Best bonus/handicap to balance differences in players' skill?


  • We are a group of casual players. The problem is that one of us is significantly better. His side normally wins the game - win:loss ratio is about 8:2, on the basis of about 30 games. What would be the best way to handicap the player (or to provide bonus to other players) in the 2nd ed? We usually play with 4 players.  Thank you!

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    Either give yourselves a few more units on the set up or reduce his by a few units.
    Does he win with both sides?


  • Yes, both sides.

    I was thinking of providing bonus/negative IPC but I was not sure whether it would be a good idea and how much should be provided for each country.

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    Do you mean just to start with, not every turn?
    I  am not sure how that would work.
    If he plays the Axis, give the UK another Ft or a Destroyer or a Sub and the Russians a couple of Mech or a Tank.
    If he plays the Allies, take off a few units. (I think the Axis start with a large enough number as it is.) Maybe one Aus Ft and a couple of US ships or Ft and Tac.


  • @wittmann:

    Do you mean just to start with, not every turn?
    I  am not sure how that would work.
    If he plays the Axis, give the UK another Ft or a Destroyer or a Sub and the Russians a couple of Mech or a Tank.
    If he plays the Allies, take off a few units. (I think the Axis start with a large enough number as it is.) Maybe one Aus Ft and a couple of US ships or Ft and Tac.

    Would rather give the axis units instead of take any away from allies.

    Russian bomber, extra UK planes, and/or a couple of boats in the med will do wonders.

    If you buff axis, maybe add a German sub or 2, more Italian ground in Africa, and/or Japanese ground in china.


  • Thanks for thea advise!

    @wittmann:

    Do you mean just to start with, not every turn?

    Yes, every turn. The idea is to provide long term bonus without altering the early turns too much.


  • @wittmann:

    Either give yourselves a few more units on the set up or reduce his by a few units.
    Does he win with both sides?

    Giving a one time unit bonus does not offset the balance that much.

    Maby give them a IPC bonus each round so he can buy more every time, Depends a bit how bad he is and what he is playing.
    Of if he is consistenly buying bad stuff make some of the better stuff cheaper, 2 IPC’s inf or something along those lines.

    Dont overdo it though with enough money everybody can win, even the axis.

  • Sponsor

    I used to always get beat by a freind of mine on both sides, even when the dice rolls favored me for most of the day I would still lose. But instead of handy capping him, I learned his strategies, researched in the forums, and minimized my mistakes… and now it is I that is winning all the time. I suggest your group chalanges themselves to become better players, and what better opportunity to do so than against a superior opponent. If you win against him due to some advantage to you or disadvantage to him, it will not be a true win and the whole table will be thinking it. This superior player you play with has already taught you how to crush players who are of slightly lesser skill than yourself… it’s time to improve yourself and slay the master on equal ground. That’s what I love about this game, it chalanges me to be better each time I play it.


  • For the past 3 years other players have been “improving and learning”. This does not work, maybe because the more skilful player also learns and keeps the advantage. We have come to the point that either we handicap the more skilful player or we do not play the game. Note that we are casual players. I do not think that any of us considers being the best in A&A an important goal.

  • Sponsor

    @Udutont:

    For the past 3 years other players have been “improving and learning”. This does not work, maybe because the more skilful player also learns and keeps the advantage. We have come to the point that either we handicap the more skilful player or we do not play the game. Note that we are casual players. I do not think that any of us considers being the best in A&A an important goal.

    In that case, I suggest giving each player of lesser skill one free technology of their choice to start the game (2 nations may not choose the same tech). It should challenge the superior players while making the game more fun for those who are not as skilled.


  • Can I be Japan with long range aircraft and heavy bmrs please


  • Your in the right spot to find new strategies here
    Use their tactics against them, and team work is key. Try to cut down on mistakes and keep your mouth shut when your ace player makes a blunder…and try to capitalize on it
    Bomb em to smithereens!
    Good luck

  • Sponsor

    @WILD:

    Can I be Japan with long range aircraft and heavy bmrs please

    I suggested 1 tech per nation, and if this guy is so good (or they’re so bad) that they’re going to quite playing because of him, than they’ll need long range aircraft for Japan.


  • Young Grasshopper has the right idea. The only way that you and your group will get better is by beating him. Each game you will get better. you will minimize your mistakes and capitalize on his. This is how i became a better player. my friend would always crush me. his German juggernaut verses my pathetic red army. Now its pretty even every time Barbarossa happens, and its not just on one front. Its world wide i can stem his advance or cripple his force so much he has to think twice before attacking.


  • @Udutont:

    We are a group of casual players. The problem is that one of us is significantly better. His side normally wins the game - win:loss ratio is about 8:2, on the basis of about 30 games. What would be the best way to handicap the player (or to provide bonus to other players) in the 2nd ed? We usually play with 4 players.  Thank you!

    Try using a bid. The bid would depend on how bad you’re getting beat. When he wins as the Axis, is it Europe or the Pacific? What round? When he wins as the Allies, what round is he winning the game? The more details you provide, the more people can help you. Also, as others have suggested, try giving your side additional IPC’s each round or use tech. After 30 games, you should be closing the gap pretty quickly. Do the players on your side play in a cohesive strategy or is it every player for himself? That may be part of the problem.

  • Customizer

    Giving one side some techs to use could work, especially if you don’t allow any new techs after that. I mean, if you give the “weaker” side heavy bombers then the “stronger” player goes and develops heavy bombers, you might be right back where you started.
    In the PC version of Classic, there were several options you could choose to vary the game. One was called “Axis Advantage” which gave Jet Fighters to Germany and Super Submarines to Japan at the start of the game. You could try something like that. If you are playing the Allies, perhaps give USA Heavy Bombers, UK Radar and USSR Improved Mechanized Infantry or Advanced Artillery to help even things out.
    Heck, if you wanted to extend this idea to the smaller nations, give Italy Improved Shipyards when playing the Axis. When playing the Allies, give ANZAC Long Range Aircraft. You could even give France Increased Factory Production so if/when they get liberated, they can already have an edge on building stuff. Heck, you could even give China Advanced Artillery so when they do get to buy artillery, each one will support 2 of their infantry. Wouldn’t that give Japan fits.


  • Thanks for the advice and ideas! I think I will suggest some sort of bidding and/or continuous percentage increase/decrease of income (IPC from lands and NOs), e.g. 10% increase/decrease.  National advantages and techs look less attractive because they may change the game significantly.


  • @poloplayer15:

    Young Grasshopper has the right idea. The only way that you and your group will get better is by beating him. Each game you will get better. you will minimize your mistakes and capitalize on his. This is how i became a better player. my friend would always crush me. his German juggernaut verses my pathetic red army. Now its pretty even every time Barbarossa happens, and its not just on one front. Its world wide i can stem his advance or cripple his force so much he has to think twice before attacking.

    On top of that, try to play against multiple different players, either on this forum, or on TripleA.  You can learn a lot of new and effective strategies.

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