Boots On The Ground: A New Condition For Victory Version 1.0

  • Customizer

    Here is a new variant for gameplay primarily for Global but will work with almost any edition of Axis & Allies.


    One of the primary reasons WWII occurred was due to the reluctance of world leaders to engage in another bloody conflict that essentially destroyed a generation. The policy of appeasement to avoid bloodshed did not work however and a second world conflict began in 1939.

    Boots On The Ground is a variant where your infantry casualties matter more than ever. Initially it will be easy for You, the leader of a powerful nation, to send troops abroad fighting conflicts all over the globe. However as the game progresses your troop amounts will dwindle, and if you lose them all you lose the war.

    While this variant can be won the traditional way, Boots On The Ground adds a new dynamic that can extend or shorten the game and breaks away from the traditional strategies where the game is won by a more common strategy or formula.

    Victory Cities and National Objectives:
    National Objectives have been removed from the game (Although some players may want to include them). Regular VCs are now worth 20 IPCs and Capitals are worth 30 IPCs this is on top of the territory value (This also is up to player’s discretion). This brings a significant amount of money to the game and it will be needed as you will see further in the rules.

    The Concept:

    In this variant each player will start with all of the infantry he or she has setup OOB on the board, plus a reserve of an agreed upon amount by the players. I suggest 100 infantry for Global but players can decide this for themselves. The key is that you cannot buy or earn anymore infantry in the game. If you lose all of your infantry you lose the war. Normal victory conditions still apply but you must have at least one infantry unit alive and in your control.

    Important: this applies only to Regular OOB Infantry not mechs or specialized infantry like HBG Paras, Marines, Commandos if you use them in your games.

    The Rules: 1. Before the game begins the players will decide on an Infantry Reserve amount. I suggest 100 but you can decide whatever you want you may even want to bid. This does not count against infantry already on the board.

    2. The players will decide who places their reserves first. This can be determined any way the playgroup chooses.

    3. No regular infantry may be purchased ever in the game. The reserve is all the infantry any player has in the game. � �

    4. Players may place some, all, or none of their infantry reserve on the board in any of their controlled territories.
    During the opening Round there is no limit.

    Once the opening round is over and normal gameplay has begun, players will place their reserves in any territory they control.

    The placement limit is the territory value with the exception of Capitals and VCs which have unlimited placement restrictions.
    Territories with no income value are limited to one.

    The second exception is that you may never place more reserves than your IPC income in one turn. You may have more infantry on the board than you have income, but you cannot place new reserves exceeding your IPC income.

    5. Infantry play exactly as they do OOB you just can’t buy them.

    6. Normal OOB Victory conditions still exist with the exception that you must have one infantry alive to stay in the game.

    7. If your capital is taken you still may place your reserves.

    8. No IC is needed to place reserves, just a territory you control.

    9. In G40 games these rules still apply to China.

    10. All other units in the game may be purchased OOB there is no limit.

    This variant has not been tested yet but I hope many will enjoy this. This is just a fun variant and the intent is just to mix it up a bit and make infantry more important than they have been before. On the surface it looks insane. But the more men you lose the closer you are to defeat.

  • '16 '15 '14 Customizer

    I just now read this and am liking the basic concept. One of the factors that sank Germany was that their manpower was limited but Russia’s was seemingly unlimited.

    What if each nation started with a stack of chips by their reference card that represented the total infantry they could use in a game? Give Germany a stack of 15 chips and Russia a stack of 40. Any infantry bought would have to be drawn from this stack of chips, and when the stack runs out, your manpower is exhausted and you can only put out 1 infantry per turn from then on.

  • Customizer

    Thanks DK. I haven’t done much with this as of late. My gaming group has been a bit inactive lately. I saw a few people looked at this but nobody seemed to have been all that keen to the idea.

    Thanks for your comment.

  • '16 '15 '14 Customizer

    This is a sound idea and based in reality - don’t give up on it! You could get each country’s basic historical manpower limits from a PC game like Hearts of Iron and build from there.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    Instead of a static number and an agreed upon number, maybe you could go off the population of the countries in question… 1 million citizens = 1 infantry reserve? Â

    Maybe just based off the population of the capitol nation so for the Americans that would be W. USA, C. USA and E. USA (Alaska and Hawaii not being states yet.)  England would be England, Scotland and perhaps India (as a chief colony.)  Maybe to be more fair to Japan you could add in those mainland Asia territories they start with as well as Japan itself.  Russia could be limited (so as not to be insane) to everything from Moscow to Odessa and up to St. Petersburg and back.

    Or just cheap out and look up census data for 1940?

    Russia = 109.3 million
    Germany = 80.6 million
    England = 46.5 million (includes 500k pop. India)
    France = 39.0 million
    Italy = 44.5 million
    Japan = 73.0 million
    China = 0.8 million
    Australia = 7.0 million
    United States = 132.1 million

    So if you went that route, China would get stiffed (so you’d have to buff them somehow, maybe exempt them?)  Otherwise you’d have:

    Germany - 81 reserves
    Russia - 109 reserves
    Japan - 73 reserves
    USA - 132 reserves
    England - 46 reserves
    Italy - 45 reserves
    ANZAC - 7 reserves

    Exempt Minor Powers:
    France - 39 reserves
    China - 1 reserves

    This gives the Allies 95 more reserves than the Axis. Not including France or China.

  • '16 '15 '14 Customizer

    That data seems a little odd in spots. I know Japan had 1/2 of its forces tied up in China - how could they have that little bit of population compared to Japan? And Russia - smaller than the USA? Germany 80 mil to Russia’s 109 - in my reading the Russians WAY outnumbered Germany.

  • Italy more than France?
    Australia 7 Millions?
    China 0.8 Million?

    Those number don’t sound realistic to me.

  • Sponsor

    Good job Tobler, might work as a fun alternative game because it changes everything so much… might be fun to try.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    I just googled Population of XXX in 1940.  Not saying the numbers are 100% accurate, but they are probably pretty close.  Well, the US Population I know is accurate since I got it from the United States Census Bureau  from 1940.

    France/Italy/Germany I am not sure on.  But it seems plausible.

    China does seem really weak in those numbers…not sure if google was accurate there or not.

    Russia is also probably pretty accurate.  A lot of Russian soil is uninhabitable in 1940 - cannot farm it, cannot survive temperature extremes, too far from civilization, you name it.  I think a lot of your reading here might be left over civilians, most of Germany was involved in the war - unless you literally could not hold a rifle.  Even children were pressed into service for the Germans.

    Of course, feel free to go find your own numbers.  Not overly easy finding accurate ones because you are at the whim of who posts what for numbers, lol.  All of my numbers (except the United States of America’s) could be wrong, or dead on…

  • '22 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    Did you mean 0.8 billion for China? And 0.5 billion for India? Those numbers would make more sense.

  • At least Italy seems to be rather correct:

    (Wikipedia) 42.994.000 (1936)

    This fact surprises me. I did expect less.

  • Customizer

    I didn’t post figures anywhere but somewhere in my gaming project book I had the service personnel numbers written down. The statisics vary widely depending on the source.

    The first post is sort of an outline so you could easily tailor this concept to your group’s needs or preferences.

  • Customizer


    Good job Tobler, might work as a fun alternative game because it changes everything so much… might be fun to try.

    Thanks YG!

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator


    Did you mean 0.8 billion for China? And 0.5 billion for India? Those numbers would make more sense.

    Could be a difference in reporting.  If the websites listed it as 0.X of a billion instead of a million I would have missed it.

    I should note, I couldn’t find a website with ALL nations listed, I did have to go to multiple sites.

    Toblerone - I was listing overall population, not service members.  Or I was trying too.

  • Customizer



    Did you mean 0.8 billion for China? And 0.5 billion for India? Those numbers would make more sense.

    Could be a difference in reporting.  If the websites listed it as 0.X of a billion instead of a million I would have missed it.

    I should note, I couldn’t find a website with ALL nations listed, I did have to go to multiple sites.

    Toblerone - I was listing overall population, not service members.  Or I was trying too.

    The reason I was looking for numbers of service personnel is because for the most part that is where you would find the most relevant historical combatant numbers excluding undocumented cases of partisan and unofficial combatants. not everyone in an entire population would necessarily be a combatant.

    Nonetheless if you could find the numbers of combatants per country you could use that as a baseline to figure out what each player/power’s infantry threshold would be.

    Anyway I will work on this some more. Anyone who has any twists or ideas to this feel free to post.

  • '16 '15 '14 Customizer

    I still say using manpower is a sound idea - it is on my pencil list of future game upgrades. As suggested earlier, maybe you could look at the manpower listed for the different countries in a grand strategy PC game like Hearts of Iron 3. Somebody already did all the research there.

  • '16 '15 '14 Customizer

    Here are some Hearts of Iron 3  numbers:

    MANPOWER - total + gain each month in December 1941

    USA: 2030 + 29.3
    USSR: 2815 + 40.6
    UK: 1535 + 22.1
    Germany: 998 + 24.1
    Italy: 573 + 9.2
    Japan: 440 + 15.2

    A little math could be done to get percentages from these figures. But HOI3 is a lot more detailed - all smaller countries are separate, so countries like Canada, Australia and Finland would have to be added in to increase accuracy.

  • Customizer

    DK If you come up with something please post. I honestly haven’t had a whole lot of time to work on this. I really appreciate your contributions. If I can find some stats I will post them,  as of late my WWII encyclopedias and other books are in storage which happens to be out of town, but that’s another story.

  • '16 '15 '14 Customizer

    Good work there M.E. - although it looks unbelievable that Germany could have more reserves than the Soviet Union.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator


    Good work there M.E. - although it looks unbelievable that Germany could have more reserves than the Soviet Union.  Â

    Not that hard to imagine when you look at the ecology of most of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (as opposed to Russia itself, which is much smaller!)  Much of it is not very habitable for human life.

    Also, Germany was a lot bigger before 1945.  Believe it was bigger still before WWII actually began, when the world thought Adolf Hitler was just annexing territories stolen after WW1.

    It appears we do have corroboration that Italy had more population than France - which is interesting.

    So I suppose we could take (10)*(total population / mobilized manpower) and have that be inactive, ready reserves that you could place where you will.  Would give the United States 80 reserve infantry.  Just for one example.

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


    although it looks unbelievable that Germany could have more reserves than the Soviet Union.  Â

    I’m not sure I believe it either.  I’d be interested in knowing what Ellis defines as “mobilized” and I’m also curious about his “peak number” concept for the Soviet Union because it may imply that he’s referring to the highest number of troops who were in service at any given moment, not the total number who fought during the war.  Assuming that the USSR hit its peak manpower in the first half of 1945 (when, as I recall, it had something like 300 divisions in Europe), does this figure of 13.2 million in service at that time include the millions of Soviet soldiers who died from 1941 to 1944 and who therefore were no longer on the payroll in 1945?

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


    Another source (War in the East: The Russo-German Conflict, 1941-45 by the Staff of Strategy and Tactics Magazine) gives an estimate that 25 million Soviet Citizens were mobilized between 1941-45. This estimate would give Russia a significant advantage (250:179) over Germany for reserves.Â

    That sounds like a credible figure, at least in terms of the general impression it gives.  Also, it should be noted that in the wartime Soviet Union the distinction between the military and civilian sectors got rather blurry.  The members of the population who weren’t directly serving under arms were still very much mobilized to the war effort, to a degree that had no counterpart in the US or the UK.  I once read a description of a group of Soviet female workers, poorly clothed and poorly fed, being marched into an unheated factory at the beginning of their shift under the watchful eye of armed soldiers.  They weren’t delinquent citizens who’d been sentenced to a punitive labour detail; this was just an example of the kind of regimentation that existed in the USSR during WWII, where all citizens – including young people and old men – were considered part of the war effort.  Workplace absenteeism and slacking off on production quotas were considered the equivalent of military desertion, and were punishable by deportation to a labour camp (where conditions weren’t actually all that different from the harsh conditions that ordinary citizens were experiencing at home) or even by outright execution.  In fairness, compliance with all of this wasn’t achieved by coercion alone; there was a lot of genuine fear and hatred of the German invaders among the Soviet people, and these were powerful motivators to them as they toiled at their workbenches under barracks-like conditions that nobody in the US or the UK would have tolerated.

  • Customizer

    Midnight Express,

    Thanks for posting the stats. I have not play tested this idea as of yet. I got a new A&A player whom is mostly a “general gamer” I played spring '42 with him, and while he enjoyed the session winning as the Axis powers, I’m not sure he’s “all-in” as an A&A player or even (likes Risk!) a war-gamer.

    I poised the question of whether or not he would purchase a game like A&A provided he would have ample opportunity to play it. His response, " This game would most likely sit on my shelf collecting dust." I was planning to offer him a copy of 1942SE un-opened FREE OF CHARGE as I have more than one, if he were inclined to make it a regular habit to play. Un-success…. no regular players.

    If anyone decides to play this HR and post a report please do. I think this is a great idea with potential. I simply cannot get any form of regular group to dedicate any amount time beyond a very occasional game of A&A to participate.

    Anyways thanks for the input folks.

    Edit: I know several gamers that regularly play games of all stripes. The guy I mention in this post is a regular gamer with a large collection of games and a very nice person. However of the several gamers I know, every one of them enjoyed playing Axis & Allies but would not be interested in regular, scheduled gaming sessions of A&A.

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