A&A Chain of Command: Officer Rules

  • Customizer

    These are house rules I created for representing officers in Axis & Allies. I currently use printed tokens placed on yellow poker chips (same size as regular A&A chips, found on HBG; see attached picture), I hope to have custom printed roundels in the near future.

    Officer Tokens
    Officer tokens represent distinguished officers on the battlefield. They can range from Captains to 6-star generals, but they by no means are meant to represent the entire chain of command. These are officers that have proven their bravery or skill somehow, and therefore impart bonuses to the troops under their command.

    Zones of Influence
    Each officer can affect a certain number of zones around them. Officers below the rank of General/Admiral (1 star) can only impart bonuses to the troops in the zone they occupy. 1-star Generals/Admirals may impart bonuses to their zone and all adjacent zones. 2-stars affect all adjacent zones two zones away, and so on.

    In general, land officers may only affect land zones and naval officers may only affect sea zones. Land officers� zone of influence may extend over bodies of water, however, and similarly for naval units. The sea (or land) zone is counted as one of their adjacent zone limits. So, for instance, a 2-star general in England could affect units in Normandy, but not France. Also, no more than two sea zones or 1 land zone may be bridged by a zone of influence.

    Command Points
    Officer bonuses take the form of command points, which represent re-rolls during combat. Each rank gets a number of re-rolls (see chart below). When an officer is created or promoted, place the corresponding number of gold chips under the officer�s chip. These chips are then allocated as the player sees fit, representing one re-roll the player may use during any combat roll. Once the re-roll is used, it is consumed and removed from the battle board.

    The ranks are:
    |     Army Rank     |        Navy Rank     |       Insignia      |Zones of Inf| Re-rolls |Creation Roll |
    |        Captain        |        Lieutenant        |   2 silver bars     |      Local      |     1      |        1          |
    |         Major         |    Lt. Commander      | Oak Leaf Cluster |      Local      |     2      |        2          |
    |       Colonel         |          Captain           |        Eagle          |      Local      |     3      |        3          |
    |    Brigadier Gen.  | Rear Admiral (Lower) |       1-Stars        |   Local +1    |     1      |        4          |
    |   Major General    | Rear Admiral (Upper) |       2-Stars        |    Local +2   |     2      |        5          |
    |     Lt. General      |      Vice Admiral        |       3-Stars        |    Local +3   |      3     |        6          |
    |      General          |        Admiral            |       4-Stars        |    Local +4   |      4     |      N/A         |
    | Gen. of the Army | Adm. of the Navy     |       5-Stars        |    Local +5   |      5     |      N/A         |
    |Gen. of the Armies| Adm. of the Navies  |       6-Stars        |    Local +6   |      6     |       N/A        |

    Allocating Points/Movement
    Before the beginning of the conduct combat phase, allocate attacking player�s officers’ command points to whichever battles the player so chooses. Remember that officers below the rank of general are limited to the battle in the zone they occupy, so no allocation is necessary. After the attacker has allocated his points, the defender may do so as well, placing chips in the combat areas. Be careful not to mix or mis-allocate chips.

    If a defending zone contains units from multiple nations, all defenders can allocate command points. However, only the attacking player may allocate points, not their allies.

    Officers may move one zone in the combat move or non-combat move phases, but they may not make a move that would initiate combat by themselves. They may also move in the non-combat move phase from a zone with an airbase to another friendly zone with an airbase within 7 spaces (bomber movement range).

    After a battle is complete, move all command points back to its parent officer. They will then be available for use in the player�s next turn or if the player comes under attack in another player�s turn.

    Officer Defeat
    If all friendly units in a battle in a zone with an officer are destroyed (attacking or defending), the officer�s player must roll a D6 to determine what happens to the officer.

    1-2: Withdrawal - the officer retreats to an adjacent friendly zone. If none exist, the officer is killed. Naval officers must retreat to an adjacent sea zone with friendly ships.

    3-4: Capture - the enemy player takes the officer hostage, and can offer them in exchange to the player for an officer of theirs. See P.O.W. Camps below.

    5-6: Death (in battle or suicide) - the officer is destroyed and removed from the board.

    P.O.W. Camps
    When an officer is captured, the capturing player will take the officer token, place a token of the officer�s nation (to remind players where the officer came from) on top of the officer token, and place the tokens in any of the capturing player�s zones. The capturing player will then create a single infantry unit (for free) and place it on the stacked tokens. This represents a P.O.W. camp. It is advisable to place the camp far from the front lines, as if this zone is captured by the enemy, the officer(s) within will be freed.

    If more enemy officers are captured, simply place them in the stack under their national marker. If officers from multiple nations are captured, feel free to place multiple markers in the stack. Players are free to create up to 3 P.O.W. camps (one per zone) if necessary (moving front lines, etc.), and officers may be moved from camp to camp (during non-combat), but once a camp is created, it must have at least one officer in it.

    P.O.W. camp guards (infantry unit) may participate in battle if necessary, but if they vacate a zone or are destroyed while defending, all officers within a camp are freed.

    Officer Creation/Promotion (Working)
    At the beginning of the game, there are no officers on the board, as there have been no opportunities to prove their bravery or skill in battle. Certain criteria have to be met for an officer to be recognized as exemplary. When a requirement from the list below is met, an officer may be created or receive a promotion. For creation, roll  2D6 and choose the lowest result. Place an officer marker for the rank that corresponds to the �Creation Roll� number in the table above in the zone where the criteria was met. For promotion, the officer need only contribute command points to the battle where the criteria was met. Note that only one promotion may result from criteria being met, and officer creation can only occur when no officers have allocated command points to a battle.


    • Conquer a zone that completes a National Objective (N.O. must be met by the conquest and able to be collected at the end of turn).

    • Wipe out all enemy faction units of a single type (air, land or sea) within a two zone radius.

    • Defend or recapture a friendly or allied original border territory.

    • Conquer or defend a zone with an industrial complex, air base, or naval base.

    • (Naval) Assist in an amphibious assault that captures a zone with an industrial complex, air base, or naval base. Note: Must create or promote either a land officer or a sea officer in this case, not both.

    • Capture or defend a victory city.

    • Win a battle with >= 4 enemy units without any casualties.

    The player may choose not to promote their officers as well. This particularly makes sense when doing so would cause an officer to become redundant, as explained in the overlapping zones of influence rules in the Distribution section below.

    There are some restrictions as to where officers may be effectively placed.

    Overlapping Zones of Influence
    If there is more than one general or non-general within a zone of influence, only one general and one non-general�s command points may be allocated to a specific battle. This means it may sometimes behoove the player to keep some of their officers at non-general ranks to get the maximum benefit from their chain of command.

    5-Star and 6-Star Rules
    In addition to limiting overlapping zones of influence, there can be no more than one 5-star general or admiral per nation in a theater (Europe, Pacific), and no more than one 6-star per nation. If a 4-star is eligible to be promoted, the promotion cannot take place if there is a friendly 5-star in the theater. Note: There can be both a 5-star general and a 5-star admiral in the same theater.

    IF a general is promoted from 5-star to 6-star, he must be placed in the nation�s capital (or in a sea zone adjacent to the capital for naval officers) immediately, and must stay there for the duration of the game.


  • Customizer

    A note on how I created my custom officer’s tokens:

    I’ve attached the images I used for each rank, the image itself is a cluster of 4 tokens.

    The procedure to print them is a bit convoluted, here goes:

    1. Open the image to print in Microsoft Office Picture Manager
    2. File->Print
    3. In the dialog that appears, scroll down on the right and select “Contact Sheet (35)”
    4. Un-check “Fit Picture to Frame” if it is checked.
    5. Increase “Copies of Each Picture” to add another group of four to the sheet.
    6. Print!

    cap circ mdt-30.png
    maj circ mdt-30.png

  • Customizer

    More attachments.

    col circ mdt-30.png
    1-star ylw circ mdt-30.png

  • Customizer

    More attachments.

    2-star ylw circ mdt-30.png
    3-star ylw circ mdt-30.png

  • Customizer

    More attachments.

    4-star ylw circ mdt-30.png
    5-star ylw circ mdt-30.png

  • Customizer

    Last one.

    6-star ylw circ mdt-30.png

  • Customizer

    Very interesting concept. I think I get how officers work, but I’m a little unclear on the range of influence, particularly “bridging”. I’m going to give some examples and you tell me if I have it right.

    First, by “bridging” you mean a general’s effect crossing sea zones to affect land battles or an admiral’s effect crossing land zones to affect sea battles. I assume this is correct?
    A - A general based in Berlin could affect battles in the following territories:
      1 star: W Germany, Greater S. Germany, Slovakia/Hungary and Poland
      2 star: Denmark, Holland/Belgium, France, N Italy, Yugoslavia, Romania, E Poland and Baltic States. He could also “bridge” SZ 113 and affect Norway.
      3 star: Normandy, S France, S Italy, Albania, Bulgaria, Bessarabia, W Ukraine, Belarus and Novgorod. He could also “bridge” SZ 114 and 115 and affect Finland and Vyborg.
      and so on…
    Does this sound about right?
    B - A 2 star admiral based in SZ 115 could “bridge” the territory of Novgorod to affect a sea battle in SZ 127, right?

    One other thing about “bridging” influence. Do the sea zones or territory bridged have to be friendly? Or can they have enemy units in them? What about Neutrals? (For example: Could a 2 star general based in Greece bridge Turkey to affect a battle in Iraq or NW Persia?)

  • Customizer

    That sounds about right. The idea is that the officers are commanding via radio communications, so enemy units or enemy/neutral zones shouldnt make a difference, but I might add a sort of bridging rule for enemy/neutral zones, similar to the sea zone rule (no more than 2 enemy zones can be bridged).

    Also, I wanted the Zones of Influence to represent the general level of responsibility of a general or admiral, for instance a 2-star might command the zones in a certain front, while a 4- or 5-star has enough influence to affect multiple fronts from a central zone.

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10


    Officer tokens represent distinguished officers on the battlefield. They can range from Captains to 6-star generals, but they by no means are meant to represent the entire chain of command. These are officers that have proven their bravery or skill somehow, and therefore impart bonuses to the troops under their command.

    I personally like five-star and six-star ranks, but if I’m not mistaken the highest the US ever got in WWII was the five-star rank…and even then, it was on a very selective basis, and primarily for the purpose of letting the top American officers interact on more even terms with Europe’s field marshalls and fleets admirals (which I think are also five-star ranks rather than six-star ones).  Technically, the only people in the US who ever outranked the five-star rank were George Washington, John Pershing and George Dewey, who were all special cases.

    This part of the house rule…

    “IF a general is promoted from 5-star to 6-star, he must be placed in the nation’s capital (or in a sea zone adjacent to the capital for naval officers) immediately, and must stay there for the duration of the game.”

    …accurately reflects the fact that an officer of such a rank would never be “on the battlefield” (to quote the first part of the house rule).  Even officers of 5-star rank would be too valuable to risk in actual combat, so you’d generally find them either behind the front lines in an active theatre of operations (an example being Montgomery in Normandy) or at a desk far away from the fighting (the best example which comes to mind being George C. Marshall, who ran the war from his office in the Pentagon).

  • Customizer

    Yeah, that’s the idea. You’ll find that the higher ranks make their way to the back of the lines naturally…since they can reach farther you can afford to have then further out of harms way.

    As for the whole 6-star issue…I know the rank is rare in American history, and was non-existent in the war on the American side, but I wanted it to be a possibility.

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Isn’t the president “theoretically” a 6 star general?  Because he out ranks the 5 stars? And is in command of the military?

  • Customizer


    I guess according to this I should make a special insignia just for Stalin: “Generalissimus of the Soviet Union”….oh the Soviets…gotta love 'em.

    But you can see that a so-called “6-star” was a real rank, General (Admiral) of the Armies (Navy), and was just under the president, and above 5-stars.

    In the German case, Hermann Goring was a “Reichsmarschall,” their version of the 6-star, and the direct successor to Hitler.

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10


    Isn’t the president “theoretically” a 6 star general?  Because he out ranks the 5 stars? And is in command of the military?

    No, because the US Constitution (if I recall correctly) requires the President to be a civilian.  Eisenhower had to resign his five-star rank (which is a lifetime rank) in order to run as President.  I think his rank was re-instated after his term of office ended.

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