Thanks again guys! And especially to Young Grasshopper for getting this ball rolling :-D
I was really encouraged by the response of my friends, they have been asking me for a while to play “on the big map! With all the cool units!” But when I sat them down and started explaining the various differences between Revised or 1942 sec edition, or AA50 (which Tony has played before a good half dozen times) I started catching a lot of puzzled looks. A lot of “why?” questions. At first I was fielding these out of the rulebook, but even then, I could tell that the enthusiasm for “the big map” and “the cool units” was being overshadowed by the rules. I caught myself at several points noting the specific things that they found confusing, and discovered pretty quickly that it was not so much the scale of the map or the unit relationships that they found intimidating, but rather things like Politics restrictions, or “exceptions” to the rules with which they had already become familiar in other games.
Things like airbases, naval facilities, tactical bombers and Mech infantry, Convoys, new Nations, the basic rules for friendly and unfriendly neutrals etc. were all surprisingly easy for me to introduce and for them to grasp. As long as the same rules applied to everyone! And that is the critical point. What stalled things was when I had to stop and say, “well this is a special case” or “it works like that for everyone except you” hehe. That’s when I started to realize that it was possible (and probably a lot easier) for me to just make a few relatively straightforward changes in the way G40 plays, to create something a bit more in line with their expectations from previous games.
I understand of course that for many of us, who are already very familiar with the latest A&A rules, that the unique rules in G40 can add an interesting dimension to the game. And one could make the argument, that people who aren’t ready for G40 should just stick to the simple boards. But I think that does a disservice to otherwise excited new players, who are intrigued by the large map, the new factions and new units, but just don’t have the stomach for all the exacting detail and National nuance that 1940 seeks to introduce.
We found that taking an extra 30 minutes beforehand to reset and adjust a couple elements, dramatically increased the speed with which we were able to get the game underway. A lot less time referencing the manual, less stress with tracking stats and a lot more time for battles, historical banter, and play!
Put simply, I have discovered that when you expand the economy for everyone equally, newer players feel a lot let less pressure to make “the right buy” and they are more likely to have fun while they experiment and learn, instead of getting frustrated by their “mistakes.” Basically the way I set things up with bonuses, everyone has a pretty decent pile of loot as they enter the second round. Depending upon how many Cash bonuses you want to use you can take the economy of a given nation up from about + a third of normal income, to about double the normal IPCs. And you can get the money very close to what the OOB game produces with National Objectives, but with mechanics that are a lot more user friendly and easy to track.
Its also very important to me that players of different skill levels be able to play Allies, and not always get stuck playing Axis. I have found that many people, and especially new players, often wish to play Allies and seem disappointed at the suggestion that they “should just be Axis, because Allies will be too difficult.” This is something which I think the rules modification above aims to correct as well. Especially with Cash bonuses in play, players on both sides should have plenty to work with, and the rules for Allies should be much easier now that all Allied Nations behave the same way.
Of course there may be others that could work well also, but hopefully the ideas in this thread can serve as a springboard for others to try adapting G40 Halifax to suit the needs of their specific game group.
After your R1 sequence of: Germany, Russia, France, Japan, Britain, Commonwealth, Italy, America, do you revert back to the G40 2nd ed. normal player sequence for R2 and onwards?
Oh that is a great question SpitfirED! In all my games I use roundels to define the “standard” turn order, whatever it is for that particular game. I do this so that it is easier for players to see the turn order at a glance, as it helps them to track the sequence when laid out with a visual. So in this Modification the new order in the first round will repeat in every round thereafter, until the game concludes.
The reason for the specific turn order here has to do with the removal of the DoW, and the implementation of China under US control, as well as for general game flow. The order is meant to simulate a game round that has the feel of 1940 at the outset, but which quickly moves into a more familiar 1941 arena, such that by the end of the first round you are basically up to 1941 Total War conditions. When we play, the first round is considered 1940-1941. So for example, everything Germany does in the first round is considered “the action” for that year. Basically as if you were watching a film reel. After the first round time is considered fairly malleable, meaning their is no strict analog between real time and game time, beyond a general start date. The logic here is that the set up and the first round always take the longest, and so it’s easy to imagine that the first hour of gameplay is simply “setting the stage” for the game.
Subsequent rounds move much faster (as we all know) so every round after the first round has a more flexible narrative, for the story which players can adopt or play out in terms of the timeline. So round one is a montage taking you from 1940, up to the entry of Russia and the United states into the war. The Political situation is expressed more through the turn order and relative strategic position/strength of the warring powers, rather than something strictly enforced by the rules. The cash bonuses also play into this, because all nations head into the second round with more money on hand than they possessed in the first round, so the main action in the second round is considered to be basically 1941 with all Nations as belligerents and part of an alliance (either Axis or Allies.)
In addition to this, the turn order is also designed for optimal flow, in that the two smaller Allied nations follow a larger Allied Nation in the turn order. In this case France follows Russia, and is relatively simple to play out. Though unlike the OOB turn order, the French now have a chance to move before Italy completely destroys all their forces in Southern France and around the Med. Likewise the Commonwealth follows Britain, and is fairly quick to play. China is now directly US supported, so this final turn is also streamlined, but unlike OOB, where the end of the round can feel somewhat anticlimactic, now Germany follows the US. Or put another way, in this turn order, right after US closes the current round, Germany will open the next round, so there is always a lot of action to clearly demarcate the succession of game rounds, and to ensure that the action keeps a gripping pace.
So Germany, Russia, France, Japan, Britain, Commonwealth, Italy, America… and then back to Germany (repeat.)
I have found this to be the ideal order for a game where the DoW is absent, since it still gives the flavor of the start period, but without all the complex rules for “entry” into the war.
Optional: the Soviet Japanese NAP.
Option A) The only rule I would suggest, if you want to give a nod to the Soviet Union Japan Non Aggression Pact, is an adaptation of YG’s simple Mongolia rule. In this case whichever Nation (Russia or Japan) attacks the other first, will activate Mongolia for the opposite side. So if Russia attack Japan first, Mongolia becomes Japanese, if Japan attacks Russia first then Mongolia becomes Russian. This rules would be strictly optional, at the GMs discretion or by player preference.
Option B) An alternative way to approach the NAP, which doesn’t require Mongolia, is to instead provide a 1 time bonus to income. So for example, if Japan attacks first then Russia gets X ipc. If Russia attacks first then Japan gets X ipcs. The amount you choose to award could be adapted by the GM, depending on how strictly you want to enforce this aspect of the game. I suggested 20 ipcs, as large enough to provide a deterrent, but not so large that you effectively shut down the front. The IPC value of all units in Mongolia is currently at 18 ipcs (6 ipcs worth of units) but their strategic value is harder to express. In one instance their position might advantageous, in another it could be disadvantageous. By simplifying the rule down to just hard IPCs, you can get around a lot of the complexity, while still preserving the essential character of the NAP.
Thanks to CWO Marc for providing some insightful commentary below, regarding the pro-Soviet nature of Mongolia, and why it is somewhat historically unrealistic to have them aligning with Japan. Option B above I think provides a way around this, while still giving the GM some flexibility to implement a NAP (or not) and how that might be achieved without a DoW mechanic.