Balancing 1914



  • Alright guys, someone needs to take charge of the balancing effort of A&A 1914, so I guess I’ll try to step up.

    First a bit of a qualifier, I DO NOT WANT ANY RADICAL CHANGES! I am trying to make a balanced game using OOB rules and the FAQ only, so no PTR or map changes please. I really only want to add/subtract units or change rules that already exist (like USW).

    I understand that it was frustrating to go through the very long and tedious balancing that went into Alphas 1-3.9+ or something, but at least that long process gave us a fantastic game with tons of strategic options (which should be the number one goal of every A&A game). Even though the balance in Global isn’t perfect, the fact that a bid of 10 or less can balance a game with hundreds of units on the board is pretty incredible, plus I like the bid anyways because it can be used in different ways, which helps make every game different.

    There has been all kinds of talk lately (mostly by Flashman from what I’ve seen) about making massive changes to the fundamental rules of A&A, substantial changes to the map, new units, and more to balance this game, and while I appreciate the effort and the attempts at historical accuracy, I (and I assume many others are in this camp) just want a mostly balanced game that I can enjoy playing (and a lot of the posts about map changes and new units really belong in house rules, just sayin). Have we suddenly forgotten how we fixed other A&A games? We added or subtracted units and/or slightly changed some rules to fix the game. We never cared about the fact that it took an infantry like 4 years to get from Berlin to Moscow until this game came out, and we should continue not caring about this fact because limited movement is one of the central concepts of A&A, and the same goes for ship movement too.

    So, after a little bit of ranting, I’ll start by making a couple of suggestions that I think can be easily implemented but could seriously change the balance of the game.

    First, fixing Unrestricted Submarine Warfare. It currently is an absolute joke, but it was central to Germany’s strategy during the war and it is also an easy way to force the UK to spend at home rather than full builds in India. Making the warfare useable will require a slight naval rebalancing by giving Germany a couple more subs, and to make this change a little less impactful give the UK another Cruiser with either their home fleet or the Canada ships and maybe give the Americans another cruiser (which won’t be in combat for at least 3 rounds so it won’t have a large impact), but downgrade the French Battleship off Brest down to a Cruiser. After round one, Germany will look stronger in the Atlantic than normal, and most importantly it will have subs left, however Germany’s naval dominance would be unlikely to last once the US gets involved. It might also be a viable strategy for the UK (or even France?) to invest heavily in navy early in the game to prevent it from being convoyed, which of course would mean less for India.

    Submarine Warfare will now have two stages, restricted and unrestricted, with the idea being that Germany was still sinking British ships before they declared Unrestricted Submarine Warfare. Regular warfare will always be in effect, but it will have less of an impact than unrestricted. Every sub in Sea Zones 2,7,8 (and maybe more sea zones) will roll for Submarine Warfare. During restricted warfare, subs will roll during UK’s collect income phase, and hit at a 2 or less. The amount of damage done will be subtracted from the UK’s income. For example if there are 4 subs spread throughout 2,7, and 8, then Germany will roll 4 dice. Let’s say they roll 2,1,3,5, then the UK would lose 3 income for that turn. This might not be a lot, but it is substantial and doesn’t risk US entry. Also the restricted portion implies that the subs will do less damage, since they would have to be careful not to damage American ships.

    Unrestricted Submarine Warfare will have a larger impact. Sz 1 will now be included with 2,7,8 as a sea zone that German subs can do damage from. German subs will now roll at a 3 or less and all hits will be deducted from the power that is collecting income (either the UK or US) during their collect income phase. The rule would work the same as before so the US would only be pulled into the conflict if it lost income to Unrestricted Submarine Warfare. Clearly this warfare could greatly effect the UK’s or US’s income. If Germany invested in a few subs, coupled with the Austrians building a few ships, the allies naval dominance could seriously challenged without too much spending by the Central Powers, and the US would likely have to invest in multiple surface ships to retake control of the seas, meaning that their first landing force would be much less impactful.

    My other possible balancing idea is a lot less elaborate, but more in tradition with what has happened with other games. Basically I think that giving Germany a couple more units off the front line (ie another inf/art combo in Berlin or Hanover. Germany is likely the best Central Power to receive units because they are usually the ones that dictate an all out on Russia or an all out on France. Giving them even a couple more units could really alter their position for the better, but probably wouldn’t tip balance to far into the CP’s favor.

    That’s all I got. My favorite idea for game balance is my retooling of Submarine Warfare, because while I know historical experts will be angry about Germany potentially dominating in the Atlantic, I think that making the Atlantic a battleground is the easiest way to fix the game, because all US and UK reinforcements must come by sea. The reason most people feel the game is unbalanced is because the Allies have clear naval dominance and can easily build massive transport navies, and the mobility of these transports are what gives the Allies their large advantage in this game.

    I look forward to hearing from the community on this topic, and hopefully we can create some small changes to the game that make it much more balanced and enjoyable to play.



  • Good topic.

    Submarine warfare really does need a fix, but with the way current rules are it is virtually impossible to make it effective/viable enough without destroying the naval balance, because subs can currently attack both ships and merchant routes at the same time. So I suggest that subs can either attack naval pieces OR conduct SW for the the rest of the round. Also, subs were very hard to destroy at this point in time, so another tweak should be that submerging subs can only be hit at a 1, increasing this to 2 in round 4. (maybe 2->3?) (Only 47 U-boats were sunk in 1914-1916, compared to 158 sunk in 1917-1918. [source]) Regarding naval setup changes, downgrading the Brest BB to a cruiser while adding a British cruiser in SZ 8 and a German sub in SZ 3. That makes both sides get +2 pips/+6 TUV, with Germany getting an extra hit.

    As for additional units, let’s take a look at the piece count. OOB setup has 772 Allied TUV vs. 671 CP TUV, total advantage 101 Allies. However, if you include minor aligned powers, it gets pushed to 850 vs. 690, total advantage 160 Allies. 47 is American units and 102 is in navy, so before American entry, the Allies have a TUV advantage of 1 on the ground. Germany is the most logical power to add units to as it has the most options of all the Central Powers, and extra units could expand them. I would start with an extra infantry & artillery in each Berlin and Hanover and see how it goes from there.

    And another change should be that Russian Revolution rules are mandatory, but the Central Powers have the (one-time) choice to accept the armistice or not.



  • I really like your new rules towards submarine warfare. I think the changes you are suggesting would make a nice step towards balancing the game.

    I have 4 other suggestions that could make a impact (2 of which are really out there).

    1. (Stolen from someone), Increase the cost of units in India by 1IPC.

    2. Make Italy enter the game in r2 unless attacked. This would really change the balance of naval warfare also, since a Austrian can attack UK-sz19 A1.

    3. Create the CP major power Bulgaria, starting with 6 inf and 2 art, worth 6 IPC.

    4. Make neutrals only attackable for CP. UK would have to transport units from India to Arabia.


  • Customizer

    OK, I’ll try a minimalist approach. Not easy for me; those big Russian tts just itch to be divided up.

    My view on OOB is that Germany is screwed unless you do one of two things:

    Increase land movement rate to two spaces minimum

    OR

    Make Munich a 2nd German production centre; if the UK can place units in India why not allow Germany to place units here?

    Without one or both of these, Germany simply cannot reinforce the Western Front quickly enough. The Allies will always get enough units into Paris to defend it successfully.



  • @Flashman:

    OK, I’ll try a minimalist approach. Not easy for me; those big Russian tts just itch to be divided up.

    My view on OOB is that Germany is screwed unless you do one of two things:

    Increase land movement rate to two spaces minimum

    OR

    Make Munich a 2nd German production centre; if the UK can place units in India why not allow Germany to place units here?

    Without one or both of these, Germany simply cannot reinforce the Western Front quickly enough. The Allies will always get enough units into Paris to defend it successfully.

    I agree with Munich as production centre. Bavarian units fought indipendent and mostly hated the prussians…

    Its not OOB but one other possibility would be to get rid off Burgundy as tt. Marseille borders West-Switzerland.

    In effect Paris wouldn´t be in the atlantic and easier to reach for the Germans. Lorraine and Picardie worth 3 IPC; All french tts could be made a little bit bigger, which is a big plus when it comes to big stacks of different armies in there.


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

    A Western IC for Germany and the removal of a French Battleship and TT and removal of 3 Allied African Inf would be my solution.


  • Customizer

    Munich AND moving Paris eastwards might make it a little too easy for Germany. But worth thinking about.

    I’d also change the SZ8 border so it doesn’t offload into Picardy.

    NewFrance2.PNG



  • @Oddbjoern:

    I really like your new rules towards submarine warfare. I think the changes you are suggesting would make a nice step towards balancing the game.

    I have 4 other suggestions that could make a impact (2 of which are really out there).

    1. (Stolen from someone), Increase the cost of units in India by 1IPC.

    2. Make Italy enter the game in r2 unless attacked. This would really change the balance of naval warfare also, since a Austrian can attack UK-sz19 A1.

    3. Create the CP major power Bulgaria, starting with 6 inf and 2 art, worth 6 IPC.

    4. Make neutrals only attackable for CP. UK would have to transport units from India to Arabia.

    Bulg can go after Italy, seems to work. Would Austria be able to attack Albania without triggering Italy?


  • Customizer

    Albania should be neutral, or possibly Turkish aligned.

    If you want historical Italy it enters R2 and has no aligned minor power.

    (see my Balkan realignment thread)

    Otherwise, I’d say treat Albania as per a colony of (unmobilized) Belgium or Portugal.


  • '14

    Consider, too, expanding the area that Germany has available to conduct in USW in. The Mediterranean was a place where CP subs were incredibly destructive, well out of proportion to the their numbers. This would force Britain and her allies to spread out their naval defense, as it did in reality. Also, it would give the CPs an opportunity to attack more sea zones, inflicting IPC damage over a wider area than the North Atlantic. Might also want to consider expanding who can conduct USW, as the Germans launched U-boats out of Pola in Austria-Hungary,

    When I get some time tonight, I will throw some potential rules everyone’s way for trains and movement. Outside the scope of this thread, but I had an epiphany. I will just say for now, why not replicate naval transports on dry land, in a matter of speaking? With that said, don’t think in terms of money, but in terms of infrastructure…


  • Customizer

    Do you want armoured trains with laser beams on the front?



  • Sharks with fricken laser beams attached to their heads!


  • '14

    @Flashman:

    Do you want armoured trains with laser beams on the front?

    Yes. What is so hard about getting friggin’ armored trains with arty strapped to their boilers???


  • '14

    @Flashman:

    Do you want armoured trains with laser beams on the front?

    I did take armoured trains into consideration. Not as a piece unto themselves, but aggregated into one.



  • Ok back to topic.

    I agree with most things here, the battle for the Atlantic is nearly nonexistent. USW needs to be more effective, and submerged subs need to be harder to kill.

    1a) Allow German subs to attack in more szs as they did historically. Allow any sz that touches UK/Ireland, or Canada plus the 3 Med sz’s (16, 17, 19) to target the UK’s income. Opening up sz’s that can be raided (and making submerged subs harder to kill see later) will allow the German subs to spread out, forcing the allies to chase them down. It could thin out the allies fleet(s) making them better targets for counter attacks.

    1b) The Med was also targeted heavily, and as noted German subs worked their way into the Med through the Straights of Gib, or over land by rail. Many of the Austrian subs were of German design, and/or maned by German crews (same w/Turks). I think you need to either allow a limited number of German subs (one per turn) to be mobilized in friendly ports (sz 18 & 20), or allow the Austrian and Turk subs to raid the UK econ in the Med.

    1c) The USA and Unrestricted Sub Warfare (USW). Have the original USW sz’s (2, 7, 8’) raid both the US and UK econ, and also allow sz1 to raid only the US. Rather then having two types of raiding, I would just allow the damage done by USW to trigger an early US entry into the war. Track the damage done by USW through the first couple turns. If the US pays 3 or more damage, then they can go to war (reflects the 3 warnings given by Wilson). Also set a damage mark of 10 damage paid collectively by US & UK to trigger war w/USA. That way if the UK paid like 9 damage, the US 1 damage then US is at war.

    1d) I like rolling for convoy damage, you could use the tourney rules that 3 or less is a hit, and the number rolled is amount deducted. I would favor rolling 1-2 deduct 1 IPC; roll 3-4 deduct 2 IPCs; roll 5-6 is a miss deduct nothing. That way as the Germans you would have better control of the damage done to the US econ (very important).

    1. To ColonelCarter if you force a sub to either go to battle, or raid in its combat phase I think there would be less raiding going on. I would leave the raiding in the victims turn, but maybe move raids to the beginning (re-name phase Purchase, Repair and Convoy). By allowing a sub to take part in clearing a sz in combat, then raid in the victims turn you are allowing them to kill off the escorts and then raid the merchant ships (as they did). The UK wouldn’t be able to stop the raids by clearing those zones during its turn because the damage is already done. At the beginning of UK’s turn the Germans would roll for subs in the raiding zones. You place a chip under each sub that hit convoy, and those chips are deducted from the UK’s collect income even if the sub was killed during UK’s turn (damage done before UK’s combat phase). Of course France would have a chance to clear the German subs for its ally (France goes between Ger and UK). Both the French and the Brits could clear US waters, as they go between Germany and US.

    3a) I like the idea of making it harder to kill submerged subs. In WW1 there really wasn’t much sub detection going on w/ships, and depth charges were in the early development stages (not very effective). The allies used air to spot subs, but  range restricted that as well. I’m not sure why the game allows high rolls of 3 & 4 to hit a submerged sub (defiantly seems wrong). Subs were pretty much blind and immobile when submerged, so I like that they can’t submerge and roll in combat (either/or). I also like how ColonelCarter suggested that you need to roll better to hit a submerged sub (only rolls of 1 can be applied to submerged subs). I think rolling at 1 might be a little over the top, but would defiantly like to test it out (maybe trying rolls of 2 or less as well).

    3b) Being that air was used to spot subs, maybe a slight tweak to air spotting capabilities, and their movement is worth looking at. Your planes would still only have only 2 moves, but you could fly out to sea (1 move) to spot subs in adjacent sz’s, then land (2nd move). This would allow your ships to hit submerged subs at their normal attack values. Could even give this movement to planes in ground battles. If you use 2 moves, the plane has to remain in the contested territory at the front. If it only uses 1 move to get there though, it could retreat with its 2nd move behind the lines after the battle.

    1. We always make changes to the French fleet in sz15. Remove the transport and swap BB for a cruiser. We also have used the other unit changes from the tourney rules.

    2. I agree, changes to the map isn’t my cup of tea either (sorry Flash, although I wouldn’t mind down loading some of your maps to play on). I would stick with some tweaks to the set-up and rules. I also favor using 2 space movement on land (from tourney rules) rather then new complexes near the front.

    3. India is also a hot spot of conversation. Limiting their builds seems harsh especially if subs and raiding get a much needed boost. This problem may fix itself if the English have to fight in the Atlantic, or lose Royal Pounds. I wouldn’t want want to fix one problem and create another with India getting overrun by the CP. I have come up with something in another thread of limiting India’s production to a min of 4 builds (India worth 4 IPCs), and get bonus production based on what the allies control that is adjacent to sz 29 when the UK starts its turn. Like if Persia (2 IPCs) and Arabia (1 IPC) are in complete control of the allies when UK’s turn starts then UK can build 3 additional units in India (7 total). If Egypt was captured it would have a negative impact on bonus production (-2). This probably wouldn’t be needed though if USW was fixed. Might look at +1 cost for art or plane builds in India though (not to inf) because of shipping these things in. Wouldn’t bump inf though because that would effect India’s ability for defense.

    7a) Not a big fan of bringing Bulgaria or Romania in as their own mini powers (maybe as an optional rule, would be fun on occasion).

    7b) In the base game having the Turks start as neutral and come in on their 1st turn (neither Russia or UK can attack them) sounds cool. I would like do do something along those lines and restrict allied attacks on the Ottoman Empire, but not give them a complete pass (they were all at war in late 1914). It is my understanding that in Oct 1914 the Turkish navy (of which was comprised mostly of German vessels, maned by Germans) fired the first shots bombing the Russia Black Sea port of Odessa (lets say that already happened). This led to a Russian DOW and invasion of Turkish territory from the north. At roughly the same time the English looking to secure their Persian oil fields (it’s always about the oil) also landed in Turkish territory from the south (Fao Iraq). Both of these invasions would be into the territory of Mesopotamia in this game. So why not allow the Russians and English to attack round 1, but only Mesopotamia. You might need to tweak the starting units in the region. This would allow the Turks to hold Trans Jordan which is where they planned on launching their attack on the Suez, and Battle of Gallipoli could be UK2 etc…… By only allowing attacks into Mesopotamia, the Turkish navy would also be safe round 1.

    7c) Italy also starting as a neutral is intriguing. The question is how long should Italy be neutral. I would probably say the CP can’t attack them on the first turn, but when Italy’s first turn rolls around, they must declare war on the CP. Italy was slated to join the CP, but delayed for a nearly year on the grounds that it was a defensive pact, and the other CP members were the aggressors (Austria mainly). Italy was also meeting secretly with the French & British to reach a deal so they could gain territory that was in the possession of their traditional enemy (Austria). The Austrians shouldn’t be invading Venice on the fist play of the game because they had a pact w/Italy, so they thought (which wasn’t broken by Austria). I don’t see a problem with the Italians stabbing A/H in the back on Ita1 though. So it was a little earlier then history showed (no big deal) at least Italy’s neutrality is represented better then OOB (who’s to say they weren’t considering going to war 6 months earlier). A/H can build up the border on turn 1, they just can’t cross it.  I think that some French or English cruisers should be moved to sz 17 because they did blockade the Austrians so they couldn’t just venture out freely (Italian mines don’t work until Italy is at war). Some might say that Italy comes in round 2, but why wait that long (they could have jump the gun earlier). Plus you don’t have the conversation that Italy shouldn’t be able to move, or build round 1, because they go to war on their first turn.

    Anyway nice topic, hope it picks up steam WB



  • I like a few of the ideas that have been presented so far.

    1. I like how WILD BILL organized his thoughts, so I will copy his method. (Imitation is the best form of flattery)

    2. First I’ll say that I have no experience playing any tournament rules, and I feel like 2 move units could seriously throw off game balance with too many other changes, but I’m open to 2 movement and the unit set up changes (although I really don’t like the African ones, really just removes almost all the action from that theatre and adds a lot of luck into it (i.e. the 50/50 possible battle in South Africa would have massive implications on IPC values depending on how it went) and it also removes a lot of possible early earnings for the Germans. I understand that the movement change necessitated removing all those troops though. I also don’t really like the addition of the brit cruiser into sz 9 because it basically means that the only safe German strategy in the Atlantic is to send everything possible to sz 9 on turn 1, and the results of that battle would majorly impact the game. While some kind of change was needed in the Atlantic to partially make up for the loss of the French Battleship, I like Colonel Carter’s setup change of adding a German sub to sz 3 and a brit cruiser to sz 8 instead of sz 9. This would give the Germans even more round 1 naval options, and also help preserve more subs to convoy in the future. In case Germany proves too strong in the Atlantic, I would add an American Cruiser too. This would go with the idea of Germany doing much better at sea until the Americans really got involved.  I do think that the extra movement from the tournament rules will help our goal of adding more strategies to this game, and the other setup changes (besides the naval one that I talked about above) are necessitated by the new movement. I would still say no to the naval base movement because this almost entirely favors the Allies (the US only needs 2 transport fleets to drop every turn into Picardy which is ridiculous, and it also does things like allowing the UK to get extra transports to India in 3 turns).

    2a) I really like the idea of expanding USW as WILD BILL describes it, so that it includes the Med (sz 16,17,19) and all sea zones bordering Canada and the UK. The total list of sea zones for convoying the UK: sz 2,3,4,5,7,8,9,16,17,19; and for convoying the US: 1,2,7,8.

    2b) I might have been a little ambitious with two phases of Submarine Warfare. Instead I agree with bolstering USW by making submerging subs more difficult to destroy as suggested by Colonel Carter and WB. I think that requiring a 1 would be too much, but requiring a 2 or less to hit would be pretty good. I would also add that subs shouldn’t be able to hit submerging subs because as is was mentioned subs were pretty much blind underwater, and undersea sub to sub combat would be pretty ridiculous. These changes would make Cruisers much more enticing for the Allies, because they would be the most cost effective way of destroying subs (which would also make historical sense, because I don’t think the dreadnoughts were going out on sub-hunting expeditions).

    2c) I would definitely favor doing 1 damage for a roll of 1-2 or 2 damage for a roll of 3-4 for every sub. The tournament rules way is just too weak to make a major impact.

    2d) I really like the idea of Germany being able to mobilize 1 sub per turn in the Adriatic. There is a historical basis for this and it would give the Germans more options with sub purchases.

    2e) I think plane scouting for submerging subs is also a good idea. Planes can use their normal movement to move into a sea zone, and use their scouting ability to allow naval vessels to hit submerging subs at their normal combat values (so Cruisers can fire at a 3 and Battleships at a 4, but subs still can’t hit enemy submerging subs). This could encourage the UK (or USA) to spend a little bit of money on planes to hit the subs more easily.

    2f) As far as early US entry due to USW, I like the 3 strike approach. Once 3 damage has been done to the US, it can declare war. The US can also declare war if 10 IPC damage has been done to the UK, which would reflect the unavoidable loss of US life or goods that would result from many UK ships being sunk.

    2g) WILD BILL I also like the idea of adding convoying to the victim’s (US or UK) purchase/repair phase. This would ensure that subs would get to do at least one round of convoying to the power before said power had a chance to destroy them. This would also open up more choices for the Allies because as you say France would have to think about clearing sea zones for the UK and UK/France for clearing for the US.

    3a) I find the idea of 1st round neutrality interesting, but I think it is just making the game a little too complicated and would necessitate more set-up changes (such as moving navies around in the Med) . 1st round Italian neutrality (until their turn) would really help Italy out, which might be necessary if 2 round movement causes the capture of Italy to happen too easily, but I think we should try playing a few games before making such a big balance change (because Italy would be able to get every single one of their troops on the Italian peninsula into Venice before it could be attacked). IMO 1st round neutrality for the Ottomans makes them a little too strong since the Trans-Jordan attack is pretty much a must for the UK round 1 to protect Egypt.

    3b) Adding minor powers is really unnecessary and makes little sense regarding the scale of the game. How would Bulgaria be worth the same as Ruhr? Italy feels minor enough and they start with 14 IPCs, let’s not make any powers weaker than that.

    1. Changes to the India rules are unlikely to be needed with the new USW rules that we have proposed in both this thread and the India one, but if we need them I like WB’s idea of limiting the number of units produced to the value of UK territory touching sz 29 with a minus 2 if the Suez is lost, but a minimum production limit of 4. With all the other balance changes I doubt it will be necessary to raise the cost of units in India, and as I said in the India thread, India had at least as much industrial capacity as the Ottomans and really more since the UK could ship in heavy equipment. If you want to remove India’s ability to build certain units, you’d really have to do the same to the Ottomans.

    2. If the CP are still too weak on the ground in Europe, then I would start by adding an inf+art to Hanover. If more is needed then add another combo to Berlin. I don’t think these extra units will be needed because of 2 movement, but if the CP need more units, these two territories are the best place to add them.

    Summation of my proposed changes from FAQ and OOB:
    1. Expansion of USW in the amount of damage it can do, the sea zones it can be conducted   in, and the time that it is conducted (during the purchase phase rather than the collect income phase).
    2. PTR 2 unit movement, as well as most of the setup changes stated except…
    3. Change the Atlantic by adding a German sub to sz 3 but a Brit Cruiser to sz 8 (instead of sz 9) and an American Cruiser in sz 1
    4. Allow the Germans to mobilize 1 sub per turn in sz 18 (off of Trieste)

    Possible other changes if needed:
    1. 1st round neutrality of some kind for Italy or the Ottomans (who must declare war on their respective turns in the first round)
    2. Limiting India’s production to the total value of UK territories touching sz 29 and the negative bonus for losing the suez.
    3. Adding inf+art combos to Hanover, Berlin, or both.

    Please feel free to comment on my ideas, I’m really trying to get a good balanced game for everyone to play without turning the game into something radically different.


  • Customizer

    I’m moving towards one round of combat only in naval battles, making the RN/KM confrontation more of an attritional conflict than the all-or-nothing round one battle.

    Essentially, it would be more of a stalemate with each fleet making straffing attacks before retreating behind their own minefields.

    However it might unbalance by allowing the UK to spend heavily on ground units B1; usually it has to spend everything on a new navy at this point. Consider balance with new USW rules.

    I’m also in favour of moving the SZ8/SZ9 border so that US shuttles have to unload in Brest (I’d guess this was the original setup, but was changed to get the Yanks into battle sooner).

    Why not allow Austrian subs to count towards USW rather than an artificial German build in Trieste?

    Regarding neutral Italy; it is essential that if Italy is neutral it does not have a turn. A nation at war should not be allowed to do anything more than maintain its peacetime establishment and deployment (i.e opening setup).

    Same for USA; how boring is it for the American player to have to buy unit sit cannot yet use? Far better to not have turn until at war then have a higher base income.


  • '14

    Has anyone considered giving the humble cruiser more to do? It’s the one naval piece that really, other than speed, doesn’t have much of a purpose. I would say factor its role in commerce raiding purposes, but that was only true for the first few months of the war. Other than the Koiningsberg in East Africa, all were sunk by March 1915.

    Armed merchant cruisers, like those used by the Germans, were also very destructive on the high seas. They sunk a fair amount of shipping, but also wasted a lot of resources in the hunt involved in neutralizing them. Maybe a role for German transports in this… This might produce some wild goose chases and give the cruisers something to do for once.

    I agree with most of the above. Austrian subs would probably be better suited to conducting USW warfare rather than German subs. Any German subs operating in the Med were dependent upon A-H bases and resources anyhow for operations.


  • Customizer

    German subs also operated out of Constantinople, though probably under nominal Ottoman control.

    The most obvious use of cruisers is as defacto destroyers in anti-sub role; Battleships sunk a total of 1 sub in the war (by ramming).



  • Some pretty cool ideas have been thrown out here, but I would suggest we try to bring our focus back in a bit. If we truly want to just balance the OOB game (which I’m sure is a goal many people would agree should be done), then we should make small changes to boost the weaker side until both sides have a chance, or at least either side can punish smaller mistakes by the other. That’s why I think we should pick one “drastic” change to make to get the game close, and then tweak it by bid/extra pieces. These “drastic” changes fall around aspects of the war that are underrepresented or not represented at all (in no particular order):

    1. Italy stays neutral R1. They do not start with money, cannot move troops, and SZ 17 is open to all and no one rolls mines. They declare war before their collect phase so that they do get their starting income.

    2. Representing the efficient railway system the Central Powers had. PTR is an option that can be implemented OOB, but having special “armored train” pieces (something like A0D0M4 carry any 2 units, cannot enter hostile TT, must end movement if entering contested TT) is another option.

    3a) USW rule changes. The two main fixes to USW rules themselves in this thread are:
    i) Restricted and Unrestricted stages. Restricted targets UK only, and does rolled damage at 2 or less. Unrestricted targets US as well, add SZ 1, and does rolled damage at 3 or less. US entry upon taking damage.

    ii) Either nothing or Unrestricted, with a “strike policy”. 3 or more US damage causes entry, or 10 UK+US damage. 1-2=1 damage, 3-4=2 damage, 5-6=no damage
    3b) USW expansion. Add SZ 3,4,9,16,17,19 as UK only blockade zones
    3c) Submarine changes. Submerging subs can only be hit by surface ships @2. Possible additional stuff:
    i) Can only be hit @1 for round 1 only.
    ii) Fighters adjacent to a SZ that have not moved allow surface warships to hit submerging submarines at their full attack value. (I prefer just @3, Dreadnoughts were never effective at sinking subs. Maybe only give the bonus to cruisers to increase their importance.)
    iii) Do blockades before the respective powers’ turn.
    3d) Setup change: French SZ 15 BB->CA, +Brit CA SZ 8, +German Sub SZ 3

    That said, changing up the Battle of the Atlantic is my personal preference because it gives the UK the conundrum of spending in India early to contain the Ottomans and risk the noose around Britain getting too tight, or build navy to break the blockade early and risk the Ottomans getting so strong that the normal UK isn’t enough to push them back.

    Re: German subs out of Trieste/Constantinople-Perhaps let Germany buy subs for Austria/Ottomans if the CPs control a connected series of territories from Berlin to Trieste/Constantinople? i.e. Germany spends 6 IPCs during its purchase phase, but puts an Austrian/Ottoman sub in the mobilization zone and then mobilizes it in the respective sea zone.

    Has anyone had any time to test any combination of changes yet? I tried a solo game with 3a,3c(+i),3d and the Allies definitely had to play better to make sure the CPs couldn’t make too much progress. (As a note: I always play with Russian Revolution in effect, as it is a good boost to the CPs to be able to “kill” ~60 Russians for only ~40 Germans or Austrians) I kind of like the “lower luck” blockade rules, but my TripleA representation can only roll blockades normally and there’s already a ton of editing needed.)


  • '14

    @Flashman:

    German subs also operated out of Constantinople, though probably under nominal Ottoman control.

    The most obvious use of cruisers is as defacto destroyers in anti-sub role; Battleships sunk a total of 1 sub in the war (by ramming).

    A U.S. battleship, wasn’t it? Assigned to the Grand Fleet in Scapa Flow?

    I just kind of look at cruisers as representing about half a battleship, i.e. a crusier squadron at most.



  • I know you want to fix the OOB but I have found the tournament rules even this thing up quite a bit. I do think the game would have been better with more production zones per country and more victory city’s. We have had more central victories with the tourney rules because of the collapse system that Larry has come up with. I really like this game and hope he does an upgrade with new units and a bigger map. Cool game.


  • Customizer

    Don’t you find it a pain in the arse having to check the collapse thresholds, especially as they’re given in the negative?

    Doesn’t the collapse system inevitably lead to KTF and KIF?

    I think my VC system is simpler.

    Do you play with time limits, if so is the Economic Victory system viable; i.e. can the Allies ever win an EV?



  • I do agree with you Flash we only play for about 6 hours. At that point we kind of come to an agreement who is the victor or call it a draw. I am with you that there should be a victory point system it would make achieving victory easier to calculate. After having multiple cocktails and the combat fatigue of playing this you sometimes lose track of what it takes for all of the countries to collapse.



  • As the co-champion in the Origins 1914 tournament I might have a little insight here maybe…
    My partner at the time also won the GenCon 1914 tourney as well…so I know how he plays.
    By now he has probably over 30 games of experience…6 games in tourney format.
    I myself have played the game 10-12 times- 3 in the tourney format.

    The tourney format at GenCon and Origins were slightly different than Larry tourney rules (here -->

    (http://www.harrisgamedesign.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=18335)

    …GenCon/Origins adopted them but changed 2 things:

    1. They didn’t use the new setup

    2. They allowed US to enter at turn 3 instead of 4.

    This yielded in an average 18-20 IPCs given to the Allies in order for the other side to take the Axis.  However, personally I like the tournament rules AS written by Larry WITH the setup changes and the US still entering on round 4.  This makes the bid much lower too- balancing the game better IMHO.


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