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Russian NO, Errata rules clarification, and how to play G40 without a Bid


  • '14

    There is a grammatical ambiguity in the Official G40 rules for the first Russian National Objective that I would like us all to start exploiting.

    Grab a pen!

    You are going to make 3 small marks in the rules Errata, to fix the game, and remove the need for an Allied bid.  😄

    For the first Russian NO, read…

    “5 IPCs : if the Soviet Union is at war with at least one European Axis power ; the convoy in sea zone 125 is free of Axis warships, Archangel is controlled by the Soviet Union ; and there are no units belonging to other Allied powers present in any territories originally controlled by the Soviet Union.”

    The interpretation…

    5 ipcs if the Soviet Union is at war with at least one European Axis power.
    5 ipcs if the convoy in sea zone 125 is free of Axis warships, Archangel is controlled by the Soviet Union.
    5 ipcs if there are no units belonging to other Allied powers present in any territories originally controlled by the Soviet Union.

    Game fixed, no need to bid  😄

    What do you think Krieghund? Would Larry go for this? Any thoughts? Because it would be so much better than needing a bid. Its like the solution I’ve been looking for was there all along in the subconscious drafting, I noticed after just reading it aloud several times. This is the most minimal change I can think of, literally just three small punctuation adjustments, so that where there was ambiguity before we can provide clarity and a solution to the Moscow crush at the same time. I believe this change would balance the board by sides to the satisfaction of most players. Any thoughts?

    Smoke_and_Mirrors.jpg


  • 2017 2016 2015

    Do you know anyone who can alter the objectives for triple a ?

    They could then post a saved game making it easier to playtest.

    Definitely sounds as if it would be worth a try.

    If nothing else would give people another option of how to play the game.



  • I like it.  Just to clarify though, being at war is not a requirement for Russia to receive the second and third NO’s correct? So if Germany delays Barbarossa Russia could still collect up to $10 NO’s a turn?  Making Sea Lion an even riskier option.


  • '14

    @barney:

    Do you know anyone who can alter the objectives for triple a ?

    I do, and this can be done. But for now, you can simply use the edit mode to achieve the desired effect. Edit/add +5 to Russian income, when the NOs are achieved.

    @IKE:

    I like it.  Just to clarify though, being at war is not a requirement for Russia to receive the second and third NO’s correct? So if Germany delays Barbarossa Russia could still collect up to $10 NO’s a turn?  Making Sea Lion an even riskier option.

    That would be my definite preference for game balance, though I imagine some might object to the Russians receiving aid cash before their “at war” requirement is met. There is sufficient ambiguity in the rule to approach it either way. Check this out right here…

    The game Manual for Europe 1940 sec ed has the wording is as follows:

    National Objective and Bonus Income: Fear of foreign invasion grows by the day in Moscow. The Soviet Union’s
    objective is a security buffer of foreign territory. To reflect this objective, the Soviet Union collects bonus IPC income
    during each of its Collect Income phases in the following situations.
    When the Soviet Union Is at War in Europe:

    • 5 IPCs if the convoy in sea zone 125 is free of Axis warships, Archangel is controlled by the Soviet Union, and
      there are no units belonging to other Allied powers present in any territories originally controlled by the Soviet
      Union. Theme: National prestige and access to Allied Lend-Lease material.

    But here is the corrected wording in the Errata release, for clarification, the one I am trying to highlight:

    Page 33 - Soviet Union - National Objectives & Bonus Income: The first bullet point should read “5
    IPCs if the Soviet Union is at war with at least one European Axis power, the convoy in sea zone 125 is
    free of Axis warships, Archangel is controlled by the Soviet Union, and there are no units belonging to
    other Allied powers present in any territories originally controlled by the Soviet Union.”

    https://www.wizards.com/\AvalonHill\rules\AAEurope1940_FAQ.pdf

    I think the focus really needs to be on balancing for Moscow. The key to the game is at the Center, same as always in A&A, so consistently nerfing Russia just to put Sea Lion in play seems shortsighted.  If G goes Sea Lion, and delays Barbarossa to achieve it, Russia should be strong enough for Allies to lay the hammer (and sickle) down, the moment London falls. Axis have the clear advantage in G40, if London is out,  Russia will have to deal with a monster Japan, and a more beastly Italy, in addition to Super G. A shot at 10 ipcs (with a likely +5 at baseline) in extra Soviet units seems reasonable to balance against this. Especially once you consider that the opening is without an Allied bid.

    My goal above, was to provide the minimum necessary, to remove the need for an Allied bid. There are surely other rules, or other National Objectives one could tweak to achieve a similar effect, but this is the simplest one I can think of. I like it because it plays off the ambiguity of printed text that is already available in the official game rules. Conceivably Krieghund could come in here right now, say that this was Larry’s original vision and intention for the stated rule, and you wouldn’t even need to reprint the game manual. Basically, I am trying to exploit a grammatical oversight in the rulebook to fix the balance of the game by sides. Those punctuation adjustments I mentioned above are suggestions, but they aren’t even necessary. English grammar, and the ambiguity in the stated rule is already sufficient, for us to read the rule the way I have above.  Until someone comes in to correct us, (and why would they? when the advantage for game balance is so clear?) I am choosing to interpret this rule, with “conjunction ambiguity.”

    Right now it is not clear from the grammar whether the subject “5 ipcs” is in reference to each clause separately, or all clauses together. This is because of the way “commas” work in standard English, allowing us to read the subject as referring to each clause in the sentence separately or all-together.  “All-together” leads to a basically useless Soviet NO, but “separately” leads to a Soviet NO that could potentially fix the whole game, and more or less balance it by sides. Which would be fantastic, and kind of genius, since it doesn’t even require a real change in the wording, just a change in how the rule is read. My favorite solution, would be an interpretation that allows each comma in the Rule to serve as a clause break. Awarding +5 ipc for each clause, separated by a comma in the original “run on” sentence. Again because of grammatical vagueness, this gives us the option to interpret the sz125 and Archangel clauses as either together or separate.

    Again here is how the latest official iteration of the rule reads, without any punctuation modifications, according to the last Errata addendum from Wizards that I could find.

    “5 IPCs if the Soviet Union is at war with at least one European Axis power, the convoy in sea zone 125 is free of Axis warships, Archangel is controlled by the Soviet Union, and there are no units belonging to other Allied powers present in any territories originally controlled by the Soviet Union.”

    So for the conjunction ambiguity interpretation you would have two options…

    Option 1:
    5 ipcs if the Soviet Union is at war with at least one European Axis power.
    5 ipcs if the convoy in sea zone 125 is free of Axis warships, Archangel is controlled by the Soviet Union.
    5 ipcs if there are no units belonging to other Allied powers present in any territories originally controlled by the Soviet Union.

    or even…

    Option 2:
    5 ipcs if the Soviet Union is at war with at least one European Axis power.
    5 ipcs if the convoy in sea zone 125 is free of Axis warships.
    5 ipcs if Archangel is controlled by the Soviet Union.
    5 ipcs if there are no units belonging to other Allied powers present in any territories originally controlled by the Soviet Union.

    Basically a choice between three awarding National Objective conditions or four awarding conditions, instead of just one, 15 or 20 ipcs instead of just 5 ipcs, depending on how you want to read the clauses. Make sense?

    The at war conditional is likewise ambiguous under the Errata, since it could refer to only the first clause, or to all clauses, depending on how you read it. Obviously I’m suggesting that we read it to award the maximum possible ipcs to Russia, since that is what game balance seems to require. But there is flexibility right now, because of the grammar, to interpret it either way, depending on what works best for balance. Pretty simple right?

    My hope would be that the game’s designers would first consider the full implication of this reading, and its potential benefit for game balance, before telling me that I am “reading it wrong” or removing the ambiguity in the wrong direction 😉

    I would further suggest, if there is agreement on this issue, that the Errata be re-drafted, so that the interpretation above is explicit (rather than ambiguous) in awarding a separate +5 ipcs for each condition. This would be hugely helpful in eliminating the need for a Bid in G40.

    Glory-to-the-heroes.jpg


  • 2017 2016 2015

    sounds promising    I’ll give it a try, although I’m not a very good player so my opinion won’t mean much.

    Not to put a damper on your enthusiasm, but shouldn’t some top players playtest to see if their are some unintended consequences?

    I’ve always thought the game should have multiple rules/options anyway. Gives more variety. I know there is the 42 scenario and oz’s 41. If this were to make the 40 better that would be great.


  • '14

    Any unintended consequences would still be preferable to the way a placement bid messes with the opening round.  😄

    This is the way most people are playing right now, with an Allied Bid, starting from an unofficial position, with extra Allied units on the board at the outset. I think the solution to game balance is not to bid, since a bid can mess with all sorts of things, particularly with the situation around Italy and the Med, which is already a small nightmare) but instead to improve Russian income through the normal gameplay mechanics. An NO change is easier to control for, than a pre-placement unit change.

    Top drawer players should enjoy this, it presents new challenges for both sides. This would not be my first time out either 😉 But ultimately it shouldn’t come down to the experience of the best players, it should come down to whether the game is enjoyable for both sides and for most players. If you bid, you screw the competent Axis player by breaking their openings, if you don’t bid you screw the Allies (since the game set up is weighted in favor of Axis). Here instead is a third way. Balance via Russian income, since the center is the game, just like its always been.

    I think you will find that a skilled Allied player will have access to many more options and potential strategies to explore once the NO reads this way. But a skilled Axis player will still have options of their own, especially absent the bid. I think it works to the benefit of the gameplay as well as the balance. That is the main source of my enthusiasm. My true preference would be for a game that didn’t rely so much on NOs, but since G40 does, I think we should at least use them as a balancing tool… rather than using a bid, which has never once received the official blessing, despite being in use for decades. How much extra would you need to be given, to take Allies against a skilled opponent? I think the above should be sufficient to satisfy most players, without distorting the opening round battles in the process. I suspect that, if adopted, this approach would zero the board, meaning that it would not be possible to determine the balance until tested many times. If it can return Allied victories, especially against skilled Axis opponents, that would be very encouraging.

    Anyone who gets a chance to try this, please do post feedback. The edit is very simple in TripleA. And tracking in Face to Face is pretty simple as well. It should be very easy to implement.


  • 2018 2017 2016 2015

    Interesting discussion people and the idea of rewarding Russia NO especially when at war looks good. First of all English is not my native language but let’s look at the German NO (when at war with The Soviet Union):

    • 5 IPCs per territory if Germany controls Novgorod (Leningrad), Volgograd (Stalingrad), and/or Russia (Moscow).
    Theme: High strategic and propaganda value.
    • 5 IPCs if an Axis power controls Caucasus. Theme: Control of vital Soviet oil production.
    This means Germany will receive 20 IPC if all 4 territories are controlled.

    Now, let’s look at the wording for the Soviet Union:

    5 IPCs if the convoy in sea zone 125 is free of Axis warships, Archangel is controlled by the Soviet Union, and there are no units belonging to other Allied powers present in any territories originally controlled by the Soviet
    Union. Theme: National prestige and access to Allied Lend-Lease material.

    IMHO I think this cannot mean anything else then all criteria must be fulfilled. However, if there is a need for a change that is a different story. The Soviet Union may achieve this NO, but usually not more than a round. If you change the rule and allow up to 20 IPC for The Soviet Union (the 15 above and 5 for “at war”) it forces Germany SZ 125 and Archangel. The Soviet Union will still typically have 10 IPC extra each round. It will be a big change to the game as I think it makes it much more interesting to free SZ 125 AND attempting to keep/fight Archangel. I anticipate a lot of the fighting will go on in North West Russia and keeping Moscow more or less safe at least for longer than round 6, maybe for the whole game? If you add this up for at least 6 rounds of war, that is a minimum of 60 IPCs extra, or 20 infs, or a good number of offensive units……. Too much, or is the axis advantage that big? Also dont forget that Germany will receive less NO IPC. So the difference is rather huge


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    Russia needs help while at war and,  historically, they got it.
    Many of us here would like to see change.


  • '14 Customizer

    @barney:

    sounds promising     I’ll give it a try, although I’m not a very good player so my opinion won’t mean much.

    Not to put a damper on your enthusiasm, but shouldn’t some top players playtest to see if their are some unintended consequences?

    I’ve always thought the game should have multiple rules/options anyway. Gives more variety. I know there is the 42 scenario and oz’s 41. If this were to make the 40 better that would be great.

    Do you have a link to Oz’s 41 scenario?


  • '14

    It is helpful to look at the German and Russian NOs side by side, because you can see how the OOB German NO offers different conditions with different targets each at +5 ipcs, while the OOB Russian NO offers pretty much nothing.

    But just comparing the NOs with Germany doesn’t give the full picture, because after France falls, Germany is collecting basically twice what the USSR can collect, and they also have the option to prolong the DoW. Germany starts with the initiative, a strong airforce and a strong position on the east (especially with the Romania bounce), so this creates a situation where they can drop a steady stream of ground stacks, launched east with a quickness. Even if they try for a transport feint to spook UK, they can still divert forces pretty easily back across the Baltic to set up a conveyor belt out of W. Germany and Berlin against the Russians. A conservative Axis crush can have G pushing a massive wall of infantry or tanks against the hapless Russian factories in the east, well before Russia can muster enough strength and counter attack potential to throw them back.

    I mean, consider that after just a couple rounds of set up, you’re dealing with a German Barbarossa threat that can field stacks of ground 50 units deep! These are very hard to face down once they consolidate and start pushing in a single direction. The Soviets need more money than they currently receive. If they had it, then they could at least afford to purchase artillery for the counter stack game, or some armor and mech for the movement advantage, or just start dropping infantry walls of their own to brace for the inevitable Axis charge on their capital.

    Also, without a bid, UK has harder choices to make in the Mediterranean. They can’t just bid subs to easily break the Med naval battles for example, which means that Italy will have a bit more life than usual. Also, if Japan DoWs early, and US is forced to contest the Pacific with everything, then at least Russia would have a lifeline of their own to keep the game in Europe interesting.

    I think that there is a nice trade off here, between preserving the Axis openings (e.g. no extra allied bid units), and giving the Allies more of what they need after the Axis DoW (Russian cash). I would say that if the Allies start returning victories we are in a good place. If it ends up that they only need a steady +5 rather than a +10, then you could remove the “At War” NO, but I suspect that the Russians need all they can get. The Archangel/Sz125 NO will be easy for G to contest, so really what you’re looking at is the separate +5 for no Western Troops and the +5 for being at War.

    Which game is more fun to play? A bid game of say 12 ipcs, where the Allies can drop a pair of subs to totally bust the naval set up, and effectively raid Italy out of the war? Or a game where Russia has some extra teeth after the DoW (about +10 per round), but where Allies can’t bid break the opening round of combat, for gambles on a heavy TUV trade? I think the player generally has more fun in the latter sort of game, because it is draws out the climax, rather than opening with the climax. For either side, if they triumph or fail, it would still feel more glorious, than watching everything go down to the bottom of the sea in the first round haha  😄


  • 2017 2016 2015

    cyanight

    can’t remember how to post links, but it is on the bottom of page 8 under house rules

    I don’t know if anyone has a saved game for the latest triple a so you might have to edit one

    A couple people on here used to play it they seemed to enjoy it        I thought it was fun as well


  • '14

    “5 IPCs if the Soviet Union is at war with at least one European Axis power, the convoy in sea zone 125 is free of Axis warships, Archangel is controlled by the Soviet Union, and there are no units belonging to other Allied powers present in any territories originally controlled by the Soviet Union.”

    At the very least, this NO is ambiguous with respect to the final clause.

    Interpretation…

    5 IPCs if the Soviet Union is at war with at least one European Axis power, the convoy in sea zone 125 is
    free of Axis warships, Archangel is controlled by the Soviet Union.

    5 IPCs if there are no units belonging to other Allied powers present in any territories originally controlled by the Soviet Union.

    The first is basically unachievable, but the second could have an impact. Somehow I suspect +5 ipcs alone, would not be enough when considered against the advantage of Western units for Soviet defense. Meaning I think the Allied player would likely give up this NO, in order to get the Western unit advantage. But at least it would be something. I still think Russia at War needs to get in the +10 range (achievable), to be competitive, but even +5 per round would be way better than it stands right now OOB.



  • @Black_Elk:

    “5 IPCs if the Soviet Union is at war with at least one European Axis power, the convoy in sea zone 125 is free of Axis warships, Archangel is controlled by the Soviet Union, and there are no units belonging to other Allied powers present in any territories originally controlled by the Soviet Union.”

    At the very least, this NO is ambiguous with respect to the final clause.

    Interpretation…

    5 IPCs if the Soviet Union is at war with at least one European Axis power, the convoy in sea zone 125 is
    free of Axis warships, Archangel is controlled by the Soviet Union.

    5 IPCs if there are no units belonging to other Allied powers present in any territories originally controlled by the Soviet Union.

    The first is basically unachievable, but the second could have an impact. Somehow I suspect +5 ipcs alone, would not be enough when considered against the advantage of Western units for Soviet defense. Meaning I think the Allied player would likely give up this NO, in order to get the Western unit advantage. But at least it would be something. I still think Russia at War needs to get in the +10 range (achievable), to be competitive, but even +5 per round would be way better than it stands right now OOB.

    How is the first not achievable? what is germany going to put there that will not die soon to a UK attack? IF the UK lets the german subs hang out there they are doing something wrong.
    If the allies chose to not take this NO or at least contest it it is a choice but it does not make it impossible in normal play.
    Besides with the 15ipcs you get from your other NO ( just take italian afrika zones ) it does not mather much.

    If you check the statistics of the game, just amount of units and money available russia isnt off that bad, depending on how germany starts ( i checked for sea lion fake with LL ) you actualy have nearly the same amount of units as germany, and germany cannot attack you turn 2 ( unless they want to lose a lot of units for no gains )


  • '14 Customizer

    Germany can counter Russia’s NO by moving a sub in 125 on turn 2.  They use all their subs on round 1 to decimate the royal navy but that doesn’t matter because the DOW on turn 2 or 3.  UK usually has 1 DD left after turn 1 but they have to retreat that DD to Canada or suffer the same fate as the rest of the ships.  Now Turn 2 comes around and Germany moves a sub to counter the Russian NO and there is no DD in range because if there was then the Luftwaffe would have eliminated it on round 2.  There are some games where Germany fails to wipe all the ships but I would say they normally do this without a problem.



  • @cyanight:

    Germany can counter Russia’s NO by moving a sub in 125 on turn 2.  They use all their subs on round 1 to decimate the royal navy but that doesn’t matter because the DOW on turn 2 or 3.  UK usually has 1 DD left after turn 1 but they have to retreat that DD to Canada or suffer the same fate as the rest of the ships.  Now Turn 2 comes around and Germany moves a sub to counter the Russian NO and there is no DD in range because if there was then the Luftwaffe would have eliminated it on round 2.  There are some games where Germany fails to wipe all the ships but I would say they normally do this without a problem.

    UK can hide the DD safely behind schotland, add the air cover there and since germany can only attack with 2 bombers and said sub ( which they dont want to use ) it is still a nice trade.
    2 bombers vs 1 destroyer ill take that 1. Also that prevents germany from clearing the med out on turn 2. Good even more allied stuff clearing the way for the russian tank and mech to take the afrika NO. And if germany attacks both also fine they now lose much of their airforce so their attack is that much weaker and the UK can much faster start to build new destroyers to kill subs.

    Germany can do a lot but they dont have the units to do everything at once they have to chose, as the allies your job is to make sure that no mather what they chose they always lose some point. Russia isnt that far off in terms of units compared to germany, and defence is always cheaper then offence. Russia does not need a fast stack it needs a good inf/art stack which is cheaper then the mech/arm stack germany needs for speed. And germany attacking turn 3 means that the US will also be involved at that point.

    Allies is really a balancing act, US spending just the right amount on the right area, but so does the UK spend stuff in afrika or northern europe. Axis is pretty straight forward go for the kill before the allies can really get organized.

    But like i said, if russia needs more units why does everybody put their bid in for the UK iso Russia?


  • '14

    but like i said, if russia needs more units why does everybody put their bid in for the UK iso Russia?

    The simple answer to your final question is… because competent players will always use the bid to break an opening battle. For the Allied player it makes little sense to bid in Russia, since the DoW restricts Russian play. The goal with a bid is always to have the greatest impact, and trade as much TUV as possible (either on attack or defense) as soon possible for the bid amount spent. This has been the case on every A&A board. The reason everyone bids UK in G40 is because UK is already at war, and they are the first allied nation in the turn order that can make an effective attack.

    Sz125 doesn’t matter for the purpose of the NO until Russia is at war. So unless Germany DoWs it’s not even relevant yet. The problem in subsequent rounds is that Germany can disrupt sz125, and doesn’t have to hold the sz for the enitre round to do so. All they have to do is park a single sub in sz 125 through Russia’s turn (which follows their turn immediately.) It’s a cost of 6 to disrupt 5 from Russia, and draws a UK dd at 8 which can easily be destroyed if Allies attempt to contest the sz with light forces.  In later rounds the NO is disrupted by the no western units on red land or the Archangel requirement. Basically it’s an inconsequential NO if the German player does their job.

    But again the reason to give the money to Russia is for balance on the center crush, without disrupting first round battles. A UK bid just busts the game vis a vis Italy and the med.

    This is similar to the way an extra tank was used in an Axis bid to break Egypt in Revised, or to break the Ukraine battle, (or doing those, but saving some extra for a 4th Japanese transport to be purchased on J1 as well.) Similar again to the way UK can break naval battles on 1942.2 board. A preplacement bid will always be used to break the game in favor of the side perceived to be a disadvantage, creating first round battle conditions entirely different from the OOB game. This is what we’re trying to avoid, and why Russia is the prime candidate for a boost. Because the political situation prevents them from distorting the opening round,  and because Moscow is invariably the focus of the endgame.


  • 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13

    @Black_Elk:

    but like i said, if russia needs more units why does everybody put their bid in for the UK iso Russia?

    The simple answer to your final question is… because competent players will always use the bid to break an opening battle. For the Allied player it makes little sense to bid in Russia

    Interesting thread, but those in red are not perfectly correct. I encourage you both to play the league games.
    http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?board=54.0

    Or get a team for playing in the XDAP 2 tournament that starts soon.
    http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=34519.0



  • Me1945,
    The thing about the use of absolutes, such as “always” and “everybody”, in most Western languages, particularly English, is that more often than not they are not used for their strict meaning, but rather for emphasis, particularly in persuasive speech. This is also known as a form of exaggeration. Speech does not need to be “perfectly correct” to still convey valid points in an effective manner.
    Source: Linguist

    But I gather your real point is that you have experience contrary to his, and you have seen players bid in Russia. That’s cool. Thank you for contributing!
    Is there any chance you could regal us with a story on how that experience you’ve witnessed or performed was an effective decision? At the moment, I’m leaning towards Black Elk’s logic of getting the most bang-for-buck by utilizing the resource (bid) as soon as possible. It, too, seems to be such the stronger play to me that I have difficulty imagining another course of action being as effective. As such on this, it’s quite possible that when Black Elk used absolutes, he really meant them in those absolute terms as per his own experiences.


  • '14

    Yes, I was speaking emphatically from my own experience and observations. 😉
    Dead on EnoughSaid.

    I know other people have different ideas about how to use the bid in a more restricted way, or how to affect a hard set up change. (e.g. Russian bomber or the like.) I’m actually a fan of aircraft, in a lot of instances, for the dynamic situations they can create. I’m sure there are ways to get at game balance that don’t involve NOs. But again, I have to say, if you’re already playing with National Objectives, I think they can be improved as a game balance mechanism over bids. Especially the largely irrelevant ones.

    Tournaments are fun, but can be time consuming esp g40. The last time I really dedicated enough regular time to tripleA was for AA50 and 1942.2 games. The way my work schedule and rl commitments are these days, its harder to commit to regular play for the longer games. I do have a buddy that might be up for it though, relatively new to A&A and tripleA.

    League play is useful, I fully support this and any kind of tripleA war room stuff. Its the best way to gather balance information, since tripleA is much faster than A&A.

    I go by “triplelk” in the tripleA lobby, and black_elk on all the boards. We’ve probably crossed paths at some point, though my lobby activity enthusiasm goes in waves. Most of my G40 games lately have been using house rules that are a bit more challenging to support with the edit mode, so I do a fair amount of FtF now, which is time intensive. We average like three sessions per game, with all the set up time and breaks and snacks. TripleA is always faster. I definitely endorse using the engine, and its good to see it still going strong after all these years. I live in San Francisco, but I work late hours, so I’m usually encountering people in different time zones. The friends across the pond, in UK, Italy, Germany and the North, or the Australians sometimes. Depends what kind of shift I have to work haha. It would be fun though.


  • 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13

    My point is, those who don’t play here sometimes post judgements that pretty often  differ from what I’ve learned in the league. Which is fine, if you play in your groups or somewhere else. Since I’m unable to join your groups and you are in the site already, I think everybody will be benefited from your play in the A&A forums.


  • 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13

    everybody will be benefited from your play in the A&A forums

    That is wrong one. Should put everyone except your family.


  • '14

    I’m curious which statements here are differing from what you’ve seen in the league? Do you feel that this NO is playing differently or is more relevant in the league?

    I suppose its important to realize that any statements you read here on the boards are largely anecdotal. It comes down to how much of what you read accords with your own experience. And of course results will differ depending on what conditions you typically play with. For example, I noticed just now you mentioned the Russian bomber in another thread. In G40, and in other prior A&A games, many people have used additional Russian aircraft as an expedient alternative to the open pre-placement bid. An Extra Russian fighter in AA50 for example, or a Bomber in G40. In G40 specifically, that option is preferable to me, than an open bid for UK. Its the sort of set up change you really have to force though, because given the option most people would take that same bid amount and instead throw down 4 infantry or 3 art units in separate territories to spread the advantage, or a pair of subs to break a naval battle. Anyway, the point being that if you are using a Russian bomber in your games regularly, then chances our you’ll be seeing different results from people who try other balancing options. Beyond this, there is also the No Tech aspect, or things like whether or not players are using standard dice rules or low luck rules. All this stuff can skew the results in a given set of games, or provide somewhat different play-balance results from the games of people who play other ways.

    I will say this about G40, if you play standard dice, there is a fairly substantial swing potential on sz 110 and sz 111, not to mention with casualties in France. This can be a pretty big deal for an opening battle that sets the stage for the whole game. The results there can be a lot more consequential than say Classic/Revised when a transport hit, or a destroyer dudded out was in the opening round. The old German battleship headache comes to mind. Or take for example how in Revised the swing on the W. Russia battle could really effect the whole game in a massive way, such that some players would just quit outright in the opening round, if the dice didn’t go their way. Something similar can occur here (though perhaps not quite as extreme) with sz 110 and 111. If the Luftwaffe trades well in those battles it can be a huge boon for Axis. If they trade poorly it can be a small nightmare for G. Low Luck can control for that to a certain extent, but what you gain in consistency by using LL during the opening round, you lose out on in dynamism during the endgame. This is why I tend to prefer dice since they are so unpredictable for the endgame, though I appreciate the place for LL and understand why so many are fond of it. Still even a small bid disrupting either of those battles, or the battles in the med, can take it from a risky swing to a clear and obvious choice, especially under LL conditions.

    So all that is just to say that the conventions in your playgroup, the typical bid, what sort of rules you option in or out, can really affect the patterns that emerge.

    You’ll probably have noticed as well, that because A&A uses a very fixed set up and involves a number of scripted first round battles, that players often use a technique that you might call mirroring. Where players tend to model their strategies and opening moves, on things that they’ve seen stronger opponents do. Adopting the strategies that beat you last time, we might call it. This happens a lot after a board first comes out, or especially with players who are new to the game. So what happens is a kind of gameplay evolution, that selects for the best opening plays and weeds out the poorer ones over time. So right after a new board comes out everyone is excited, since the playing field is leveled, and nobody really knows how to exploit the map. Very quickly though, players start adopting standard buys and standard openings, until at some point (after a year say) someone hits on a strategy that is very dominant, which never remains secret very long. Soon variations in it get more popular, until eventually it becomes a scripted move (something everyone does.) Its usually at this point, if the advantage is clearly going one way, to one side over the other, that people start seriously examining bid solutions.

    Whats interesting about all this, is that if you are playing with someone who is inexperienced, and does something totally batshit crazy, that you wouldn’t expect anyone to do ever, sometimes that sort of game can actually get entertaining as well as challenging. Since you really don’t know how to predict the erratic behavior of the newb. These games can be fun, since they force all sorts of weird decisions on you. Like wow, he built that? I guess I have to go destroy it now, and do something I wouldn’t usually do haha.

    I agree though, from an archival standpoint, its nice to have a league and a way to track what sorts of things are happening in games (what sort of bids are being used for example, and what opening moves.) The overall tally Axis wins to Allied wins. But even there, the nature of the dice can be pretty nuts in providing different experiences.

    All this is just to clarify something that it might have been worth saying at the outset. When I talk about game “Balance” or “Balance by Sides” what I am really referring to is the ‘feeling’ or ‘sense’ among both players that the starting conditions provide a roughly even shot for either to prevail. There’s no way to be really absolute about this, since as soon as you roll the dice in a single round of combat, you shoot off into so many different variables that its probably impossible to say anything with certainty… eg. whether a bad roll somewhere can be recovered by an amazing one somewhere else, later on. So really what we a striving for is the sweet spot, where the feeling of balance is the same for both players at the outset. Where one person isn’t constantly grumbling about how the odds are totally stacked against them from the get go, or how if they don’t win battle X, “its basically all over!” I’m not sure how much you could learn from seeing my games in an after action, since I’m perhaps not as cut throat as others, and I like to experiment a lot (often with game mechanics.) I don’t mind losses and haven’t bothered to keep a running tally on anything.

    If I’m in the lobby and I have more time to play, I also almost never concede defeat, at least until I see the deep endgame 😉 Since that’s the one that fascinates me most in A&A games! The deep endgame, for those unfamiliar with how I use the term in A&A, is how things play after capitals have already fallen. So in Classic or Revised or 1942.2 the Deep Endgame is when you are down to just 4 nations. In AA50 when you are down to 5 etc. Another way to think about it is the gameplay when W. Allies can take over Russian land directly because the capital has fallen.

    Pretty good at grinding it out, since even a losing game can be entertaining, and it teaches you about the production spread and the importance of the center 😉 But now I’m just rambling.

    Is it the general premise of this thread (that Russia’s NOs are too weak, and virtually pointless) that you find problematic? Or the proposed solution as a bid alternative? I guess I’m just a little confused where you think we’re running off track. Most of the results posted in that league forum for g40 games (at least for the last several months) show Allies being bid out consistently, often at above +10 ipc. So I feel that it supports the general position of game unbalance in favor of Axis. I’m not sure what bearing any of those games would have on my proposed solution right now, since those games are virtually all using pre-placement bids. What I have suggested here is a standard income modification for an NO as an alternative to what people are currently doing, which is bidding pre-placement. Does that make more sense from the perspective of a bid replacement/balance perspective?


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