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Reality wrecking destroyer rules need a revamp…


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    “The only thing that ever really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril”. - Winston Churchill

    Dear old Winston wouldn’t have to worry about u-boats if he were playing the latest editions of Axis and Allies today. The current OOB rules make destroyers so powerful that just one of them can turn a wolf pack of submarines into a litter of baby kittens.

    According to the current rules, just ONE destroyer can do these things:

    • Stop any number of enemy subs from a surprise strike in a sea battle

    • Stop any number of subs from submerging (even 100 or more!)

    • Stop any number of subs from going through the sea zone it is sitting in

    • allow air units to hit any number of subs in the zone it is in

    It is no wonder that there is no proper battle of the Atlantic with these rules in place.

    On the other hand, the rules say that ANY of your ships or those of your allies have NO EFFECT on convoy disruption. Look at this picture from the 1940 RE rulebook:

    ![](http://i217.photobucket.com/albums/cc11/klustick<br /><br />/subs1.jpg)

    There is plainly a British DD sitting there in the same zone as the menacing u-boats. Yet the DD does nothing to stop any of them from raiding the convoys there. Huh?

    The answer to this unrealistic mess is to do what artillery does with infantry. Their powers work when being matched on a 1:1 basis. Just as one artillery does not make 10 or more infantry attack @ 2, one Destroyer should not be able to stop 10 u-boats from leaving the Baltic Sea. I’m proposing that the destroyer’s powers be limited to a 1:1 basis with subs, like this:

    1. SUBMERSIBLE: One destroyer and two fighters attack three u-boats. Only one of the u-boats should have to stay. The other two should be able to submerge and escape.

    2. SURPRISE STRIKE: If one DD is in a naval task force attacking four subs, only one of the subs should lose the surprise strike ability, not all four. One DD cannot be everywhere.

    3. TREAT HOSTILE ZONES AS FRIENDLY: If five subs want to come out of the Baltic and there are two British DD’s blocking their way, only two subs should have to stop. The other three should be able to get by.

    4. CAN’T BE HIT BY AIR UNITS: If a DD and three planes attack 2 subs, all the hits should apply to only one sub. The other can submerge.

    5. CONVOY DISRUPTION: DD’s should stop it on a 1:1 basis. As in the picture above, if three subs are there with an enemy DD, only two of the subs should be able to disrupt convoys.

    To me this would enable subs to compete with destroyers and make a real battle of the Atlantic possible.


  • 2017 2016

    Maybe there should be a difference about attacking DD ability against subs and defending DD against subs.

    It seems easier (because of the interaction with defending planes on carrier) to treat defending DD as OOB.

    And keeps, as you said, attacking DD allows 1 targeted sub each.
    So when a single DD with a bunch of planes attack many subs, only 1 sub can be blocked and destroyed. All the other subs will submerge.

    One DD cannot be everywhere.

    In fact, 1 DD sculpt means many destroyers ships. And usually they are escorting other attacking warships.
    So, they are not scattered around the sea-zone, every ship by itself, hoping to hit a submarine vessel.


  • 2017 2016

    1. CONVOY DISRUPTION: DD’s should stop it on a 1:1 basis. As in the picture above, if three subs are there with an enemy DD, only two of the subs should be able to disrupt convoys.

    This rule will weaken subs.
    The convoy disruption phase is done at the end of the defending players turn when collecting IPCs.
    If he choose to do nothing against the ennemy’s subs making convoy disruption around his SZ’s then it is his own decision. Right?


  • 2017 2016

    BTW, very nice opening post. 🙂



  • I like it a lot, however, might not be popular because of how much it changes the game. I find when people lose battles of even complete games, they tend to blame the house rules… there’s a lot of room for this to mess with people’s strategies. If I can convince my group, I would like to try this some day.


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    @Baron:

    In fact, 1 DD sculpt means many destroyers ships. And usually they are escorting other attacking warships.
    So, they are not scattered around the sea-zone, every ship by itself, hoping to hit a submarine vessel.

    Then logic follows that 1 SS sculpt represents many submarines. Say a sculpt represents 10 units. One DD searching for 3 subs would be 10 DDs searching for 30 subs. Can 10 DDs control 30 subs?

    @Baron:

    1. CONVOY DISRUPTION: DD’s should stop it on a 1:1 basis. As in the picture above, if three subs are there with an enemy DD, only two of the subs should be able to disrupt convoys. Â

    This rule will weaken subs.
    The convoy disruption phase is done at the end of the defending players turn when collecting IPCs.
    If he choose to do nothing against the ennemy’s subs making convoy disruption around his SZ’s then it is his own decision. Right?

    Well he DID do something - he left a DD there guarding that zone. At least one of the subs should be prevented from raiding there, IMO.

    thanks for the feedback - I need it to clarify my thinking here. Â


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    @Young:

    I like it a lot, however, might not be popular because of how much it changes the game. I find when people lose battles of even complete games, they tend to blame the house rules… there’s a lot of room for this to mess with people’s strategies. If I can convince my group, I would like to try this some day.

    I’m going to try it with my group unless one of the experts here can blow the idea up. The concept is sound I believe, both logically and historically.



  • @Der:

    @Young:

    I like it a lot, however, might not be popular because of how much it changes the game. I find when people lose battles of even complete games, they tend to blame the house rules… there’s a lot of room for this to mess with people’s strategies. If I can convince my group, I would like to try this some day.

    I’m going to try it with my group unless one of the experts here can blow the idea up. The concept is sound I believe, both logically and historically.

    Agreed 100%, I tried the weaponized transport rule where transports defended @1 and my group were uncomfortable because they were so used to transports being defenseless. I can kinda anticipate the same reaction to this… even if it makes all the sense in the world.


  • Customizer

    We came up with a house rule to sort of stop the idea of a single DD and a stack of planes sinking a stack of subs. Basically, we allow submarines to submerge after the first round of combat even when there is enemy destroyer(s) present. So if the enemy comes along with one or more destroyer(s), the subs have to suffer the first round but not every round.
    Of course, if you had a whole stack of subs and the enemy only had 1 or 2 destroyers, even though subs defend @1 if you have a whole stack of them, the return fire should take out the destroyers thus leaving the attacking planes impotent.
    Then again, if 1 destroyer and 10 planes attack 6 subs, they will probably all die. So my house rule doesn’t totally fix the problem.
    I am thinking the 1 : 1 ratio for destroyers and subs is an even better idea.

    I noticed Young Grasshopper mentioned the idea of transports defending @1. I’m guessing that is to prevent a single warship, sub or plane wiping out a whole stack of transports. We have a house rule for that too. Each attacking warship, sub or plane can only sink 3 unprotected transports at a time. So if a single warship comes upon a stack of 10 transports, or there is a naval battle leaving 1 attacking warship left, then only 3 transports will be sunk leaving the warship there with 7 enemy transports at the end of that turn.
    We further enhanced this rule regarding attacking aircraft. We figured even an unescorted transport would have limited AA capabilities. So, each transport that will be affected by an attacking aircraft gets to roll 1 die for AA defense.
    So a single fighter attacking 3 transports would have to endure 3 AA dice (1 per ship). If none scores a hit, the fighter automatically destroys 3 transports. If an AA hit is scored, the fighter rolls 1 die @ 3 to try and destroy at least 1 of the transports before the fighter is destroyed itself.
    If a single plane attacks 4 transports, only 3 are affected due to the 3 transport limit above so only 3 AA dice will be rolled. The 4th transport can not be destroyed by the single plane and thus does not roll for AA.
    This limited defense is only against aircraft because we figure a defenseless transport (or 3) would be no match for a real warship and simply not have the capabilities to hit a sub.
    This has worked out very well for us for some time now.


  • 2017 2016

    @Der:

    Well he DID do something - he left a DD there guarding that zone. At least one of the subs should be prevented from raiding there, IMO.

    Let’s just suppose it was built at the end of the UK’s turn.

    The convoy disruption is already not that powerful. It left a whole round of play to all Allies players to sink subs in a given SZ.
    Then only surviving subs can roll for disruption, and can even get sweet nothing if the rolls are above 3…

    If you want to be historically accurate about “The only thing that ever really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril”. - Winston Churchill’s quote,
    I think you should at least keep OOB about Convoy disruption. U-boats were strangling UK’s line of supply mainly. The Convoy disruption should be kept as high as possible from Germany’s POV. Hence, providing rules which enhanced the odds of survival for defending subs (as you have done for the other HRs above).

    The others rules about 1:1 DD vs sub will better help subs.


  • 2017 2016

    @Baron:

    Maybe there should be a difference about attacking DD ability against subs and defending DD against subs.

    It seems easier (because of the interaction with defending planes on carrier) to treat defending DD as OOB.

    One DD cannot be everywhere.

    In fact, 1 DD sculpt means many destroyers ships. And usually they are escorting other attacking warships.
    So, they are not scattered around the sea-zone, every ship by itself, hoping to hit a submarine vessel.

    I think that even a single defending DD is enough to block all attacking subs surprise strike.
    I rationalize it this way: to provide a good defense against subs Destroyers just have to stay close to the others warships they are escorting. DD don’t need to be everywhere in a SZ.

    On the opposite, when going Anti-Sub mission, they are patrolling a large zone and if they stay too close to each other it will be harder for destroyers to find targets.
    That’s why I think the 1:1 restriction better fit for attacking DDs.

    In addition, an attacking player always have the opportunity to ponder if he have enough units on his side to make an effective attack and, if not, he will plan something else.
    If a defending player have only 1 DD with other warships, there is a lot of chance he will pick the DD as first casualty instead of loosing bigger warships.
    So, in the second combat round, a large subs fleet will retrieve his first strike capacity.
    Don’t you think?

    About defending planes and DDs against subs.
    What happen if, for instance, 5 Subs are attacking 1 DD+ 1 CV+ 2 FGs. Let’s suppose both Fgs get a hit but not the DD nor the CV.
    According to the 1:1 ratio, only 1 Subs can be taken as casualty and the other hit is lost. I think it is OP.


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    Hmmm…good points…I’ll have to mull on that a while…


  • 2017 2016

    The main problem for subs is to survived when being under attacked.
    So I think KNP’s single combat round against subs should be added to your rule.

    Another point is that Destroyers should be able to retreat 1 SZ once they have made their attack when there is anyone sub which survived anyhow.

    This retreat will allows more mobility to the attacking fleet and will allow destroyer to come back 1 SZ to protect vulnerable vessels from the counter-attack of the surviving subs.



  • If you make destroyers work against subs only on a 1:1 basis, you’ll have to increase sub cost to 8 IPCs or they’ll be grossely overpowered. It’s already tough defending against subs when you need to spend 8 IPCs for every 6 IPCs spent by your opponent. If every sub that isn’t matched also gets to make a first strike, then it gets ridiculously overpowered for the guy buying subs. Either that, or bring their attack down to 1 (but I don’t think that would be enough).


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    @Zombie69:

    If you make destroyers work against subs only on a 1:1 basis, you’ll have to increase sub cost to 8 IPCs or they’ll be grossely overpowered. It’s already tough defending against subs when you need to spend 8 IPCs for every 6 IPCs spent by your opponent. If every sub that isn’t matched also gets to make a first strike, then it gets ridiculously overpowered for the guy buying subs. Either that, or bring their attack down to 1 (but I don’t think that would be enough).

    Another good point - but then the question is - historically - did it cost Britain more to stop the subs with all the DDs, planes, sonar, etc. than it did Germany to make them and send them out?
    As I understand it the British were pretty tied up with the Battle of the Atlantic and used a lot of their resources there. They were not able to land in Norway or Europe  successfully until 1944, and that was with the USA helping.

    Perhaps the US could be allowed to give Britain destroyers to help. Historically they gave them 50 DDs.


  • 2017 2016

    @Der:

    @Zombie69:

    If you make destroyers work against subs only on a 1:1 basis, you’ll have to increase sub cost to 8 IPCs or they’ll be grossely overpowered. It’s already tough defending against subs when you need to spend 8 IPCs for every 6 IPCs spent by your opponent. If every sub that isn’t matched also gets to make a first strike, then it gets ridiculously overpowered for the guy buying subs. Either that, or bring their attack down to 1 (but I don’t think that would be enough).

    Another good point - but then the question is - historically - did it cost Britain more to stop the subs with all the DDs, planes, sonar, etc. than it did Germany to make them and send them out?
    As I understand it the British were pretty tied up with the Battle of the Atlantic and used a lot of their resources there. They were not able to land in Norway or Europe  successfully until 1944, and that was with the USA helping.

    Perhaps the US could be allowed to give Britain destroyers to help. Historically they gave them 50 DDs.

    One way of doing this is to allow a US DD to become a UK’s, once reaching UK’SZ.


  • '14

    I favor the 1:1 unit pairing suggested here.

    Also the suggestion to allow u boats to dive after the first round of combat. My friends and I always thought that the Destroyer really neutered subs when it was first introduced with that ability to hold the sub for the duration of combat. We used to really enjoy Classic and Revised rules that allowed submarines to wage some form of economic warfare. Usually in the form of a modified strat bombing or rocket mechanic (these always seemed the simplest and most effective way to make subs  useful outside of opening strike combat or fodder.) But we also used to use rules similar to how convoys are treated.  We’d do subs 2 spaces out from an IC and things of that sort. Then the new rules and price structure were introduced… I felt they were pretty successful in establishing DD as the fodder preference, but also made subs rather weaker despite the cost drop. Basically since aa50 retaining the sub as basically only valued in a combat role.

    Convoy disruption was a good attempt, but again I wish this stuff would be introduced on a core board instead of just the advanced one like the 1940 maps.

    Some kind of baseline economic role for the sub, paired off against destroyers 1:1.
    Although the new cost at six is pretty damn cheap. Something to encourage wolf packing would be nice. But also a reason to fan out across the atlantic.

    To date I’ve never been truly satisfied with implementation of subs absent some HR to correct them. Going back to Classic they are always problematic. But also iconic, and thus necessary 🙂
    It would be nice to get something functional and handle their interaction with destroyers, air, and production once and for all. I would definitely prefer a scheme that could work across multiple boards.


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    @Black_Elk:

    To date I’ve never been truly satisfied with implementation of subs absent some HR to correct them. Going back to Classic they are always problematic. But also iconic, and thus necessary 🙂
    It would be nice to get something functional and handle their interaction with destroyers, air, and production once and for all. I would definitely prefer a scheme that could work across multiple boards.

    Exactly. I would say the submarine is the biggest headache in the whole game. Probably because it can’t actually disappear under the water as it does in reality, abstract rules need to be made up for it, which often contradict all the other naval rules.

    Probably the biggest reality that the current rules don’t take into account is that in WWII much of the time you couldn’t find the things. Then, if you did find one, it might get away. Heck, once a U-boat went right into Scapa Flow, one of the busiest ports in the world, sunk the Royal Oak, and got away. In the current rules, you always find the sub - just look at the map. Then you send a DD over there and kill it - and if you bring enough support it never gets away.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Der:

    In the current rules, you always find the sub - just look at the map.

    This is in fact an issue with every unit on the board: everyone can always see who has what forces where, so surprise and concealment and deception – vitally important elements in true warfare – can never be achieved under the official rules.  It’s one of the main reasons why A&A is more of a WWII-themed board game than a true military simulation.


  • Customizer

    Here’s my take. 86 all the specialized rules for subs, destroyers and transports. Treat them like any other unit. Allow subs to make an “SBR” in convoy zones. Allow Destroyers in those zones to act as “AAA” if applicable.

    First bump the sub defense back up to 2.

    In the case of non-global games use SZs adjacent to ICs as convoy zones. Keep the sub’s range the same but allow them to return to a friendly SZ after a “commerce raid”, remember they must have range just like an aircraft unit.

    Allow planes to take out subs and allow subs to fire back assuming they would have AAA capability, which not exactly historical, but did happen and is somewhat plausible. Same for TRNs.

    Let TRNs defend at 1 all other OOB rules apply.

    To balance it out let DDs support amphibious assault for one round 1:1 infantry, CAs 1:2, and BBs 1:3. All other OOB rules would apply.

    Third, let APs, DDs, and SS just be one price 8 IPCs. Their abilities and advantages amongst each other at the same price-point (IMO) negate much of the debate of “fodder/balance/etc.” BS.

    Just my take. Have at it guys  🙂


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    @toblerone77:

    Here’s my take. 86 all the specialized rules for subs, destroyers and transports. Treat them like any other unit. Allow subs to make an “SBR” in convoy zones. Allow Destroyers in those zones to act as “AAA” if applicable.

    First bump the sub defense back up to 2.

    In the case of non-global games use SZs adjacent to ICs as convoy zones. Keep the sub’s range the same but allow them to return to a friendly SZ after a “commerce raid”, remember they must have range just like an aircraft unit.

    Allow planes to take out subs and allow subs to fire back assuming they would have AAA capability, which not exactly historical, but did happen and is somewhat plausible. Same for TRNs.

    Let TRNs defend at 1 all other OOB rules apply.

    To balance it out let DDs support amphibious assault for one round 1:1 infantry, CAs 1:2, and BBs 1:3. All other OOB rules would apply.

    Third, let APs, DDs, and SS just be one price 8 IPCs. Their abilities and advantages amongst each other at the same price-point (IMO) negate much of the debate of “fodder/balance/etc.” BS.

    Just my take. Have at it guys  🙂

    After several days of my brain smoking from overuse trying to solve the sub enigma, I must admit this sounds very appealing! I would definitely join a mob bonfire to torch these fun sucking sub rules and simplify. Do your subs still get a first shot surprise attack?


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    @toblerone77:

    Keep the sub’s range the same but allow them to return to a friendly SZ after a “commerce raid”, remember they must have range just like an aircraft unit.

    I’m liking this idea a lot…


  • Customizer

    No DK. Although you could tweak that if you wanted too. My idea with my “8-8-8” rule was just to totally streamline the game. My frustration with subs and destroyers was that they had a bunch of rules stacked on top of rules through the editions. I thought why not just make subs and destroyers act like any other naval unit?

    I haven’t had the chance to totally play-test this yet. I am teaching my Dad to play Global today so we’ll be playing OOB rules, but now that he’s become an A&A player I will have more opportunities to play-test.

    Already my Pop has been pointing out some things in the game he thinks need HRs lol.

    (Response to your sneak attack question.)


  • 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    Subs get first round sneak attack only and planes can’t attack.

    or

    Subs get first round sneak attack every round and planes can attack every round only with a destoyer present.


  • 2017 2016

    @SS:

    Subs get first round sneak attack only and planes can’t attack.

    or

    Subs get first round sneak attack every round and planes can attack every round only with a destoyer present.

    I think it worth to think about this sub problems.
    And the fix depends greatly on how we see the problem.

    If it is a matter of subs having a high rate of casualty and are seldom able to make first strike attack, at least, in your first solution you make subs much less vulnerable against planes. It is unhistorical but subs combat capacity is also reduced. What do you do with Destroyers?

    The other solution seems to imply that destroyers are no more able to stop the first strike shots of subs, is it right?

    I think you are cracking the nutshells of subs issue but much more aspects needs to be enlighten to better understand the consequences of your ideas to judge them. If you have time to develop it a bit more, I think it can help.


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