AA Guns



  • I’m just wondering what the reasoning is behind AA Guns only being allowed to roll as many dice as there are attacking planes.  Why can’t they be allowed to roll three dice per AA gun no matter how many planes are attacking?  Does this unbalance the game or is the reasoning based on real life examples?  Would UK not being able to roll the full amount of their AA guns be based on the idea that they are spread out and wouldn’t all be able to shoot at the attacking planes?  I don’t know.

    I like the idea of AA guns being able to roll three dice no matter what.  That might even convince the actual purchasing of additional AA guns, which never happens in my experience.  I’m probably missing some key facts so I thought I would ask.


  • TripleA

    AA guns only roll 3 die and can be taken as casualties…

    ICs, harbors, and airbases have built in AA guns that roll against everything bombing it (not attacking the territory).


  • 2019 2018 2017 '16

    Part of the reason is game balance.  AA guns only fire once per plane up to three times.  One combat simulation is Lanchester’s law, you can estimate the effectiveness of an AA gun using that law.  The AA gun is a decent value if it gets to fire two or three times.  If you get radar technology, AA guns become a great buy.



  • I also have a question regarding AA guns. In TripleA, why is it that when you fly the British planes over northern italy to attack the italian fleet, the AA guns there do not fire at the passing aircraft? I thought AA guns fired no matter if they where being attacked or planes where just passing over or has that rule been revised since the original rules?



  • That has since been revised.

    Another point is….since AA guns are a unit on their own now, why aren’t they necessary for bases and factories to roll AA?
    People always say strategic bombing is too risky. Perhaps if you needed to keep your AA guns there, it would be more favorable to the attacker.
    Also, in saturation attacks, where you are attacking the port, the air base and factory, the defender would  need to decide which facility gets an AA gun to protect it. (unless you have 3 AAA)

    Also stratigic bombing damage rolls of 1 would pop an AAA gun.
    Id also lower their cost to like…4, or even 3.

    ramble ramble ramble ramble ramble ramble ramble ramble ramble ramble ramble ramble ramble ramble


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    I liked the changes to AA Guns.  They’re more of an army defensive unit, and less of a capitol defensive unit.  This is as I feel it should be.

    Bases and Complexes have built in ones to simulate the fact you are attacking deep into enemy territory which is heavily fortified and defended - so they get tries after tries to shoot you down (simulated by being allowed to fire once at each attacking plane) whereas mobile AA Guns only get to fire at you when you are near them (thus limited both in number of shots and by number of planes that zoom past them.)

    Just how I rationalize it.



  • Doesn’t it make sense though that if you have multiple AA guns and one attacking plane that the AA guns should be able to saturate fire on that one plane? (or squadron or whatever you think one A&A plane represents)



  • @ryguy:

    Doesn’t it make sense though that if you have multiple AA guns and one attacking plane that the AA guns should be able to saturate fire on that one plane? (or squadron or whatever you think one A&A plane represents)

    In that instance, I think it becomes a playability issue. You’re going to have a piece dominate pieces that are twice its own value? In ground attacks vs troops, most aircraft were lost to ground fire (and other aircraft), not aa guns.

    I think that air pieces are so powerful in this game (because they can be chosen last as casualties), that the aa piece was added to take the edge off of them a little bit and make it possible for them to be lost in battle - as opposed to having no chance against stacked aa guns.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    @ryguy:

    Doesn’t it make sense though that if you have multiple AA guns and one attacking plane that the AA guns should be able to saturate fire on that one plane? (or squadron or whatever you think one A&A plane represents)

    These territories, although a lot smaller than in classic, are still pretty huge chunks of land.  A four piece, 50 caliber anti-aircraft gun is pretty small (in fact, the size of a truck.)  Maybe they are too far apart to get vectors on the plane?

    Just trying to explain why.  The mechanics reason is so that the attacker can overwhelm your anti-aircraft defenses, or, so the attacker doesn’t end up with 50/50 odds just to send in a single plane to support.  Remember, those guns can now be casualties, so 15 guns + 1 infantry defending probably won’t lose to 1 fighter and 2 infantry attacking.



  • @Cmdr:

    @ryguy:

    Doesn’t it make sense though that if you have multiple AA guns and one attacking plane that the AA guns should be able to saturate fire on that one plane? (or squadron or whatever you think one A&A plane represents)

    15 guns + 1 infantry defending probably won’t lose to 1 fighter and 2 infantry attacking.

    99% defender win on that battle.

    A coinflip battle under the current rules would be something like 4I+2F vs 2I+8AA. The AA guns would roll 2x and then would be fodder. If they got to roll 8x (meaning 6 extra rolls @1), those odds change to 6-to-1 in favor of the defense.

    Think about that on a real battlefield. Take the fighters out of the equation. You are attacking with an army twice as large as the one that is defending. They also have some anti-aircraft guns that are useless because, well, you’re not attacking with planes. THOSE odds wouldn’t be 6-to-1 against you. They’d be better than even, for sure… Now add 2 fighter squadrons into the mix. Certainly your odds wouldn’t decrease. Right? If anything, having AA guns being able to be taken as casualties already slightly overvalues them – but it’s playable as-is and it’s splitting hairs (unless we start using d12’s or d20’s to further add unnecessary precision to the game).


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    Fortress, I wanted the battle to be horribly lopsided, hence the 15 aa guns. wink

    Besides, my rule of thumb has always been, and will always be, attack with 3x what the defender has.  Well, or MAJOR engagements such as attacking a lone battleship I would use 4-6 aircraft so it only gets the one shot off.  Hitting a single defender, 2 inf/fig if I wanted the land, inf/fig if I just wanted to kill the defender.

    AA Guns toss that last one outta whack.  What do you do when you have Moscow and Germany/Japan/Italy has you surrounded with 3 infantry/AA Gun in each territory?  This is why I like the AA Gun rules now…they migrate forward and really complicate things.  It should be rare that more than one aa gun gets attacked, in my opinion. Except for Sea Lion, and maybe the invasion of W. Germany (and Moscow, but max there is 3 AA Guns) the odds of facing a shear mass of AA Gun fire should be over.



  • I got what you were saying; I was agreeing with you and giving an example in the current rules that is essentially a 50-50 battle, but the adaptation of “each AA gun fires once without regard to how few planes are attacking” takes the same battle and nonsensically turns it into a 6-to-1 loss for the attackers, and then demonstrating why that should never be the case in that particular battle.

    The current rules are a better option than the one proposed.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    @Fortress:

    The current rules are …

    I think that sums it up nicely.  😉  It is because Larry Harris and the man known as Krieghund figured out that this is how the AA Gun can both make an early Sea Lion harder AND be balanced. I base the last statement over the year+ discussion on his forums (Alpha 2 and Alpha 3 discussions.)



  • I don’t know why AA guns don’t continue to fire round after round….even just 1 shot.
    And heck, even just 1 shot, at ‘1’ against other land units.
    Lets be realistic here…these things could be pointed at the horizon too.

    I guess we got some good German National Advantage material here then.



  • How about German 88s do an AA shot @1 at 3 planes and then on second roll they take an antitank shot @1 at  tanks or mechs!


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    @oztea:

    I don’t know why AA guns don’t continue to fire round after round….even just 1 shot.
    And heck, even just 1 shot, at ‘1’ against other land units.
    Lets be realistic here…these things could be pointed at the horizon too.

    I guess we got some good German National Advantage material here then.

    Thems the rules is why.

    It may have originally been that an AA Gun could fire round after round and then Larry and friends found it was unbalanced?  I know it could get D@MN expensive in a large battle if you are getting 12 AA Gun dice a round!  I guess if that was the case, the attacker should be given the option to retreat just planes whenever s/he wants and/or pull in planes at any point in the battle - so long as they were not used elsewhere, to negate the AA Guns.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13

    Put a cap on AA guns to 3 only per territory. First round attack planes that moved in combat only at 1. Then have planes scramble from other territories and attack only the AA guns for 1 round of attack. Or have planes that moved into territory on combat get to fire 1 round of combat (att at 2) against AA guns. Or raise cap on AA’s to 5 and have all planes get 1 round of attack before any combat. Then AA’s get to attack on every round but can’t pick target. It will have to be play tested to get right balance. Just a thought. Jezzzzzzzzz another house rule.        Also my advance WW2 game you do use AA’ s every round attacking just tanks.



  • Yeah I don’t like how AAA guns are just ignored after the first round of battle, and normally are the first causally (seems like a flaw). Not sure that they should be able to fire one shot each round afterwords though unless you made it that they only fire 2 shots in the opening round, and one shot each round after that. I also agree that attacking planes should have the option to attack AAA guns directly (maybe AAA is taken as a casualty if air units roll a 1?), and/or can retreat after any round if AAA are allowed to continue firing.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    Well, we could let them fire each round and have them cost 20 IPC like a battleship, each.  It would offset the huge risk to planes significantly then, while allowing the AA Gun to fire 3 shots per round provided there are enough planes to shoot at.  However, I still think, the attacker should be allowed to retreat only planes, during any round of combat to offset this advantage further. (note, retreat planes only, may not add them just because the guns are silent now.)



  • +1 Jen. Part of the reason they only fire once at the beginning of the battle is that they’re able to specifially target air units. No other land unit gets to pick off opponents pieces when they hit, owner always gets to choose order-of-loss. As it is, a 5 IPC AA gun firing 3 times at 3 fighters worth 10 IPC each stands a 34.7% chance of hitting exactly once, a 6.9% chance of hitting exactly twice, and a 0.5% chance of hitting on all three shots. Against three 10 IPC, fighters, the total value of the kills is EXACTLY 5 IPC. I don’t think you can form an argument for more perfectly balanced gameplay than that.

    AA guns are perfect the way they are.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    Agreed.

    They are a deterant to war, not an “I win” button.



  • Maybe I should have started a new topic for this, but it’s kind of related.

    It seems to me that you would rarely want more than 2 AA guns in a given territory, unless maybe it is your capitol, and the other side has a large number of bombers (like, at least 9-10) within striking distance.  Wouldn’t it be better to scatter them around one per territory?  Particularly, say, the British moving AA guns up into China, since the Japanese are so dependant on their aircraft for offensive punch.  Or maybe the Russians building a few and scattering them along the retreat path to Moscow and Leningrad.  In the few games I’ve played, the Germans have been deterred from sending any aircraft against Paris on turn 1 by that single AA gun.  Granted, they also wanted to maximize the damage to the Royal Navy, but without that AA gun they probably would have sent at least one or two aircraft.  Has anyone tried spamming AA guns around the map?  If so, was it effective?


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    I think most people move them around. Makes sense. I think losing an air unit to AA is very demoralising to the attacker. Sometimes I avoid using Air units against territories with AA for precisely that reason!


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13

    Maybe have AA’s hit on all rounds of combat  with a D8, D10, D12 at a 1. But only allow 1 AA gun per territory outside of Capitals? Or 3 everywhere. I would use a D12 just to see if it’s to strong.



  • Why are we trying to fix something that’s not broken? I laid out the math very specifically. Nobody has refuted it. It literally couldn’t be fairer. They are worth exactly what they should be worth. Where’s the case that there is a problem?

    Maybe I need to show my work on the math?

    @Fortress:

    +1 Jen. Part of the reason they only fire once at the beginning of the battle is that they’re able to specifially target air units. No other land unit gets to pick off opponents pieces when they hit, owner always gets to choose order-of-loss. As it is, a 5 IPC AA gun firing 3 times at 3 fighters worth 10 IPC each stands a 34.7% chance of hitting exactly once, a 6.9% chance of hitting exactly twice, and a 0.5% chance of hitting on all three shots. Against three 10 IPC, fighters, the total value of the kills is EXACTLY 5 IPC. I don’t think you can form an argument for more perfectly balanced gameplay than that.

    AA guns are perfect the way they are.

    AA gun firing 3 times at 3 fighters:

    1/6 hit * 5/6 miss * 5/6 miss = 11.57%
    5/6 miss * 1/6 hit * 5/6 miss = 11.57%
    5/6 miss * 5/6 miss * 1/6 hit = 11.57%
    -Those are the three ways to get exactly 1 hit = 34.7% hit exactly once * 10 IPC fighter = 3.47 IPC damage caused

    1/6 hit * 1/6 hit * 5/6 miss = 2.31%
    1/6 hit * 5/6 miss * 1/6 hit = 2.31%
    5/6 miss * 1/6 hit * 1/6 hit = 2.31%
    -Those are the three ways to get exactly 2 hits = 6.9% hit exactly twice * 20 IPC for 2 fighters = 1.39 IPC damage caused

    1/6 hit * 1/6 hit * 1/6 hit = 0.46%
    -That is the only way to get exactly 3 hits = 0.5% hit exactly three times * 30 IPC for 3 fighters =  0.14 IPC damaged caused

    3.47+1.39+0.14=5.00 IPC

    A 5 IPC AA gun causes 5.00 IPC average damage.

    That is absolutely perfect. You can’t improve on that. Literally.


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