Basic principles of a new Sub Warfare House Rule (nSWHR), for review


  • 2017 '16

    WARNING: Some additional specific points written in red are covered to take account all Subs naval warfare situations vs Cruisers and vs Subs.

    I’m working on a different kind of naval warfare (a variant I played many times on Classic board which creates a much more chess-like action on the ocean) where Subs act as a lonely and separated group even when sharing the same Sea Zone as other friendly surface vessels and transports.

    Here is some little things of this new HR about Sub Warfare (nSWHR).

    You will see that some anomalies about planes vs Subs created in OOB 1940 and 1942 will disappear:
    A) Planes that need another unit to attack subs.
    B) Subs being used as naval cannon fodder for air and naval attack or defense.
    –----------------------------------------------------------------
    Here is the basics principles:

    As OOB, Sub cannot hit air units.

    Aircrafts (Fg, TcB, StB) can attack Subs anytime, they get only A1 (same in SBR combat) and don’t need any DD or other AntiSub Vessel (ASV) to destroy Subs.

    Battleship cannot attack submarines.
    But, BB still defend @4 against subs, and G40 BB and CV (as OOB) can take 1 hit before going down on a second hit.
    However, 1942 BB must be treat as a 1 hit unit vs Subs attacks. So 1 single shot can sink it, and it is a good thing to provide them DD/CVE cover.
    Play-testing reveal that this change is to make Subs attack an interesting threat against 2 BBs in 1942 version.
    Because they immediately recover at the end of the attacking player’s turn. Without this change, such a fleet with 2 BBs at his core, is virtually invulnerable against Subs attack and won’t requires any DD to provide protection and cover vs Subs.

    Cruiser Att @3 Def @3 vs subs but it is not an ASV.
    It cannot block Sub Surprise strike attack.
    It can go AntiSub Mission (ASM) by itself but
    Subs can defend @1 with Surprise strike (same capacity as OOB).
    So Subs can sink cruisers without ASV before it can even attack (as OOB Sub rule).

    Same last rules applied for 1942.2 Fleet carrier: CV A1D2M2C14 in ASM vs Subs.

    Destroyer A2D2M2C8, ASV as OOB block Subs Surprise strike, will give _+1A bonus to any one plane (Fg, TcB, StB) when paired with for ASM_.*

    There will be an Escort Carrier unit A0D1M2C10, carrying 1 plane (Fg or TcB) ASV, giving a +2A bonus to any one plane (Fg, TcB, StB) paired with while on ASM.

    In counterpart, **subs A2D1M2C6 after a defence roll @1 are able to submerge vs all units at the beginning of the second round of an ASM.

    On offence, Subs can attack Subs but they don’t get any First round Sneak Attack nor Surprise Attack vs each others same as they were 2 regular ships unit. Defending Subs can still submerge after the first round attack, as said below.

    Submerge: allow Sub to withdraw in the same SZ from any battle at the beginning of the second round, and after.

    So Subs become more elusive, and have a better chance to hide even when there is an ASV in the SZ (to the contrary of OOB Global and 1942 where ASV also block Subs Submerge ability).

    In this HR, it was possible to give plane another attacking value (as in a StratBR/TacBR escorting and intercepting role) because even when sharing a SZ, you treat Subs groups as they were in separate SZs (except for “SZ of control” determination):

    if a player with 2Fgs and 3DDs want to attack a SZ with 2DDs and 4 Subs, for example,
    he will have to choose between whether attacking DDs group or attacking Subs group.

    So, it means either A) 2 Fgs A3 + 3 DDs A2 vs 2DDs or B) 2 Fgs A1+1* + 3DDs A2vs 4 Subs.

    Now subs won’t be the cannon fodder of any surface vessels as the OOB will imply in the example.
    2 Fgs+ 3 DDs vs 2 DDs + 4 Subs.

    Because, in this situation, assuming you protect the better defending and costlier unit: the defender will loose 4 subs before loosing DDs.

    And, as usual, the attacker will think twice to throw DDs with aircrafts when there is a bunch of subs.
    It is often better to throw only aircrafts to destroy surface vessels so this OOB battle example will only imply: 2 Fgs vs 2 DDs, since Fgs by themselves cannot hit Subs.

    What do you think of this first part of the basic principles for Subs warfare?


    On the other side,
    when Subs will be attacking, they will attack in a first wave assault of subs only group (before all others units) until retreating or a victory.

    All ASV (DD, escort carrier CVE) will block the Surprise attack as long as there is an ASV defending with other vessels.
    So any surface vessels sunk by subs will still be able to fire back, as in OOB.
    When there is no more ASV, then Subs will retrieve Surprise attack and any ship sunk won’t be able to fireback, as OOB rule.

    Planes will be able to defend against subs (Fg @D4, TcB @D3) without the need of DD (or CVE).

    However, Subs will also get a special “First round sneak attack”, which differs from Surprise strike:

    during the first round, only ASV (DD or CVE+ 1 Fg or TcB carried) can fireback at subs.

    In addition, any successful sub making a hit is allowed (not compelled) _**to withdraw from battle before the DDs and CVEs(+ Fg or TcB on it) return fire against it.

    However, all remaining unsuccessful subs must endure the ASV units defender’s rolls before choosing whether or not to withdraw from battle at the very end of the first round.

    This “First round sneak attack” rule implies that all others ships including Fleet carrier (CV) and any one or two planes on board can only fireback on the second round and after.
    So the new CVE and her 1 plane will have a better defensive and distinctive role from the Fleet carrier against subs.

    Example: 2 subs A2 vs 1 DD D2 and 2 cruisers D3

    ROUND 1
    First rnd sneak attack, subs roll: “1” and “3”, defender choose to sunk the DD.
    1 sub can choose to withdraw. And do it.
    (It is not the best tactical choice, but it is for simplicity.)

    Since it is the first round, only the DD can roll to fireback.
    If it is a hit (“1” or “2”) then the remaining sub is sunk, the battle is over and the 2 cruisers survive.

    (Supposing both Subs have rolled a hit, then the battle could be over if both Subs withdrawn because the DD cannot hit any remaining unsuccessful sub. However, 1 last cruiser have survived the battle.)

    If the DD miss the shot at the last Sub, then this attacking Sub can withdraw (as OOB said).
    But, for the example, suppose 1 Sub stays for a second round.

    ROUND 2
    This lonely sub now have Surprise attack and Submerge since there is no more ASV in the SZ.
    As OOB said at the beginning of the round, Sub can either Submerge or make a Surprise strike.
    Sub goes for the kill:
    a “1” or “2”, then 1 cruiser is sunk without being able to retaliate.
    A miss left the possibility to both cruisers to defend @3.

    Everything continue as OOB rule said.


    Finally, after the battle is concluded,
    if the remaining subs didn’t kill all the enemy units in the SZ, Subs must retreat 1 SZ from where they came.
    if all enemy units are destroyed in the SZ, then subs can choose to either stay in the SZ or they can still retreat 1 SZ from where they came.

    What do you think of this second part of the basic principles for Subs warfare?_


  • 2017 '16

    Example 2 (same battle, different tactical choice):
    2 Subs A2 vs 1 DD D2 and 2 cruisers D3

    ROUND 1
    First rnd sneak attack, subs roll: “1” and “3”, defender choose to sunk the CA.
    1 Sub can choose to withdraw. But stay.

    Since it is the first round, only the DD can roll to fireback.
    If it is a hit (“1” or “2”) then 1 sub is sunk, 1 DD and 1 cruiser remaining.

    (Supposing both Subs have rolled a hit, then the battle could be over if both Subs withdrawn because the DD cannot hit any remaining unsuccessful sub. However, 1 last cruiser have survived the battle.)

    If the DD miss the shot at the last Sub, then both attacking Subs can still withdraw (as OOB said).
    For the example, suppose the 2 Subs stays for a second round.

    ROUND 2
    This two subs now don’t have Surprise attack nor Submerge since there is still 1 ASV in the SZ.
    As OOB said at the beginning of the round, Sub can neither Submerge nor make a Surprise strike.

    Subs still go for the killing blow of both DD and CA:
    let’s suppose, a “1” or “2” and a miss, then 1 cruiser or 1 DD is sunk but is able to retaliate.

    A double hit or a double miss would have still left the same possibility to both DD @2 and cruiser @3 to defend.

    Suppose 1 Sub left and 1 cruiser left (you can refer to the first example in the initial post.)

    Everything continue as OOB rule said when there is no more Anti Sub Vessels.


  • Customizer

    I really like your idea. A bit long and kind of complicated, but a much better way to treat subs. I especially like your idea that aircraft can attack subs (even without DD or CVE) but only attack @ 1 (or @ 2 with DD or CVE). Never liked the idea of 1 DD and 10 planes chopping up a sub stack with only the risk of losing the DD. Plus I like that they still get a sort of Surprise Strike even with ASV present.

    I came up with a much simpler house rule where defending subs can submerge after the first round of battle even with attacking destroyers present. It would also apply to attacking subs, I just can’t imagine a reason for them to submerge. Destroyers still cancel the surprise strike ability and allow planes to hit subs, and subs can’t travel through a SZ that has an enemy destroyer in it. However, I think I might just add your idea to my house rules. I agree with you, subs shouldn’t be just so much fodder.


  • 2017 '16

    @knp7765:

    I really like your idea. A bit long and kind of complicated,
    I hope it is more my fault, since English is not my mother tongue, than an inherent fail in the house rule: more a matter of presentation instead of content of the HR sub rules in itself.
    but a much better way to treat subs.
    I especially like your idea that aircraft can attack subs (even without DD or CVE) but only attack @ 1 (or @ 2 with DD or CVE).
    Good to see it. That’s one of the aspect which I prefer the most.
    Fgs, TcBs and StBs receive the same A1 that they get when going OOB aerial dogfight in a SBR or a TBR against IC.
    And DD (or CVE) are working like any paired unit : Artillery bonus for Infantry or Fg/Armor bonus for TcB.
    Uniformity is kept amongst others OOB rules.
    Never liked the idea of 1 DD and 10 planes chopping up a sub stack with only the risk of losing the DD.
    It is clearly one aberration of the actual OOB Sub rules you underlined here.

    Plus I like that they still get a sort of Surprise Strike even with ASV present.
    The First round Sneak Attack is probably the aspect that need better explanations and which adds a layer of complexity in this Sub Warfare HR.
    But I’m pretty sure (because I played it many times) it adds some tactical flavor in the decision the Sub commander has to take after he gets the results of his initial assault (without knowing the yet to come defender’s rolls): going “all in” for the second round (and endure all the first round defender’s rolls on every Subs unit brought in) or submerge (all successful subs) and not going for the second round.

    I came up with a much simpler house rule where defending subs can submerge after the first round of battle even with attacking destroyers present.
    We agree on this, and it is also included in this new Sub Warfare House Rule (nSWHR).
    The main difference is about the first aspect mention above: letting planes attack subs without destroyer.

    It is one important anomaly and annoyance of the OOB Sub rule:
    planes are the only units which need another unit (DD, an additional 8 IPCs) to be able to attack something (subs).
    It doesn’t fit well inside all others OOB rules, it creates some aberrations.
    In addition, it is surely not historical at all, since Anti-Sub Air Patrol were on active duty even before all troop transports and merchant ships can get a Destroyer escort screen.

    The OOB classic allowed planes to attack directly Subs.
    The problem was that Subs killing rate was much too high, which virtually let become Subs a 8 IPCs useless sitting duck.

    This nSWHR reduced the effectiveness of aircrafts (A1 or A1+1) against Subs to an acceptable killing level.
    In addition, on a strategical level, the attacker will have to ponder how many planes he wants to divert from other crucial missions to letting them go on chasing Subs for a single shot per plane with an attack factor of “1” and sometimes “2” (even if there is no risk for aircrafts). This strategical choice is in itself a crucial decision.

    It would also apply to attacking subs, I just can’t imagine a reason for them to submerge.
    Neither do I, actually the OOB withdrawal for attacker do the same thing I believe.

    Destroyers still cancel the surprise strike ability and allow planes to hit subs,
    It is the same as the OOB rule, isn’t it?
    and subs can’t travel through a SZ that has an enemy destroyer in it.
    As OOB, this blocker capacity doesn’t forbid Subs to attack DD, isn’t ?
    However, I think I might just add your idea to my house rules.
    Which one? All aspects? A few?
    Did you see that letting planes with a different attack factor implies that Subs work all by themselves, as a single group (and this is the condition to escape from the subs naval fodder paradigm)?
    Would the Subs operating as single group can work in your House Rule?

    I agree with you, subs shouldn’t be just so much fodder. 😄


  • 2017 '16

    @toblerone77:

    I like you’re ideas guys.

    It sounds really, really, stupid and it doesn’t make any sense, but I’ve toyed with idea of just making the sub like any other naval 1/1/2 ADM mechanic. It’s inaccurate as all hell but I just make it “assumed” that subs have anti-aircraft guns and subs and planes just duke it out. We play with the OOB rules but we always end up consulting the manual just about every time they’re used in battle.

    Your ideas are better honestly, but it seems every edition we as players have to mess around with subs They’re like the Yugo or Daewoo of A&A. In my house games nobody really buys them and just buys DDs.

    All the subs aberrations and cheap naval fodder function, combine with that constant evolution about Subs rules, that’s what makes me think there is still room for improvement about them.


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

    I like the idea if a plane is going to attack a sub, it must first roll a die to try to find it just like my reconnaissance plane has to find fleet before you can attack with your navy. Kills the sub on a roll of maybe a 3 or less. Misses, sub dives. Give a attacking sub first shot, pieces removed and then the sub has to stay for a round of combat. Just makes the sub worth more and if you need adjust it.


  • 2017 '16

    @SS:

    I like the idea if a plane is going to attack a sub, it must first roll a die to try to find it just like my reconnaissance plane has to find fleet before you can attack with your navy. Kills the sub on a roll of maybe a 3 or less. Misses, sub dives.

    Give a attacking sub first shot, pieces removed and then the sub has to stay for a round of combat.
    Is it different from the OOB Surprise strike ? I don’t see the difference.
    Just makes the sub worth more and if you need adjust it.

    The game I played with Classic have a rule that required to spot them (“1” and “2” on D6= 1/3 odds) before firing at them (“1”, “2”, “3” on D6 = 1/2 odds).

    Even if it is historically sound and accurate, A&A is not a tactical game level but a strategical one.

    I decided to simplify this rule and harmonized to regular combat OOB: when you combine 1/3 X 1/2 = 1/6 odds to destroy a sub, the basic “1” roll.
    That’s why this nSWHR give all planes A1.
    In a certain way, the A1 includes the search and destroy Anti-Sub aircraft’s operations.


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

    Ok, misunderstood what you meant. Got it now.



  • A simpler fix is leave everything as it stands, but remove all the special submarine rolls. There are no restrictions against air vs submarines. No destroyers required……

    Then introduce a new submerge rule, submarines if not submerged can battle it out vs air. No change to any dice values. Any submarine however may choose to submerge before each round of combat (only once per battle and may not resurface once submerged)
    Once a submarine submerges it may no longer fire at aircraft, defense or offense. Conversely aircraft may only roll at submerged submarines if supported by a friendly destroyer on a 1:1 basis.

    All submarines are assumed not to be submerged until a battle commences at which point the owner may choose to submerge.

    Very simple rule. Basically subs can shoot at planes and planes at subs as long as the sub is on the surface (makes sense). Once subs submerge they cant shoot at the sky anymore (duh!). Each air unit needs a destroyer to roll against submerged submarines.
    No changes to any dice values.


  • Customizer

    @Uncrustable:

    A simpler fix is leave everything as it stands, but remove all the special submarine rolls. There are no restrictions against air vs submarines. No destroyers required……

    Then introduce a new submerge rule, submarines if not submerged can battle it out vs air. No change to any dice values. Any submarine however may choose to submerge before each round of combat (only once per battle and may not resurface once submerged)
    Once a submarine submerges it may no longer fire at aircraft, defense or offense. Conversely aircraft may only roll at submerged submarines if supported by a friendly destroyer on a 1:1 basis.

    All submarines are assumed not to be submerged until a battle commences at which point the owner may choose to submerge.

    Very simple rule. Basically subs can shoot at planes and planes at subs as long as the sub is on the surface (makes sense). Once subs submerge they cant shoot at the sky anymore (duh!). Each air unit needs a destroyer to roll against submerged submarines.
    No changes to any dice values.

    I like your idea uncrustable and is a good idea for a “fix”. I think Baron’s idea is not so much to “fix” anything as it is to make subs more interesting with a more advanced game mechanic. I think both are good ideas and leave options for multiple levels of gameplay.


  • 2017 '16

    @toblerone77:

    I like your idea uncrustable and is a good idea for a “fix”. I think Baron’s idea is not so much to “fix” anything as it is to make subs more interesting with a more advanced game mechanic. I think both are good ideas and leave options for multiple levels of gameplay.

    I couldn’t agree more with you.
    You saw where I was going.

    Actually, I’m mixing 3 games mechanics together:
    1- OOB 1940, 1942
    2- Classic OOB
    3- World War II The expansion I for A&A,  from David Schwartzer.

    To create a more integrated Subs rule which could be more of a chess game for Naval Warfare between Subs, planes, warships (CA, CV, BB), escorts ASV (DD and a new CVE) and transports.
    All having a specific role with strength and weakness.

    One HR I have yet to develop is that Subs have 2 options when all these surface vessels are in the same SZ:
    1- attack escort and warships
    2- attack escort and transports (each TT unit having a 1 hit value but D0), letting the defending player choosing casualties between DD, CVE and TT.

    I hope to better reenact Atlantic/Pacific naval battles, especially with the Escort Carrier unit.
    For me it was necessary to let plane attack Subs without any help.
    Hence, drop the requirement for DD presence to allow planes attack vs Subs.
    (IMO, many problems are generated by this OOB rule.)


  • Customizer

    One thing I see as a problem is the different ways that planes can attack subs vs. how planes attack other warships or planes. You mentioned before that planes can attack subs by themselves @ 1 or with ASV @ 2, yet they attack all other warships and planes at normal values (fighter @ 3, tac & strat bombers @ 4).
    In somewhat limited engagements it probably won’t be a problem, but if you have a clash between two sizable fleets with a mixture of all types of vessels, it could get fairly complicated and perhaps a bit tedious. You would have to separate planes that are attacking subs from planes that are attacking other units.
    I understand the idea that the owner of the attacking planes has to decide what planes to commit to subs and what planes to commit to warships/other planes. I guess I am wondering how you could take casualties.
    For example: say in this big fight, you have 4 fighters attacking. You decide to send 2 after subs and 2 after the rest of the fleet. Now, let’s say the defender’s warships or planes gets a hit against one your fighters. Can you pick one of your sub attack fighters as a casualty or must it be one of the fighters engaged against other warships? Suppose the defender gets 3 hits, and you choose fighters, can one of those hits take out a sub attack fighter or do you have to choose a different unit of yours?


  • 2017 '16

    @knp7765:

    One thing I see as a problem is the different ways that planes can attack subs vs. how planes attack other warships or planes. You mentioned before that planes can attack subs by themselves @ 1 or with ASV @ 2, yet they attack all other warships and planes at normal values (fighter @ 3, tac & strat bombers @ 4).  🙂

    In somewhat limited engagements it probably won’t be a problem, but if you have a clash between two sizable fleets with a mixture of all types of vessels, it could get fairly complicated and perhaps a bit tedious. You would have to separate planes that are attacking subs from planes that are attacking other units.  🙂

    I understand the idea that the owner of the attacking planes has to decide what planes to commit to subs and what planes to commit to warships/other planes. 😉

    I guess I am wondering how you could take casualties.

    For example: say in this big fight, you have 4 fighters attacking. You decide to send 2 after subs and 2 after the rest of the fleet.

    Now, let’s say the defender’s warships or planes gets a hit against one your fighters.

    Can you pick one of your sub attack fighters as a casualty NO or must it be one of the fighters engaged against other warships? YES

    Suppose the defender gets 3 hits, and you choose fighters, can one of those hits take out a sub attack fighter NO or do you have to choose a different unit of yours? YES

    The system I used doesn’t create much problem.
    Anti-Sub Mission is played first until all rolls are resolved (1 roll for both sides usually).
    Then these planes go home.

    After, you play the other attack against warships and other enemy’s aircrafts.

    You treat the two groups as if they were in a different SZ.
    Subs cannot hide behind warships, neither warships behind subs.

    In your example, any overkill from either side doesn’t affect the other.

    As OOB, Subs have no SZ of control. After the warships battle, even if there is still some surviving defender’s Subs the remaining attacking ships can stay in the same SZ.

    On the reverse, if defender’s warships survived, any DD (and other ships) on AntiSub Mission must retreat 1 SZ from where they came because it was a SZ already controlled by enemy warships.

    This part of the nSWHR stay simple.
    It just needs to clearly understand the implications of this Subs groups treated separately from the other Naval units.

    For example, it implies that an attacker cannot throw 2 Subs and 2 Fighters in the same wave against 1DD, 1CV, 2Fgs.

    FIRST WAVE (Subs only)
    First, all Subs attack are rolled and concluded.
    Then the 2 Fgs will attack what remains of the preceding Subs battle, on the second wave.

    ROUND 1
    Let’s suppose Subs get 2 lucky First Round Sneak attack.
    Only DD will get a defence roll.
    The defender allocates 1 hit on CV and sunk DD.

    Both Subs can submerge even before DD fires back, if they do the Subs battle is over.
    If it is the case then CV is crippled and cannot land any plane on it.
    If the attacker see that there is no landing place for Fgs, he can decide to abort the 2 Fgs attack.
    So the result is 2 additional planes will be lost at sea and 1 CV is damaged.

    Let’s suppose both Subs remain for the second round and decide not to submerge & withdraw.
    DD roll his defence and sink a Sub.

    ROUND 2
    Sub get Surprise Strike since there is only 1 damaged CV at sea and no ASV such as DD.
    Sub miss, then all 3 units can have defence rolls: 1CV D2, 2Fgs D4.
    If Sub get a surprised hit on CV, then there is only 2 Figs D4 left to roll for defence.

    SECOND WAVE
    Once Subs battle done, attacker choose if he prefer or not to send the second wave of Warships and Aircrafts: the 2 Fgs in the example.


  • 2017 '16

    In the Original Post, some additional specific points written in red are covered to take account all Subs naval warfare situations vs Cruisers and vs Subs.
    Please read them and tell me if you see some issues or you think about other uncovered aspect.
    Thanks everybody,
    Baron.


  • 2017 '16

    I made a small but significant modification (written red) in the first post about Subs vs Battleship in 1942 version to increase balance toward the new Subs and for historical reason.

    Battleship in G40 and 1942 seems the same at first glance but are far more potent in 1942:
    BB A4D4M2C20, takes 2 hits, can bombard @4.

    In 1942, Battleship unit recover from damage after any attacking player’s turn. So, in a whole 5 players turn. They could recover up to 4 times from a battle.
    The owning Axis player’s attack turn and the 3 Allied attack turns.

    In G40, BB can only be repaired once in a whole turn, at the beginning of the owning player’s turn. In addition, you need to move it near a Naval Base before it can be repaired in another turn. So, in this case, it becomes fully operational only 2 turns after being damage.

    Compared to the 1942 BB immediate recovery in any Sea-Zone.
    G40 BB is clearly a much weaker unit.

    By the way, that’s another reason why I consider that BB cost for G40E should be put at 18 IPCs when Cruiser is put at 10 IPCs.

    In addition, all BattleCalc simulations show clearly that a balance battle between BB, CA, DD imply this ratio: 1 BB vs 1 CA+1 DD


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