s staying power  :?

    They still go down with 1 hit.  So if you attack like 4 infantry with 2 heavies and 1 infantry, you are quite likely to lose a heavy or two.

    Also, when you get 2 hit heavies, the tendency is to use them for more things - strat bomb more often, raid fleets and stray tanks, infantry, fighters, bombers, whatever, more often - results in losing them quicker.

    If this is not what you meant, bigdog, please let us know because I’d be curious to know what you meant, if not this.



  • That is exactly what I meant, and it is especially true in Naval attacks since there may not be anything available for “fodder”.

    4 of the 2 dice Heavy bombers can yield 8 hits, but they better get the job done quick, 2 hits and that 8 hits becomes 4, with 3 it is down to just 2 for follow on rounds. So while yes they can deal some initial heavy damage to a fleet, they have no staying power for sustained combat and some proper fodder will see them disposed of.


  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    @a44bigdog:

    That is exactly what I meant, and it is especially true in Naval attacks since there may not be anything available for “fodder”.

    4 of the 2 dice Heavy bombers can yield 8 hits, but they better get the job done quick, 2 hits and that 8 hits becomes 4, with 3 it is down to just 2 for follow on rounds. So while yes they can deal some initial heavy damage to a fleet, they have no staying power for sustained combat and some proper fodder will see them disposed of.

    Great point, and thanks for confirming.  I didn’t want to speak for you, but was pretty sure that’s what you meant, and I can’t resist answering a question if I think I know the answer.  😛



  • I would stick with 2 dice (or maybe 2@3). This pick best is just ridiculous. Seriously, the more and more errata (and “FAQ” - lol) they add, the worse the game becomes.


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