Blitz units, Can Openers, and Turn Order


  • 2019 2015 '14

    I’d like to start a general thread discussing this relationship in Axis and Allies: how blitz units can be used to exploit the turn order.

    Having explored various concepts on the G40 map, such as a variable turn order, and a totally collapsed turn order by side, and “same time” G40 where all nations move at once… it has become abundantly clear to me that the only way to come up with a workable system to vary turn order, or collapse the turn order, is to first come up with a way for players to make their own can-openers, rather than relying on their Allies to do so. What do you think about the way can openers are used in A&A?  And what do you think about how it effects the aesthetics, creating that checkerboard map? You know, where say Italy moves into a territory, then Germany moves to hold this space with infantry and fighters, while blitzing on through to the next space with their armor and mech… Gray, Brown, Gray, Brown etc. It seems to me that this is a huge part of Axis and Allies. Basically the rules about landing aircraft in newly conquered territories (prohibiting it), and the rules that describe the abilities of blitz units, combine to create this feature of the game. I think this is a metagame exploit that the turn order and the blitz rules encourage, but which is so foundational to the game going back to Classic, that everyone accepts it as just built in.

    What if the blitz rules were changed? So that turn order didn’t matter for game balance?
    Then you could actually explore different ways to approach turn order generally, like variable turn, or collapsed turn, or same time. Think about how Italian ground units can-open for Germany OOB. Or how German air can-open for Japan on the water. Or how America or China can-open for the UK. The turn order exploit is all over the place right now, and is built into the overall balance. To ever get beyond this, step one would be to eliminate the “ally can-opener”, and replace it with a “self can-opener” that you can run on your own combat turn, using your own armor. So for example, right now OOB, Italy takes Baltic States and then Germany blitzes through to take Leningrad, but what we need is for a way for Germany to blitz both by itself. Basically there is enough special stuff going on in G40, that I think you could justify having an entire phase or battle phase round called “Special Combat.” Then put Blitzing into that, in something similar to “sub surprise strike, or scramble, or sbr/intercept” some way for tanks and mech to “advance” out of the combat, and into an adjacent territory.

    The Blitz move would then feel more like a true blitz, and it would better capture the blitz concept, of rushing units forward in a kind of double combat, rather than having the action separated by a round of gameplay, and interjecting an ally into the equation. What do you think of the idea of allowing for “self can-openers” with Tanks? Also if you like the idea of the self can-opening Tank, what do you think about adding additional Blitz units?

    For example, it might be possible to allow such a blitz play with 1 unit type from each category: Land, Air, and Sea…

    Land: Armor = Land Blitz
    Air: Tactical Bomber = Air Blitz
    Sea: Cruiser = Naval Blitz

    In this final case with the cruiser, the naval blitz ability could make up for its cost relative to the destroyer, and would give it more of a reason to exist in the unit roster. The self can-opening blitz unit. If this could be done, then A&A could function under other turn order conditions, such as variable sequence of nations, or collapsed turn order by side, or same time play for all nations. These are all possible if new ways can be thought of to handle the Blitz/can opener. Right now I am curious to hear any general thoughts about how the can opener effects your G40 game/experience.


  • 2017 2016

    Hi Black Elk,
    here is the opening post of a thread on a similar topic to yours:

    Breakthrough/secondary combat
    @MidnightExpress:

    One concept I don’t see discussed often is the idea of breakthrough or secondary combat. It’s used in other games, my favorite being Avalon Hill’s “Russian Campaign”,  where infantry, artillery, mobile and air unitsmake an attack and if successful the mobile and air units can move on to take more territory or make a second attack. This always seemed like an enhanced version of the A&A blitz rule to me, making mobile units even more important to the game. Xeno Games used a rule like this in Europe at War and I’ve used it with HBG’s Global War 1939 but haven’t really used it with any of the A&A games. It seems that it would work pretty well with Global 1940. Anybody have experience using a similar rule for breakthrough/secondary combat? I’d be interested in hearing the pros and cons of such a rule in A&A.

    http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=32467.msg1220551#msg1220551


  • 2019 2015 '14

    Yes a breakthrough combat phase of some sort. Those rules are interesting. Thanks for the link

    Also, given that armor costs 6, this breakthrough ability would make it more potent.

    My chief interest is in how this can affect the advantage of the turn order, returning the idea of the blitz to single power rather than two powers working in tandem.

    What are your thoughts on a similar breakthrough ability for Tacs and Cruisers?


  • 2018

    There was a really cool and complex WW2 game back in the 90’s called Bells of War that allowed that kind of blitz with tanks. It was kind of fun to blitz this way. Defense had to be planified more in depth to conterstrike exposed fast units.

    Progress on the map were faster but the map was also a lot bigger. It could be fun to try on our actual map but it’s not designed for that sort of gameplay so I believe that it would be even easier to capture Moscow.


  • 2017 2016

    @Black_Elk:

    Yes a breakthrough combat phase of some sort. Those rules are interesting. Thanks for the link

    Also, given that armor costs 6, this breakthrough ability would make it more potent.

    My chief interest is in how this can affect the advantage of the turn order, returning the idea of the blitz to single power rather than two powers working in tandem.

    What are your thoughts on a similar breakthrough ability for Tacs and Cruisers?

    I think that the first territory/Sz and the second should at least be considered as 2 separate combat with different units required.

    In addition, I suggest that the 1 combat round enemy’s total destruction should be required to allow any number of units left on reserve with enough move allowance to be able to do the second Territory/Sz battle.
    However, as the OOB can-opener tactics allows it, planes should be able to land on the first conquered territory.

    Besides, I don’t see what can be the special role of Tank, TcB and Cruiser.

    If some MechInf and Tank can make a 2 space move, then both should be allowed to attack the second territory.
    Still keeping OOB rule that MechInf cannot blitz on their own but need to be paired 1:1 with Tank.

    Same apply in naval combat.
    Since all naval units can move 2 SZs, why insisting that any naval unit should be paired to Cruiser to allow to be part of the second naval battle?

    The other requirement is that at least one ground or naval unit must be part of the first combat and should occupied the territory or stay in the SZ.

    If a single combat round victory is not achieve, thus forfeiting can-opener tactics, then all reserved units can only, but at least, be throwned in the first territory or SZ battle.

    I have the impression that splitting attacking units in two territories or SZs will make this tactics just a little weaker than the actual can-opener tactics with 2 friendly powers.


  • 2019 2015 '14

    The following concept was originally outlined in my group for use in “Same Time” G40, but could be adapted for a game with a normal turn order too.

    In any game with a turn order or sequence of nations in turn, you will always have a multi nation can opener as an option to exploit. These ideas don’t totally get rid of the concept unless the turn order is collapsed, but with a turn order what they will do is encourage nations to work in their own theater of operations, rather that totally focused on the can opening role for the ally.

    Basically the way we worked it, only units which have not already participated in combat may participate in a Blitz.

    Blitz: a special attack move that occurs during the combat phase.

    On land this move is initiated by armor. Any armor which hasn’t attacked already and has sufficient movement may “punch through” a newly captured territory immediately after it is taken to attack an adjacent territory. This Armor may be paired with Mech Infantry 1:1 on the blitz, provided that mech has sufficient movement and has not already joined a combat.

    For air the idea is similar, except here it is the Tac B, which acts like armor in the skies over the blitzed territory. Any Tac B which has sufficient movement and has not already participated in a combat may support the blitz of armor or mech into an adjacent territory immediately after the initial combat. This is to highlight the role of this air unit in blitz support and to expand its unique role in the unit roster. Option: After the Blitz concludes any surving Tac Bs are eligible to land in the territory “through which” the blitz was conducted. This is the only instance where an air unit may land in a newly conquered enemy territory, and is a special feature of the Blitz move. Option: allow fighters to pair with Tac Bs 1:1 on a Blitz maneuver, similar to the way mech may pair with armor. I’m not convinced it is necessary to include fighters, as the TacBs alone could be potent enough, but a 1:1 option seems optimal if you wish to allow fighters in the blitz actions.

    Finally at sea, the cruiser is given a unique ability to “break pickets” and conduct a naval blitz. Any cruiser which hasn’t already participated in combat, may “break through” into an adjacent naval space to conduct a clearing action. This move is to highlight the cruisers speed and maneuverability, and offer it a unique move to justify it’s cost at twelve. Just like on land, Tac Bs may be used to join in the naval blitz, again providing they have not already been in combat.

    Note how in each case, in order to blitz, you must hold units in reserve with sufficient movement. A blitz is not so much a “double attack” by the same units that conquered the initital territory, but a special attack by units dedicated to this purpose. So you must hold these units back, not used in the initital combat. This provides an element of risk to the play, to counter balance it’s obvious advantage to the attacker.

    Only by restricting the blitz in this way (units that have not already participated in combat) can you prevent abuse or prevent having every combat phase turn into a endless series of blitzes. Under this concept of blitzing, you must have a separate group of units available and assigned to the blitz. The blitz into an adjacent territory or sz must be declared immediately upon taking the initital “transit territory.” You roll the blitz battle before moving on to conduct any further battles in the round.

    Note that in each case, whether with Armor or TacBs or Cruisers, the player must use higher value units to activate the special blitz attack. Again this is to prevent the blitz from becoming overly potent, and to prevent it from just becoming “the standard” type of combat.

    To activate a Blitz, means exposing your Tanks, Tacs, or cruisers to additional risk, for the additional potential  payoff. Armor boosts Mech and TacBs, so it makes sense that these three units be assigned the blitz role on land, with the option to allow fighters at 1:1 for each Tac involved in the blitz.

    At sea the cruiser can blow past destroyer blocks, but again only by risking a high value unit.  The cruiser may conduct bombardment or amphibious assault into unoccupied sz on the naval blitz. This is to encourage the purchase of this unit at the rather expensive cost of 12 ipcs, and to provide a naval equivalent to the “self can-opener” Blitz concept on land.

    Also, because this kind of gameplay encourages players to “layer defense” and to risk more units in blitz actions, and because it makes “blocking and stalling” more difficult on the defender, it may be advisable to increase the overall money in play, either through NOs or other bonuses, to support the purchase of more units in total.

    What do you guys think? I feel like this solution could work for G40.


  • 2017 2016

    Does a single armor unit can provide a bonus to a MechInf and a TacB in the same assault OOB?
    For instance, allowing a MechInf to pass through an empty hostile territory to attack another while the armor gives also +1 attack bonus to a single TacB during the ensuing battle, since the MechInf doesn’t need additionnal help once at destination.

    If it’s not the case, then I think Fighter should also be part of the Blitz move to maximize the attack with combined arms pairing.
    Tank+MechInf & TacB+Fg


  • 2017 2016

    It is easy to see that Inf and Art can never blitz since they get only 1 space move.
    What about StratB? Any reason to exclude them from this special Can-opener move?

    In Naval, Cruisers doing such a move will be way more vulnerable compared to land blitz and the OOB Can-opener at sea.
    It should be improved to  be workable.
    Maybe a Task Force concept should be bring in.
    1 warship of each kind can be part of a Naval blitz for each Cruiser unit attacking this SZ beyond the DD picket line. Of course, any planes can be part of it as long as there is an elligible landing place for each one.

    Is it really needed to add more IPCs?


  • 2019 2015 '14

    Yeah the Tac gets a boost long as there is a tank present.

    Our thought was that Strat Bs are already so potent in a combat  role, with their reach, that allowing them to be involved in the blitz was rather overpowered for their cost. Instead we tried to make the blitz more about the tac, the stuka etc, giving players an incentive to purchase them rather than just normal fighters.

    The idea for cruisers was similar, to give them a special break through move to make them a bit more valuable for the cost relative to the destroyer. The idea here, similar to tanks, is that players could make a Blitz like play, but only by putting at risk a more valuable unit. The idea of a battle group might work, but in that case I’d probably restrict it 1:1 destroyer accompanies cruiser as fodder, similar to mech fodder for the tank on land. But just not a battlegroup that is too large, since it’s a special forward action. If you allow too many ships to participate then it just replaces normal attacks, which was our concern. We want the cruiser to have the special role, since this unit is underpowered for the cost  OOB.

    It is not necessary to add bonus money, but more money can be fun for this, which is why I brought it up.

    Happy thanksgiving everyone! 🙂


  • 2017 2016

    @Black_Elk:

    Yeah the Tac gets a boost long as there is a tank present.

    Our thought was that Strat Bs are already so potent in a combat  role, with their reach, that allowing them to be involved in the blitz was rather overpowered for their cost. Instead we tried to make the blitz more about the tac, the stuka etc, giving players an incentive to purchase them rather than just normal fighters.

    The idea for cruisers was similar, to give them a special break through move to make them a bit more valuable for the cost relative to the destroyer. The idea here, similar to tanks, is that players could make a Blitz like play, but only by putting at risk a more valuable unit. The idea of a battle group might work, but in that case I’d probably restrict it 1:1 destroyer accompanies cruiser as fodder, similar to mech fodder for the tank on land. But just not a battlegroup that is too large, since it’s a special forward action. If you allow too many ships to participate then it just replaces normal attacks, which was our concern. We want the cruiser to have the special role, since this unit is underpowered for the cost  OOB.

    It is not necessary to add bonus money, but more money can be fun for this, which is why I brought it up.

    Happy thanksgiving everyone! 🙂

    You are looking for many targets.
    I’m just trying to making something similar to twin powers Can-opener.
    It is easier keep this as the primary target: self can-opener.
    (Having in mind this goal: “various concepts on the G40 map, such as a variable turn order, and a totally collapsed turn order by side, and “same time” G40 where all nations move at once…”)
    Cruiser and DD as fodder is not as similar to MechInf and Tank.
    Bringing defenseless transports is far costlier. No one would risk them without a good cover.
    Cover which is provide by a twin powers can-opener since it allows the second power to bring as many Naval units as he wants.

    About Cruiser, maybe one way of giving a special blitz ability should be, at least, to allow them to do both in the same combat move: naval fight and shore bombardment.
    I believe they were far more versatile, fast and maneuverable.

    The idea here, similar to tanks, is that players could make a Blitz like play, but only by putting at risk a more valuable unit.

    Maybe, if at least 1 Naval unit must be part of the combat and must control at the end the SZ, the second wave of warships is necessarily a bit weaker compared to a twin powers can-opener performed by Strat Bombers.
    Example: 1 Destroyer is on the picket line. You put only 1 Destroyer and 1 Fighter to get rid of it.
    If this enemy’s DD score a hit then you will need to take the Fighter as casualty; otherwise, it would forfeit any Naval blitz on the second wave.

    Happy thanksgiving to you.


  • 2019 2015 '14

    It might be worth separating the two ideas and pursuing them in isolation. On land I think the blitz concept works as outlined. At sea the idea is more aspirational, we wanted to see if a similar blitz move might be activated by cruisers, but how exactly to work that, I’m not as confident.

    In both cases the idea was to provided a special attack that makes blocking/stalling more challenging for the defender. So instead of covering with 1 infantry unit, or 1 dd to stall a massive force, here you’d have to manage the defense with the blitz factored in.

    I like it on land with the armor mech and tacs, possibly fighters. Naval blitz, if it could be worked out, would probably look a bit different and might have a separate system.


  • 2017 2016

    @Black_Elk:

    It might be worth separating the two ideas and pursuing them in isolation. On land I think the blitz concept works as outlined. At sea the idea is more aspirational, we wanted to see if a similar blitz move might be activated by cruisers, but how exactly to work that, I’m not as confident.

    In both cases the idea was to provided a special attack that makes blocking/stalling more challenging for the defender. So instead of covering with 1 infantry unit, or 1 dd to stall a massive force, here you’d have to manage the defense with the blitz factored in.

    I like it on land with the armor mech and tacs, possibly fighters. Naval blitz, if it could be worked out, would probably look a bit different and might have a separate system.

    In Pacific Naval Combat, the usual twin powers can-opener is often made by German’s StratBs against Destroyer blocker.
    After it’s done, Japan will move a lot of warships through the empty SZ to get into another SZ for combat.

    What is the real difference, if it is Japan which have to use a few of his units to wipe the Destroyer unit, then reach with his main fleet the second SZ?
    All that I see is a better coordination of units by Japan but less units available for the main Naval Combat beyond the blocker.

    There is still a gain to use 1 or 2 blockers tactics (same as dividing attacking troops amongst 2 combat zones: odds always worse) but blocker tactics is not as strong as OOB when German’s StratBombers are not in Japan.

    If you want to keep a similar blocker impact, but not an absolute one, I suggested 2 ways:
    first, it should be mandatory to control the first SZ (hence, it is different from the German’s StBs can-opener in which the SZ is uncontrolled).
    second, it could be a condition to destroy all blockers in a single combat round, to proceed to a Naval blitz.
    So, Japan would need to use more units to be sure to get the hit. And, if not, in some unlucky times, the Destroyer will still block the Naval forces in the first SZ.

    Do you see how the attacking forces will be less powerful than under the twin powers can-opener?

    So, is their other conditions to think about which can imply Cruiser, so you can have both world?

    Thinking out loud:
    Cruiser could be the naval unit required to perform such destruction of the blocker (rationalized as doing an advance scouting mission to open the way to the main fleet)?
    To perform a Naval Blitz, 1 Cruiser unit must controlled a given SZ in which pass through all the other Naval units.

    So, in a sense, Cruiser, same as Tank, is needed to perform the breakthrough. Tank help MechInf to reach the second territory.
    Cruiser help the whole fleet to reach the second SZ, but it must stay behind, in the first SZ.

    And, for instance, if there is 2 US Destroyers blockers, probably Japan must at least wipe them with 1 Cruiser and other units, such as Subs and Destroyers or even planes.
    Of course, the cheaper the better (Subs), and if Japan is unable to gain control of this SZ with her Cruiser unit (for example, all units were destroyed), then it can only move all his Naval unit into this SZ.
    In some unlucky cases, such a Naval blitz move would be costlier for Japan than just controlling cautiously the blocked SZ  by moving all his Naval Units in the first SZ only.

    So, probably blocking with 1 Destroyer and 1 Submarine (14 IPCs) can become an interesting mix (and be much more historically accurate).
    Because, the attacker wouldn’t be able to protect the Cruiser (with a few planes) without also bringing  a Sub or a Destroyer, in case the the defending Subs get a hit or a surprise strike hit.

    What do you think of this?


  • 2017 2016

    I think that allowing such Naval Blitz will make the game much like a lot of smaller skirmishes instead of a single massive conflagration of two whole fleets.

    And, instead of adding IPCs, here is the solution to play-test it:

    @Black_Elk:

    Yeah I think for ease of use, it might be desirable to just give “Auto-Tech” improved shipyards to everyone standard. As you pointed out earlier, the values here are very nearly the same…

    Unit            IPC cost
    Battleship 17
    Aircraft Carrier 13
    Cruiser 9
    Destroyer 7
    Transport 6
    Submarine 5


  • 2019 2015 '14

    I like this concept, the cruiser that breaks the block, and which must control the sea zone in order to pass through it to an adjacent zone withe the main fleet. This would capture the spirit of what we wanted to achieve. Here is a higher value unit which must be risked against the dd and which must survive the action to secure the sea zone. I think it could work and would feel similar to the land blitz.

    You could still use the tacs here but the cruiser must survive, which means potential air casualties. The question here is how best to restrict the attack, to avoid it just becoming a double naval attack.

    I think having a cruiser required to survive in the initial clearing action could be a cool way to approach it.


  • 2017 2016

    @Black_Elk:

    I like this concept, the cruiser that breaks the block, and which must control the sea zone in order to pass through it to an adjacent zone withe the main fleet. This would capture the spirit of what we wanted to achieve. Here is a higher value unit which must be risked against the dd and which must survive the action to secure the sea zone. I think it could work and would feel similar to the land blitz.

    You could still use the tacs here but the cruiser must survive, which means potential air casualties. The question here is how best to restrict the attack, to avoid it just becoming a double naval attack.

    I think having a cruiser required to survive in the initial clearing action could be a cool way to approach it.

    If you like more similarities, you can HRuled that TacBomber can also get a +1 Attack bonus when paired 1:1 to Cruiser (in such blitz operation)…
    Or just the reverse, that Cruiser get +1 Attack bonus if the Tac Bomber is supporting her on 1:1 basis.

    How best to restrict the attack, to avoid it just becoming a double naval attack?
    No one will risk a single Cruiser against a blocker.
    The attacker need to put aside a few additional units which will not be part of the main fleet attacking the second SZ and any attacking surviving units will stay in the first SZ (splitting the fleet in two smaller groups).
    At best, the planes supporting the Cruiser would land on Carrier in the other SZ, but risking planes is costlier than Destroyer or Subs (as fodder for Cruiser) and if the blocker is made of 1 DD and 1 Sub, it becomes mandatory that the Cruiser get a hit or that the attacker brings also a Sub or a DD to escort the Cruiser.

    Because of this implications, it is clearly from this POV not a double naval attack like moving a whole fleet in the first SZ, then to the second to conduct the main battle (a la RISK).


  • 2019 2015 '14

    I like that idea, and it seems to fit very well the goals for the naval blitz. I want to try it in my next game.
    Excellent suggestions! Thanks man


  • 2017 2016

    The pleasure was on my part, Black_Elk.
    I like to find ideas and optimized them inside specific guidelines.
    These last one was invented while writing on it, never know that something that I found also interesting could come out of it!

    However, it needs someone like you to come with the big picture and completely outside the box ideas.

    I will be watching for feedback from your game-plays.

    See you around.
    Baron


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