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The aberration of the defenseless transport


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    Let me start this off first with a quote:

    “All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward” - Glasgow

    For six editions and the first 24 years of AA history, the transport has cost 8 IPCs and defended @1. Starting with AA Guadalcanal, transports became defenseless (the unit pricing scheme was all different). In the 50th Ann edition, transports became defenseless and cheaper, costing 7 IPCs.

    I understand new rules create sales, so from a business standpoint, changing things is good. But IMO changing the transport rules hurt the overall game and here’s why:

    1. The “auto-destroy” rule violates the spirit of the game.

    Everything in this game involves decisions and risk, and has since the beginning. That’s what makes it so much fun. As Alexander Smith said “Everything is sweetened by risk.” Now we have a rule introduced where there is no risk - only auto-destruction. It is an exception to every other rule and every other unit in the game. All excitement in dice rolling to see what happens is removed. What happens is already decided with no variants at all - no anticipation. Lone transports just get swept off the board. yawn.

    2. The 7 IPC rule makes amphibious assaults easier and cheaper.

    Honestly, this rule seems to have been added only because transorts were made weaker by the first rule. To me this is going in the opposite direction of the way it should. It’s already too easy to take islands like Okinawa and such with bombardment. Amphibious assults ought to be hard and EXPENSIVE - that’s why it took the allies so long to achieve one in Europe.

    OBJECTION: Transports defending @1 is unrealistic!
    ANSWER: how often in WWII were transports left completely alone? To me this defense value reflects smaller DD escorts, PT boats, AA batteries and such that would normally be in the vicinity of transports. Plus some transport vessels were lightly armed.

    VERDICT: I say they should have left transports the way they were!



  • On some level I agree with you but at least now a nations surface ships have to defend transports…  a player cannot lose transports first in battle.  Kind of unrealistic for a navy to be screened by transports, don’t you think?


  • '12

    @BJCard:

    Kind of unrealistic for a navy to be screened by transports, don’t you think?

    They could have left the roll @1 and just made it so the TTs must always be the last to be assigned hits… which is a newly implemented rule anyway.


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    @BJCard:

    Kind of unrealistic for a navy to be screened by transports, don’t you think?

    That is true - and unrealistic. Yet these things happen a lot in this game. For example, If a carrier and a destroyer is attacked by a battleship, we all know the battleship is going to be aiming at the carrier, yet the DD is always chosen first as a casualty. If a sub and a carrier is attacked by a DD and a plane, the sub is taken first, even though both attackers would realistically be going for the carrier. If 6 tanks attack 3 tanks and 3 infantry, the infantry always die first, though the tanks would want to take out the tanks, and so on.

    At this scale everything is a bit abstracted. The point is, if you do choose your transports first, you are losing IPCs and losing your ability to move troops across water. You are losing something, especially when they cost 8 IPCs. At that price, you might as well send in DDs which attack and defend @ 2. You have to make a decision - which is good, fun, and fits with the rest of the game.

    The “transports must be chosen last” rule only takes away more of your decision power as a commander. The naval battles become more scripted and less interesting.



  • Kind of off the subject of transports but but in the spirit of unit selection in battle.  My buddy and I were talking about and addition that could be cool.  When it comes to air force, have there be a way that they could choose the ships they want to attack in a navy or units in a land battle at the cost of a round of firing.  Turn 1 they fire at all tanks or a carrier/battleship or destroyers (to save some subs).  Turn 2 of attack they sit out.  Didn’t think too much on it.  There would be obvious ways that rule could get abused though.  Still thought it seemed kind of cool.

    Is that dumb? Any ideas on how to make it work fairly.  Got to balance it where it benefits and hurts the air force to be able to be selective in a battle.



  • Well, the sea battles actually make a bit of sense (other than the two hit units taking a hit first)- Destroyers and Submarines are screening ships so they would get killed first, followed by cruisers, carriers, battleships, and lastly the transports they were protecting!

    Land battles don’t work obviously- but it is abstract and you could theorize that armor isn’t merely an armored column, but an elite division of mobile troops, perhaps surviving longer than conscripted infantry.


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    @BJCard:

    Well, the sea battles actually make a bit of sense (other than the two hit units taking a hit first)- Destroyers and Submarines are screening ships so they would get killed first, followed by cruisers, carriers, battleships, and lastly the transports they were protecting!

    Your “two hit” example was better than mine - I didn’t think of that. Another example is AA fire - in some versions you can pick fighters as casualties when the opponent would obviously be aiming at bombers.

    Another question is brought up: would the navy (20 IPC battleships) “always” sink itself fighting to protect transports? Even empty ones?



  • @Der:

    @BJCard:

    Well, the sea battles actually make a bit of sense (other than the two hit units taking a hit first)- Destroyers and Submarines are screening ships so they would get killed first, followed by cruisers, carriers, battleships, and lastly the transports they were protecting!

    Your “two hit” example was better than mine - I didn’t think of that. Another example is AA fire - in some versions you can pick fighters as casualties when the opponent would obviously be aiming at bombers.

    Another question is brought up: would the navy (20 IPC battleships) “always” sink itself fighting to protect transports? Even empty ones?

    Well, this is an abstract game, so you could conclude that Transports also double as ‘supply’ ships for the Navy and/or island garrisons;  In this case then, maybe some heavier units such as a Battleship may sacrifice itself to protect transports.  Heck, the Transports are probably fairly distant from the fighting anyway.

    Perhaps you could say that Submarines on a first strike could hit transports first- or that transports could opt to retreat from battle after the attacker rolls for attack.  It isn’t like they are dead in the water- many transports were fairly fast (faster than Submarines anyway).



  • My group has kicked this around to come up with a solution. What we came up with is against warships it’s same rules, but if the transport is attacked by just planes that it can defend at a 1.


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    Interesting. Has anyone tried using classic rule transports except just raising the price to 10 IPCs? It would seem to me people would not want to use them for fodder anymore at the higher price, or at least not as a first choice.


  • 2016 2015 '14

    I like the rule where they protect themselves on the small board, and I like the rule where they don’t protect themselves on the large boards.  It is a complete change of game mechanics, and it’s almost like arguing “I wish the king’s bishop could jump over pieces.”  I mean, I love both ways of playing, but the rules are the rules, and you must adjust accordingly.  Trust me, I loved the return fire of the British trannie in the Lab sea in classic when playing Allies…. but, this isn’t classic… and, honestly, this is more realistic and strategic.  To send unguarded trannies into evil waters so that they can defend at a 1 is only inviting a dicefest… I like G40 because those kinds of dicefests have been seriously curtailed…

    From a lifelong A&A player, and 1500 game CD player (2nd and 3rd edition) in the 1998-present range.  🙂



  • I never liked the defenseless transport rule either, it makes the game hinge too much on a few dice rolls. If your major fleet gets killed with one enemy unit left you could instantly lose 70 IPCs of transports as well. This makes it so the allies have to invest much more in fleet and had to be made a lot stronger in other areas to compensate.



  • They hybrid approach of 8 IPC transports, defending @1 but have to be taken last as casualties is probably my preferred approach.

    I don’t care much for defenseless units.  Particularly when a Bomber from Hawaii can swoop into Japan’s SZ and blow up 3 TT and land in Mongolia with no risk of dying.  Granted Scrambles can defend that but the point is still the same.

    I think it is one of the biggest issues with Japan taking all those unprotected US islands, because it is not worth the investment to take a non-value island when you have to divert a fleet to defend from the US arbitrarily sending aircraft to swoop out and clear all those TT with zero chance of escape or defense.



  • I would support transports costing 8 IPC and defending at a one.

    However i dont think they should be able to be taken as casualties before surface warships/planes/ or subs.

    So best of both worlds 😉



  • Well, everyone knows the stories about the infamous WWII Transports killing aircraft and Battleships!  oh… wait.

    Nope, defenseless transports are best.  Really does it make sense that a huge battle fleet would screen itself with Transports?  No- destroyers and submarines.

    While there may have been instances where an ‘armed transport’ takes out a submarine or couple fighters- I know of exactly zero instances of a 100 transports taking out 500 planes or 20+ submarines.

    Remember these units are representing a huge number of individual tanks, planes, etc.


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    Larry Harris said this about transports in 2007 on his site:

    “I will say this… Transports are considered to be lightly defended with escorts. Additional ships provide additional defense and so on.” (Posted: Fri 23.Feb, 2007)

    So originally transports were not to be thought of as just transports.

    Two maxims of the game have generally been:

    1. every decision involves some risk (dice rolls)
    2. defender chooses his own casualties

    The new transport rules violate both.



  • Looks like Larry’s position on Transports has ‘evolved’ then.

    I can only imagine a Naval commander saying ‘Send in the Transports, we can’t have any damage to our Destroyers!’.

    The addition of Destroyers and Cruisers negated the ‘Transports have defense’ line of thought.  Back in Classic day there were only BBs, CVs, TTs, and SSs…


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    @BJCard:

    I can only imagine a Naval commander saying ‘Send in the Transports, we can’t have any damage to our Destroyers!’.

    LOL - And I can only imagine a Naval commander saying “we must try to keep this empty $7 transport at all costs! All $20 BBs, $14 CVs, $10 planes and $12 CAs, must die first!”

    Both scenarios are absurd, but at least the first one is consistent with the rest of the game.



  • I hated the way transports worked in 2nd edition.  Most fleets were a bunch of transports with only a couple of carriers with planes and maybe a battleship.  The introduction of cruisers, destroyers, and multi hit capital ships makes a lot more sense.

    You keep talking about how everything has risk, well you took the risk of sending an undefended transport.

    -edit-

    Yes, those battleships or other fighting ships better not just watch the transports get creamed when they could defend them.  What kind of heartless captain would let practically defenseless ships get slaughtered nearby?



  • @Der:

    @BJCard:

    I can only imagine a Naval commander saying ‘Send in the Transports, we can’t have any damage to our Destroyers!’.

    LOL - And I can only imagine a Naval commander saying “we must try to keep this empty $7 transport at all costs! All $20 BBs, $14 CVs, $10 planes and $12 CAs, must die first!”

    Both scenarios are absurd, but at least the first one is consistent with the rest of the game.

    I get what you are saying, but at least in land battles- however absurd some of it is, you can argue that some of it makes sense:

    Infantry die first because, well, they mostly did die first… 
    Artillery?  They are behind the Infantry so they should survive longer- 
    Mech/Armor- well, they have mobility and are armored… 
    Aircraft are a little strange- there probably should be an air battle before land battle ala A&A 1914, but without AA firing at them (which they do in this game), they will last the longest.
    AA Guns are new…  I guess these don’t fit the mold because now they are always the first to die after they fire.

    In sea battles, Transports are always defended- whether they are transporting troops or supplies.


  • TripleA

    probably the single greatest change to axis and allies over the years is the defenseless transport.

    i have played many games of revised. fleets would consist almost entirely of transports with the odd carrier and starting battleship for extra defense.

    fleets would never get attacked, as there was too much transport fodder. navy battles and purchases are much more dynamic because of this rule.


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    @allweneedislove:

    fleets would never get attacked, as there was too much transport fodder.

    I see your point how things were then, but would that still be true now that there are units (DDs) which would cost the same and attack and defend @ 2? Wouldn’t players only buy as many transports as is necessary to transport and then buy destroyers for battles?

    Sure, you’d still see SOME of that “transport first” stuff, but it would be more incidental and not an overall strategy as when there were no other options.


  • 2016

    Armed transports also only transported one heavy unit or 2 INF.  Personally, I like the 0 defence unit.  At 7 IPC they are far too cheap to be a troop mover and a capitol ship screen.  If they could fill dual role again, I think they would have to cost at least 50% more, not 1.  I speculate that a (now) warship that can move two land units would be worth at least 14 to the US and Japan, and correspondingly less to other nations, probably booking at 12.

    I can just see walls of TRs moving from the US to Germany, adding defense constantly while still moving troops over.


  • Customizer

    Making transports defenseless makes more sense. I remember playing classic and having fleets of 1 or 2 battleships, a carrier and a stack of 10+ transports. No one would attack your fleet because they would never get to the high dollar stuff. That is, unless they had a huge stack of transports to throw in as fodder, which is also ridiculous.

    You should have to protect your transports with warships, or suffer losing them and not transporting your troops. Someone mentioned Japan taking those little Pacific islands and how it’s not worth it to divert your fleet to protect the transports. Well, you could do that or simply write off those transports. Yeah, it sucks wasting 7 IPCs but if you get the islands you need (I’m thinking that 5 island NO for Japan) then perhaps it is worth losing a few transports in the long run. Plus, since now those guys have no transport, you have garrisons on those islands and the Allies will have to invest more to take them back. It just depends on your needs I think.

    One downfall of defenseless transports that I don’t like is when you have a whole stack of transports and a single plane or ship takes them all out. Perhaps a good idea would be to limit the killing of defenseless transports to something like 3 per attacking unit (warship, sub or plane).
    For example: The US has goofed and left 5 unescorted transports sitting in SZ 91. Germany sees this but has only 1 U-boat sitting in SZ 105. Germany also has a bomber sitting on the air base in Paris. Germany wanted to SBR London with his bomber.
    Now, if Germany wants to sink all 5 US transports, he will have to send the U-boat AND the bomber. If Germany wants to SBR London with his bomber, he can just send the U-boat but will sink ONLY 3 of the US transports.
    In summary, every 3 transports require 1 attacking unit to sink them. 1-3 transports=1 attacker, 4-6 TT=2 attackers, 7-9 TT=3 attackers, 10-12 TT=4 attackers, and so on.
    Attacking units can be submarines, destroyers, cruisers, battleships, fighters, tac bombers and bombers.
    Doesn’t that sound better than just one single attack unit being able to kill a whole stack of transports?


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    @PGMatt:

    I can just see walls of TRs moving from the US to Germany, adding defense constantly while still moving troops over.

    @knp7765:

    I remember playing classic and having fleets of 1 or 2 battleships, a carrier and a stack of 10+ transports. No one would attack your fleet because they would never get to the high dollar stuff. That is, unless they had a huge stack of transports to throw in as fodder, which is also ridiculous.

    It seems like you are envisioning these classic transports in their classic setting, which they would not be in.

    PGMatt: You are telling me that you would continue to buy more and more transports every round, filling up the Atlantic with them, when you can now buy DDs for the same price and double the protection? Seriously, would you not buy just enough transports to do the job and the rest DDs?

    @knp7765:

    Doesn’t that sound better than just one single attack unit being able to kill a whole stack of transports?

    Yes it does- and that is something that should be brought up. In the current rules, a single fighter unit can destroy 10 lone transports instantly. How much ordinance does this guy have, anyway? You might argue that the unit represents many fighters. Then you’d have to also say that each TP represents many TPs. When a group of TPs gets attacked, they are going to pop smoke and disperse everywhere. In classic, if a single fighter attacks 10 transports, odds say he’s only going to get one before he dies.

    Many of you are thinking back to the classic world where BBs cost 24 IPCs and sank with one hit. Where bombers cost 15 IPCs and Fighters cost 12 IPCs. Put those classic transports in the modern ruleset with 8 IPC  DDs and 6 IPC subs. How would they do then? Would there be huge stacks of them moving around the ocean as fodder? Really? When DDs can do twice the damage, attack, and do ASW duty?

    In another posting Commander Jennifer once suggested making TPs cost 9 IPC when using them as classic units in the modern ruleset. PGMatt also brought up a good point - that the new transports can carry more. So can anyone tell me why having 10 IPC classic transports in the modern game would not work? They would be expensive and you wouldn’t want to lose them so easily, yet they could protect themselves and still fit in with the rest of the rules of the game. If anyone can show me that I’ll shut up about it.

    I don’t understand how you can fight seabattles where all your battleships are hit first EVERY TIME (free hits) when they are firing from 14 miles away, or take a sub first when only a periscope is showing, yet when you suggest taking a hit on a transport you hear the shouts “that’s not realistic!”


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