• For a ftf game with four players, do you split 3 Allies / 1 Axis like the rulebook says or 2/2? If the latter, how do you split the Allies?

  • '14 Customizer

    I think you can split them however you want based on experience.

    We usually do the following for our four player games.
    Player 1: Germany + Italy
    Player 2: Japan
    Player 3: USA, ANZAC, Russia, China
    Player 4: UK + France

  • That sounds pretty reasonable. Russia+US and UK seems the obvious split for a 2/2 and then divy up the minor powers however. My initial thought is that ANZAC has a better mechanical fit with ol’ FDR but a better thematic fit with Winston. No one wants or cares about poor France, unfortunately…

  • '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    I’ve never considered how I’d handle a 2-Axis/2-Allied split for a 4-player game, but it’s an interesting question to think about so I’ve scribbed down some ideas on the subject.

    Regarding the Axis part of the split, I’d give Germany and Italy to one Axis player and Japan to the other.  Germany and Italy both operate in the same theatre, so they have the most to gain (in terms of coordination of effort and resources) by being controlled by one person than they each would by being paired with Japan, which is on the other side of the world.  Additionally, this reflects the historical reality of WWII: Germany and Italy fought alongside each other in places like North Africa, but for most practical purposes the European Axis partners fought their war separately from Japan.  (See the book Reluctant Allies: German-Japanese Naval Relations in World War II for further details.)

    On the Allied side, the US and the UK are the only two nations which are player powers in both Pacific 1940 and Europe 1940, owing to their territorial holdings and responsibilities around the world, so I’d start out by giving the US to one of the two Allied players and the UK to the other one.

    That leaves the remaining powers to allocate.  The OOB rules say that, in a 4-player game, the US player should also control China and the UK player should also control ANZAC.  That sounds fine to me.  The US was a strong supporter of China (American displeasure over the Sino-Japanese War which started in 1937 eventually led to the US economic sanctions against Japan that soon raised tensions between the two countries), and Australia and New Zealand were British Commonwealth Dominions, so those pairings fit well.

    In the same OOB 4-player setup (which has a single player control the Axis), the fourth player controls the USSR and France.  In the customized set-up being discussed here, Player 1 = Germany + Italy, Player 2 = Japan, Player 3 = US + China, and Player 4 = UK + ANZAC – so the most symmetrical option would be to assign the USSR to one of the Allied players and France to the other Allied player.

    Which leftover power should go to Player 3 and which one to Player 4?  My inclination would be to give the USSR to Player 3, who controls US + China, and France to Player 4, who controls UK + ANZAC.  China and France both operate under special constraints (China has almost nothing besides infantry, and France gets virtually knocked out at the start of the game), so arguably they represent less of a workload than the USSR and ANZAC.  It would therefore be good (for balance purposes) for the US and UK players to each have control of one higher-workload extra power and one lower-workload extra power.  Also, the USSR and China are both primarily fighting land wars, and they share a common border, so those are other incentives to put them together.  Similarly, Britain and France are both colonial powers with overseas territories (and thus both naval powers), and they’re next-door neighbors, so putting them together would fit nicely from that perspective.

    I admit that the US and the USSR loathed each other (even though they publicly pretended to be great comrades in arms from 1941 to 1945), so in that sense it’s an odd pairing – but in fairness, the relationship between Britain and France was traditionally adversarial right up until around WWI…and even in both world wars, it definitely had its up-and-down moments, with the British attack on Oran being a particularly low point.

    So to sum up, here’s what my personal choice would be:

    Player 1 = Germany + Italy

    Player 2 = Japan

    Player 3 = US + USSR + China

    Player 4 = UK + ANZAC + France

  • Sponsor

    I agree 100% CWO Marc, team arrangment is one of those rules that should be fluid to the needs of the group, but even in a game where all things are equal… we still stray from the rule book and use your arrangment. The rule should be more of a recomondation IMO.

  • '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    One potential downside to this model is that Player 2 gets a workload that is perhaps unfairly light (controlling just one power, Japan) in contrast to the workloads of Player 1 (who handles two powers) and Players 3 and 4 (three powers each).  Also, he has to wait a long time before his next turn rolls around.  This is probably why the OOB rules allocate the powers the way they do.

    In the customized four-way division being discussed here, Player 2’s job could be made a little harder (and a little more interesting) by having him also handle the strict neutrals (if they get activated, in which case they form a pretty large block of countries), and also the pro-Axis neutrals if they get activated.  To avoid potential conflicts of interest, the pro-Allied neutrals should be handled by one of the Allied players rather than by Japan.  Or perhaps by both Allied players, divided up between them for workload fairness:

    Here’s one way this could be allocated:

    Player 1 = Germany + Italy

    Player 2 = Japan + Strict Neutrals + Pro-Axis Neutrals

    Player 3 = US + USSR + China + Pro-Allied Neutrals in South America and the Middle East

    Player 4 = UK + ANZAC + France + Pro-Allied Neutrals in Europe

    Alternately, if we want the German player not to miss out on the fun of controlling some neutrals, the arrangement could be:

    Player 1 = Germany + Italy + Pro-Axis Neutrals

    Player 2 = Japan + Strict Neutrals

    Player 3 = US + USSR + China + Pro-Allied Neutrals in South America and the Middle East

    Player 4 = UK + ANZAC + France + Pro-Allied Neutrals in Europe

  • My group likes to do a 2v2 with:

    Player 1:  J

    Player 2:  G & I

    Player 3:  UK, F, Ch

    Player 4:  US, USSR, ANZAC

    A 3 v 2 would have the same for Axis but the allies can vary depending on what you want to do.

    If your goal is to keep players from sitting around all game:

    Player 1:  USSR, China

    Player 2:  US, ANZAC

    Player 3:  UK, Fra

    If your goal is for coordination/movements:

    Player 1:  USSR

    Player 2:  US, ANZAC

    Player 3:  UK, Fra, China

  • So to sum up, here’s what my personal choice would be:

    Player 1 = Germany + Italy

    Player 2 = Japan

    Player 3 = US + USSR + China

    Player 4 = UK + ANZAC + France

    That’s how my group breaks up the live play when it is a 2v2.  It’s nice for coordination, and everyone seems to have just enough on their plates to keep interested.

    For a 2v3, my group breaks it down:

    1 = Germany, Italy
    2 = Japan
    3 = Russia, France
    4 = US, China
    5 = UK (both), Anzac

    Russia tends to get a bit bored during play, so to mix it I guess you could flip China and France.  If you’re feeling sadistic, you could just combine Russia, France, China and Anzac.  That way player 4 & 5 get to invest all their focus into the ‘major’ allies.

  • '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10


    Player 2 = Japan + Strict Neutrals + Pro-Axis Neutrals

    Oops, I just remembered something – strict neutrals when activated become either Allied or Axis, so of course Japan shouldn’t control them if they tip towards the Allied side.

    Anyway, I agree with YG that people should feel free to divide up the powers in whatever way suits the size and preferences of their group, without being bound by the OOB rules on this subject if they don’t feel like it.  There was a discussion here a few months ago about how to handle, as I recall, 9-or-more-player games, and that was certainly a fun theoretical exercise.

  • '22 '21 '19 '15 '14

    I find that player attention spans and fighting off boredom are the main concerns in a casual face to face game, especially in a multiplayer game 3, 4, or more. This contrasts markedly with the situation in competitive team play, where time is of the essence, and where coordination (or the lack of coordination and agreement) can be a major cause of frustration for experienced players. This leads to the phenomenon of 1v1 games, and players who just have no patience for the sort of lighthearted banter or wandering strategy discussions or arguments among allies that generally take place in multis. This is not me, as I enjoy multis, but I know many people who have very little patience for multis for that very reason.

    Especially in PBEM “play by email games” (which is the way we all used to play online before things like TripleA came along) the nature of the turn order in this game is radically different, at least in terms of what works best for game flow. In PBEM the ideal is a collapsed turn order (with the player grouping organized in sequence.) Basically if the turn order was organized
    1. Germany + Italy
    2. UK+UK pacific + Anzac + France
    3. Japan
    4. Russia + USA + China

    But of course the turn order looks nothing like that in Global, instead it groups for pbem like this
    1. Germany
    2. Japan.
    3. Russia
    4. USA + China + UK + UK Pacific
    5. Italy
    6. Anzac + France

    Global unfortunately has a very poorly designed turn order from this latter perspective. In PBEM the ideal turn grouping would be as few groups as possible. In this respect, absent a totally collapsed turn order (something I oppose for a number of reasons), the best situation was the one you had in Classic. Four groups, or 4 email exchanges per round. With USSR playing hot on the heels of USA. And this matched more or less exactly to the 4 man face to face for expediting the turn order and coordination.

    People with different play-style preferences have informed the direction and design of the game at various points, and so it’s hard to say who was calling the shots in this last iteration. The recommended player/nation groupings in the rulebook tell me a lot about how this game is played by its designers (and also a lot about the ways in which the designers probably aren’t playing the game.) In Global the minimum number of exchanges would be 6, but these exchanges are fairly boring, especially since the last two exchanges are basically just minor nations, and the only “hot on the heels” situation, is the lengthy American+Chinese, British+UKPacific turn in the middle.

    In face to face games the situation is almost the exact opposite from what it is in PBEM. In FtF games, the issue is not so much how to collapse the turn order for the most efficient exchange, but how to expand it in order to keep everyone engaged (and prevent boredom.)

    Alas, the problem with this game, as with every other Axis and Allies game since time began, is the handling of Russia. 😉 Or more specifically the balance between Russia, UK, and USA, which for whatever reason (probably jingoistic) is rather reversed from the history. Namely, if we’re honest it was the Russians who did the major fighting in Europe and the eastern front was a colossal meat grinder. But in A&A the war in the East is essentially defensive, which in gameplay terms means largely static for the Russian player. I’d point to a somewhat pithy but nevertheless insightful comment made recently on the Larry boards by LyrandisX, to paraphrase a bit…

    [In Axis and Allies] USA is the decisive player, USSR is hanging by a thread, and UK is the support.
    [In History] The USSR is the decisive power, the USA was the support, and the UK hanged by a thread

    So in A&A Russia is invariably reactive. Sandwiched as they are between a lengthy German turn and a lengthy Japanese turn, the Russian player is the first to get bored, and the first to feel defeated. Almost always. Similarly, at the begining of the game, the USA’s play is fairly static. This means to me, that if you want to pair a 4 man game properly you need to do basically exactly what CWOMarc prescribed, break the Anglo-American turn apart, and assign Russia to the Americans, or at some point, people are going to start looking at their phones or watching tv, or drowning in a glass of beer.  😄

  • '22 '21 '19 '15 '14

    Or consider it another way, just looking at the stats…

    starting income (shown below as ProductionUnits) is not as helpful as a metric here, mainly because of National Objectives and the way Axis are designed to grow at the expense of Allied income. Instead take a look at the Units and the Total Unit Value (TUV) columns.

    Player Nation ipc, prod,  units, tuv, Victory Cities

    Germans 30 30 87 528   2
    Russians 37 37 71 363   3
    Japanese 26 26 94 667        2
    Americans 52 52 54 487   4
    Chinese        12 12 18 61        0
    British       28 28 90 722        3
    UK_Pacific 17 17 1 30        2
    Italians       10 10 46 304        1
    ANZAC       10 10 23 182   1
    French       19 19 32 227        1
    Dutch       0 11 0 0        0
    Mongolians 0 0 6 18        0

    Germany= 87 units, 528 tuv
    Italy= 46 units, 304 tuv

    G+I = 133 units, 832 tuv

    Japan= 94 units, 667 tuv

    Americans + China + Russia = 143 units, 911 tuv

    UK + UK Pacific + Anzac + France = 146 units, 1161 tuv

    That’s already a fairly large total unit and total unit value gap to overcome, even if you split up the Americans and the British. Now imagine them taken together, and consider their position together in the turn order! And consider also that these nations each have to go through a Purchase, Combat, Non Combat, Collect income etc. If you don’t split the Anglo Americans Face to Face, not only will your Russian player get bored, but everyone will get bored watching the same dude play his turn for basically an hour while everyone else waits for their go haha  😄

    I think the better question from an FtF standpoint in a Multi, is whether to split off Anzac and give them to the USA/Russia player group?

    Even if that bucks with the whole UK/Commonwealth historical coordination thing. Strictly from a game flow standpoint, this provides a somewhat more balanced TUV, even if the total unit numbers seems to favor such a grouping for the Russian side, their TUV is much closer. In this case…

    Russian player group with Anzac at tuv 1093.
    UK group with France at tuv 979.

    Basically both allied player/nations groups then have a Capital defense to consider (with brinksmanship), and an Ocean defense (with a naval cat and mouse) that are roughly on par with each other, in terms of what the player gets to do. And roughly the same in terms of their power projection.

    A still better question to consider at that point, is whether to break off China from the USA/Russia group, and give it to UK instead? This would yield

    Russia/USA/Anzac =1032
    China/UK+UK pacific/France =1040

    Both groups still have the capital defense, and navy to keep them engaged. But Anzac pairs off somewhat better with USA and Russia here, since it is already at war and has a small navy (ie something for the player in the Russia/USA group to do in the early rounds of the game.) This also produces as close as you can get to an alternating turn order (at least for Allies in a 4 man) To ensure that players feel that the game is progressing and they’re not just stuck on one persons “really long” turn. Basically as Russia starts to fold, USA is beginning to crescendo. UK already has a great deal to do, they are spread out, with plenty to keep them engaged. The UK/UK Pac/China/France position on the Allied side is similar to Japan’s on the Axis, more direct focus with less coordination. Similarly in this grouping, the Russia/USA/Anzac player corresponds to Germany/Italy on the Axis side. The group that has to coordinate.

    So if you are playing a game with 2 somewhat more experienced players, and 2 somewhat less experiences players. You might try splitting up the more experienced players under such a scheme, and suggest that the less experienced play the focused nation groups… with one taking UK, and the other taking Japan.

    G40 2nd ed.jpg

  • Thank you all for your thoughts. Elk, thank you very much for your TUV analysis and FtF/PBEM comparison; both were both excellent points I had not considered.

    I think I will try this for my next 4 player game:

    1. Germany / Italy

    2. Japan

    3. US, ANZAC, Russia

    4. UK, China, France

    I really like the idea of having both Allied players doing something of value from Turn 1, with Player 3’s attention steadily transitioning from Russia to US. My only concern is that if the Axis players do a Sealion/Calcutta Crush (not sure if that’s viable), Player 4 has much less to do. But then, maybe the UK player deserves it if he loses both capitals  😛

  • Another option in a 2v2 live game is to split the Allies up by theater, which we like to do.

    Allies player 1: US (Atlantic), UK (London), Russia, France
    Allies player 2: US (Pacific), UK (Calcutta), Anzac, China

    Ofcourse this involves heavy coordination in strategy of spending US $.  It’s give and take.

  • '16 '15 '10

    Perhaps UK Europe and USA should be the same player in a 2-2.  This streamlines the strategic cooperation necessary for the Atlantic front.  And China offers a quick break.

    Russia, China, and UK Pacific should be the other player.

    Anzac and France can be given to whoever wants to play more powers–probably the Russia/China player, in coordination with the UK/USA player.  The Anzac player must coordinate with the USA player but that’s easy since the USA player will be the master-strategist in the Pacific and Anzac player follows up after the Italy turn.

  • @IKE:

    Another option in a 2v2 live game is to split the Allies up by theater, which we like to do.

    Allies player 1: US (Atlantic), UK (London), Russia, France
    Allies player 2: US (Pacific), UK (Calcutta), Anzac, China

    Ofcourse this involves heavy coordination in strategy of spending US $.  It’s give and take.

    We have done this in the past, and it is pretty cool. The 2 US players lobbying for income/units is kinda what happened historically (which theater gets a boost?). Does the Pac player allow the Siberians to march home? Dose India give up some air/fleet to Egypt? This gives the Euro and Pac allied players something to do throughout the game, and coordination is a must. Some of their powers are in the fight from the get go, some are dwindling, and others are ramping up.

    On the Pac side, US controlling Anzac seems right because they need to work together once the US gets into the game. As China/India looses ground the US picks up steam so that player is involved throughout.

    On the Euro side the UK gets a lot of action as do the French (turn one). The US/Russia comes into play slowly, and you don’t want someone to have only the US/Russia because of that.

    In our group Russia is an inept power to play because it can be very boring unless there is a Sea lion. There is nothing good about playing the US/Russia, waiting for 3 rounds to go by, and the game is paused until the next day lol. Even when we split the allies up differently, Russia is a bit of a question. Sometimes we alternate Russia’s turn between both allied players.

Suggested Topics

  • 11
  • 2
  • 4
  • 4
  • 7
  • 3
  • 3
  • 7
I Will Never Grow Up Games
Axis & Allies Boardgaming Custom Painted Miniatures
Dean's Army Guys