I’m curious which statements here are differing from what you’ve seen in the league? Do you feel that this NO is playing differently or is more relevant in the league?
I suppose its important to realize that any statements you read here on the boards are largely anecdotal. It comes down to how much of what you read accords with your own experience. And of course results will differ depending on what conditions you typically play with. For example, I noticed just now you mentioned the Russian bomber in another thread. In G40, and in other prior A&A games, many people have used additional Russian aircraft as an expedient alternative to the open pre-placement bid. An Extra Russian fighter in AA50 for example, or a Bomber in G40. In G40 specifically, that option is preferable to me, than an open bid for UK. Its the sort of set up change you really have to force though, because given the option most people would take that same bid amount and instead throw down 4 infantry or 3 art units in separate territories to spread the advantage, or a pair of subs to break a naval battle. Anyway, the point being that if you are using a Russian bomber in your games regularly, then chances our you’ll be seeing different results from people who try other balancing options. Beyond this, there is also the No Tech aspect, or things like whether or not players are using standard dice rules or low luck rules. All this stuff can skew the results in a given set of games, or provide somewhat different play-balance results from the games of people who play other ways.
I will say this about G40, if you play standard dice, there is a fairly substantial swing potential on sz 110 and sz 111, not to mention with casualties in France. This can be a pretty big deal for an opening battle that sets the stage for the whole game. The results there can be a lot more consequential than say Classic/Revised when a transport hit, or a destroyer dudded out was in the opening round. The old German battleship headache comes to mind. Or take for example how in Revised the swing on the W. Russia battle could really effect the whole game in a massive way, such that some players would just quit outright in the opening round, if the dice didn’t go their way. Something similar can occur here (though perhaps not quite as extreme) with sz 110 and 111. If the Luftwaffe trades well in those battles it can be a huge boon for Axis. If they trade poorly it can be a small nightmare for G. Low Luck can control for that to a certain extent, but what you gain in consistency by using LL during the opening round, you lose out on in dynamism during the endgame. This is why I tend to prefer dice since they are so unpredictable for the endgame, though I appreciate the place for LL and understand why so many are fond of it. Still even a small bid disrupting either of those battles, or the battles in the med, can take it from a risky swing to a clear and obvious choice, especially under LL conditions.
So all that is just to say that the conventions in your playgroup, the typical bid, what sort of rules you option in or out, can really affect the patterns that emerge.
You’ll probably have noticed as well, that because A&A uses a very fixed set up and involves a number of scripted first round battles, that players often use a technique that you might call mirroring. Where players tend to model their strategies and opening moves, on things that they’ve seen stronger opponents do. Adopting the strategies that beat you last time, we might call it. This happens a lot after a board first comes out, or especially with players who are new to the game. So what happens is a kind of gameplay evolution, that selects for the best opening plays and weeds out the poorer ones over time. So right after a new board comes out everyone is excited, since the playing field is leveled, and nobody really knows how to exploit the map. Very quickly though, players start adopting standard buys and standard openings, until at some point (after a year say) someone hits on a strategy that is very dominant, which never remains secret very long. Soon variations in it get more popular, until eventually it becomes a scripted move (something everyone does.) Its usually at this point, if the advantage is clearly going one way, to one side over the other, that people start seriously examining bid solutions.
Whats interesting about all this, is that if you are playing with someone who is inexperienced, and does something totally batshit crazy, that you wouldn’t expect anyone to do ever, sometimes that sort of game can actually get entertaining as well as challenging. Since you really don’t know how to predict the erratic behavior of the newb. These games can be fun, since they force all sorts of weird decisions on you. Like wow, he built that? I guess I have to go destroy it now, and do something I wouldn’t usually do haha.
I agree though, from an archival standpoint, its nice to have a league and a way to track what sorts of things are happening in games (what sort of bids are being used for example, and what opening moves.) The overall tally Axis wins to Allied wins. But even there, the nature of the dice can be pretty nuts in providing different experiences.
All this is just to clarify something that it might have been worth saying at the outset. When I talk about game “Balance” or “Balance by Sides” what I am really referring to is the ‘feeling’ or ‘sense’ among both players that the starting conditions provide a roughly even shot for either to prevail. There’s no way to be really absolute about this, since as soon as you roll the dice in a single round of combat, you shoot off into so many different variables that its probably impossible to say anything with certainty… eg. whether a bad roll somewhere can be recovered by an amazing one somewhere else, later on. So really what we a striving for is the sweet spot, where the feeling of balance is the same for both players at the outset. Where one person isn’t constantly grumbling about how the odds are totally stacked against them from the get go, or how if they don’t win battle X, “its basically all over!” I’m not sure how much you could learn from seeing my games in an after action, since I’m perhaps not as cut throat as others, and I like to experiment a lot (often with game mechanics.) I don’t mind losses and haven’t bothered to keep a running tally on anything.
If I’m in the lobby and I have more time to play, I also almost never concede defeat, at least until I see the deep endgame 😉 Since that’s the one that fascinates me most in A&A games! The deep endgame, for those unfamiliar with how I use the term in A&A, is how things play after capitals have already fallen. So in Classic or Revised or 1942.2 the Deep Endgame is when you are down to just 4 nations. In AA50 when you are down to 5 etc. Another way to think about it is the gameplay when W. Allies can take over Russian land directly because the capital has fallen.
Pretty good at grinding it out, since even a losing game can be entertaining, and it teaches you about the production spread and the importance of the center 😉 But now I’m just rambling.
Is it the general premise of this thread (that Russia’s NOs are too weak, and virtually pointless) that you find problematic? Or the proposed solution as a bid alternative? I guess I’m just a little confused where you think we’re running off track. Most of the results posted in that league forum for g40 games (at least for the last several months) show Allies being bid out consistently, often at above +10 ipc. So I feel that it supports the general position of game unbalance in favor of Axis. I’m not sure what bearing any of those games would have on my proposed solution right now, since those games are virtually all using pre-placement bids. What I have suggested here is a standard income modification for an NO as an alternative to what people are currently doing, which is bidding pre-placement. Does that make more sense from the perspective of a bid replacement/balance perspective?