Larry Harris: Strategic Movements Mechanic


    "Some folks are saying that it takes too many rounds for some far flung units to get from one side of the board to the other. That it takes too many rounds for newly mobilized units to trek from the capital, their point of entry into the game, to the trenches that mark the front lines. Increasing the number of territories that a given unit type can be moved, say from 1 territory to 2 territories, or something like that, might help somewhat but it would not be the solution I`m looking for.

    At this point Im ready to explore and possibly modify some well entrenched (no pun intended) previous movement game mechanics. As a game designer its kind of risky to suddenly be speaking about new ways of playing a just released game. Well, Im always looking for ways to improve Axis & Allies so when something like this comes up… Well, Im ready to at least experiment with it, and I`d like to include you in that effort. Oh, oh… Is Harris about to spring another Alpha 1 on us? Well not exactly. There are no plans to make any of this “official” or even suggest that it become part of the 2nd print run, but it is something that is worthy of investigation, and it might just be fun.

    I intentionally don`t want to use the expression “railroad” as I begin to rethink and search for a new movement mechanic for the game. Still, some real world themed entity that can provide mass movement is needed.

    Why not “railroad”? Well, in my mind railroads always have been in Axis & Allies. They were always part of each nations infrastructure. Roads and rivers were also always present but were not called out or represented in the game either. Well maybe there were in Axis & Allies Battle of the Bulge... In any case it was understood that they were just there they were part of the invisible infrastructure. With that said I dont want to suddenly call out a railroad system and present it as if railroads were something new to the game.

    All this might just be semantics, but that kind of thing matters in the universe of Axis & Allies. I want to call this new game mechanic “Strategic Movement”. With this new system units would be permitted to move overland from one end of a player`s empire to the other. The mechanic would permit a player to move all or some of the land and air units located in a specified territory, from point A to a potentially distanced point B on the map. Thus the expression “Strategic Movement” Thank you Mr. Krieghund.

    What Im about to propose here has not been extensively tested - Not at all!. Ive only experimented with it in two games so far. I must admit, however, that Im fairly excited about its potential. If you like... I invite you to try out what Im about to present to you. Let me know how it works out. There are of course other ways that this system could be designed. What I`m about to present is the way that seems to best stand up to the endless tests that the game can through at it.

    To be clear… Im not in the process of changing A&A 1914\. I am, however, sharing with you a new possible way to play this game, and its pretty radical, I must admit. For the moment let`s just have some fun with this idea and see where it goes.

    Oh… One more thing! While we`re at it how about all ships, no exception, can now move 5 (five) sea zones? This should get the US deeper into Europe in fewer rounds and reinforcements arriving much quicker as well. Faster ships coupled with this Strategic Movement system will most likely lead to fewer rounds of play and quicker victories.

    How such a strategic movement mechanic works:

    Strategic movement occurs at the very end of a players turn. Its made right after Phase 5 Collect Income. All normal movement, combat and income has been resolved at this point.
    Strategic movements cannot provoke further combat or income adjustments during the players turn.
    Any units in a selected territory that is controlled or contested by the turn player, including the player`s capital, can be moved to another of his or her controlled or contested territories providing that an uninterrupted continuum of said territories can be demonstrated.
    Strategically moved units can include units that were just mobilized.
    They could be units that have participated combat this same turn.
    They could be units that are presently in contested territories.

    It should be noted that moving all the units out of contested territory and thus leaving the territory with only enemy forces in it would result in the enemy power gaining control of the territory. This would require an income adjustment which a strategic movement cannot provoke. To avoid this situation a player must leave at least one unit in a contested territory when strategically moving units out of a contested territory.

    Larry Harris

  • Customizer

    Knock, knock.

    I’m. Beginning. To. Get. Through.

    All these years.

    Thank you, “Mr Krieghund”.

    And Mr H is talking about rail movement, whatever he might say to the contrary.

  • If this new Railmovement-Rule doesn´t include Seazones, the idea of ships that can move 5 SZ sounds fair to me.

  • Customizer

    Larry (or one of his creatures) has just deleted a perfectly reasonable and intelligent reply to his post I made on HGD. I wonder why?  :oops:

    Anyway, the gist of my reply was:

    Strategic Rail Movement (for so we should call it) should take place before placement of new units, as new formations took time to train and equip.

    Strategic Sea Movement (5 spaces is practically unlimited on this board) should also take place at this time, rather than giving ships 5 space movement as standard.

    If the Allies can ship pieces 5 spaces into combat it only increases the imbalance we already have.

    Allowing SRM only through a power’s own controlled tt creates some awkward situations where a powers SRMs are blocked by friendly control.

  • '13

    Good, the western front is now going to become very desperate, and britain will have to send to troops to keep france afloat.

    Also this helps the ottomans take on india  I also assume this applies to africa? I wonder how that will change things.

    Playing a play though right now, and see how this works out.

  • @Quintus:

    I also assume this applies to africa? I wonder how that will change things.

    Why would you waste such an important action with a movement in africa?
    You`re only allowed to make a single movement from one tt to another.

  • '13

    If the ottomans now have a route to africa, so now that they arnt fighting for their life, they can afford to support a campaign there.

  • @Flashman:

    Strategic Sea Movement (5 spaces is practically unlimited on this board) should also take place at this time, rather than giving ships 5 space movement as standard.

    If the Allies can ship pieces 5 spaces into combat it only increases the imbalance we already have.

    I think the sea movement actually favors the CPs.  Yes, it only takes one turn for the US to land troops in Europe, but that only happens once during the entire game.  On the other hand, notice that it is exactly 5 spaces between the German home waters to the American shipping lanes (SZ 1, 13, & 14).  With this new mechanic, subs are now a formidable weapon that forces the Allies to build more warships to protect their transports.

  • hello everyone i’ve been lurking silently on this forum for a while now and I finaly decided to give my 2 cents  😄 I would like your opinions on this, why not simply place a german marker on hannover, call it the germen railway hub and allow movement up to 2 spaces once the german (or other central powers) units are in hannover, they can be on the wetern front in 2-3 turns and to the east in 1 and would allow the germans to help out austrians and would allow austia to help out on the west if austria can get there, this would balance out the insane disparity between the allied and CP navy’s and the fact that the allies’ suply lines (most notibly the french) are much shorter than the central powers are

  • The problem with that is that rails were all over Europe. Not just Germany.

  • Usa could just prepare a huge invading fleet and then attack either berlin or constantinople. I think I will try the strategic movement and keep ships as they are.

  • also very true but I feel like the rest of the powers due to the layout of the map have more or less like larry says, railsystems inbedded in the spirit of the game i feel that this might actualy be an elegant and simple fix altough I must admit that my playgroup and I do not have enough games under our belt (3 all allied wins one was very close for the CP’s though)   🙂

  • I agree that Germany is at a strategic disadvantage under the current rules. That is why I am against increased ship movement. But if all powers had rail movement, I think it would be fair and historical.

  • I like the strategic movement idea Larry
    This will give the CPs a real fighting chance and will be the allies worse nightmare!
    However giving all ships 5 movement is far to much in my opinion. USA could get all the way to constinople or Berlin in 1 turn, and every turn from 4 on out.
    Why not use the G40 mechanics for naval bases? Give all ships bonus movement if leaving from a friendly port.
    so cruisers could move up to 4 spaces

    I agree with flash in that the strategic movement should be before you place new units

  • Maybe my counting is off, but Berlin and Constantinople are 6 SZs from the US.  Kiel and Smyrna are within range however.

  • You know, this Strategic Movement is exactly like the one found in RISK.


  • Yeah no offense to anyone who was involved in this idea but it’s anything but radical. How many years has this been in Risk? Would it be more appropriate to measure in decades?

  • Larry just said “try it”.
    Its nothing official, its like when he tried those economical warfare ideas and then scrapped them

  • You are right lol
    And I can’t seem to edit my post

    Still think 5 is too much

  • @Uncrustable:

    You are right lol
    And I can’t seem to edit my post

    Still think 5 is too much

    After relooking at it, we were both right and wrong, Berlin is 6, Constantinople is 5.

  • This is a good topic. I’m contemplating the creation of a rail marker that could cost a few IPC’s and placed on a land mass can then connect the adjacent landmasses. What I initially like about a physical marker is that it also gives aircraft a strategic target to knock out as well. As I am thinking this through, the rail marker virtually eliminates the region that it’s in and units can simply jump past it. Theoretically, you could put another rail marker in another adjacent region and jump two regions.

    Anyway, just thinking this through in light of this thread. Please give me your thoughts.


  • Official Q&A


    Thank you, “Mr Krieghund”.

    Don’t thank me - all I did was give it a name.  This is Larry’s baby (though I did have a small amount of influence on the direction it took).

  • Customizer

    My argument is not that there shouldn’t be strategic sea movement, but that it should not be used as a combat move.

    By all means allow America to ship armies to a friendly tt or SZ anywhere on the board, but not to land in enemy tt or sail through hostile or mined SZs. The idea is to get units to a position where they can attack next turn, by which time the enemy can use its own SRM or SSM to build up defences.

    The essential character of warfare in the period was of attrition, because powers could transport reinforcements to shore up gaps in their line faster than the enemy could exploit said gaps. This had been true from the US civil war onward.

    However, in order to effectively balance SSM, SRM would need to be through any friendly tt, not just that owned by an individual power.

    I assume the unit(s) left behind in contested tts must include an infantry, and that tts moved to by SRM must also end up with an infantry present.

    (Asked Larry this question; the answer was to delete my post. Be warned.)

  • I think this will help the CP alot. Just think the CP can move thirty units from the Russian Front to the French front in one move. That just does not seem like a good idea to me. I would like to see some more restrictions placed on the move. Like a max of 5 to 10 units per turn.

  • The new phase would have to be before place new units.
    Also it should have a limit (10?) else it could get really out of hand.
    5 movement for ships is too much too, USA could amphib assault constinople turn 4 with 12 units plus BB and CA

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