The "Lend" in Lend/Lease (or ideas for a basic "Loan" phase)


  • 2019 2015 '14

    Here is a simple rule we sometimes use.
    Any player/nation may elect to “Lend” ipcs to an ally nation at the beginning of their turn, at a cost of 2 to 1.

    These ipcs are immediately removed from Players cash, and transferred to the Ally at 2:1. The minimum loan is thus 2 ipcs, as their is no “half” or “0.5” IPC in this game.

    The cost of the loan is built in to the transfer. The recipient will always receive half the value loaned out, with the rest of the cash going back to the bank. This allows for a way for nations to prop up weaker powers on their side, but only at a 50% cost and the subsequent delay on purchase (as the ipcs are being used by an ally instead of immediately.)

    Also provides a way to “Transfer wealth” before the fall of a capital, as the Nation may elect to send their remaining gold to an ally using the whole pot (giving half this value to the surviving belligerent nation.)

    Examples of how this can be used, America may spend 6 ipcs in a “loan” package to Russia. 3 ipcs go to the Bank, and 3 go to Russia. Germany may spend 8 ipcs on a “loan” to Italy, 4 ipcs to the bank 4 transfered to the Italian purse. etc.

    Basically on a 2:1 for cost

    so 2 ipcs “loaned” gets 1 to the ally
    4 ipcs gets 2
    6 ipcs a 3 and so on.

    The “lease” concept is in “Lend/Lease” is something that could receive an independent treatment if desired.

    ps. The main interest in this rule is that it allows for more potential purchasing strategies, as stronger ally nations can prop up weaker ones, or allow for an enhanced purchase, but only at a cost of 50% in ipcs. So for example, a nation could help their weaker ally afford a carrier deck, or a fighter, or a transport, to attempt magnified or specialized purchases to change things up. But always only at a cost. Essentially here, any player could effect the cash on hand for any other nation on their side at a ratio of 2:1.  For this may reason, you may want to use a restricted opening, where no loans can be made until the second round.


  • Customizer

    Okay, let me see if I got this right. Overlooking the possible Round 1 restriction, Germany starts with 30 IPCs.  They decide to make a loan to their little buddy Italy. So Germany decides to spend 20 IPCs on units and “lend” Italy 10 IPCs during their purchase units phase. So 5 IPCs go to Italy and 5 IPCs go to the bank.
    Then on Italy’s turn, they now have 15 IPCs to spend.
    Well, I understand how it works and how it might be useful at times. I also understand that using a 2:1 ratio makes it easier calculate, but it seems a bit steep to me. Wouldn’t a 3:2 ratio be a little better? Or perhaps 4:3. Since we don’t use fractions of an IPC, any remainders would simply be rounded down. For example, with a 4:3 ratio, a loan of 10 IPCs would result in a loan of 7.5 to the other power and 2.5 to the bank so you would give the borrowing power 7 IPCs with 3 IPCs to the bank.
    Or do you think that would make things too complicated?


  • 2019 2015 '14

    Well the 2:1 was mainly for simplicity, but also to provide a disincentive for Nations going ‘all over’, by sending the entire pot to enable a magnified build at an ally’s Industrial Complex. If the cost isn’t at least half, then the ability can be overpowered. Consider for example the US lends to Russia. If they spend say 30 ipcs, almost the whole pot, to get Russia 15, basically they are spending the other 15 to just get forces into proximity. Consider 5 extra soviet infantry on the front lines. Or the extra +15 allotted to upgrades for infantry to Mech or Artillery instead. This could be very effective. The logic being that Russia could use the force to bleed Germany directly, whereas if forces were built in E. USA they have to move into position first. The cost here would be considerably less than say, the cost of building the massive navy and transport forces required before American units could be positioned on the front. In the War there was a certain logic to this historically too, where the W. Allies, and especially America loaned money and equipment to the Russians to help keep ‘bleeding’ the war there instead of on a second front with western troops. In the game you could model something similar to this, with a fairly simple dynamic like the one above. You could do it at any ratio you prefer really, but I find 2:1 is solid. It puts a long term cost on “Loans.” America might for example spend the early round sending money to Russia, but at the cost of building up their own forces, and being weaker in the early-midgame set up.


  • 2019 2015 '14

    Also, from a gameplay standpoint, consider how much of allied strategy over the years focuses on getting Western Units towards the center to prop up Moscow.  The assumption thus far has been that when these units are on Russian territory they represent basically the leasing of equipment. Since it makes no sense otherwise, historically anyway, to have western armies roaming around in the Soviet union. In reality we spent millions in the form of aid and equipment, but the forces amassed there were still under Russian command. It makes more sense if the W. Allies could just give Russia money as a loan with a built in cost, rather than flying or shucking units onto their land.

    Likewise consider all the gold and wealth that the UK transferred to secure locations in North America, the largest such transfer in history, known as “Operation Fish”, ensuring that the money not fall into German hands. Or the economic direct cooperation between the various Axis powers.

    By incorporating an official mechanic for “Lending” into the game, with balanced rules, we can avoid the alternative (rather weird) phenomenon of ally nations propping each other up with co-located units. Japanese fighters to Europe, or western Fighters to Moscow being the prime example. Here you have a simple way to provide direct aid (at a cost), which I think will encourage less multinational unit (space hogs) on defense, at least in the areas of the map were mass crowding occurs. Instead you’d have more direct aid for purchase in the form of Loans to the ally.

    Think about how it could work. In this case USA could use their starting income to assist Russia or UK directly at the 2:1 cost. Likewise Japan or Germany could aid whichever power is weakening directly instead of with mass fighter spams and air shifting like we tend to see now. Loans would provide a way to get around this, but only at a fairly substantial cost in terms of total ipcs.

    *Another option for this rule, which you can use for game balance (to prevent overpowered loans) is to cap the total loan amount at no more than half the lender Nation’s total reserves. So in this case if a nation had 40 ipcs total, they could use up to half of this (20 ipcs) on loans to any ally. This caps the total number of units that could be introduced using this mechanic in any given round, if one wanted to restrict the overall impact while still retaining the essential flavor of the rule. Whether a cap is advisable or not depends on which board you are playing, and how much total income is in circulation (if you have lots of NOs or other income HRs in play you may wish to consider the cap.) Even with a cap at half the reserve though, and even at the 2:1 ratio, the ability to lend can provide powerful strategic opportunities for both sides at various points in the game.

    One interesting question is when exactly (within the Players turn) should the Loan phase occur?

    If all Loans are made after “collect income” as the final phase, it would force players to allot their money in advance, and allow for the evacuation of wealth from a Capital if desired. If the Loan phase came right after collect income, I can see many positives on potential purchasing strategy.


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    Cool ideas - but aren’t the national income figures already built into the game? For example, didn’t the game designers set Russia’s income to include handouts from the Allies already? It would make sense if they did. If so then Russia and UK’s income needs to be dropped, to allow for expected USA lend lease.


  • 2019 2015 '14

    It depends which board. Sometimes this was built into the economics with an NO, but usually this value is fairly minor compared to what was actually loaned around. I take the starting income numbers in A&A as fairly abstract, especially given how much money has entered the game through things like NOs. But absent NOs,  I think what the game does normally is just encourage unit shifting and co-locating for defense on the critical territories (like moscow.) For me the starting income numbers never seem all that fixed in terms of relative value. Moscow for example collecting at say 24. If USA and UK each put in 10 ipcs (20 total) then together they could get +10 on moscow for Russia. This alone can fix the bid necessity on some boards. On others it just works as a universal way to encourage lending for purchase rather than co-located defense.

    You can add to this another rule if you like, which is a penalty minus 5 ipcs at collect income if any ally units Co-locate on your land. Taken together these rules basically discourage multinational stacking.  Interpreted as the “cost” of garrisons of foreign troops on your soil.

    But under normal conditions, even without a penalty in play, I don’t think the loan concept is too distorting. I think it gives us a cool way to balance power on the board through economics, in addition to just moving combat units into consolidated multinational stacks. And it provides a lot of flexibility for purchasing strategy, which is what makes it most interesting to me.


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    It would add a level of strategy, which I’m all for. Love strategy.

    Why not say everyone can transfer up to 25% of their income to an ally during their purchase unit phase?  The 2:1 loss of production would not motivate me to do it, ever. If I’m the UK and have 40 IPC’s, instead of sending them to Russia so they can have 2 Russian fighters, I’m going to still buy 4 UK fighters and fly them over there. But say I could just transfer 25% over there. (10 ipcs) I would do that and Russia would get the fighter faster because they could buy their own and put it out on Russia with the money, instead of waiting for UK to put out fighters, then fly them over next turn.


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

    The concept is interesting, but one suggestion I’d make would be to avoid linking it to the terminology of Lend-Lease, which had nothing to do with cash transfers.  Lend-Lease was originally a kind of public relations trick that allowed Roosevelt (while the US was still at peace) to provide military hardware more or less free of charge to a cash-strapped Britain while maintaining a public pretense that it wasn’t an outright gift.  As I recall, FDR gave (officially “lent”) Britain fifty surplus WWI-era US destroyers, nominally in exchange for Britain allowing the US to use (officially “lease”) some of Britain’s naval bases in British territories like Newfoundland.  FDR once famously described the concept of providing such help to wartime Britain with the folksy analogy of lending a garden hose to a neighbor whose house is on fire.  Lend-Lease grew in scope over time, and was eventually extended to the Russians, and could be described at that point as a program to provide massive military aid to key US allies on (more or less) the pretense that it was all going to be paid back after the war.

    One part of this house rule proposal that I’m having trouble understanding is the concept that the “cost of the loan” causes half of the money to disappear in transit.  Usually, what is meant by the cost of a loan is that the person borrowing the money gets the entire capital that was lent to him (not 50% of it) and later has to pay back the full capital plus interest (so that the lender ends up with more money than he started with).  So I don’t grasp what this 50% loss is supposed to represent in real-world terms.  (At first I thought that the money was being lent at 50% interest, which would qualify as loan-sharking, but at a second reading that doesn’t seem to be the case.)


  • 2019 2015 '14

    Yeah I tend to agree, the thread title was an attention grabber, I think the generic term “Loan” is preferable and that “Loan phase” or “Lending phase” works best. Here I’ll edit the lead post for clarity.

    The 2:1 or 50% thing is purely for gameplay and functional simplicity. Basically we’d like to avoid players having to write things down on a piece of paper, or having to track interest or cash over multiple rounds. Trying to track would be too onerous for a game like this, so instead we put the cost to the whole side (Axis or Allies) up front. In reality the Lender would be paid a return over time, but the game doesn’t need to model this exactly.

    Because of the way the game works, with generic “sides” (Axis and Allies) you need a cost by side as well.  The game only handles money transfered in a very immediate and narrow sense. You can interpret the 2:1 loss any way you like, I prefer a narrative that goes something like this…

    That you can’t move the money half way around the world, directly to the source of the “house on fire” (to use the example mentioned) and still expect the full amount to carry. So imagine perhaps…

    Things like beurocratic mismanagement, or corruption, or delivery delays, with less of the overall value in wealth realized right away.

    In gameplay terms this is just broken off immediately into the simple 2:1 cost ratio. 2:1 because the math is very simple (already envisioned as an abstraction.)

    So here, there is invariably a cash sink “by side” (Axis vs Allies) when the money changes hands from one ally to another. Also a major inherent risk (if the recipient of the loan were toppled in the war), then there’s a chance you’d never see the return anyway. So the game needs to build in a cost somehow by side.

    A more “realistic” alternative, where the individual lender makes money off interest over time,  even if accurate, wouldn’t work very well the way this game is set up. Here I think we’d need a cost, or it would be abused. And it’s not too hard to imagine, that these loans are emergency packages, that won’t be paid back until after the war is finished, possibly decades after.


  • Customizer

    What about just charging a fee plus the unit cost? For example, the U.S. could build a British destroyer plus a fee of say +2/3 IPCs. The question would be where placement would be allowed. You could in the case of G40, that could be on territory adjacent to a convoy zone. In other versions it could be the nearest industrial complex.

    Whether you loan IPCs or have an ally build the unit for you the principal is the same.

    It may also be reasonable to implement a system where a die roll is made by the enemy to destroy the convoy shipment. Example: The U.S. builds two tanks to send to Russia. Germany then rolls two dice at 1. Germany rolls a one and a two. One tank is destroyed en route.


  • 2019 2015 '14

    @Der:

    I would add a level of strategy, which I’m all for. Love strategy.

    Why not say everyone can transfer up to 25% of their income to an ally during their purchase unit phase?  The 2:1 loss of production would not motivate me to do it, ever. If I’m the UK and have 40 IPC’s, instead of sending them to Russia so they can have 2 Russian fighters, I’m going to still buy 4 UK fighters and fly them over there. But say I could just transfer 25% over there. (10 ipcs) I would do that and Russia would get the fighter faster because they could buy their own and put it out on Russia with the money, instead of waiting for UK to put out fighters, then fly them over next turn.

    @toblerone77:

    What about just charging a fee plus the unit cost? For example, the U.S. could build a British destroyer plus a fee of say +2/3 IPCs. The question would be where placement would be allowed. You could in the case of G40, that could be on territory adjacent to a convoy zone. In other versions it could be the nearest industrial complex.

    Whether you loan IPCs or have an ally build the unit for you the principal is the same.

    It may also be reasonable to implement a system where a die roll is made by the enemy to destroy the convoy shipment. Example: The U.S. builds two tanks to send to Russia. Germany then rolls two dice at 1. Germany rolls a one and a two. One tank is destroyed en route.

    Either of those might work, and still be preferable to me, over a scheme that only encourages multination stacks on defense.

    I’m open to finding new ways to get a real Loan phase going


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