Amphibious invasion of Berlin: A recurring issue

  • 2022 2021 '19 '15 '14

    This has been the go to move for KGF game resolution since Classic. In nearly every game this happens one of three ways. Either amphibious in combination with a push from the East, Amphibious in combination with a push from the West, or just a direct amphibious launch on Berlin.

    This strikes me as a somewhat bizarre and ahistorical feature of the game.

    1942.2 has gone some way towards improving the divisions within Europe. Since AA50, the space in Northwestern Europe has been well established. Poland no longer borders sz 5, and the situation with sz 3 makes it somewhat harder for England to shuck inf into Europe. Italy once again boarders Germany, something I’m not sure I like so much, having gotten used to the situation in AA50. But again, there you have another push from the south +Amphibious from sz 5 shot on Berlin.

    How about this for a proposal in future games. Instead of dividing europe into, France, NW Europe, Germany, Italy, Poland, Baltic etc why not a scheme that looks more like…

    Western Europe, Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, and then
    Central Europe which includes the German capital of Berlin and is not bordered by any sea zone.

    Additional factories could be placed in the territories of Western, Northern, Southern, and Eastern etc, factories on VCs at least, to allow Germany to retain their naval build options, but without making the Capital of Berlin vulnerable to direct amphibious.

    This would make D-Day, or a major Russian offensive more likely, as a prerequisite to actually conquering Berlin, as it should be! Anyone else think something like this might work? for a game at 1942.2’s scale? I think the divisions could be made large enough to accommodate the units on a physical board if a no Berlin boarding sz scheme was adopted. Here’s a rough draft up of how it might be dealt with. The actual divisions are less important than the general principle, to keep prevent amphibious on Berlin, but I think these are fairly solid groupings. Would make the final battle for control of Europe a bit more interesting I think. Note especially how a Northern Europe, territory might be used as a buffer between Central Europe and the Baltic sea and the Baltic states. This would encourage the Western Allies to land West, rather than East on the push to the capital, since it would be faster into Berlin from this direction than out of Baltic states (by one move). This would make for a more challanging final defense of Berlin, and would leave the eastern road more in the Russians purview (instead of Brits and Americans funneling towards Berlin from the east as typically happens. The northern Europe territory itself, while not huge, is long and borders the Baltic Sea and Sweden, both of which can house land units on a physical board (once all 3 powers converge there, as the most likely would during the final push.) But the advantage is that the overall board space here available for units would be much larger than any single space along the eastern front, so if all 3 do end up linking at least there is room for spill over on the triple hit. Does it make sense to you?    

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    I agree that the concept of an amphibious invasion of Berlin is absurd from a historical point of view.  And your idea of creating a coastal buffer territory between Berlin and the Baltic would certainly be one way of fixing the problem.  It should be noted, however, that Berlin’s apparent vulnerability to amphibious invasion on the game map can be viewed in another way that isn’t completely absurd from a historical point of view.

    It’s true that Berlin should not be depicted in a way on the game map which implies that it could be captured by an amphibious invasion of Germany, but the larger point to keep in mind is that an amphibious invasion of Germany itself was a virtual impossibility for most of WWII.  From 1940 to about 1943 or 1944, the Baltic was for most practical purposes a German lake.  Germany and the Soviet Union occupied Poland in 1939.  Germany occupied Norway and Denmark in 1940, which gave Germany control over the entrance to the Baltic from the North Sea.  Sweden was neutral.  Finland had close relations with Germany (especially since the Russo-Finnish War), and participated in the 1941 invasion of the USSR as an Axis co-belligerent: Germany seized the Soviet-annexed Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, Finland recaptured the Vyborg area it had lost to the Russians during the Russo-Finnish War, and the two countries occupied enough territory to almost completely encircle Leningrad (save for Lake Ladoga).  So by late 1941, every territory with a Baltic shoreline was either part of Germany itself, or German-occupied, or German-besieged, or controlled by Germany’s partner Finland, or neutral.

    The Anglo-Americans found it hard enough to invade Europe across a few dozen miles across the English Channel in 1944; the idea that they could have invaded Germany by sea from the Baltic – which would have first required seizing Norway and/or Denmark in order to get control of the Kattegat straights – is, at best, very improbable. As for the Soviets, I think that their Baltic Fleet took a pounding during the 1941 invasion and I doubt that the Russians could have assembled the forces needed to mount any substantial amphibious landing.  Besides, Russia is traditionally a land power (like Germany) and its outlook is not the same as that of Britain and the US, which are naval powers.  Any invasion of Europe mounted by Britain and the US had to be amphibious (because the English Channel gave them no choice), but the Eastern Front was a land front, so the Russians had no need to go to the trouble of invading Germany by sea when it was far easier for them to do it by land.  So in one sense, the problem with A&A isn’t that the game puts Berlin in a territory that has coastline; the problem is that the game and the rules combine to create a situation in which an Allied amphibious invasion of Germany is achievable, even though this is historically implausible.

  • I really don’t like the idea, if only because it would greatly decrease the number of boats that Germany can drop in the Baltic in a single round, thereby making Sea Lion almost impossible.

  • 2022 2021 '19 '15 '14

    Yeah all excellent points CWO Marc!

    Its of course impossible for A&A to model the final collapse of G in a way that takes all factors into consideration, but the way G gets hit from the sea always felt a bit off to me. I guess because it has been so consistent over time and never really addressed in all the various redesigns, that I feel compelled to bring it up here for general consideration.

    To Zombie’s point, I suppose my preferred solution would be to relocate production in other territories along the baltic/atlantic/med to allow Germany to retain fleet options. The problem with a german baltic fleet under the current set up is that it usually gets wiped by allied air, at which point Berlin is wide open. Its hard to justify throwing away the whole kriegsmarine in an attack unless somehow the allies have left their fleets vulnerable and you can get into their transports. And so otherwise, any german fleet is basically stuck defending or counter-attack positioning around Berlin. I think it would be more fun if Berlin itself was safe from direct amphibious and the naval production was instead shifted west to France and the Low Countries, or North to a new buffer space, or East along the Baltic. That way the ships might be able to actually maneuver, or at the very least Uboats could be launched from sz more in range of the Atlantic crossing zones. I have been playing HR games in AA50 with starting factories in France and Poland, and I don’t see it have the unbalancing effect that many people fear it would. I would be even more amenable to them, in a moderately scaled board like 1942.2, if a new Berlin design was attempted.

    I think it makes sense, if the issue ever is revisited, to start with the starter boards like this one. If a new design can work with a game like 1942.2 then it probably has a decent chance of being adapted into the more complex games like an AA50 or Global.

    Also just to the Sea Lion issue. The actual plan, never executed, called for the southern coast of England to be invaded in a pattern which basically mirrors the later Normandy invasion. Most of the same regions that were key to the Allied invasion in 44, would have been the locus of a German cross channel invasion of England. D-day going the opposite direction. The plan was to launch across the channel from the Low Countries and France, regions like Calais and Cherbourg, Dunkirk, Antwerp etc.

    So even there, a game modeled Sea Lion attempt would be more true to the “what if?” spirit of the game, if it was based around the English Channel rather than the Baltic. I favor a France factory for several reasons, but this is one of the benefits I see that might come out of it. That is, if the Berlin factory was relocated off the Baltic coastline. I could see it working in a map like this, with roughly the same characteristic as 1942.2. Worth trying anyway. Plan Z would surely have a greater chance of success, if the Germans had more production options available. Moving Berlin off the coastline, might provide the requisite excuse to move this production to other reasonable territories.

  • Well, if you’re putting 15 IPCs of production with industrial complexes on countries outside of Germany (Italy’s 3 plus Germany’s 12, reassigned), you’re screwing Germany in a different way because you’re giving the Allies lots of juicy territories to take and then start producing on right away, while Germany gets to produce fewer on its capital to defend itself.

  • 2022 2021 '19 '15 '14

    Well I don’t see why you can’t keep G at 10 (or 8 if you really feel the need to lower it) and still have factories on those other territories too. I don’t see the need to restrict German production to its current levels going forward, since the real restriction is total money anyway. They can have 20+ production and it probably wouldn’t make a difference, unless they have enough money to max it out. Just as an example, on the current board, G would have to be making 70 ipcs, to max produce 10 transports in the Baltic. By the time G is making that kind of money, the game is likely over anyway. So I’m not sure they benefit so much. France might only get them 6 production, but its located in a better transit position, so at least the fleet could move and be supported. Say a northern europe space was about the same value, or split with another territory that had a factory up to around 6 total starting production on the baltic sea, 8 if Karelia is captured? seems like it should be sufficient. Sure G might be able to drop infantry closer to the front too, if these factories were added, but they’re still limited by how much total money they have. So basically forces a decision where to put the units, instead of just always dropping on Berlin.

    To me it just seems weird how all the German production is concentrated in the one space. Even and especially after 1942, the Germans extensively exploited the territories under their occupation, in the East, but in France and the Low Countries as well. And the Allies likewise sought to bomb much of this in campaigns from the air.

    Granted, if you kept everything else the same, maybe the balance doesn’t shake down so much in G’s favor, but if you started a design with these new ideas in mind I don’t see why it couldn’t work. G would probably be more fun, if screwed this way haha, since it forces them to actually protect the territories under their control, instead of just leaving them open all the time.

    I think it would be better for the naval game too, and more accurate, since France or the Low Countries would give the u-boats much better reach on the Atlantic. And if you didn’t have to stack Berlin against amphibious, then the German ground, sea, and air units would all be able to move around Europe with greater flexibility, at least until the end of the game, when the Western Allies land or the Russians come knocking on the door.

  • I think the proposed change might improve historical accuracy but at serious expense of dynamic gameplay. I prefer the latter over the former given the trade-off considering Axis & Allies is foremost a game of strategy and planning. For example, I prefer both sides to have a 50/50 chance of winning even though historical accuracy would be more like 98/2 in favor of allies.

    Proposed territory change: This is bad in my view because it removes allied pressure on germany. Currently, NW Europe, france, baltic, finland, italy, and southern europe are tradeable. Removing pressure on germany gives germany more potential to shift infantry to stack these trade-able territories. A protected Berlin also makes it even less rewarding for allies to have a strong navy.

    Increasing germany production:
    This is actually a big deal because germany is currently limited to 13 or 15 production. Infantry are the single most overpowered unit in Axis and Allies. Germany normally produces between 42-52 income, and in many circumstances I end up buying a couple less efficient units like art, tank, fig, or even a bomber to fit the 13-15 production cap. By increasing production, pure infantry buys become the obvious buy.

    Both proposed changes significantly favor Germany. Axis already have an advantage on this map.

  • My favorite way to make Sea Lion work is to spend nothing in one turn, then if UK didn’t defend properly buy 10 transports, while if they did I’d buy land troops. That’s how you can produce 10 transports in one turn, and that necessitates the factory production to do it.

  • 2022 2021 '19 '15 '14

    Not sure I really see the dynamism of the current set up. Over several successive editions of Axis and Allies, I have seen more or less the same basic strategies play out with regard to capturing the German capital… And this despite several rather significant changes to the game, things like: sea zone and territory divisions around Europe, total production, total income, starting unit set up, unit cost and abilities, even turn order. All those things have changed in successive editions and yet the same basic dynamic occurs with respect to the fall of Berlin.

    I see the point about trade-able territories, but have to admit the whole concept of France trading hands several times strikes me as a bit peculiar. I suppose in the abstract you can say that this trading just represents shifting lines at the front, but the game doesn’t actually model this. If Germany counter attacks an Allied stack in France and smokes it, its the equivalent of driving the Allies back into the see (not an Ardennes offensive contesting control of the boarder region with Germany.) I mean, I suppose my point would be, why not start with the more accurate representation, and then restore balance some other way, by other means? Adjust starting units, or total income for example.

    I don’t see a major problem with the potential for Germany to stack defend with mass inf, so long as they are forced to split this inf over several target territories at the same time. This actually mirrors the historical reality. The problem with stack defense in the current game arises because Allies don’t have a way to effectively attack such stacks. Instead they are forced into a stack defense game of their own. Pushing with joint forces either from the West or the East (though east is often more effective since it allows all 3 allies to co-locate instead of just UK/USA.) I think this happens because the only coastal territory that truly matters is Berlin. The dynamic is such that, as Allies, you need to drop a large enough stack to both take a territory neighboring Berlin and then hold it against an overwhelming counter attack out of G… or baiting a counter attack strafe at odds, while retaining the option to assault Berlin on amphibious afterwards (if G takes too many hits.) This is basically how you establish a landing in the current game, and its much the same as its always been.

    The problem is that G doesn’t have enough incentive to hold coastal territory outside Berlin, and every incentive to lightly trade it, fold into the Berlin ball and maintain income parity through constant trading light while stacking the core. UK and USA basically do the same, to maintain income parity, trading over and over until one side or the other breaks apart, or makes a critical error, at which point the game ends. Even in Global, with all the different things that were tried, Eastern Germany still plays much the same.

    Put the question like this, say you did locate Berlin outside the threat of direct amphibious… In a game at the scale of 1942, which changes do you think would need to occur to accommodate it?

    I see zombie’s suggestion as basically that G needs 10 production on a single sz, to facilitate a late game invasion of London. That seems reasonable enough. Why not make it France and Northern Europe together in sz 6, or 8, or even 5 rather than all in the Baltic? You could still get the same production concentrated into a single sz, I just don’t see why it has to come from the capital? France would allow for more flexibility to cover the Med, and be more important for G to hold, or the Allies to take.

    I think MarineIguana, if I read you correctly, the thing that concerns you most is G’s ability to spam mass infantry over multiple factories over the course of the game from the very start. Just Max inf endlessly has long been a winning strategy for the Axis, and its true that its overpowered, but that is basically going to be the case with Germany no matter what. I would think the way to deal with that would be to put more production into contention in the area around G, so that Allies have an incentive to actually establish themselves on the continent at the coastal production locations, rather than just massing for amphibious on Berlin to end the game. Basically balanced on unit set up, from these conditions, rather than always around the Berlin shot out of sz5.

    Would the map scale, or overall game scale need to be altered to accommodation such a change? Or could it be accomplished just with starting units and starting position?

    Suppose there are other ways also that one might approach the sz 5 situation, perhaps by using rules for Straits like Gibraltar and Kattegat, but it just seems simpler to me to try a Berlin shifted off the coast approach using normal territory rearrangement, rather than more special rules for specialized territories.

    It might be possible if you didn’t want to add territory, to just collapse them instead and adjust the border. If France and the Low Countries were brought back together with Denmark, the old Western Europe classic would now be worth 8 ipcs across basically the same territory. Then all you would have to do is stretch Baltic a bit further west, to make it a generic coastal region rather than specifically the states of Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania. Might work… if production was put on the two large coastal territories…

    Or I guess you do a redesign of Poland, to bring it back into a broader Eastern Europe space more like Classic, to justify the production in the region. Basically 2 high priority targets/forward production centers, in place of 1 critical Capital as it is now. Even if you didn’t want to up the production too much but just split 6/6 between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, which would give you 12 total, without altering things too much…, sort of like this I guess, if you wanted it on sz 5.

    You could shift the convergence point around depending on where you wanted it (maybe the Elbe?). In my experience Baltic States is rather small on the 1942.2 board, given the way it’s used. A larger space would help accommodate the many ground units in the ways which they are typically used. I mean how many territories are really needed around G anyway? I think 3 or 4 should be more than enough, probably even down to just 3 would be sufficient.

    Consider also, the strategic interest if Eastern Europe and Western Europe could border each other by land. Meeting at the Elbe or the Oder. Imagine a Soviet push to Western from Eastern, or and Allied push to Eastern from Western. German rapid transition West/East or the other way around. I think it has the potential to be dynamic. Sz 5 would still be favored on naval, since that is likely be the best place for the two sz spaces to converge, near Denmark (on one side or the other.) Although it could also conceivably be a convergence in sz 6, which would put a lot more pressure on UK (that’s sz 8 and sz 5 each with six production, and a 12 drop where they come together in sz 6. Or you could just keep the convergence point in sz 5, since the baltic was historically more secure. Either way, the pressure on G to hold these factory territories and cover them as long as possible would be high, and might be a reasonable trade off for the benefits they gain in forward positioning. The flexibility from the production and position would likely go both ways, or at least, maybe it could be made too with proper starting unit placement.

    It might be possible to collapse back into a southern Europe territory as well, basically creating a halo of 6 ipc territories around Central Europe Berlin, such that Germany is always pulled in 3 directions out of the capital. Or forced to choose which pair out of the 3 to cover at any given time East, South and West. Then for the Allies the goal would be to break off one of the 3 halo spaces and secure it. I envision a game were Germany is first encircled before being crushed. Three Allies each with 1 optimal target factory, Russia to Eastern Europe, Britain and America to Western and Southern. Germany would have a strong reason to defend on the front line, but also a strong reason to hold at the center to launch counter attacks in case one of the three halo spaces falls. So it’d be a trade off I think, stronger forward position but also more vulnerability.

    Germany  eastern europe collapse.jpg

  • I feel that the proposals are largely changes around the margins that don’t really address some glaring flaw (in my view) or make the game better.

    To contribute constructively:
    I think each territory should have a differentiated role that it makes sense to place units there.
    I think each unit should have a differentiated role that makes sense to purchase

    Sheltering Berlin makes the france and baltic territories clearly the best territories to position troops, and Berlin less useful except enough to hold the capital. Less tradeable territories also makes infantry more valuable, detracting from the variety of unit purchases. The change isn’t that huge, but I feel it does reduce the differentiation and detracts slightly from dynamic gameplay; however, the change does make the map more historically accurate.

    I largely feel that by sheltering Berlin from naval threat, it makes Allies naval purchases even less valuable and makes germany infantry more valuable.
    1. The UK navy threatens less coastal territories
    2. With less threatened territories, it becomes more advantageous to create static german stacks.

    Regarding production, I generally like the idea of reducing production to create real costs to purchasing infantry. Taking an extreme example, Germany with a production limit of 3 would almost never buy infantry. Currently without production limits, infantry are clearly the most efficient.

  • For one thing, to solve a minor historical innacuracy, you’re creating bigger ones, like Germany constructing its naval ships on the Atlantic and controlling that region instead of being masters of the Baltic. As far as gameplay is concerned, you’re also making the game less fun to play. All I can say is that I wouldn’t buy such a version of the game. Of course, you’re free to create your own house rules.

  • I think a very simple solution is as follows: In order for surface ships to access the Baltic Sea, one must have control of both Norway & Denmark/Northwestern Europe from the start of ones turn. Similar to 1940 Global.

  • 2022 2021 '19 '15 '14

    Points all well taken. It was perhaps a bridge too far, though somewhere deep down I still feel that a sheltered Berlin is workable.

    The more I look at the territory divisions I am suggesting the more I am starting to think it would be better suited to a map at the scale of 1941 for testing rather than 1942.2, especially as I look at the collapse of territories I am now proposing. The more I redraw the more I gravitate towards a Classic arrangement (just with Berlin located off the coast instead of on the Baltic), so its possible I am barking up the wrong tree. But just keeping with the 1942.2 scale for a moment…

    The idea here hinges on starting factories in a circle around a Central European space, but to be workable you are looking at a minimum production of around 24 on the 1942.2 board. Western Europe 6, Eastern Europe 6, Southern Europe 6, and Central Europe 6.

    Now, I can sense you will all immediately reject the idea as untenable 😉
    but just to get it out there, this would be the arrangement I envision, with the following direct territory connections

    Western <> Eastern
    Western <> Southern
    Southern <> Eastern
    with Central in the middle bordering all three.

    So for fans of occult conspiracy theories, that’d be 6 6 6 production surrounding Berlin.
    One advantage I see to concentrating the money/production into larger territory groups, is that it would allow more units to co-locate on the physical board, before they begin to spill-over into adjacent territories/sz (giving a cleaner look overall to the gamemap). I mean you have to admit, even when fully chipped, if more than two Allied powers group together in a single territory, it is almost always too little space for two many units on the current board. Sure you can print a bigger map, but I think there is an upper limit on table space in most homes, and in any case, even if you doubled the scale, the current baltic states would still be pretty small relative to how the units are usually moved/used.

    How much does all that territory trading for chump change really enhance the gameplay anyway? I mean, I see the trend, in every edition since classic, we have been carving up the same basic space into more and more territories. In practical terms, all it seems to do to is increase overall game length. Why not just make Eastern Europe worth 6 with a starting factory on it, and concentrate the energy and the focus of both sides into a few major battles, instead of endless minor skirmishes for 1 or 2 ipcs? I would make the same argument with Western Europe and Southern. Take away all that trading and design a board where the game actually revolves and resolves around major battles fought in those territories, not minor skirmishes on the trade.

    Now, as MarineIguana pointed out, this would allow Germany to leave the Central Europe space lightly defended to stack the three forward Factories, or at least, right up until the point where one of them fell to the Allies. After which time the challenge would be how to balance forces out of the center, to contest the halo factories, without losing the capital in the process.

    Another benefit I hadn’t considered before is how this might limit somewhat the attractiveness of parking Japanese fighters on the German capital. Though there are probably other more direct ways to solve that issue, with a pacific rebalance.

    I also used to favor a high income low production board. If I read MarineIguana correctly, the optimal situation is a board like aa50, which heavily restricts production, and, in general encourages the production of more tanks and aircraft over infantry, simply by virtue of the fact that you want to spend all your money on max placement with no remainder left over. I still favor this dynamic on most current boards, but into the future, I don’t see a problem with additional production so long as it can be contested.

    I think high income low production works well, but I have also been playing lately with an HR that increases German production by 9 on that same aa50 board (in France and Poland). This ups their starting total to 19. I have not seen it unbalancing the game to the extent which I thought it might at first. Sure G spams infantry, as any good germany player would, but this infantry is also required to defend the factories themselves. Basically the added production is a double edged sword, because it can be taken by the Allies. So the real issue isn’t so much the amount of production that G begins with, but how much force/production Allies possess to balance against it. Clearly on the current board, the Allies would not have enough units/production/income to manage, but it might just as easily be otherwise, if the Allied starting position was improved to deal with Gs new production spread.

    To zombie, I don’t see it as necessarily creating a bigger historical inaccuracy. This board’s start date is 1942, and the battle of the Atlantic had not yet been won by the Allies. Germany had a large Submarine base at Keroman in France and a Flotilla base at Brest, which was a major target for the Allies until it was captured in 44. Germany also controlled major deep water ports in the Low Countries, many of which had been repaired and re-purposed. Almost any German fleet, in the Baltic or otherwise, requires the building of the Graf Zeppelin, something which never actually occurred. So if the ambition is for a German naval game, you are already starting from a point that admits a bit of flexibility with regard to the history. Its entirely possible, had this ship and its sisters been completed earlier in the war (as originally planned) perhaps Germany might have broken out of the Baltic. Probably not, but this is a game of what if’s. I suspect that a factory in France would allow the Germans to exert greater control over sz 6, 8 and 14, with the main naval concentration remaining in the Baltic. Whether that is good or bad, depends on the Allied start position and what forces they can bring to bear against German fleets.

    To Heinz, I do enjoy the potential of a rule for straits/canals in this area. My only desire is that it be kept relatively simple. If implemented in the same way the current Suez canal zone is, I don’t see it being a major problem. Though I do think G would likely need a stronger starting fleet, in order to actually contest Norway from the Baltic instead of just by land via Finland.

    Also just as an aside, on the 98/2 idea, which basically holds that, given what we now know, it was essentially impossible for the Axis to win the war through conventional means. The game makes no attempt to model resources beyond the generic IPCs, and in 1942.2 the whole of idea of technological advances was ditched to make the gameplay simpler. If Germany ever was to win the war, at the late stage which the game tries to depict, it would probably have been through advances in aeronautics, rocketry, and chem warfare. But this game doesn’t even model tech, and is never going to touch that last one, probably with good reason. So no matter what history says, Axis and Allies will always be based on a somewhat distorted rendition of the potential “what if’s”. That said, I think it might be possible to get a bit closer to the history, without changing the game so substantially that it becomes something entirely different from the boardgame we all know and love.

  • 2022 2021 '19 '15 '14

    Something like this… as a generic starting point. Fix the production locations, and remove new factories as a purchasing option, the way things are handled in the latest 1941 board. Anchor the factories around the major urban centers and make these factories effectively the VCs, so for game board purposes you could remove the unit altogether to save space.

    Redrafted this way, from the perspective oh “housing units” on the physical board, I think a breakdown like this in Europe would be ideal…

    It is important that all territories and sea zones be able to house the units that typically move into them. Especially for territories that are co-located in by the Allies.

    A main point is to keep Berlin and Moscow 4 moves apart, so that Axis fighters from the German capital cannot fly to attack the Russian capital and then land (or vice versa with Allies from the Russian capital to the German.) This is just to remove the fighter camp phenomenon on the 1941 board. The sheltered German capital also encourages a landing in one of the halo VC spaces before capture of the German capital, to secure landing for fighters attacking out of UK or Karelia. This would provide 8 factories in Europe, 5 of which could be contested beyond the 3 capitals. I think this would make for a more dynamic arrangement than the current six, with only three production spaces contested. More entry points/anchors/targets on production.

    Then, the only question is what IPC value to put at the territories? This should be flexible, given how much the values of these spaces in Europe have been adjusted over various editions. I suspect that 1941 probably went too far in lowering the values, but perhaps a compromise board with less overall production than 1942.2, but more than 1941 would work.

    If one wants to achieve a low production board or high production board you just change the values. I favor the following for all territories
    1, 2, 3, 6, 9 and nothing else. Here is the reason why… because those values can all be understood in terms of the replacement cost of the infantry units at a glance.

    At 9 triple the replacement cost of an infantry unit.
    At 6 double the replacement cost of inf
    At 3, the exact replacement cost of inf
    At 2, two third the replacement cost of inf
    At 1, one third the replacement cost of inf
    If there is a strong need for a territory larger than 9, I would suggest 12 (or always a multiple of 3), but I don’t think its necessary to go higher than 9 for a board at the scale of 1942.2

    No territory should have a value between these
    No territory should have a value lower than 1 ipc. (This isn’t really necessary for the scheme, but I always push for it given an opening, just because zero value territories bug me haha)

    Then just set up the anchor territories with the factories and distribute the territories such that the relative values are roughly even Axis vs Allies, with any disparity made up on starting unit value/position.

    This draft below just shows a glance at Europe with a sheltered Berlin in the halo I am suggesting, but the values are blank, because I think that could be flexible. Why not for example, have a Berlin at 3? As Marine suggested in the extreme example, or 9, or a compromise at 6, (which might achieve some of that production limitation discouraging infantry.) Or just do all Capitals at 9 and balance around that value. Western, Eastern and Southern could come in at values 6, 6, 6 for a high production game, or 3, 3, 3 for a low one, or 2,2,2, for a very low. Or you could break up the values into a split, 6,3,2 or 3,2,1 etc. You could probably bring Italy into if you wanted as a 6th player just by changing the value of southern europe from 3 (in a five man game) to 9 (in a six man game.) Flexibility is the key, but I think it would make sense to balance all territories as a fraction or multiple of the infantry unit. Caucasus or Karelia could easily be worth 6 or 3. Moscow could easily be worth 9, without upending the whole game. This takes some of the complication out of denoting relative territory value, instead of making it so nuanced with territories at 4, 8, 10 etc, it’s a bit more abstract/vague/flexible. Just stick with 3s and thirds. Anyone else see the merit? Makes it all simple to read and to parse strategic value at a glance. I am definitely thinking it would be better to fix production first (which also removes a level of unnecessary complexity, since you don’t have to think about how/where to buy new production). Just work out a relative income and unit distribution to balance against the anchored production at the start, and put it into contention for both sides. Does that make sense? I think it could work for a game of the 1942.2 scale, without altering the basic gameplay and entertainment value.

    In the most generic terms, you could think of VC/Factory territories in terms of Small, Medium, or Large…

    This would simplify the game on a basic level and allow you to group the IPC value of these special spaces according to game length preference.
    Short game 1,2,3
    Medium game 2,3,6
    Long Game 3,6,9 or something along those lines.

    Then you’d have single board that was scale-able, without necessarily having to fix the IPC values, or the exact production values, just the specific location of production and the generic value of all territories relative to each other. Everything based essentially on thirds and threes. Instead of IPCs territories could just as easily be marked in some abstract way (red, blue, green or with generic symbols, or Roman numerals) and then you plug in the exact IPC value for the game at the start, based on how long you want it to last, and how much unit replacement you want to introduce.

    High, Medium, or Low:  9, 6, or 3, the basic logic of Marine’s extreme, carried through to conclusion. I would play a game like that, if someone was down to try it out with me. 🙂

    So basically you add an income tier at the desired level, only modifying things in VC/Factory territories and the Capital which could have a value between 6 and 9 I suppose depending on game length. VCs could very from 1 up to 6 IPCs depending on game scale. Feels like it might come together somehow.

    sheltered Berlin 42 scale.jpg

  • 2022 2021 '19 '15 '14

    In short what I was trying to say above is that I think it might be possible to adjust the base production and base income value of territories independently (depending on player preference). Handling the increases through doubling and tripling, at the fixed production points. So like, if you wanted G at 40, you might do something like this…
    Or perhaps something like this if you only want them at 25. Or maybe somewhere in between. Just shifting around the territories that are worth 3, 6 etc until you get a balance that works well. This is straying a bit from my original thought, but just as a suggestion on how production could be modified to perhaps accommodate a different way of handling Europe.

    Why always have Germany necessarily worth more than UK for example? Britain was thoroughly industrialized, the largest empire on earth before the outbreak of war. And why always have the soviets so weak relative to Germany? Their production was extensive. I think if the German heartland was worth slightly less, but broken off from amphibious and on a more even footing with the Russians, you could create a balance in Europe that worked a bit more on the patterns of the actual conflict instead of weird amphibious strikes and Moscow turtling etc. These draft examples are of course vague. Its more the idea of establishing territory value as a kind of abstraction on relative balance instead of something that has to be set in stone. That’s why I like restricting the production into 3s and thirds, because it gives more room for flexibility at the high end without looking so specific. It could just as easily go up again to 12 if needed, but I like to see first if the low end could work.

    I just think that you could potentially change the values by quite a bit, so long as the starting unit set up was balanced accordingly. Either for a high replacement or low. These mock ups don’t suggest that the numbers here are ideal, just show how when the map is blank you could envision a lot of different set ups games at different lengths, balanced on tweaks of the starting unit position.

    sheltered Berlin 42 scale higher.jpg
    sheltered Berlin 42 scale lower.jpg

  • 2022 2021 '19 '15 '14

    Or something like this…

    Basically, just trying to show that the map doesn’t really look so odd if the values are adjusted slightly here and there. I think the values only seem so fixed, because we have been habituated to seeing them a certain way, and under the conditions of a particular starting unit set up. We expect the numbers we’ve seen before. But over different editions the numbers have altered enough in various areas that I think you could get away with a lot of different things, and it wouldn’t change the basic flavor of the gameplay, or make people pull their hair out, provided the set up for the starting units was balanced. 🙂

    What do you guys think? Is it just too off the wall for example, if Germany was worth a little less than UK for change? Or the same as UK? Or if Moscow and Berlin were more evenly matched, of if the values of southern, eastern and western were tweaked up or down? I feel like if the numbers are in that range 1, 2, 3, 6 ipcs you start to think of territories in terms of their replacement cost on inf. The transit territories can be worth less because you have to go through them anyway. But the target territories are different, I think could be tweaked in value depending on your preference for production or overall income in an A&A game, that is, how long you like to play and with how many units.

    Here’s another quick draft up with a different clustering. One where G starts with 33 income, 15 production…

    Depending on how you build the starting unit set up on the land and sea I’m sure you could create different dynamics using the same essential production spaces. I just see a lot of potential variation, that would still remain essentially at the same scale as 1942.2 or Classic, but with some new twists that would make it different from previously released boards. Basically its arbitrary with respect to the numbers, as long as the relative range is similar (near, at, or above the replacement cost of an infantry), I think people would eventually get used to any shifting of the numbers that might occur.

    Or here’s another one with G at 44 income and 21 production. In the abstract, either one could potentially work, since you can do so much with starting units. For example, if the concern is that G spams infantry constantly, then give them less infantry at the start of the game. Or alternatively, design the set up such that buying only infantry with G and no heavy equipment will allow allies to overtake them somehow in subsequent rounds.

    sheltered Berlin 42 scale middlewise.jpg
    sheltered Berlin 42 scale uppermidwise.jpg

  • 2022 2021 '19 '15 '14

    And finally, after all those earlier examples and thought experiments (sorry about the multi-post, it would only allow 2 attachment images at a go 🙂 ) this is probably closer to what I’m ultimately driving at…

    My ideal distribution for a sheltered Berlin of the sort proposed above. With several key target territories increased in value to “double” the replacement cost of a single infantry unit (i.e. 6 ipcs.) Under this particular arrangement G would have 55 IPCs starting income and 24 total production, but more of Europe would be contested overall. And the potential for trading across the whole region could remain fairly strong. For such a mapboard I would favor less starting units at the outset, (since there is more money available, the player can guide the course of the game with more freedom through purchasing.) At the start, I would suggest only the heavy hitters, and a few pockets of infantry, with units mainly concentrated in clusters, to save on gameboard set-up time. Have the first round, be the “set up”, the second round be the “move out” and from the third round on “the contest.” I think that would accelerate the game overall, without diminishing interest or putting people in a straight jacket in terms of what strategy to employ.

    I think at this level of starting income/production around 55, a German player would have enough flexibility to shape the game in different directions (including a naval direction) if they sought to, but still without the game itself getting unbalanced, so long as the UK, Russia had options against G. If people were willing to entertain the idea of more 6 ipcs  territories scattered across the board. Territories that allow income to increase above production, are what encourages players to buy the heavy hitters. Or at the very least, increasing total income brings the game to a point where exotics become more viable as a purchase (since players feel more comfortable, with the extra money once they can develop a an early cushion of infantry.

    The way to compensate for this increase in income, is with a decrease in overall starting units. Less starting units so set up doesn’t take as long when playing on the physical board! Instead allow new units to be introduced through the process of gameplay, the tedium of set up becomes the excitement buying units during the purchase phase.  😄

    Any thoughts?

    Tunisia in here so that G has a territory at 1. Highlighting Tobruk and giving Rommel a fun place to start   😄

    From starting conditions like this, still on a board at this scale, one could optionally include a 6th player as well.

    Southern Europe, Balkans, and Libya could combine at 11 ipcs and 6 production to bring another Axis faction into the game if desired - headed by Italy, while also representing forces from, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia etc). This would still leave G with 45 starting income and 18 starting production. Basically you just ensure that those territories have sufficient starting units whether you want them to be German or Italian Axis aligned to support a mini-faction if you want to take a 5 man game to a 6. Something similar could probably be done in the Pacific with China in case you somehow had a 7th player, but that is getting off the subject of this thread. For now I just wanted to look at the situation in Europe, because so much of the game hinges on that part of the gamemap. By concentrating the heavy hitters “in clusters” I mean focus the starting unit set-up such that tanks, fighters, bombers etc. are on the VC/Factory territories, and just include less starting infantry overall. Ships can likewise be concentrated into sea zones that are adjacent to factories. Simple things like that to cut down on set up time.

    In terms of a broader income distribution, I would search for a start value roughly like
    Russia 33 or 44
    Japan 33
    UK 44
    Germany 55 ipcs
    USA 55

    or you can break off 11 ipcs from those last two (to make Italy or China) and leave US or G with 44. Something about those numbers just has a nice ring for me.

    Sheltering Berlin doesn’t really require all this, but if considering the possibilities, it seems worthwhile to look at the gamemap as a whole.

    sheltered Berlin 42 scale ideal.jpg

  • 2022 2021 '19 '15 '14

    Or even crazier…
    what if we did all that other stuff and then just unsheltered Berlin back to normal? I guess I’d be interested in that as well hehe  😄

    It doesn’t exactly prevent amphibious into the Capital, but the balance on production might be interesting, in that it would allow more naval options for UK (or potentially G), and force the German player to defend across a broader front, as an offset to the increased production. Restricted at 6 on central Europe, I suspect German players would consider heavy hitter buys on the capital to cover against amphibious as well as to threaten counter attacks and gain the movement advantage on coverage of Western and Southern out of Eastern.

    unsheltered Berlin 42 scale ideal.jpg

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