• @Narvik:

    Lets just agree that the world have seen a lot of poor generals, and that real life calculations of weather forecast, terrain, supply chains, morale, fighting spirit, surprise, Medevac, taking prisoners etc cant be compared to the luck of rolling dice. In real life you calculate you need 3 to 1 in firepower for a successful attack, with modifiers for terrain and flank protection, and if your initial attack run bad with too high casualty rate, you just abort. In a huge inf stack A&A battle you are pretty much stuck to the dice rolls. The defender cant even retreat.

    I like this! And it is so true. Although I didn’t know the, how shall I call it, ‘breakpoint’ lies at 3:1. I’ve played quite some WW2 combat simulators (just because I like the intellectual challenge, not for studies, or work) and in most of them, 3:1 still sucks IMHO. High chance of failure, loosing 1/3 of your troops achieving nothing and often still loosing 1/6 of your men and women when successfull. So, if you attack with 6 corps, you’d loose at least 1. Entire. Corps.  :-o.
    I often wondered how this translates to real life (WW2) combat but if they teach 3:1 at the academy I guess (hope!) this is more favorable IRL than I’ve seen it be in the ‘cosims’!
    On a side note, in the ‘cosims’ I have played, the aim is always to get at least to 5:1 but the more desperate you get, the lower the odds you’ll have to accept.
    Is this true, or does the ‘real deal’ also include a financial factor in the ruthless calculus? “5:1 will ensure much more of our men and women to survive but is much more expensive in terms of dollars so stick with 3:1. General, you have your orders…”

    To wrap this up, I guess its ok to use a BC when playing online tournaments and you really want to win, and time is not an issue. But I say, when you sit in your basement with 4 beer drinking friends, and you got less than 10 hours to spend, its pretty bad taste to spend half the time doing computer calculations. And with bad dice luck on the first round, you will have to do a new half hour calculations just to decide to retreat or stay in battle. Now that is what I call a nice buddy

    That is not a very nice thing to say to your buddies ;-).

    Just some ‘personal facts’ of the BC-usage in our group (some people do, some don’t):
    -We only use it for game loosing/winning decisions. Like 2 HUGE armies opposing each other at and in Moscow.
    -There are (in my book) only 4 other situations that a BC can make/break your cause if you do/don’t use it.
    -The BC takes about 20% of my thinking time in a turn, which varies a lot. So 10 minutes becomes 12 minutes.
    -NOT using the BC will extend my thinking time MUCH more than using it.
    -The BC never causes half an hour of thinking in our group. Reasons for such thinking times are otherwise.
    -The BC is used in our group as a ‘final consultation’, topping off the preceding thinking process.
    -It is then only used to decide which 1 of the many predecided actions to take.
    -I never use it after a (couple of) combat round(s). If the dice fail me I loose the game. Alea iacta est.

    Last but not least, if I want a ‘beer-party game’, A&A is definately not my game of choice for that evening. In such a case I’d go for Risk/Monopoly/Railroad Tycoon/Arkham Horror/Catan kind of games.
    A&A evenings are (and tend to be) much different to me than all the other, more casual games. But that’s of course, a matter of personal preference and you know what they say about accounting for taste ;-).


  • Yeah, in my experience using the battle calc actually makes things go faster. You can spend your time adding up all the troops, doing a poor estimation in your head, etc, or you can just calculate it and it makes the decision a lot easier. Generally shortens the game in my experience.
    Granted, there are some people that insist on not using it and just going by their gut feeling, but I’ve found that those people often end up losing.


  • Catan rocks! Beer drinking is at a minimum at our tables, we might have 1-2 over the course of a game. So hardly enough to cause issues in our thinking.

    Might I suggest a game called “Bang!” for a casual game? It’s a type of mystery western spaghetti shootout game with cards. Really fun, really quick, and easy to learn. Plus it’s funny to casually ask if people want to Bang, watch the facial reactions of the unsuspecting, and then pulling the game out. Oh and the game ‘box’ is in the shape of a bullet, how cool is that?  😄

    I can’t speak to what the desired ratio in WW2 was, but that 3:1 is something they’re teaching for the modern Soldier. We trained to setup a defensive position before calling for an arty fire mission, air support, or a QRF/Reinforcements (quick reaction force) if we didn’t have that 3:1 advantage. Granted that fog of war we talked about earlier exists and in the heat of the moment you don’t always know if you actually have the 3:1 advantage. You’re also not going to be well it looks like there are 13 of them and we only have 38 so let’s not attack them. And sometimes you don’t have a choice but to go despite lower odds.


  • Just to briefly stay on topic. After 8 turns you can pretty much tell if the Axis will win or lose, but it takes like 10 more turns to wrap it up. We are talking two days play time.

    BC is cheating. Do you have a military power fantasy and want to be a conqueror, or are you a office clerk that prefer to analyze stuff ?

    axisandaliesplayer, I never said 3 to 1 in men, I said in firepower. And this is just a rule of thumb. Surprise, morale, skill, terrain, weather, bad luck miracles and hundred other not calculated issues will make an influence. But when I was a platoon leader in a rifle coy back at the 80,s, they told us that to make a successful attack against another platoon, we must attack with 3 platoons. And if we want to attack a coy, we need to use 3 coys. But this is against an equal opponent, with equal morale, training and weapons. Indirect art support or ground support from aircrafts don’t count, and remember a well placed single cluster mine has the same firepower as a rifle coy. This goes for WWII too.

    For home study , look up  http://www.dupuyinstitute.org and read the TDI reports about Combat effectiveness during WWII.

    During WWII the Germans could attack 1 to 1 and win with few losses, because their training, skill and tactics were better than the opponent. Russians used human waves 10 to 1 and still lost with huge casualties. USA could attack 1 to 1 and win because of strong air support and twice the heavy artillery than any other force. Then we have the odd battles. One single man with a machine gun made a last stand battle and killed hundreds or thousands of enemies. This happened on a bridge in WWI and a hill in Korea. And then we have a modern unit against local or native milits. Roarks Drift come to mind, 37 Brits with rifles defend against 5000 Zulu warriors, and win.

    But in 99 % of the cases, 3 platoons will win against 1 platoon.

    Oh, and don’t compare a consim with a real war. And as far as modern wars is concerned, that is button pushing.


  • @ItIsILeClerc:

    Now consider a more unclear situation, where Russia has 100units in Moscow and Germany has 95units to attack with. This can be a huge victory for Germany (winning with ~25 units) but only if it has enough combat factors. And… what is enough ;-). I have yet to meet the person who can tell me that, so untill then I’keep using a BC for those situations.

    I agree this situation can look unclear first time, but after a few games you must have noticed that this situation do happen in every game from turn 6 and onwards. So you only need a BC the first 10 times, after that you can tell by experience.


  • @Shin:

    I would think using a BC along with a timed turn or whatever would seem to be the best of both worlds.  So you’d still have the option, but it couldn’t completely drain the game’s momentum.

    I totally agree. Use a timer like in chess. Real life commanders do have a lot of time pressure, and if they wait too long, the window of opportunity will pass. Why should a wannabe A&A general Rommel have the luxury of spending the time it takes to sit back in his armchair and let the BC do the math ? The real Rommel slept in a tent, got bit by mosquitos and starved like his men, and he had to attack in a hurry before the Brits attacked him.


  • @Narvik:

    @ItIsILeClerc:

    Now consider a more unclear situation, where Russia has 100units in Moscow and Germany has 95units to attack with. This can be a huge victory for Germany (winning with ~25 units) but only if it has enough combat factors. And… what is enough ;-). I have yet to meet the person who can tell me that, so untill then I’keep using a BC for those situations.

    I agree this situation can look unclear first time, but after a few games you must have noticed that this situation do happen in every game from turn 6 and onwards. So you only need a BC the first 10 times, after that you can tell by experience.

    Hey man, I can agree with that!
    On the other hand, the game is dynamic. Each game is often different from the previous ones. Also, different people have different playstyles. As Russia for example, if my defenses are adequate against a very ARM-heavy german production, are they also adequate versus a German MECH-heavy build with the occasional STR? As Russia, I never check the BC anymore for my defense because indeed, I know they are adequate. If the UK (preferably RAF) helps me out. If they leave me alone with my problems, this is a different story. I DO still use a BC to check when my Red Army is ready for a counter-offensive because this is a rather vague balance I can’t wrap my logic around. I have a memory-aid to Judge if this is possible (which I also use if I play Germany ;-)) but there are so many exceptions to the rule that I still check the BC for confirmation of my surmise.

    (…) Real life commanders do have a lot of time pressure, and if they wait too long, the window of opportunity will pass. Why should a wannabe A&A general Rommel have the luxury of spending the time it takes to sit back in his armchair and let the BC do the math ? The real Rommel slept in a tent, got bit by mosquitos and starved like his men, and he had to attack in a hurry before the Brits attacked him.

    You are right ofc about lower level commanders (division/brigade and lower?). Rommel, as an example of a corps commander, did a lot of fighting and was under a lot of time pressure. At the same time he had his moments in between and he most certainly did use ‘his version of’ a BC. His version meaning drawing out a battleplan, making calculations of firepower, number and type of troops, you name it. For as far and as good as he could with the available information from recon. Surely he could not pop out a BC but he did pop out his mathematical equipment (drawing compass, ruler, etc.).

    But most importantly, the analogy breaks at Rommel because we A&A players, IF the comparison with a RL commander has to be made, come closer to Eisenhower who was definately doing the fighting from his office. And even that comparison is not correct because we command all allied troops and Eisenhower did only the Western European theatre.
    I’d rather compare playing A&A with a war room/command center, from where all military actions of each nation are directed. And even then, this has to be the combined war room of all Major Powers on your side. So merge the Russian, American and British war rooms together and you get an A&A game on the allied side.

    You never quit, now do you ?

    Well, to be honest, I feel obliged to react on the lack of nuances in some of your reasonings so I point them out. If you don’t want a reaction to your opinion, then don’t give one. I am always open to hear a different opinion and if people with strong opposite opinions cannot agree, they shouldn’t resort to this kind of personal labeling. Just agree to disagree, shall we?


  • You never quit, now do you ?

    But I see your point, Ge add 5 more Mechs for a possible one more hit, and UK fly in 5 more Fighters for a possible 4 more hits, and this will unbalance the 200 + units battle so much we will have to run the numbers again, from scratch. Got that.


  • Actually, yes, I have seen that many units make a big difference in the battle calculation for a large battle.

    Using a battle calc is not cheating, and it’s ridiculous to say that it is. ‘Accidentally’ producing 11 units from a major factory or moving a plane an extra space or things like that are cheating. Calculating your odds of winning is just smart.

    I like how it is used in our group. It improves the quality of play because it helps people make less bad moves. And it helps bridge some of the gap between experienced players and newer players.
    If you want to forbid its use in your face to face games, that’s fine, but in our group I would only get upset if someone was using it for every single fight and was taking forever.

  • Customizer

    @ChocolatePancake:

    Using a battle calc is not cheating, and it’s ridiculous to say that it is. ‘Accidentally’ producing 11 units from a major factory or moving a plane an extra space or things like that are cheating. Calculating your odds of winning is just smart.

    How about this: You have a mechanized infantry with 10 chips under it and a tank with 10 chips under it. You move in for the attack and transfer the units over to the battle board. Then on the battle board, the mech now has 1 chip under it and the tank now has 19 chips under it. WOW! Magic!
    Or, you launch into a big fleet battle and when your fleet is moved over to the battle board, suddenly there is a red chip under your battleship. Now you have 6 battleships. Where did they come from?
    These weird things happen to me “all the time”. Do you think this is “cheating”?


  • Well, yes, obviously those things are cheating. No quotation marks needed.
    That’s just the point I was trying to make. Those sorts of things are obviously cheating, but using a battle calculator is not.


  • I think the word “cheating” is used for too much different situations, particularly by non-english speaking people…

    You tell a dutch guy (like me) that he is cheating, chances are that he will get angry and you 'll need to explain to him you meant no offense and that cheating is something different from committing foul play…

    … Am I right?
    The way I understand it, cheating, as opposed to foul play, can also be something beyond a person’s control.

    And as far as a BC in A&A goes, I get that cheating means: “It is legal, but an unfair advantage for the user”. With which of course, I do not agree ;-).


  • Yeah, I think we both are saying the same thing 🙂

  • Customizer

    ItIsILeClerc,
    “Cheating” and “Foul Play” are basically the same thing. It is quite basically doing something in a game that will change the odds to your favor and is against the stated rules.

    Now, it’s true some people may not fully understand the rules of this game and may do something against the rules by mistake. A couple of examples would be:
    Moving a plane from an island and forgetting to count the sea zone that the island is in.
    Moving a plane it’s full movement to an attack (without allowing movement spaces to land in a friendly territory).

    Those could be done by simple mistake and it doesn’t mean that person is deliberately cheating. It just means a misunderstanding of the rules or perhaps just a slip of the mind. The thing is, if you see someone do something simple like this, you simply tell them they can’t do that and refer them to the rules. You DON’T accuse them of cheating. That is rude and the person being accused has every right to be offended. It doesn’t matter whether the person speaks English as a first or second language. It’s a courtesy and that applies to everyone.

    That being said, if some person keeps making the same kind of “mistakes” over and over again, then they are either really absent minded or maybe they are trying to see what they could get away with. In that case, I would probably either finish that game and not invite that person over again or maybe even quit the game immediately. Depends on how much it aggravated me.


  • "How many rounds to finish a game ? "

    Including the new topic of cheating ?

    I figure you must add half an hour for every time someone cheat.


  • Thanks for clearing it up, knp and Pancake.
    Although I am none the wiser because you said different things ;-). Nvm though, it is not really important.

    On topic again, I can only somewhat repeat myself with a little correction: 12-20 turns in [?variable amount] hours, if the allies managed to stay alive and to keep the game undecided up to turn 7.


  • Against equal level opponents…

    Average of 12 rounds…with some going as low as 10 and as high as 14.  If a player loses by rounds 7-9 then they are playing a stronger player and are outmatched- In that case…up the bid for the weaker player next time.

  • '14 Customizer

    I use David Skelly’s app calculator every single game.  Love to know my percentage chance of success and the number of units surviving.  We also go a step further in our games.  We have a laptop that we edit moves in TripleA each turn to keep a history of the progress.  This way if there is a chip count discrepancy it can be clarified by the computer.  Everyone in our group is either a programmer or an engineer of some sort so all of us use battle calculators as well as log/edit info in the game.  Also a nice thing about that is when we stop the game to replay later its already saved.  No more taking pictures and counting chips with pixels, lol.


  • yeah skelly’s app is the best. 😄


  • @ItIsILeClerc:

    Thanks for clearing it up, knp and Pancake.
    Although I am none the wiser because you said different things ;-). Nvm though, it is not really important.

    On topic again, I can only somewhat repeat myself with a little correction: 12-20 turns in [?variable amount] hours, if the allies managed to stay alive and to keep the game undecided up to turn 7.

    Sorry, I wasn’t communicating what I meant very well. knp has it right.

    I use Skelly’s app too. It’s fantastic.


  • I totally agree. Use a timer like in chess. Real life commanders do have a lot of time pressure, and if they wait too long, the window of opportunity will pass. Why should a wannabe A&A general Rommel have the luxury of spending the time it takes to sit back in his armchair and let the BC do the math ? The real Rommel slept in a tent, got bit by mosquitos and starved like his men, and he had to attack in a hurry before the Brits attacked him.

    I agree with the above. When my group plays, we use a houserule that every nation has 20 minutes from phase 1 to combat rolling. Going over costs 1 IPC per minute. It ensures the game moves smoothly and that people don’t just sit there “thinking” all day… We just want to play a game not lose a year of our lives haha. Also, if the next nation can start making it’s moves without interfering with the current player’s turns (and players agree to do this) we just start them going at the same time (Best example is Italy Anzac).

    Also as a side note. Sitting there using a calculator defeats the purpose of playing a game. It’s a matter of your skill and ability to size up a battle. Not using a computer to play in place of yourself. I won’t stop someone from using a calculator…but they have 20 minutes. Use it wisely. 😛

  • TripleA

    You can also speed the game up drastically by starting everyone at war including the USA. Yes everyone at war.


  • @Surrender@20:

    Also as a side note. Sitting there using a calculator defeats the purpose of playing a game. It’s a matter of your skill and ability to size up a battle. Not using a computer to play in place of yourself. I won’t stop someone from using a calculator…but they have 20 minutes. Use it wisely. 😛

    I normaly actualy use a laptop computer iso a calculator. But that is just for the buying part.
    That way i can buy most of my countries in advance while the other player plans his combat moves and i can quickly modify them and never go over the costs.

    Cuts down buying from 5 minutes to about 1 minute.

    But how do you handle the big stacks then because counting the units takes up some time. Especialy later in the game stacks can be in the 40ish units

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