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The Ossel Report - 1914 House Rules Experimentation


  • Customizer

    This is the report of my first solo-playtest game, which I was at first going to play with OOB rules, but since I will be playing OOB with a group of friends in a couple of weeks (and to make IL angry), I decided to try on a few house rules for size. Here goes…

    HOUSE RULES

    U.S. Isolationism

    The U.S. cannot do anything until turn 3 (or DOW), except collect income. On turn 3 (or DOW), they receive a 20 inf draft and may purchase sea units (the intent that they are able to move on turn 4). They may not produce artillery, fighters, or tanks in their home territory. Instead, they must bring infantry to 1) a land tt adjacent to Paris, Rome, or London, or 2) a SZ with an allied (controlled) naval base. They may then convert infantry 1-for-1 into any of the above listed units, paying the difference in IPC’s.

    Tank Breakthroughs

    Borrowed from an idea Cyprian had in the tank thread. If you get 3 tank hits while attacking, the attack may last another combat round.

    Devastation

    At the beginning of each game round, place a ‘damage’ or ‘devastation’ marker in all contested tt’s (still have to work these up, using homemade jobs right now). If a tt becomes controlled (i.e. not contested) at any time during the round, remove the marker. At the end of the game round, all tt’s with devastation markers remaining have their IPC values reduced by 1, to a minimum of 0.

    Russian Revolution

    Was going to try out a simplified Flashman method, after the Krieg re-write I think I’m going to use the default rules, but try to work a civil war in. More on this to follow.

    Ok, now that that’s out of the way, turn 1 report to follow……tomorrow. I’m tired…



  • tease


  • Customizer

    Couple of points:

    My 20 unit draft was intended to be bought at 1 IPC each. This is a one-off bargain price the first turn America is at war, never to be repeated.

    So, America can make maximum use of the draft by spending all its 20 dollars on infantry, or use some to buy transports to move them into the fray more quickly. Of course the other Allies may have transports waiting offshore…

    I would limit breakthroughs somewhat; allow only the tanks themselves and 1 infantry each to take part in the 2nd round, no deflections either (the tanks will be more vulnerable to enemy artillery).


  • Customizer

    Just an update on the game so far; not putting up a full report, but I wanted to post my first impressions of the game and how the house rules I’m trying are affecting it.

    Flash, thanks for that note, I’ll use the ‘1 ipc’ caveat, but I’m still going to give them an income throughout the game, so theoretically they could build 10 transports (60 IPC’s) on Turn 3 and be ready to move by Turn 4. As far as the breakthrough thing, let me test it and see how it feels, I want to keep it as simple as possible.

    So I decided to tweak the ‘Devastation’ rule:
    At the beginning of each game round, place a ‘damage’ or ‘devastation’ marker in all contested tt’s. If a tt changes to controlled (i.e. not contested) and stays controlled until the end of the round, remove the marker. At the end of the game round, all tt’s with devastation markers remaining have their IPC values reduced by 1, to a minimum of 0.

    This was to avoid the ‘devastation’ marker from being reset if the tt became controlled, but then became contested immediately again.

    Initial Impressions

    It’s awesome to finally have a WW1 Axis & Allies, but to be honest, I feel gypped. This game should have been max $50. From the non-unique sculpts, to the fact that Germany doesn’t have enough infantry pieces to buy on its first turn, to the sloppy control marker printing (as an engineer, it bothers the hell out of me; all my tricolor flags are off-center), to the unusable income chart (printed in the Sahara to avoid the cost of printing a separate board), this game just doesn’t look like a $99 game. It looks like they tried to squeeze every last penny out of production cost. That’s all I’ll say about that.

    As others have mentioned, the mechanics feel great. You really feel like you’re hanging on a razor’s edge on your fronts, and good or bad dice rolls have a huge impact. At the end of the second round, I still have no idea how the game will go. On the game design aspect, I think Larry hit it out of the park (not counting some of the anachronisms in the map and setup against him).

    My only complaint with the mechanics is one that I suppose I’ve always had: the inability to exploit an attack. Even when a country is victorious in a battle and overruns the enemy, they are forced to sit still as their enemy is driven back into the next territory, allowing the enemy to simply move in on their next turn and contest the first tt all over again. Not sure how to fix this, but it just feels slightly wrong.

    House Rules So Far

    I like the Devastation rule, it serves as a reminder that a particularly vicious battle was fought in a tt. Poland became a hotspot, a 2 turn battle being fought there, and when Russia finally prevailed (only to have it contested again), they only received 2 ipc’s for the tt. It reminds me that most places that saw intense fighting in the war were literally obliterated, turned into charred moonscapes by artillery.

    The U.S. isolationism rule is working well, we’ll see how it goes when they join the war. They feel very much like the ‘sleeping giant,’ just sitting back and raking in their cash.



  • Well, if you aren’t consolidating any German Infantry on G1 then yeah I suppose there’s not enough Infantry sculpts.  I did not have a problem- always had a couple German Infantry left over in the box.

    The US doesn’t make very much money, not really a sleeping Giant there.


  • Customizer

    My only complaint with the mechanics is one that I suppose I’ve always had: the inability to exploit an attack. Even when a country is victorious in a battle and overruns the enemy, they are forced to sit still as their enemy is driven back into the next territory, allowing the enemy to simply move in on their next turn and contest the first tt all over again. Not sure how to fix this, but it just feels slightly wrong.

    This is one of the roles cavalry was supposed to perform. But in the narrow confines of the western front they didn’t get the room. Ironically in the German Summer Offensive of 1918 cavalry could have exploited the breakthrough that was made on a large area of the western front, but by then they had all been redeployed in the east, largely to hold down tt ceeded by Lenin.

    I actually don’t find this a problem in the game; a far bigger bummer is the time it takes for a power (or at least the central Powers) to reinforce a success. Germany & Austria need more movement.


  • Customizer

    Ok, so I played through a couple more rounds, here’s how the house rules are going:

    Devastation - Gave up on this one. It was just too much of a hassle to keep up with, and to be honest, it doesn’t make much historical sense. Even if a front is located in Belgium or Poland for three turns, that doesn’t mean everywhere in the tt is devastated.

    U.S. Isolationism - Ran my 20 inf draft, sort of a cool effect. The whole purchasing thing in Europe is a bit of a hassle as it is written now, what I might change is to make it so during the purchasing phase, the U.S. may purchase arty, tanks, fighters for full price and place them in London, Paris, or Rome as long as they have an infantry in the areas I mentioned above to ‘trade’ in. Then move the infantry they trade in back to the U.S… This removes the whole complication of doing math to figure out what the price difference is and such. I don’t know, I’ll have to test it and see.

    Tank Breakthroughs - Still haven’t seen tanks in action yet.


  • 2017 2016 2015 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Change the heading and add 1914, so they know it’s for that game please.


  • Customizer

    To some extent devastation is represented by the fact that contested tts yield no income, though we still have the absurdity that a tt might yet produce EIGHT TIMES the usual income if it changes hands often enough.


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