Aircraft carriers are already the best defense for your buck, that would make them even more powerful. It would also make tanks almost useless. I for one would seldom buy tanks at 6 IPCs when I could instead have fighters at 8 with more range, more defense and the ability to attack and retreat rather than being stuck on the front line like mere fodder.
Fighters at 8 would be overpowered compared with other units. I like them at 10, it’s a good enough price that I usually buy a few every game. I even buy one or two for Russia.
talking about OOB Fighter, I think it is true that, at 8 IPCs, it seems a bit overpowered.
But, assuming a different mechanics for planes, making them very vulnerable against other planes instead of being protected by a pile of ground units,
do you think this could change your opinion? So having Fg at 8, TcB at 9 and StB at 10 IPCs can be working as the right cost and place?
For instance, let’s suppose these units are as OOB with their basic combat values
(Fighter Att 3 Def 4 / Tac Bomber Att 3-4 Def 3 / Strat Bomber Att 4 Def 1) except that:
Any Fighter, either attacking or defending, rolling a “1” or a “2” hits an enemy’s plane.
Any Tactical Bomber on offense or defense rolling a “1” hits an enemy’s plane.
Any Strategic Bomber, on offense only, rolling “1” hits an enemy’s plane.
Of course, SBR values will change accordingly:
Fighter (8 IPCs) : Attack 2 Defense 2 (or even D3 considering the bonuses below)
Tactical Bomber (9 IPCs): Attack 1 Defense 0 (since only Fighter can intercept. as OOB rules)
Strategic Bomber (10 IPCs): Attack 1 Defense 0 (since only Fighter can intercept, as OOB rules)
And it is possible to give Fighter an additional way of hitting other planes @3 without changing their maximum defense value @4:
Fighter as part of an extended Air Defense System
Extended Air Defense Bonus:
+1 Defense against enemy’s planes for up to 3 Fighters when linked to a single AAA unit.
Air Base Defense Bonus:
+1 Defense against enemy’s planes for all Fighter units if protecting a territory with an operational Air Base, also
+1 Defense against enemy’s planes to up to 3 scrambled Fighters from an operational Air Base.
This simply means that a Fighter unit still defend @4 but, under specified conditions above, a roll of “3” or less will means that an opponent’s Air unit must be taken as casualty.
So, in other circumstances, Fighter units will attack @3, defend @4 and will hit Air units with “2” or less.
Do you find that giving special values to “1” and “2” rolls is still too much alien to Axis and Allies mechanics?
It is also easy to think about a special Air Supremacy rule for Tactical Bomber units:
Air Supremacy Bonus Tactical Bomber as a “Dive Bomber”:
if no enemy’s aircraft present, on a “1” rolled TacB’s owner can pick a Tank unit as casualty, or any other ground unit if no Tank present.
For my part, I would like that a Tactical Bomber could also get @4 on defense when paired to a Fg (or a Tank).
In itself, TcB would not be better than Fighter, but with an appropriate escort, it should be able to be as destructive on defense as it is on offense.
Air retreat Option:
Only attacker can retreat his planes while continuing combat with ground units.
With these features Tank will still be helpful for TacB combined arms and for leading ground assaults when defending aircrafts hitted too hard on attacking planes that they need to retreat before total anhilation.
Above, is partly inspired by Wild Bill:
Do you agree with Wild Bill statements? Or the cost redux is a good counter-weight against too heavy air attrition and some issues he forsees?
Dog fights would be cool, but very costly especially at full values (just think of how dog fights have cut down SBR and it uses lower values). As you said you could force air to air combat to knock out your opponents defending planes. The flying tiger was a good example, but would still get destroyed even if there was ground units involved because Japan could overwhelm it, in even a one round dog fight. China needs the final battle to go several rounds so the tiger can roll 2-3-4 times to take out some Japanese ground units.
The battle for Moscow would be another major blow to the defender. Imagine a 1-2 punch with Japan or Italy forcing the Russian/allied fighters to a dual to weaken the overall defense of the Russian capital, then the Germans hammer the ground units. The ground game is balanced partially on having defending fighters rolling higher, and surviving till the end. If you allow the attacker to call those defending planes out into a dog fight, you have taken away what was a defensive advantage and given a huge advantage to the attacker IMO.
With that said, I agree with you that it is silly for the fighters to be the last unit standing in a ground battle and you can’t call them out to some degree. We have tinkered with some stuff in the past. One of those house rules were to have the ground battles as normal, but if a fighter or tac rolled a 1 (attacker or def) that casualty had to be applied to an air unit. If no air on the other side, then to a tank and so on (higher ranking units). In sea battles it was similar (1’s rolled by ftr/tac applied to air units, then to capital ships etc.) That way some of your air hits went to something other then infantry or destroyers. I will say in sea battles sometimes you would rather take out a destroyer then air (scrambles or subs involved) so it could back fire if you use this at sea. We have also just allowed the person who rolled the “1” with an air unit to choose the opponents casualties (targeting). As an option you could allow attacking strat bmrs that roll a 1 to choose causalities as well. We have also at times given defending carriers AA defense at sea allowing them to roll as normal each round, but if they hit (2 or less) it goes to attacking air units.
I’m not saying that I’m against some kind of air combat, but I think something would have to change in the game mechanics to incorporate a full fledged dog fight. I would also be interested in Larry’s view on this subject, and some of his own house rules or test runs involving air. I know that initially the tac bomber was given target capabilities (but that was scrapped).