I like that oil refinery idea. A generic piece or marker which could stand in as +X for a territory at collect income is a very easy way to keep all this stuff visually out in the open. It also seems simple to implement, which of course is my preference. I might try a rule like that sometime as a NO alternative.
So why not gather all UK territories into one single UK player ? Why split it up ?
I can also see advantages to using both a single unified British Empire, or a British Empire + Dominions scheme. Either would be an improvement over the current set up which has the UK split into three separate economies. To me it would be cooler if the split was optional. So if you wanted a single UK player (for UK, UK pacific and Anzac) then you could play that way. Or if you want a Commonwealth player then you could just break them off and use the Anzac pieces that come in the box to do this.
I feel like our Canadian friends especially always get the shaft in A&A. Putting them with the commonwealth gets them into the action in a more independent way, which seems like it could be fun. For the battle of the Atlantic and the Normandy invasion. For me including South Africa with a commonwealth faction makes sense from the historical and gameplay perspective. I could see the advantage of the Eire thing as well, as a mini base staging point, but since it starts Neutral I think its probably easier to stick with the Canadas, Anzacs, and South Africa/SW Africa.
UK Pacific is 17, Anzac+Canada is 17, so replacing those is a wash. Giving the Commonwealth South Africa/SW is nice though for a functional starting economy at 20, and enough of a production split that they have to choose where to spend/defend. If the UK card read correctly with the wash I’d say forget S. Africa, but since the UK card has to change regardless (if you take away Canada) I say you might was well do it all at once. Its easy enough to split the roundels around.
There are a fair number of UK control marker that could be used to re-chip the board to include Anzac if desired. Less Anzac chips OOB to re-chip Canada etc. I think if I had my choice I would try to make both options available so that it could be up to the players discretion.
I have also wrestled with how to simplify G40; I agree overwhelmingly with your opening post Black Elk. I think a G40 that keeps the OOB unit placement but with revised DoW/turn order, NOs is the only way to truly simplify.
For my house rules I make 2 main changes:
1. Eliminate UK 2 economies rule by expanding ANZAC into a player called the Commonwealth (Commonwealth = original ANZAC + South Africa + Canada; updated UK = original UK + UK Pacific territories - UK territories handed to Commonwealth). This also has the bonus of making the Commonwealth a much more interesting nation to play than ANZAC.
2. Replace all NOs with oil refineries worth 3 IPCs each to boost the value of certain territories. This can also provide an easy balancing mechanism depending on how many refineries you place in Allied vs. Axis controlled territories at the start.
(Search for the thread ‘Global Streamlined Package’.)
I haven’t experimented with changing the DoW rules but think different DoW rules in conjunction with the above would complete the simplification for me so would be interested to read further suggestions in that area particularly.
ps. Again to the DoW thing, I do think the easiest way to proceed would be to start all nations at war. The 1940 games are the only ones with rules for entry, all other A&A games used a total war start. If NOs and all combat restrictions are removed, then to me it is very simple to just consider “time” in the first round as abstract. I like to think of the Nations as paired roughly according to the situation at various points throughout the year
Italy and UK-Dominions considered to be vaguely Aug-Nov during the Somaliland campaigns, up to the time of Greece, Battle Britain, and 1941 war with Japan. France and Germany considered to be June-Sept 1940 on the eve of the invasion of France up to 1941 Vichy and the eve of Barbarossa. Russia and Japan considered to be roughly in the time between the Tripartite pact, Barbarossa to Soviet nap, up to the point of war in the Pacific against US.
Japan and USA/China are considered to be into 1941 by the close of the first round.
My brain has no problem at all reconciling these broad strokes with the in game positions of troops on the board at the end of the first round, so long as the action is driving more or less in the direction of 1941 by the second round. This is the sort of thing that would happen naturally anyway, without a DoW scheme in play, since it is the DoW mechanic that restricts US and Russia from moving into a 1941 position for several rounds.
Basically its like bypassing the first four rounds of a normal G40 game and launching right into the total war midgame without requiring such lengthy build ups. This would give less focus on building out grinding stacks, or waiting around for the Axis to DoW, and instead make the action more immediate.
Also to the point, if your approach is to collapse the turn order completely into an All Axis vs All Allies turn, then you are already tacitly endorsing a more/flexible condensed sense of time (game time to historical timeline) since its harder to imagine months going by between turns. Instead what you are accepting already, is an abstraction, that the game round corresponds basically to the historical timeline, but doesn’t mirror it in every particular phase, just broadly in the same sort of sequence of events.
To me it just seems a lot easier, and doesn’t require a particularly crazy stretch of imagination. Once the game starts time progresses at whatever pace the players like to imagine for themselves.
A very old House rule is the All Axis turn, then the All Allies turn. So basically Germany, Italy and Japan purchase units, combat move, resolve combat, non combat move and place units at the same time. Then all Allies do the same. Now this is a real time saver, and it only take away the dead time when 7 players are waiting bored for one player to do his stuff. But it will affect the tactics, since some players like to exploit the gamey stuff like can openers or reinforce a newly captured territory with other nations fighters.
The problem with allies fighter camping for defense seems almost intractable. Whether in a normal turn order or a collapsed one, the same issue comes up in practically all A&A games. The movement advantage of the fighter is just too hard for many to ignore. The only rules I’ve seen that have had any appreciable effect are the ones that force players to make harder decisions regarding fighter support. Penalties or restrictions, or taking the unit out of play for a round, or forcing the player to make some kind of defense declaration (where the fighter can either defend or move that round, but not both etc.) Its hard to come up with a system that really prevents Japan or the W. Allies from launching fighters to the Center, since fighter shifting is so powerful strategically, but it would be cool to see if there was some basic rule that could handle that. I just can’t think of one that solves all the problems.
Perhaps if you had to give up possession of the fighter to your ally, and have it taken out of play for a round (like a lend lease) maybe players would think twice about sending fighters to their “allies”, but then those sorts of rules are open to abuse in other directions. Like just a dozen fighters turning Russia. Or Japan propping up the Luftwaffe. Not really sure what could be done to get rid of that phenomenon, I’ve seen it in play in every game since Classic.
Probably some economic penalty would be easiest. Similar to the Russian NO in AA50 which encouraged Allied players to avoid parking fighters on Russian land if possible, or face a penalty. Something more generic might be more effective, like if the player pays a continuous penalty. So there is an actual cost to all players for having a bunch of “allies” fighters suddenly show up in their territory. Perceived as like a maintenance thing, or pilot exchanges. Or I’m not sure exactly how you want to interpret it, but basically some built in IPC penalty or cost, aimed at discouraging excessive Fighter camping for defense of your allies. Perhaps both players might face a cost? So something like: negative X ipcs at collect income, for any fighter landed outside a territory you control, and/or negative X ipcs for any friendly fighters on your land.
Something like that might work, if it was more universal.
Come to think about it, the facilities can be improved too. We don’t need major or minor IC,s. The classic factory rule, that let the IPC value of the territory decide how many units to place, was good enough. Just fix the IPC values with a pencil. Scotland was never worth 2 anyway.
I agree that it would have been much easier if production matched ipc value, or if the ipc values were distributed differently across the map, but I am the sort who doesn’t like to draw directly on a board. The problem with changing the physical map (for anything) is that fewer players will adopt the rules or have a chance to try them. I tend to favor correctives that use all the same boxed materials and the same physical gameboard whenever possible for ease of adoption. But that is what intrigues me about the idea of a unit which does nothing but represent an IPC bonus meantioned earlier in this thread. Some simple way to alter the printed value on the board up to a new amount, but without confusing it for other purposes, or other possible adaptations. The thing that is unfortunate is that you probably have to introduce a new marker or sculpt, since there is nothing readily available in the box. But still things like monopoly houses, or coins, or anything readily available might work for such a scheme. I think the current factory system is unwieldy, and the ipc distribution doesn’t fit a classic scheme very well, unless you can say that Moscow is worth more than 3 by some mechanism hehe