• My wife and I have played a lot of A&A Classic, a little Revised, and so far only 3 games of A&A Europe. We’ve come to the conclusion that Germany is just a little too powerful in AAE, maybe even nigh-undefeatable. I’ve read opinions that go both ways on this, but I’m curious to get some input from more veteran players of AAE.

    Tonight, I played Germany, and decided to make the bold move of capturing all 7 Allied convoys on the first turn. I purchased 5 more subs, expecting to lose a few, but the idea formed that if I could take out all the Allied naval units, I could place 1 sub next to every Allied industrial complex, and completely prevent the production of new naval units. Furthermore, since the rules say that planes cannot attack subs unless a friendly destroyer is present, this made the subs completely immune to attack. I didn’t manage the blockade until the fourth or fifth turn, but once it happened, the US and UK could do almost nothing except start sending planes to Russia for conversion. When we stopped playing tonight, I was at Moscow’s doorstep, and only 2 turns away from taking Washington and London to boot.

    It has bothered me every time we’ve played that the convoys (worth 1/4 of US income and nearly 2/3 of UK’s) are completely unprotected on the first turn. It seems a little too easy for Germany to take these. Seems like there should be at least a destroyer in a few of them, so they’re not complete freebies. I know Germany’s submarine warfare tactics were brutal, but this is kind of ridiculous.

    What do other folks think? Have you found the game to be imbalanced in Germany’s favor? If not, what are some Allied strategies that could prevent a total naval blockade? We discussed some alterations, such as allowing planes to attack subs regardless of destroyer presence, placing some initial defenses in the convoys, and allowing all three of the Allies to have the starting 12 IPC bonus (instead of making them split 12 IPCs between them). Supposedly, A&A Classic and Revised are weighted in favor of the Allies, and I’d agree to some extent, but in many dozens of games of that over the years I’ve never felt like there was an obvious and unfair advantage like we’ve experienced with Europe.

    Edit: I just came across this tidbit from the AAE FAQ:

    Q. Can the US build naval units in the US Eastern Coast sea zone if it is occupied by a German sub?
    A.  The presence of enemy ships has no effect on naval construction.  If the Bismarck and the entire Kriegsmarine were in the US Eastern Coast sea zone, the US could still build a fleet there

    I had no idea that this was the case! I guess we’re too accustomed to the Classic rules that say new naval units cannot be placed in hostile sea zones. This would have made a radical difference in our game last night. I also see now that the AAR and AAE rules both say that hostiles in a sea zone cannot prevent unit placement. It’s an ongoing learning experience 🙂

  • Two things:
    1)  The fact that destroyers in this game attack and defend at 3 and still have anti-sub abilities makes them far batter than subs.  If the US builds 3 destroyers per turn, the Atlantic falls to the Allies pretty quickly.
    2)  I like the fact that you build subs with Germany, but this means letting up a bit on the Russian front.  A good USSR player will build artillery and attack any force that approaches Moscow with 40-50 2’s plus converted Allied planes and 5 tanks.  If you don’t consistently build 30+ IPCs to send against the USSR you will not win there.  Try and capture the Middle East and use that money for subs.

    All this being said, Germany is at a disadvantage in the USSR.  I’d be willing to show anyone this,  if they let me play Russia.

  • Yeah, I don’t think I’d go so sub-crazy now, knowing that my blockade idea is illegitimate. In our next game, I played Germany again, and allowed the Atlantic to fall to the Allies pretty early. I spent the rest of the game attempting to rebuild my fleet, and at one point I even had a couple of aircraft carriers. I actually took Moscow pretty early on, but it was quickly reclaimed (by one stinking British tank, would you believe), and I never got it back. From there, it became a huge naval arms race that turned out to be Germany’s downfall. After about 8 turns, Germany was still very much alive, but spread thin and poorly positioned; the British and U.S. fleets killed most of my navy, Russia was growing stronger and Moscow was totally out of the question. Aside from an occasional skirmish into Leningrad, it was pretty hopeless. I resigned, saying that this was the point where Hitler locked himself in a bunker and ate a bullet.

    I’d have to agree that Germany needs to focus on the USSR in order to be really effective. I’ve read a lot of stuff on this forum since then about the tank-stacking strategy that supposedly really does make Germany nigh-unbeatable, but that doesn’t interest me. Guaranteed-to-win strategies are no fun at all. I like to try something new in every A&A game I play; one of my favorite things about the series is that no two games are ever the same. Win or lose, I am in it to see something I’ve never seen before.

    We’ve done a few games of Guadalcanal and Battle of the Bulge since then, but my wife and I agree that Europe is our favorite so far. Can’t wait to try it again, and I think I want to be the Allies next time. I’d like to see if it’s possible for the U.S. to build a permanent outpost in France… Or maybe Russia could build a navy…

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