The New Game On The Block



  • Been a while since I have visited this place.
    Some questions about this game.
    I first want to know what you guys think about balance and if you believe that there are issues then I wish to know why.
    Also, will there be another rule set coming out similar to the Alpha Rules during Global 1940?
    What do you guys think about the Serbia rule where Austria Hungary must attack them the first turn? As far as I could tell it doesn’t specify how much that you have to attack with?
    My friends have also been saying that the navy doesn’t play a huge role in the game but every time I play me and my opponent both pour a lot of money into the ships and end up having quite a few sea fights. The winner also changes a lot of the land battles in the long term. What do you guys think about that?
    Looking forward to seeing all your opinions.



  • Hey,

    I’m not a very active forum member, but I have played quite a few rounds of A&A 1914 since it came out. I thought this topic was a good place to answer your questions, say something nice about the game and discuss a little strategy. Although, I will have a little moan to start with. My group and I absolutely love the game, but we also recognise there are some serious issues. We never felt the need to use any house rules to balance an A&A game until now.

    That said, the balance issues really aren’t all that big. In addition to the rules update/clarification in the FAQ we only needed two minor adjustments. I won’t go into it at length, because this shouldn’t become another topic full of complaints and suggestions for new rules. I’ll just say that we are very happy with the game mechanics, including movement,  but we feel the map design screws the Germans. A map where the distance between Berlin and the French border territories is equal to the distance between Berlin and Moscow, or the distance between Vienna and Paris, can’t possibly be balanced. So, in our games, new German units get a one time boost where they’re able to move two spaces. And Switzerland now spawns 6 units instead of 2, because it was too easy for France (early game) and Austria (late game) to use this back door to outflank an enemy advance. Invading Switzerland is still a powerful move. It just takes more commitment now.

    As for Serbia. My group and I quite like this rule, because it makes Austria a more challenging faction to play. You really have think about how you’ll spread your forces. After all, you’d rather your units anywhere but Serbia since it’s the only minor aligned territory that can’t be activated by the Allies. You’re right that you can attack Serbia with whatever number of units you like. Just one infantry will fulfil the rule’s requirement. Right now my group often attacks Serbia with a pretty heavy force that is able to take it with average dice rolls. Actually owning Serbia as opposed to contesting it gives you a chance to react when the Italians in Albania contest Trieste one turn one. Incidentally, we are a little peeved that France can activate Albania for the Italians. Clever Austrian positioning and decent dice can deal with this threat, but my group certainly wouldn’t mind if this was addressed in any future rule update.

    I’m not sure what kind of starts your friends are using, but I’m with you when it comes to the navy. It has been instrumental in all of the games I’ve played so far. Whoever establishes naval dominance is pretty much in the driving seat. The Allies need it so America and Britain can quickly re-enforce weak spots all over the board. The CP’s need it in order to isolate and overpower France and Italy. Like yours, my games have always involved a naval arms race between Britain and Germany. Though we don’t always come to blows. Usually, we’re happy to stay in port. The risks of an actual confrontation are big, while the disadvantages of a steady arms race and having to stay in home waters are comparatively small.

    After all, the CP’s can live with the occasional British or American landing in France or Italy. They just have to prevent landings in Kiel and Leningrad. And the navy can provide cover for small invasion of Scandinavia. Two or three transports with some infantry and tanks can are all you need to take 8 IPC worth of territory. Meanwhile, the Brits prefer to spend most of their energy on conquering the Ottoman empire and contesting southern Russia.



  • Besides the absolute need for CP Naval dominance, in the several games i have played I’ve seen that a handful of planes can reap MASSIVE benefits for A-H & the Ottomans.  I even go so far as to buy 2 planes on O1- you can bolster your infantry by activating Bulgaria on O1 and then shift as much as you can towards Egypt.  The air power balances out the Ottos’ scarce ground forces and their limited income till they can make some land grabs.

    Air power also helps me bottle up Italy as A-H.  I’ve played A-H 2 ways, one crushing Italy as fast as I can and the other is to Stalemate Italy while I push hard into S. Russia.  Italy first is painful in the beginning but better in the long run I think.  Tossing 2-3 planes into the front forces the Italians to choose between their own air force to prevent superiority OR battling a A-H navy that keeps popping up in the Adriatic… they really can’t do both.  If I push hard at Russia, the planes are less effective but can be a real life saver to support the Ottomans…


  • Customizer

    There is no historical basis for Albania being Italian aligned, and indeed it does become a back door into the Balkans for the Allies.
    I prefer making it neutral; even giving it 1 IPC is generous. To balance, Greece should lose the unhistorical border with Constantinople, so the Allies can at least land there with a shout of survival early on.

    If Austria is forced to attack Serbia, shouldn’t Russia be forced to attack Prussia, and Germany Belgium (though the latter is most likely to happen anyway)?

    Incidentally, any suggestions on improving the map are welcome on this thread:

    http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=30553.30

    @Vondelaer:

    Actually owning Serbia as opposed to contesting it gives you a chance to react when the Italians in Albania contest Trieste one turn one. Incidentally, we are a little peeved that France can activate Albania for the Italians. Clever Austrian positioning and decent dice can deal with this threat, but my group certainly wouldn’t mind if this was addressed in any future rule update.



  • @Flashman:

    There is no historical basis for Albania being Italian aligned,

    Cough, yes there is. The Italian army occupied the port of Vlore in winter of 1914, and after it entered the war it took possession of most of southern Albania (the French divisions of the Balkans army had a chunk of the southeast around Korce). And upon Italy joining the Entente it was promised various islands and port cities in Albania, as well as a protectorate over Albania. Although to be fair once the war started Albania actually collapsed as their king left to join the German army, so the Serbs occupied the North, the Greeks parts of the south, and Albanian Muslims had their own little state, all in 1914. However since Greece is neutral, Serbia is under control of Russia, and as far as I know there is nothing in the game about Albanian Muslims, then the Italian occupation of Southern Albania and their recognized protectorate over it seems a good enough basis to give the nation to Italy in game.


  • Customizer

    Was this before or after August 1914, which is the vital point for initial game setup?

    Subsequent occupation and promises of future sovereignty do not make Albania Italian aligned at the start of the game.



  • By that logic then Arabia shouldn’t be British aligned. It’s a game, things are done for balance purposes (Portugal being French, Bulgaria being Ottoman) so all in all, as the major WW1 nerd, I have no issues whatsoever.



  • Do you guys think that it is vital for Germany to maintain naval dominance over the Allies?



  • @urmomsmom7:

    Do you guys think that it is vital for Germany to maintain naval dominance over the Allies?

    It’s absolutely essential.  Keeping the USA from crossing the Atlantic and making sure Britain stays homebound is key to Germany winning the West Front.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    @ll:

    @urmomsmom7:

    Do you guys think that it is vital for Germany to maintain naval dominance over the Allies?

    It’s absolutely essential.  Keeping the USA from crossing the Atlantic and making sure Britain stays homebound is key to Germany winning the West Front.

    Is that a serious comment?



  • @ll:

    @urmomsmom7:

    Do you guys think that it is vital for Germany to maintain naval dominance over the Allies?

    It’s absolutely essential.  Keeping the USA from crossing the Atlantic and making sure Britain stays homebound is key to Germany winning the West Front.

    Good Luck with that plan. Germany will do better in the long run with the ground game. Time is money, and a heavy investment in a fleet will be a drain on the land war which must be used to gain an economic advantage first.

    Kim



  • @ll:

    @urmomsmom7:

    Do you guys think that it is vital for Germany to maintain naval dominance over the Allies?

    It’s absolutely essential.  Keeping the USA from crossing the Atlantic and making sure Britain stays homebound is key to Germany winning the West Front.

    Since you have met some wind with this comment, how did Germany gain naval dominance over the Allies in your games and how has it helped the fight on the western front?



  • I don’t understand either. I do, however, buy a sub every turn for Germany and most of the times for AH. This helps allied spending on defensive ships for their transports and it makes the Russia lifeline a lot more difficult for them.
    But I can’t imagine me buying more ships for the CP against an experienced opponent. Sometimes, with an inexperienced opponent, i buy battleships for Germany. And even then, against inexperienced players, I gain very little with those ships and never, ever gain supremacy over the Atlantic.



  • In our (out of book) games we have the Germans attack the English home fleet with every thing they have (including German Atlantic U-boats going through 2 mined zones) to insure the English go down w/little German damage (on average). This leaves the Canadian (UK) mini fleet in tact, but sending German U-boats after it is dicey anyway, and just ends up getting your subs killed in a counter attack (which weakens the German navy as a whole). Keeping the German navy together seems to help, and you do get temporary control of the North Sea. This will generally bring the French Med battleship up to the Atlantic, because individually the English or French don’t have the strength to take out the surviving German fleet. It can also temporarily keep the UK from building ships off England (which is bitter sweet because it could cause them to spend all income in India early on).

    At this point you have some options as Germany (I like choices). You can leave things as is (maybe buy a sub?), and the allies will eventually 1-2 punch the German fleet to destroy it (but they will have to build a boat or two to do so, and the CP mines can be a good deterrent). If you are bold with Germany, and maybe build a battleship early on, then the allies will have to respond (most likely the French as they will have the strongest allied fleet at this time if you did your job?). As the Germans you need ground units, and can’t really afford a naval race with the allies (they will eventually take you out unless you get lucky dice), but it can be a great distraction. For every IPC you spend on ships, the allies generally do the same (or more). By keeping the German fleet in tact and strong it also allows you to add a transport or two to help take Russian land, or keep the English from landing in the Russian north. I will also buy a sub for A/H turn1 to keep their fleet alive longer to see where it takes me. It isn’t much, but the allies don’t seem to like dicey or even battles when they are facing mines.  They tend to look for overwhelming odds, or a 1-2 punch (where they can salvage their big guns and send in a clean-up crew). Also the UK will generally send a cruiser to sz17 on their first turn to protect the Italian fleet (especially if you bought that A/H sub).

    We really like this game, but it has been my experience that the game is heavily weighted to the allies (OOB) for a couple reasons.

    1. The allied naval dominance.

    We have adopted swapping the starting french sz15 fleet (battleship & transport) for a lone cruiser. This seems more like the support fleet they had at the time (most of their strength was in the Med in anticipation of what the Italians were going to do). Larry has also commented about this, and made this change in his tourney rules (amongst other set-up changes).

    1. Slow ground movement (hard for the CP to get reinforcements at their fronts).

    We have been looking at Larry’s 2 move rules (also developed for tournaments to speed up the game), and so far have liked what it brings to the table.

    Just my 2 cents WB



  • Just finished a game with a friend and I wanted to see what you guys thought.
    I can’t really say that we finished it though because we both decided to give up because of a stalemate. We both killed each others stacks multiple times and they were always followed up by even bigger stacks that would meet similar fates.
    The board looked like this. The Ottomans had taken India and were in Egypt ready to take the rest of an empty Africa along with the Austrians that were taking over the empty French territories. (The CP had control of the Med.) The Ottomans had also taken Rome from the sea leaving the Venice Piedmont and Naples to the Austrians.
    Germany had very little flags since the Austrians took most of Russia. They were struggling to keep the Allies out of Ruhr and Alsace. They would rarely push into a French space or Belgium but the Allies would never get any farther. Austria sent troops to help Germany which is why they needed the Ottomans to help them take Italy.
    America had been backing up Italy so they had a very strong standing in Piedmont and the Austrians couldn’t hold on. They moved on to Venice with left over Italians since Rome was occupied. The Americans had a steady supply of men coming from Spain and Portugal via their transports.
    England and France were bunched together fighting Germany. England had many transports that were bringing men over in Sea Zone 8 or 9 (which ever one is closer to Berlin) The German Navy was too strong to get attacked by England and France but together the English and French navy couldn’t get attacked by the German Navy.
    Basically for 10 turns or so the same thing would happen. America would come to North Italy and fight Austria and Germany with the help of Austria would always crush the French and British forces but never have enough to keep moving on.
    We decided to stop because the game was going absolutely no where and it was getting very boring. What do you guys think could have ended it?



  • how did ottomans take india? aren’t the british spending their entire income there?



  • Well not their entire income, the English spent more money on sending troops to fight in France which explains how the Ottomans took India.



  • @urmomsmom7:

    Well not their entire income, the English spent more money on sending troops to fight in France which explains how the Ottomans took India.

    why did they do that? and if germany was pressing hard vs france, the russians could have invaded eastern europe fairly easily? and if austrians were fighting russians, the italians could have become a powerhouse…



  • Russian Revolution happened.



  • @Frontovik:

    how did ottomans take india? aren’t the british spending their entire income there?

    In our games when the CP is doing well it’s not uncommon to have India fall.

    Happened playing OOB rules, the 2-move rule, and the Tournament rules as well.

    Once Russia is knocked out, the Turks have free hand to go all out vs Egypt/Africa and India. UK cannot defend the two fronts in the Middle East even with everthing going to India and the Turks start making enough IPC’s to get the edge.

    Also, Austrian and/or Germans that have just knocked out Russia can be diverted towards India to help as well.

    Kim



  • @urmomsmom7:

    Russian Revolution happened.

    the RR can be postponed indefinately by abandoning moscow



  • @KimRYoung:

    @Frontovik:

    how did ottomans take india? aren’t the british spending their entire income there?

    In our games when the CP is doing well it’s not uncommon to have India fall.

    Happened playing OOB rules, the 2-move rule, and the Tournament rules as well.

    Once Russia is knocked out, the Turks have free hand to go all out vs Egypt/Africa and India. UK cannot defend the two fronts in the Middle East even with everthing going to India and the Turks start making enough IPC’s to get the edge.

    Also, Austrian and/or Germans that have just knocked out Russia can be diverted towards India to help as well.

    Kim

    all out, with a country making 20 at best VS country that makes about 45? i would let russian revolution never happen, much better for allies to make germany kill every russian, takes about 6 rounds (very pro-central estimate, can easily be 😎



  • Frontovik, in my game I believe that the Central Powers controlled all the surrounding territories around Moscow so leaving Moscow was impossible. The revolution happened with Moscow contested.
    Unless I am messing up one of the rules?



  • @urmomsmom7:

    Frontovik, in my game I believe that the Central Powers controlled all the surrounding territories around Moscow so leaving Moscow was impossible. The revolution happened with Moscow contested.
    Unless I am messing up one of the rules?

    they controlled all five territories? if that’s the case, it’s possible. but if it isn’t so, the russians could hve moved all to karelia/tatarstan, leaving moscow central controlled



  • I agree, that is definitely the correct move with them. They will cause trouble longer assuming they have enough men to go a few turns without building.


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