Implementing attrition rules to stop superstacks



  • One thing that I never seemed to like about the Original A&A is the fact that the game always came down to the superstacks in Eastern Europe and Western Russia. I was thinking that a way to possibly make the game a little more open would be to institute maximum infantry rules for each country (they don’t have to be the same) in order to force more varied purchases for each country.

    For instance if Russia had say, 30 infantry on the board they could not buy anymore until some were killed off. Maybe cap Germany at 25. I just think that the game would play better if we had some sort of cap system for the economies in order to rid ourselves of 100+ infantry stacks.


  • Customizer

    Yeah, I understand what you are saying. In a recent game, when Germany marched on Moscow, the Russians had something like 56 infantry stacked up there, in addition to the starting artillery, mechs, tanks and planes. After two large German attacks and an Italian attack, Moscow still had 1 infantry left plus the planes, tanks, etc. It really sucked as Germany because they were attacking with some of everything – tanks, mechs, bombers, men and artillery. So in the end it really cost Germany much more than Russia.

    Still, I’ve never liked the idea of imposing any sort of buying restrictions (not counting China of course). You already have building restrictions with the minor and major ICs. For example, even if Russia had all 4 of their ICs, the most infantry they could place in one turn is 19, and that will get less as Germany takes their factories.
    I just think if you want to spend all your IPCs on infantry, bombers or battleships, then you should be allowed as long as you have the ICs and IPCs to do so.



  • Yeah but I was talking about the original A&A. With the new A&A I feel that the game is pretty balanced as far as purchasing is concerned. Also I understand that A&A is a simplified strategy game, even though I would like the game to simulate population problems as a war carries on.


  • Customizer

    Oh yeah, I see what you mean. Basically, as the war drags on, nations would start running out of man power. Like, perhaps round 1 you could draft up a lot of men but when it gets to round 8 or 10, the man power barrel starts to run dry.
    Yeah, Axis & Allies is somewhat oversimplified. Another thing the rules don’t really cover is the quality of soldiers you would get throughout the war. At the beginning of the war, all your soldiers would be well trained troops. Perhaps after a couple of rounds and battles, surviving infantry units would be considered veterans and would fight even better. Yet, say the war goes badly and the enemy is right outside of your capital. Sure you would want to pile up men for defense, but what would be the quality of those men? Certainly they wouldn’t be as well trained and disciplined as the units you started the game with or the troops that are threatening your capital.
    When Russia got into Germany and advanced on Berlin itself, Hitler was throwing young boys in their early teens and old men over 70 into combat to try and defend against the Russian onslaught. Surely those troops wouldn’t fight as well as the veteran Russian soldiers coming at them. Unfortunately, Axis & Allies doesn’t really represent this kind of disparity of the quality of opposing troops. Other things not really covered would be the differences between early war and late war equipment or even the different types of units used in these games. For example, Sherman and Matilda tanks were really no match for a Panther, but in this game all three are treated equal.
    Although, there are some more advanced gamers that do incorporate such differences into their games. Some use veteran troops, “green” troops, early war and late war units, even light, medium and heavy tanks as well as some of the more specialized units being produced by HBG like Self-Propelled guns, tank destroyers, etc. I think most of these guys use a 12 sided dice system though. As for myself, I use only a 6 sided dice system still because I just love the FMG combat dice. However, as more and more HBG sets become available, I am tempted to start using a D-12 system to incorporate all the different unit types.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Here’s an idea just off the top of my head, which I haven’t really sat down to analyze in detail.  On conventional A&A maps, there’s a number on each territory which shows you how much income it generates per round of play.  In other words, it serves as a kind of economic output index.  One possibility would be for each number to have an additional purpose: to serve as a kind of population index.  In a given round of play, these figures would be added up for all the territories you control, and the total would be checked against some sort of table that would indicate how many men of military age could be called up for service from your territories in that round.  There could in fact be three tables: one for the early part of the war, one for the middle, and one for the late stages.  These tables would state the maximum number of infantry that could be purchased in that round, thus providing a rationale for the buying restriction you’ve mentioned.  The system would probably need to keep track of situations in which you don’t buy the maximum number of troops allowed in a given round, which would create a credit that allows you to exceed the nominal buying cap in a later round.  The system would probably also need to distinguish between home territories and conquered territories: both can be exploited for their economic output, but it could be prohibited to recruit soldiers from occupied territories because, although it did happen during WWII, foreigner recruitment wasn’t as much of a contributor to the overall numbers of troops as domestic recruitment.


  • '14

    Any examples out there as to how others have put a D -12 system into effect? I  had never considered using something like that.


  • Customizer

    I don’t really have any examples since I have not tried that yet myself, but it basically breaks down to doubling the attack and defense values for all of your current units.
    Infantry = D6 – Att 1, Def 2.  D12 – Att 2, Def 4
    Tanks = D6 – Att 3, Def 3.  D12 – Att 6, Def 6
    Fighters = D6 – Att 3, Def 4.  D12 – Att 6, Def 8
    Battleships = D6 – Att 4, Def 4.  D12 – Att 8, Def 8
    With a D 12 system, you could add new units and have a wider range of values. Also, you could use all the odd numbers to make units a little less or more powerful. Take Battleships for example: Suppose you wanted to include Battle Cruisers into your game. A Battle Cruiser is not quite as powerful as a Battleship but they are stronger than Cruisers. It would be hard to put them into a D6 system and try to make them distinct without giving them some sort of special abilities. However, you could slip them right into a D12 system quite easily.
    Cruiser = A 6, D 6
    Battle Cruiser = A 7, D 7
    Battleship = A 8, D 8
    Of course, you would have to make up your own Battle Board since the current A&A games are based on a D 6 system. I think Imperious Leader has made up a D 12 system and would probably be able to give you more information on that. Hope this helps you.


  • '14

    @knp7765:

    I don’t really have any examples since I have not tried that yet myself, but it basically breaks down to doubling the attack and defense values for all of your current units.
    Infantry = D6 – Att 1, Def 2.  D12 – Att 2, Def 4
    Tanks = D6 – Att 3, Def 3.  D12 – Att 6, Def 6
    Fighters = D6 – Att 3, Def 4.  D12 – Att 6, Def 8
    Battleships = D6 – Att 4, Def 4.  D12 – Att 8, Def 8
    With a D 12 system, you could add new units and have a wider range of values. Also, you could use all the odd numbers to make units a little less or more powerful. Take Battleships for example: Suppose you wanted to include Battle Cruisers into your game. A Battle Cruiser is not quite as powerful as a Battleship but they are stronger than Cruisers. It would be hard to put them into a D6 system and try to make them distinct without giving them some sort of special abilities. However, you could slip them right into a D12 system quite easily.
    Cruiser = A 6, D 6
    Battle Cruiser = A 7, D 7
    Battleship = A 8, D 8
    Of course, you would have to make up your own Battle Board since the current A&A games are based on a D 6 system. I think Imperious Leader has made up a D 12 system and would probably be able to give you more information on that. Hope this helps you.

    Yes, it does. Thanks for explaining that. I guess it doesn’t work too well for A&A 1914 at this time since “variation on a theme” pieces don’t really exist yet. Much easier to do with all the stuff HBG has for WW II. It might, however, be a good way to work in the increasing technology available during the First World War without going crazy on pieces. So you could have stormtroopers without having a separate piece, as they were more or less a tactical advantage.


  • 2017 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Ok the simple way is to count all attack vs defense factors that are adjacent by land and consult a CRT rolling once and indexing total combat factors lost by each side. That is attrition combat.

    Example: Third Reich by Avalon Hill  ( attrition option)

    You could employ offensive option or pass option as well. Offensive allows movement costs say 10 IPC, pass option is really doing nothing


  • Customizer

    A simple rule is that new infantry start at 1-1; in order to get the defensive bonus they have to survive a winning combat. The number that can be promoted to veteran status is limited to the number of enemy units eliminated in a battle (you cannot promote 10 infantry by killing one enemy!)

    I’m planning something similar for my own version of Conquest of the Empire; infantry initially start with 2 as combat value, promoted to 3 on becoming veterans. Vets can be traded in to build your towns (colonia), but otherwise will eventually retire and have to be replaced by new recruits from your growing cities…

    In 1914 games I’ve suggested that high unit casualty rates push your power further towards internal collapse; hence the need to develop weapons that soak up hits without losing you units. Wait a minute…



  • I think the simpler the better for A&A. Gotta keep the spirit of simpler mechanics in order to not turn off non hardcore players. I liked the ipc counter idea. Maybe take that and divide by 3 or something like that to see how many can be bought that round. Either that or make a cap of total units that can be in a given territory, like twice the ipc value or something like that. Also that could simulate difficulty transporting units over non industrialized areas of land, like the Russian countryside for instance. It would force you to string out troop movements and make blitzes even more crucial. Damn this really is sounding good to me, anyone got a counter argument to this?


  • Customizer

    Maybe limit the number of combat rounds in any battle.

    Anyone tried using the 1914 rules in WWII games? It would make sense to have more than one round as per 1914, since warfare in 39-45 was much more mobile.

    Also/or allow defender retreats after a set number of rounds; armies rarely stood where they were until annihilated unless surrounded as at Stalingrad.

    1914 contested area rule might break up superstacks, since it takes relatively few units to make an area contested (and deny the defender income).

    So how about:

    Use contested area rules, but combat can go on for 4 rounds. After 2nd & 3rd round defender (then attacker) can choose to retreat. If area ends up contested the defender can still build units there (if eligible) but collects no money.

    Having a limited number of combat rounds might also encourage the building of mixed forces, since large infantry heavy stacks would have more limited attacking power.

    Incidentally, I don’t think aircraft should be allowed to land in an area you just attacked and made contested.

    Amphibious assault rules would have to be modified also.



  • I’ve been using the 1914 contested rules recently in my WWII games, allowing the defender to attempt retreat if they want. 
    Before any round of combat except the first, the defender may attempt to retreat, rolling one die and if the number rolled is less than the round of combat about to begin they may retreat.  All retreats, including attacker retreats, remain in the territory they are in and that territory becomes contested.  No more strafing territories, although I am considering giving tanks and mechs the ability to retreat as per normal attacker retreat rules if they have only used one movement point.  Planes cannot land on newly contested territories.  I let amphibiously landed forces retreat under these rules.
    I also use modifiers the defender can add to the combat round.  +1 if you have three or more different land units on the territory, including minor ICs.  +1 if you have a major IC.  +1 if you have one or more fighters or two or more tactical bombers.  All modifiers are counted before combat begins and count for the entire battle even if lost during combat.
    This creates at least one problem though in G40.  If France doesn’t fall turn one, Germany is likely in bad shape.  Something simple can be not allowing France to retreat, at least on turn one.  Or give Germany and Japan a blitzkrieg ability, where the first turn they are at war with an allied power that power cannot retreat, including turn one.

    This rule can easily be adjusted to either make it harder or easier for the defender to retreat.

    I use the same rule for naval units.  Defending naval units that retreat are ignored in cases of amphibious assaults, and scrambled planes that retreat are placed on the territory they scrambled from, but cannot defend against any attacks nor be counted towards defense retreat modifiers for that territory, and are lost if all other units are destroyed. 
    Defending naval units get +1 for three or more different warships in a sea zone, and +1 for one or more fighters or two or more tactical bombers. 
    Transports that begin their turn in a hostile sea zone get the additional option of remaining there if you attack the enemy units in that sea zone.  If the sea zone is no longer hostile after the combat round then the transports may make a noncombat move, including loading troops in that sea zone.
    Lone transports are never auto killed, but must be destroyed by a hit, and can retreat like any other unit even if they are alone.


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

    The two games we play have caps on how many infrantry you can buy for each country and one of the games has a automatic retreat roll ( ground units only ) for attacking pieces only. Rolling 1 die. Germany 12, Italy 10-12, Finland 12, Japan 12, USSR 10-12, UK 11-12, USA 12, France 9-12, China 8-12. if using D6 just cut in half. Roll that number and all attacking ground troops have to retreat.


  • Customizer

    I think it would be cool to implement some sort of population pool, where you would have an area on the board that represents the recruitment class for your country. You would add a few men to the pool every turn, but it would limit how many infantry you could recruit. If you pool ran low, that might contribute to your country being destabilized (possibly work it into the 1914 proposed tournament rules for economic or political collapse).



  • The two games we play have caps on how many infrantry you can buy for each country and one of the games has a automatic retreat roll ( ground units only ) for attacking pieces only. Rolling 1 die. Germany 12, Italy 10-12, Finland 12, Japan 12, USSR 10-12, UK 11-12, USA 12, France 9-12, China 8-12. if using D6 just cut in half. Roll that number and all attacking ground troops have to retreat.

    Hey…SS, can you give an example…not sure I understand well…


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

    All attacking units must retreat to original territories from where they attacked, while defenders simply move to a adjacent freindly territory. Automatic retreats do not occur to Paratroopers, Amphibious Landings, or Commando raids. Defending units in a territory with a factory are exempt from retreating. Artillery and planes in air combat ignore auto retreats. After first attack you roll a D12 die after each round of combat for both sides and if you roll the numbers I posted in last post, you must retreat wether your attacking or defending. Sorry for not mentioning the defenders have to retreat in last post.


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