Creating a historically accurate WWII game


  • I’ve been working on a rules set for a historically accurate WWII game.

    Industrial Production
    During WWII, military aircraft production was a reasonably good proxy for overall military production. In my rules set, each nation’s beginning industrial production is correlated with the number of military aircraft it produced in 1942. This rules set also gives nations the ability to build up their economies. The maximum military output they can attain is correlated to the military aircraft production they achieved in 1944.

    Are the 1944 numbers good upper limits? Or is there a reason for me to believe that one or more participants had a significantly higher ceiling on its military production potential than indicated by the military aircraft they produced in '44?

    Technology
    To purchase new units other than infantry, you use production units (PUs). To purchase almost everything else (technology, industrial upgrades, rail network upgrades, nuclear upgrades) you use economic units (EUs). Each turn, you can choose to spend either zero or three EUs on any given technological category. If you spend 3 EUs, your technological level in that category advances. You advance by two points if you’re poor in that area, three if you’re fair, four if you’re good, and seven if you’re excellent. Advancing in tanks technology, for example, allows you to build tanks that give you more bang for your buck. Technological advancement is an absolutely essential part of this rules set. A unit which was perfectly good at the beginning of the game will become progressively more obsolete as the game moves forward.

    During WWII, technology advanced very quickly for military aircraft; but also advanced at a pretty decent pace for tanks, artillery (proximity fuses), and even naval units. The hard part is deciding each nation’s technological strengths and weaknesses. Below is a partial summary:

    Single engine piston aircraft: America, Britain, the U.S.S.R., and Germany are each “good.” Japan is fair, and China poor.
    Strategic bombers: the U.K. and the U.S. are good, Germany, Japan, and the U.S.S.R. are fair, and China is poor.
    Jets: Germany is excellent, Britain is good, the U.S., Japan, and the U.S.S.R. are fair, and China is poor.
    Artillery: The U.S. and Britain are excellent, Germany is good, the U.S.S.R. and Japan are fair, China is poor.
    Tanks: Germany is excellent, Britain is good, the U.S., U.S.S.R., and Japan are fair, and China is poor.

    Do these things seem reasonable to people? Or should I make changes? For example: in 1941, the Soviet Union possessed the world’s best tank design (the T-34). (Thus indicating a high level of starting tank technology.) But by 1944, the T-34 was starting to get a little long in the tooth. Even the modified version (the T-34-85) was not nearly as good as a Panther. What are people’s thoughts and feelings about the T-44 and T-54? What about the E-Series tanks Germany was designing late in the war?

    Game Balance
    The Allies had significant advantages in military production and available manpower. In my rules set, infantry cost manpower points (MPs); and I’ve given the Allies a lot more MPs than the Axis. In replicating these historical advantages for the Allies, I may also have creates a game which will consistently replicate the historical outcome of WWII. What offsetting advantages can I give the Axis that are at least historically plausible?

    Return to the Forum
    The reason I’m returning to the forum after my long absence is because of a change in the composition of the list moderators.

    Relevance to Forum
    My rules set represents an intersection between WWII history and board game mechanics. Please try to keep most of the focus on the WWII history side of that equation, so as to remain relevant to the focus of the forum. Thanks.


  • @ShadowHAwk:

    Well i think you are making the game more complex then it really should be. Even to the point of it being unplayable.
    Also you rate the technology based on what the real life countries did in terms of tech. What if japan did spend resources on their fighter aircraft would be remain better then the allied fighters?

    For instance at the start of the war japan had fighter aircraft that where better then anything else in the pacific. Yes the zero just owned everything the US and UK had. But you rate them as poor?

    What really set the countries apart was their different approach to doing things.
    For instance UK had armored flight decks on their carriers, they could take more damage but carried less planes.
    Germany had their tanks in armored corps, while individual the tanks where worst then french of UK tanks they where grouped and had verry good communication and coordination.
    The japanese zero had a longer range but less armor which it compensated for with better agility.
    Japan had torpedo’s on their cruisers making them more deadly vs battleships and cruisers.
    US had radar on their capital ships making their battleships more effective during night encounters and the CAP of the carriers more effective.

    To put into perspective all the different minor technical advantages and disadvantages would make a verry complex game.
    I would skip the national advantages on research and dont give anyone a bonus, but make it so you can spend some of the research on other projects as well making it more historic really if germany would have spend more on research they could have had the A-bomb before the US did ( lucky hitler was not that smart ).
    Just if you spend some resources on improving your fighters they get better at the same rate as everybody else does.

    The manpower thing might be usefull but still you still need to equip those people and feed them at the front. Russia only has 1 rifle for each 2 soldiers for some time, sure they had more troops but the quality was way lower. Also more manpower results in more production because factories still require people to do their thing.

    Well i think you are making the game more complex then it really should be. Even to the point of it being unplayable.

    When you’re designing a rules set, one good idea or added feature is great. A hundred such ideas are terrible; because implementing all 100 will break the rules set. I’ve had to make some difficult decisions about which good ideas to include and which to exclude. To the extent that I include extras which increase both depth and complexity, I want them to be concentrated at the macro level. No sense in getting all complex over ticky tack stuff.

    For instance at the start of the war japan had fighter aircraft that where better then anything else in the pacific.

    Your description of Japanese planes is accurate. Early in the war, Japan made its planes as light and fast as possible. As you pointed out, this resulted in planes which were faster and longer-ranged than their American counterparts; and were surprisingly maneuverable. American planes were weighed down by armor and self-sealing fuel tanks. If you did hit a Japanese plane, you stood an excellent chance of killing the pilot and/or destroying the plane. But overall, Japanese planes were better than their American counterparts.

    But the U.S. progressively improved the piston engines for its aircraft. The Zero was a great plane by the standards of 1941. By 1944 it was obsolete. American planes had become faster than their Japanese counterparts; while also remaining much more likely to survive if they took damage. The advantages of the Zero and Kate in 1941 could be indicated by a slightly higher starting level of piston aircraft technology for Japan; while the fact that America pulled ahead could be indicated by making America better at piston aircraft research than Japan.

    For instance UK had armored flight decks on their carriers, they could take more damage but carried less planes.

    The UK can do exactly this in my rules set. When designing new units, you use design points. So the UK player could choose to use some of those design points on increasing his carriers’ hitpoints; whereas the American player might instead choose to use those same points on increasing his carriers’ aircraft carrying capacity. The higher your technological level in, say, carriers, the more design points you can use when creating a new carrier design.

    To put into perspective all the different minor technical advantages and disadvantages would make a verry complex game.

    For the most part, my research system isn’t as complex as it might initially seem. Nearly every one of my research categories are directly related to specific units or categories of units. The only two exceptions are rocket technology and nuclear technology.

    I would skip the national advantages on research and dont give anyone a bonus

    If I do that, the Axis will lose. With all the industrial strength and manpower I’ve given to the Allies, game balance absolutely requires Germany to have a mid- and late-game technological edge.

    Japan had torpedo’s on their cruisers making them more deadly vs battleships and cruisers.

    This is true. I’ve given Japan a special national advantage to acknowledge this. Upgrading the naval combat value of its subs, destroyers, and cruisers costs fewer design points than normal.


  • Russia only has 1 rifle for each 2 soldiers for some time, sure they had more troops but the quality was way lower.

    Granted. My rules set acknowledges this as well. Soviet infantry have fewer hitpoints and less firepower than their German counterparts. That helps balance out the Soviets’ overwhelming advantage in manpower.

    I should also clarify how technology works. Any given nation starts off with pre-made unit designs. For example, Japan starts off with tanks level 10 technology; allowing it to build a basic light tank. Suppose after several turns of research that it has increased its tanks tech to level 16. Now it can build a more advanced tank design. The light tank chassis itself consumes 10 design points; leaving 6 points for Japan to play with. It costs 5 design points to add a hitpoint to a tank design. So Japan might want to use 5 design points on that; leaving it with one point with which to upgrade its tanks’ land combat value. Or it could use all six design points on land combat value; making its tanks into glass cannons.

    Once Japan creates a new tank design, it can begin producing it at its factories. This new design won’t cost any more to produce than the old one did. However, the new design does not cause an upgrade in any of Japan’s previously built tanks. For a time, Japan’s tank force will consist of obsolete older tanks (10 design points) and more modern 16 design point tanks. There is a limit to the number of tank designs you can have in deployment at any one time. If you’ve reached that limit and want to design a new tank, you need to scrap an older design (and the tanks associated with that design). You receive 50% of the purchase price for any units you scrap.


  • I’ve been working on a rules set for a historically accurate WWII game.

    Just make a movie?


  • @ShadowHAwk:

    What i ment with the research bonus is that you start of at point X which can be different for each country but if you spend research you go up at the same rate everybody else does.

    Maby allow players to upgrade their existing units to the new design would work as well.
    So you have your Mark 1 tank, you bring it to a factory and you upgrade it for a small fee to a Mark 2 tank.
    Or just allow to upgrade all existing units at once for a fee, that would make combat much easier as you dont have to work with a load of different units, also makes the board easier to manage.

    A German general (addressing the Americans): “One of our tanks is worth ten of yours. Unfortunately, you always have eleven.”

    In 1942, military aircraft production was as follows: Germany: 15,000, USSR: 25,000, UK: 24,000, Japan: 9,000, US: 48,000
    In 1944, those numbers changed to the following: Germany: 41,000, USSR: 40,000, UK: 25,000, Japan: 28,000, US: 96,000

    The best jet during the Korean War was America’s F-86 Sabre. The Sabre was basically a knockoff of the Me262, except with better engines. The Me262 was one of Germany’s best first generation jets. German engineers were in the process of designing much more advanced second generation jets when the war ended. The jets America and Britain had used during WWII–such as the Meteor–proved obsolete during the Korean War. (These were much less aerodynamically advanced than the Me262, the Sabre, or the MiG.)

    The prewar population of Germany was 69 million. The Soviet Union’s prewar population was 169 million. German soldiers normally achieved a 3:1 exchange rate in engagements with the Soviets.

    My rules set seeks to acknowledge all of this. The Allie’s 4:1 advantage in industrial production at the beginning of the war. Their 2:1 advantage in 1944. Their overwhelming advantage in manpower. The qualitative edge German infantry had over their Soviet counterparts; and that Japanese infantry had over more numerous Chinese infantry. America’s advantages in nuclear research, aircraft carrier design, and proximity fuses. Germany’s advantages in tank design, sub design, jet research, and rocketry. Japan’s long-ranged torpedoes and very large battleships. Britain’s advantages in proximity fuses, radar and sonar and code-breaking.

    Overall, the inclusion of these technological advantages helps the Axis. Partly this is because I interpreted technology in an Axis-friendly way, to help balance out the Allies’ overwhelming advantage in quantity. But it’s also the case that late-war Germany had more advanced military technology than its Allied counterparts; at least in most areas. If I’m going to acknowledge the Allies’ advantage in quantity, game balance requires me to also acknowledge this technological edge.

  • Customizer

    @Kurt:

    Do you use or have you considered using HBG’s units for some of your ideas? I like a lot of what your ideas. I have an extensive collection of A&A scale gaming minis for the exact type of house rule ideas.


  • @toblerone77:

    @Kurt:

    Do you use or have you considered using HBG’s units for some of your ideas? I like a lot of what your ideas. I have an extensive collection of A&A scale gaming minis for the exact type of house rule ideas.

    I own two copies of Classic, two of Revised, one of Anniversary Edition, one of the first Europe map; one of the first Japan map. Lots of money invested into these games! But it’s been years since I’ve used any of them because I haven’t been able to find in-person opponents. (Except for five years ago or so; when I went to some tournaments.)

    While at one of those tournaments, someone mentioned TripleA to me. I’m normally able to find an opponent within half an hour of logging on; and can surf the web while I wait. I’d envisioned my rules set being implemented on a TripleA-like engine; not necessarily being used for in-person board games.

    That said, if you have physical gaming pieces which would work with these rules; and more importantly a group of local people willing to play, then that would be perfect!

    If the game is to be played physically, some modifications might be in order. ShadowHawk’s concept of allowing all units to be upgraded at the same time (for a per-unit fee) is worth considering. (It’s much easier to have a computer keep track of different unit types, each with their own stats, than to have humans do that.)

    To simplify the rules set further, you could eliminate rail networks, oil, and nuclear weapons. You’d lose some depth and richness there, but some things aren’t worth keeping track of if everything is being tracked manually. You could also (potentially) get rid of the distinction between land, naval, and air production centers; and just use the generic concept of production centers. Even with all that, there are still some things you’d have to keep track of.

    Land technology: infantry, artillery, blockhouses, tanks
    Naval technology: conventional surface ships, carriers, undersea
    Air technology: single engine piston aircraft, strategic bombers, jets
    Other: rockets

    You could keep track of all of the above with an 8.5x11 sheet of paper. There would be a column along the left side listing each of the above technologies. In a row along the top, each major nation would be listed. Then, in the Japan/infantry square, for example, there would be a Japan symbol; with the chips under the symbol indicating Japan’s current level of infantry technology.

    You would also have to keep track of each nation’s unit designs. That’s the tricky part, but still can be done. Each nation would have its own sheet of paper. In a column along the left would be listed various weapons types: infantry, submarines, fighters, dive bombers, torpedo bombers, etc. Along the top would be listed various attributes: hitpoints, land combat value, naval combat value, air combat value, anti-sub combat value, strategic bombing combat value, and cost. The number of chips on each attribute would indicate its value.

    There is a need for one last sheet of paper: nation-specific technologies. Each nation need not have its own sheet: one sheet could be used for the whole game. Each nation-specific custom technology could be listed by name; together with a square next to it. Once the nation in question researched that tech, its symbol would be placed in the square.


  • When it comes to designing war games there are two ends of the spectrum:

    Funism<–------------------------------------------------------------------------------>Realism

    The closer you stay towards Funism, the simpler the rules are.  The further you move towards Realism, the worse your headache is after reading the manual.  True playability lies somewhere in between but I tend to gravitate towards Funism.


  • @KurtGodel7:

    A German general (addressing the Americans): “One of our tanks is worth ten of yours. Unfortunately, you always have eleven.”

    Wasn’t the exchange rate more like one for three or less?  The Germans were producing a superior, heavier and more complicated tank that was more difficult to supply and maintain.  By comparison the U.S. was master of production, training, and team tactics.  So from what I’ve read the U.S. tactic was to upgun one Sherman with a main gun that could penetrate the thicker German armour, then send out several more lightly gunned tanks to draw fire, allowing the tank killer to deliver the knockout blow when the German heavy tank revealed itself.  And the U.S. design was upgraded to make it more difficult for a penetrating hit on a Sherman to actually knock the tank out–improved ammunition storage.

    The best jet during the Korean War was America’s F-86 Sabre. The Sabre was basically a knockoff of the Me262, except with better engines. The Me262 was one of Germany’s best first generation jets. German engineers were in the process of designing much more advanced second generation jets when the war ended.

    Gotta question this conclusion.  The Sabre had both pro’s and cons, but it was a single-engine aircraft while the Schwalbe had two wing-mounted engines.  The Me262 was not a dogfighter, it was a bomber killer with very heavy armanent to accomplish the task.  The F-86 had nearly twice as much wing sweep as the 262–although this was the result of evaluating the German tests of greater wing sweep.  American designs liked 50 caliber MG’s in large numbers…

    For dogfighting sims I prefer the Mig 15, which uses a Soviet copy of the British Rolls-Royce Nene engine.  The bis is even better.  (The Sabre’s are more forgiving at the edge of the envelope.)  However, the Mig 15’s suffered from the same limitation as the 262 in having low speed/high caliber cannon that suited them well for bomber intercepts, but required closer ranges for dogfighting kills where the firing rate was low as well as the velocity.  Unlike the fragile 262 engines, the Mig engine was durable…taking a lot of damage and still returning its pilots to base.  The average 262 powerplant only lasted a handful of service hours–a good thing they had two of them.

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    @Red:

    @KurtGodel7:

    A German general (addressing the Americans): “One of our tanks is worth ten of yours. Unfortunately, you always have eleven.”

    Wasn’t the exchange rate more like one for three or less?Â

    As I recall, the exchange ratio in Sherman / Panther engagements was about 4-to-1.  The Sherman, for all of its defects, was a good tank from an automotive point of view (a result of its Detroit auto industry origins), so Shermans often tried to use their superior mobility and superior numbers to scoot behind German tanks and hit their weaker rear armour.  One of the Panther’s supposed advantages – its high velocity main gun – sometimes worked against it: the barrel was so long that it was tricky to train the turret on forested ground.

  • Customizer

    @CWO:

    @Red:

    @KurtGodel7:

    A German general (addressing the Americans): “One of our tanks is worth ten of yours. Unfortunately, you always have eleven.”

    Wasn’t the exchange rate more like one for three or less?�Â

    As I recall, the exchange ratio in Sherman / Panther engagements was about 4-to-1.  The Sherman, for all of its defects, was a good tank from an automotive point of view (a result of its Detroit auto industry origins), so Shermans often tried to use their superior mobility and superior numbers to scoot behind German tanks and hit their weaker rear armour.  One of the Panther’s supposed advantages – its high velocity main gun – sometimes worked against it: the barrel was so long that it was tricky to train the turret on forested ground.

    I might add that US tank warfare doctrine relied upon tank destroyers to supplement their tanks significantly. The early war theory that medium tanks like the Sherman would support infantry and coordinate with the TDs to combat enemy armor.

    The Sherman was a good tank and with a heavier gun earlier in the war might have been even better when combined with the number of them built.


  • Moving back toward the topic of historical accuracy in terms of technological strengths:  it is useful to break things into eras as well.  And there are various other aspects to consider.

    Some examples are:
    1.  The IJN’s torpedoes were far superior to allied torpedoes, with much greater range/speed IIRC.  This was a key consideration in surface combat as the IJN cruisers participated in naval torpedo attack as well as the destroyers.  This was an integral part of IJN battle plans. 
    2.  The USN’s torpedoes had defective detonators for the first year or more (I did a thread on this some time ago, think it got moved to house rules.)  The fish also ran at the wrong depth (location of the sensor tap was poorly chosen.)  Very few of the early war USN submarine-fired torpedoes actually detonated or detonated at the intended location.  This wasn’t the fault of the sub-captains, many of the shots were textbook perfect.  Things changed when the torpedoes were fixed.
    3.  Early in the war the IJN’s training and preparation for night action gave them a tremendous advantage, esp. coupled with a superb torpedo.
    4.  Midway through the Pacific war Allied radar flipped the night time advantage back to the Allies.  It only got worse for Japan as the war went on. 
    5.  The Italian navy lacked functional radar early in the war (maybe throughout?) and this brought about the doom of a number of Italian vessels in night actions. 
    6.  The US and UK had a good training pipeline for replacing pilot losses, as well as minimizing their actual combat losses.  The USSR and Japan tended to use light aircraft that were good dogfighters, but not able to take much punishment.  Often the Japanese pilots weren’t even wearing/using parachutes early in the war.  The Japanese soon ran short of trained pilots and had no system in place to train the number of required replacements.
    7.  The USSR had negligible strategic bombing capability and little reason to develop it since it was engaged in a struggle of survival deep within its own borders.  On the other hand, the Russians had perhaps the best ground attack aircraft of the war in the form of the IL-2.

    I notice tactical bombers were not in the discussion, but these are tricky to quantify since the range or roles was so wide.

    When it comes to comparitive tech for aircraft I would rank Japan at the same level as the Allies at the start of the Pacific War.  They had many weaknesses, but they also had strengths such as range and elite pilots.  Japan’s aircraft tech did not advance rapidly enough.

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    @Red:

    Moving back toward the topic of historical accuracy in terms of technological strengths:  it is useful to break things into eras as well.  And there are various other aspects to consider.

    Yes, those are good points you mention.  The early-war torpedo contrast between the IJN and the USN could not have been more dramatic, with the USN having a large percentage of duds and the IJN having the best heavyweight torpedo in the world, the oxygen-fuelled Long Lance.

    A supplemental point related to item 6 of your list is that the Japanese had a fairly cavalier attitude towards rescuing downed pilots, in contrast with the Americans who devoted a lot of effort to search-and-rescue operations.  The USN recognized that this was not only good for morale, but also that it was a good investment to recover trained pilots and send them back into combat.


  • @Red:

    Moving back toward the topic of historical accuracy in terms of technological strengths:  it is useful to break things into eras as well.  And there are various other aspects to consider.

    Some examples are:
    1.  The IJN’s torpedoes were far superior to allied torpedoes, with much greater range/speed IIRC.  This was a key consideration in surface combat as the IJN cruisers participated in naval torpedo attack as well as the destroyers.  This was an integral part of IJN battle plans. 
    2.  The USN’s torpedoes had defective detonators for the first year or more (I did a thread on this some time ago, think it got moved to house rules.)  The fish also ran at the wrong depth (location of the sensor tap was poorly chosen.)  Very few of the early war USN submarine-fired torpedoes actually detonated or detonated at the intended location.  This wasn’t the fault of the sub-captains, many of the shots were textbook perfect.  Things changed when the torpedoes were fixed.
    3.  Early in the war the IJN’s training and preparation for night action gave them a tremendous advantage, esp. coupled with a superb torpedo.
    4.  Midway through the Pacific war Allied radar flipped the night time advantage back to the Allies.  It only got worse for Japan as the war went on. 
    5.  The Italian navy lacked functional radar early in the war (maybe throughout?) and this brought about the doom of a number of Italian vessels in night actions.   
    6.  The US and UK had a good training pipeline for replacing pilot losses, as well as minimizing their actual combat losses.  The USSR and Japan tended to use light aircraft that were good dogfighters, but not able to take much punishment.  Often the Japanese pilots weren’t even wearing/using parachutes early in the war.  The Japanese soon ran short of trained pilots and had no system in place to train the number of required replacements.
    7.  The USSR had negligible strategic bombing capability and little reason to develop it since it was engaged in a struggle of survival deep within its own borders.  On the other hand, the Russians had perhaps the best ground attack aircraft of the war in the form of the IL-2.

    I notice tactical bombers were not in the discussion, but these are tricky to quantify since the range or roles was so wide.

    When it comes to comparitive tech for aircraft I would rank Japan at the same level as the Allies at the start of the Pacific War.  They had many weaknesses, but they also had strengths such as range and elite pilots.  Japan’s aircraft tech did not advance rapidly enough.

    Good post, and very informative.

    The IL 2 was ridiculously difficult to shoot down because of all that armor. However, its ordinance load was light; also because of the armor. To take all this into account, the Soviets’ starting dive bomber design will have more hit points than other nations’, but a lower land combat value.

    On another matter, people from the 1700s would often extol the virtues of bows and arrows over gunfire. A Native American brave could fire several arrows in the time it took to reload a musket just once. The arrows were quiet; as opposed to the noisy bang which revealed the presence of the gunner. The big cloud of smoke would help his enemies localize him further. An archer in a forest could reammunition with locally available materials. Muskets were useless if the gun power got wet. In many ways the bow and arrow was a superior weapon to early guns; at least against unarmored targets.

    But if a 1700s era gun is your starting point, you can gradually improve on it. Rifle the barrel to increase range. Put bullet + gunpowder together in the same jacket to reduce reload time. Eventually, you’ll have machine guns and assault rifles; whereas the other guy will still be using bows and arrows. At that point, the outcome will be decided.

    In 1941, Japanese planes were in many ways better than their American counterparts. They were faster and longer ranged. But American planes has things Japanese planes lacked: self-sealing fuel tanks, armor, etc. I’d argue that the American planes represented early versions of a new style of plane design; whereas Japanese planes were very good aircraft using that older style. If, from '41 - '44, American aircraft technology seemed to advance faster than Japan’s, it was because the Japanese aircraft of '41 represented a much worse starting point for technological advancement than did American aircraft. Not as extreme as the guns versus bow and arrow example to be sure, but still a significant difference.


  • I’d also like to address the subject of tanks. My rules set recognizes four categories of tanks:
    Light tanks (15 tons). Examples include the tanks the Germans used in '39; as well as the tanks the Italians and Japanese used thought the war.
    Medium tanks (25 tons). Examples include the Sherman, the T-34, etc.
    Battle tanks (50 tons). Examples include the Panther, the Tiger 1, and the Pershing.
    Heavy tanks (75 tons). Examples include the Tiger 2 and the E-75.

    Nations with low levels of tank technology will only be able to build light tanks. As they continue to research, their light tanks will get more advanced. Then they’ll gain the ability to build more expensive medium tanks, but won’t yet have the tech to take full advantage of the medium tank chassis. As their tank tech continues to advance, it will eventually be in their interest to switch to a medium tank design. Later they’ll want to move to battle tanks, assuming the game lasts that long. The final step in this process is migration to heavy tanks; a step most nations are unlikely to ever reach.

    Most of the time, nations will be best off picking some less than maximum tank chassis–such as medium tanks–and doing only enough research to max out that chassis. That approach will free up EUs to use on other technologies, or on industrialization.

  • Customizer

    @Kurt

    Ben Franklin at one point advocated arming the Continental Army’s troops with the bow and arrow for the exact reasons you cited.

    Even the USN’s F4F and thier pilots were able to adapt through technique and exploiting some of the weaknesses of the Zero. One strategy was to charge directly toward the Zero with heavy bursts exploiting the more fragile design of the Zero. Another was the “weave”  where two fighters would weave thier flight path to force the Japanese pilot to choose one aircraft or the other. One would run while the other chased.

    Good post!


  • @toblerone77:

    @Kurt

    Ben Franklin at one point advocated arming the Continental Army’s troops with the bow and arrow for the exact reasons you cited.

    Even the USN’s F4F and thier pilots were able to adapt through technique and exploiting some of the weaknesses of the Zero. One strategy was to charge directly toward the Zero with heavy bursts exploiting the more fragile design of the Zero. Another was the “weave”  where two fighters would weave thier flight path to force the Japanese pilot to choose one aircraft or the other. One would run while the other chased.

    Good post!

    Thanks. And I agree with your meta-message. Namely, that military personnel can use good tactics to exploit the advantages of their equipment while capitalizing on the disadvantages of their enemies’ equipment. Your description of American pilots’ early war tactics is a good example of that.

    I’d like to turn the subject back to tanks. To max out the heavy tank design, you’d need 130 design points. (That is, you’d need to research tanks level 130.) Suppose China were to try to do that. China starts out with tanks tech level 0. It has three home cities, which means it gets 3 EUs a turn. It is poor in tank research. A decision to spend 3 EUs a turn on tank research will cause its tank tech to go up by 2 points a turn. At that rate, it would take 65 turns of throwing all its EUs into tank research for China to be able to max out heavy tanks. This is probably not a realistic goal for the Chinese player to have. On the other hand, once China gets to tanks level 10 (5 turns of research), it could build light tanks. With an additional three turns of research, its light tanks could be maxed out.

    On the other hand, Germany is excellent at tank research; which means that each time it spends 3 EUs on tank research, its tanks tech goes up by 7. Once Germany researches Wunderwaffen tech, then instead of spending 3 EUs for one block of research, it will spend 5 EUs on two blocks. In terms of tanks research, that means that instead of spending 3 EUs per turn to go up by 7 design points per turn, it would spend 5 EUs per turn to go up by 14 design points per turn. Germany starts at tanks level 20; so it would only need 8 turns to research fully maxed-out heavy tanks. This is an achievable goal.

    The other nations in the game are somewhere between those two extremes. With the possible exception of Japan, maxed out medium tanks represents an achievable goal for each nation in this game. Britain is good at tanks research; which means that each instance of tanks research causes its tanks tech level to increase by 4 points. It would take Britain 13 turns to research the tech needed for fully maxed out battle tanks. This goal is achievable assuming a longer game, and assuming a British player grimly determined to pour EUs into tank research each and every turn. The U.S. and U.S.S.R. might be better served contenting themselves with medium tanks; exactly as those two nations did in the real war.


  • Perhaps the greatest A&A gameplay weakness is that tanks and aircraft don’t take attrition losses.  Historically, even very successful attacks severely depleted these forces.  Examples would be heavy losses in Poland and France as well as pilot/aircraft losses in several of the major early war IJN/USN encounters.

    Aircraft were particularly prone to heavy attrition just operating.  And they were easy to target in suprise attacks at the outbreak of war.  But since the game allows them to be chosen last they don’t attrit.  Plus they can be held away from the front.  This is why the USSR’s air force is almost completely absent in the initial placement.


  • Personally, this forum has become a bit to educational for me  😐

    Anyways, i LOVE overly complex board war games. Means there’s less for me to complain about.

    The only thing i can add here is to make a list of all the things i would like to see.

    Supply routes (via trucks, trains, etc) (as well as different types of supply, bullets/food etc)

    Technology (Infantry, Artillery, Tanks, Theory, Industry, Air, Naval etc)

    Attrition stack penalty (massive armies controlled by a single general were pretty damn unwieldy in WWII)

    Generals/commanders

    Theaters

    Resources of all sorts (oil, materials, man power)

    Terrain

    Structures of all sorts (oil refinery, Heavy industries, Cities, fortifications, Coastal battery’s)

    Lots of units (and some way of making playing to purchase 30 different units instead of 30 Infantry)

    Territory of equal size (or hexes), Its really annoying that its faster to get from Japan to Moscow than from Paris. Its also annoying that getting to the same location, is sometimes faster by going around than directly towards it.

    That’s about it, except for 2 thing.

    The biggest problem about starting a powerful, in-depth game like this early means you can NEVER have a historical game. You can have a historical starting setup. You can encourage players to do historical things. But there’s nothing you can do to FORCE them to do this.

    And it get worse, If you force every nation to side with the side they were on historically, then its historic. Yes.
    But then it ruins the fact that your trying to make a complicated, in-depth game. A good game would allow (no matter how unlikely) ANYTHING to happen. (Cough America joins the Axis Cough)


  • @Red:

    Perhaps the greatest A&A gameplay weakness is that tanks and aircraft don’t take attrition losses.  Historically, even very successful attacks severely depleted these forces.  Examples would be heavy losses in Poland and France as well as pilot/aircraft losses in several of the major early war IJN/USN encounters.

    Aircraft were particularly prone to heavy attrition just operating.  And they were easy to target in suprise attacks at the outbreak of war.  But since the game allows them to be chosen last they don’t attrit.  Plus they can be held away from the front.  This is why the USSR’s air force is almost completely absent in the initial placement.

    Perhaps the greatest A&A gameplay weakness is that tanks and aircraft don’t take attrition losses.

    They do in my rules set!  8-) Every round of ground or naval combat begins with the dogfight phase. In the dogfight phase, all units present fire at their air combat values. Any hits you receive must be applied to air units. Once you have applied a single anti-air hit to one of your air units, you must apply additional hits to that same unit until it’s dead, or until combat ends. (The same is true if you apply an anti-land hit to one of your land units, an anti-naval hit to one of your ships, or an anti-sub hit to one of your submarines.)

    There are other ways aircraft can be destroyed as well. In strategic bombing raids, there is one round of dogfight phase, followed by strategic bombers attacking their targets using their strategic bombing values. Strategic bombing raids do permanent damage. For every ten points of damage a production facility experiences in a strategic bombing raid, it is reduced by one level. While nations receive some money from territory income, most of their late game production will come from production facilities. A sufficiently powerful strategic bombing offensive can destroy all those facilities; as well as the underlying cities in which they would exist. The correct defense against a strategic bombing offensive is to build air superiority planes; such as piston fighters or jet fighters.

    There is a second way of defending oneself from strategic bombing raids: airfield attacks. To initiate an airfield attack, send your planes to a space with enemy aircraft, and declare an airfield attack. There will be two rounds of dogfight phase. Any of your planes which survived that dogfight may launch one attack against enemy aircraft, using their land combat values.

  • '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Red:

    Perhaps the greatest A&A gameplay weakness is that tanks and aircraft don’t take attrition losses.  […] Aircraft were particularly prone to heavy attrition just operating.

    Yes, and tanks have attrition problems too when they do a lot of long-distance marching.  Ideally, long- and medium-range tank movement (menaing at the strategic and operational scales) is done by ship (if applicable) and by rail, with tanks moving on their own over short (tactical-scale) ranges.  Tanks and othe tracked vehicles are high-maintenance beasts, and the further they travel on their own the more they’ll start breaking down.  It’s the concept of “mean time between failures”, but in this case with distance rather than time being the variable.

  • '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @rjpeters70:

    But, would their kill rate have been higher had they been trained to use bows and arrows?  Similar range and accuracy (or better, if you knew what you were doing with them), but far quicker to load (around 5 seconds).Â

    The “if you knew what you were doing” point you mention is important because experience needs to be considered.  The English longbow is a good illustrative example: it took a lot of training and strength to use it at its maximum potential.  If I recall correctly, some of the skeletons recoved from the Mary Rose were identifiable as longbowmen because the sideways-twisted stance used by archers when firing affected their spines over the course of their careers.

    Another historical instance of technological imbalance was the introduction of firearms in Shogun-era Japan.  Samurai who learned their craft – the handling of swords and of bows – over a lifetime found themselves being shot down by musket-equiped armies consisting of ordinary peasants who could been trained in relatively little time to use the newfangled firearms.  The samurai class eventually contrived to take control of – and eliminate – the firearms trade in order to save themselves from: a) battlefield obsolescence, and b) the humiliation of being killed by their social inferiors.

  • Customizer

    @rjpeters70:

    Fair points, but if you’re firing from a fixed position that offers concealment, and are trying to kill masses of forces moving hundreds of yards over open terrain, wouldn’t you want to get off several volleys before they hit the walls?

    In that sense, wave after wave of mass arrows might have done the trick.

    Note:  I’m not offering that warfare itself should have stuck with bows and arrows until the advent of the repeating rifle.  I’m wondering about a specific battle.

    If we’re talking spacifics though a musket would be easier to fire from concealment.  The stance one would need to take to launch thier arrow with skill and effectiveness would expose them considerably toenemy fire. One can stay lower behind a wall, rampart, or window while reloading and firing  a musket.
    An archer must be in an in an exposed stance to launch thier arrow accurately and achieve range.

    Consider the differece of firing an arrow vs.a musket through an arrow loop. An archer had to stand several feet back from the arrow-loop and was firing somewhat blind through a narrow slot in a wall. One could fire a musket while  looking directly through  an opening in the wall because the barrel could be exposed through the opening or extend over battlements and still offer concealment to the operator.

    With all that said, firing arrows in volleys over the walls at a steep angle in mass formations would provide a rapid rain of arrows at shorter range as Mexican formations approached the walls. So I guess a combination of skilled archers and marksmen might have changed the outcome of the Battle of the Alamo.


  • @rjpeters70:

    Interesting point about going for lower level of technologies, where feasible.Â

    Take the battle of the Alamo:  For 13 days, the Mexican army laid siege to a fortification held by 180 odd men.  Both sides used muskets, which took 30 - 120 seconds to load.  Both sides had artillery.  But, the land around the Alamo was largely flat plains (with the exception of the creek three hundred yards to the west of the Alamo).Â

    Now, the Mexican army had to rush across open fields to approach the walls of the Alamo, and the Texan forces used muskets and artillery against them, getting a high kill rate.  But, would their kill rate have been higher had they been trained to use bows and arrows?  Similar range and accuracy (or better, if you knew what you were doing with them), but far quicker to load (around 5 seconds).Â

    Could the Texans conceivably have won the Alamo, had they used bows and arrows against the Mexicans?

    I doubt it took the Alamo’s defenders even 30 seconds to reload.  They were familiar with firearms and knew an assault was coming.  The smoothbores loaded somewhat more rapidly than Civil War muzzle loading rifles and when I’ve timed re-enactors they typically could load and fire about 3 times a minute.  Against massed attack there is little aim involved.  Another factor is that the defenders appear to have had more than a single firearm apiece.  So during the initial rush, they would have gotten a “free shot” on average.


  • @KurtGodel7:

    Perhaps the greatest A&A gameplay weakness is that tanks and aircraft don’t take attrition losses.

    They do in my rules set!  8-) Every round of ground or naval combat begins with the dogfight phase. In the dogfight phase, all units present fire at their air combat values. Any hits you receive must be applied to air units. Once you have applied a single anti-air hit to one of your air units, you must apply additional hits to that same unit until it’s dead, or until combat ends. (The same is true if you apply an anti-land hit to one of your land units, an anti-naval hit to one of your ships, or an anti-sub hit to one of your submarines.)

    There are other ways aircraft can be destroyed as well. In strategic bombing raids, there is one round of dogfight phase, followed by strategic bombers attacking their targets using their strategic bombing values. Strategic bombing raids do permanent damage. For every ten points of damage a production facility experiences in a strategic bombing raid, it is reduced by one level. While nations receive some money from territory income, most of their late game production will come from production facilities. A sufficiently powerful strategic bombing offensive can destroy all those facilities; as well as the underlying cities in which they would exist. The correct defense against a strategic bombing offensive is to build air superiority planes; such as piston fighters or jet fighters.

    There is a second way of defending oneself from strategic bombing raids: airfield attacks. To initiate an airfield attack, send your planes to a space with enemy aircraft, and declare an airfield attack. There will be two rounds of dogfight phase. Any of your planes which survived that dogfight may launch one attack against enemy aircraft, using their land combat values.

    I like the idea of an air battle first compared to standard combat.  It wasn’t clear to me if this was a single round of combat with SBR values for the air attacks, single round with standard air combat values,  or multiple rounds with regular air combat values.

    I’m in favor of limiting this to a single round since air supremacy is often variable rather than absolute and we don’t want excessive attrition of air units either.  Even in a single round, if one is heavily outnumbered in the air, absolute air supremacy will probably be the result for the enemy.

    SBR and airfield attacks have some merit as well.  One of the weaker components of Global is that it lacks waves of SBR attacks against major IC’s of Axis powers.

    Another thing to think about is “suprise” air attack against aircraft only on the first round of a DOW.  This would allow Russia to have many fighters and such that are devastated on the ground.  Ditto for the U.S. in Hawaii.  Might even allow it to be targeting naval or even specific ships with a single round of combat…  In either case, the strike would be targeted and only defended against by the units targeted rather than ground/scrambles, etc.  Then if there is planned combat in the zone, that would commence including surviving AC from both sides.

    Another way of doing the surprise combat might be similar to AA or a single round of subs, allowing only hits on specific values like one or 2 and no response if hit.  This could make Barbarossa and Pearl very interesting…and with historic numbers of target aircraft there as well…rather than depleted as in global.

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