Alternate bidding scheme

  • 2022 '15 '11 '10 Official Q&A Moderator

    Once again well said by JDOW


  • Yup, +1 for JDOW.
    Although I wouldn’t always call it ‘poorly executed’ if the allied progress failed. It’s also that the axis are just very strong in general. Oh wait, he already said that ;-).

  • '15 '14

    @ItIsILeClerc:

    Although I wouldn’t always call it ‘poorly executed’ if the allied progress failed. It’s also that the axis are just very strong in general. Oh wait, he already said that ;-).

    And bomber-games are of course dicey. In close games, they can make the difference. But in the end, dice decide less games than most people claim.


  • @JDOW:

    And bomber-games are of course dicey. In close games, they can make the difference. But in the end, dice decide less games than most people claim.

    Hehheh, I was thinking about that too but didn’t want to say it out loud. I’ve said it too many times already.

    It is true, ofc. I may be a bit more pessimistic about the long term effects the dice have on a game (especially during the opening battles) but I agree with the spirit of what you are saying. And in good spirit as well ;-).


  • There are currently 4 games underway with the proposed bidding scheme:

    Elrood (axis) vs. wittmann (allies, US+10)          www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=35743
    DutchmanD (axis) vs. nerquen (allies, US+10)            www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=35731.0
    Arthur Bomber Harris (axis) vs. nerquen (allies, US +9, UK sub in SZ98)      www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=35735.0
    nerquen (axis) vs. Arthur Bomber Harris (allies, US +9, UK sub in SZ98)      www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=35736.0

  • Moderator 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 '12

    It is an exciting prospect. But a shock to play the UK on T1. Am so used to the bid in the Med, I found playing the UK strange. And scary!
    We are playing +10 from US1, regardless of Japan’s DOW. I would have happily played +30 for holding America when at war and started on 52 still.
    I think 80 as a base war income makes more sense(Philippines lost, obviously), so hope this experiment helps the Allied cause.

  • 2022 '19 '17 '15

    Yeah.

    Imho the initiative of this game should be at Axis side. I find it weird that because of bids in range of +20 the Init changes, since suddenly Allies dictate which ways Axis cannot go anymore.

    So in first turns sure, Axis is most likely having the time of their lives, but eventually the US income will come crushing in, and then its Allies turn.


  • @wittmann:

    It is an exciting prospect. But a shock to play the UK on T1. Am so used to the bid in the Med, I found playing the UK strange. And scary!
    We are playing +10 from US1, regardless of Japan’s DOW. I would have happily played +30 for holding America when at war and started on 52 still.
    I think 80 as a base war income makes more sense(Philippines lost, obviously), so hope this experiment helps the Allied cause.

    The reason, why we have been thinking that the bonus to the US economy shall influence all US turns is that we did not want to mess with Japan’s incentives to DOW early or late too much. If the bid would be awarded to US only when in war Japan might have increased incentive to DOW late and J1 DOW could easily disappear. But it might be just fine either way.

    @wittmann:

    But a shock to play the UK on T1. Am so used to the bid in the Med, I found playing the UK strange. And scary!

    In my 2 test games with Harris we kind of used a mix of the two bidding schemes, we added the UK sub in SZ98 and then added US income on top of that. We felt that the sub is not changing OOB dynamics much and makes Tarranto raid less dicey if UK opts for it. With OOB rules, Tarranto raid is like a 80% battle (with a fighter and a bomber from London). With the sub it becomes like 95% and is more predictable for UK, still if G1 threatens Sea Lion, UK shall not be able to send planes to Taranto, with or without the extra sub.

  • '17 '16 '15

    Posted by: nerquen

    There are currently 4 games underway with the proposed bidding scheme:

    Nice to see it getting some attention. Too good of an idea to just disappear.

  • Moderator 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 '12

    Thank you for your input Nerquen. Perhaps I should have done Taranto anyway, but Elrood’s  opening German go combined with a 2TT buy, scared me off. I lost SZ91 Cruiser and both DDs. Caution seemed the word of the day.
    Has really piqued my interest.


  • @wittmann:

    Thank you for your input Nerquen. Perhaps I should have done Taranto anyway, but Elrood’s  opening German go combined with a 2TT buy, scared me off. I lost SZ91 Cruiser and both DDs. Caution seemed the word of the day.
    Has really piqued my interest.

    Hmm, I don’t think Taranto raid would be a good choice there, you even lost the SZ91 cruiser, so I believe Sea Lion would hit you if UK sent planes to MED. I think attack on Tobruk and Ethiopia was a good decision there, but you just got unlucky in Tobruk….

  • Moderator 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 '12

    Elrood said the same. Glad we are all on the same wave lenght.
    He had an unlucky I1, so we are probably close again.

  • '16 '15 '10

    Nice idea Nerquen.

    But I’m inclined to defend unit bids.  A bid averaging 20 means spectacular diversity of bids and bidding strategies (the revised bid of 6-10 was great but 18-22 is even better).  A high and variable placement bid helps keep the game fresh and interesting (longer than it would be w/o a bid), as bids can be used to frustrate previously dominant strategies.

    I worry that if a single means to balance the game is universally adopted (say by a cash bid to USA), then that risks an impasse where there’s one ‘winning’ strategy that everybody plays.

    Looking forward to seeing/hearing about the results of the experiments with this.

  • 2022 '19 '17 '15

    @Zhukov44:

    Nice idea Nerquen.

    But I’m inclined to defend unit bids.  A bid averaging 20 means spectacular diversity of bids and bidding strategies (the revised bid of 6-10 was great but 18-22 is even better).  A high and variable placement bid helps keep the game fresh and interesting (longer than it would be w/o a bid), as bids can be used to frustrate previously dominant strategies.

    I worry that if a single means to balance the game is universally adopted (say by a cash bid to USA), then that risks an impasse where there’s one ‘winning’ strategy that everybody plays.

    Looking forward to seeing/hearing about the results of the experiments with this.

    In theory you might be right, but is that really the case in practice? Most unit bids I see are used to help beat down Italy with UK early. And that leads to the infamous KJF strategy by Allies. since when Italy is gone, UK and Russia have it much easier with holding Germany back.
    So for Axis it means they have less options now, while THEY should have the initiative. We all know they lost the War, but isn’t this game to see “what if?”
    E.g. Germany is starting the game. In my current one with Wittmann I chose to push hard on UK to prevent them from Taranto, and it worked, but for a cost, since in Ger2 I was not ready now for Barbarossa. Isn’t that what this game should be about?

    Little detour:
    –-
    I tend to compare the A&A with chess. (As weird as it might sound chess is a game with some portion of chance as well.)

    And at chess, what would you do to give the opponent an advantage? “you can use another pawn, just put him somewhere next to a starting pawn” 😉 Rather not, more likely you set yourself a tougher time limit to give your newbie some edge when it comes to thinking and planning. And imho thats what this proposal of nerquen equally does. Having more income with US is more forgiving in case of bad moves or mistakes made. So Allies get “more time”.

    I know some people see it differently, but changing the starting units on the board is much worse than putting more troops onto ii in later turns. Since thats when actual uncertainty begins, like bad or overly good dice rolls etc.

    How the game will evolve should be in Axis hands, else creators would not have chosen them to be the ones starting the game and by that giving the allies an direction how it will go.

  • '19 '15 '14

    Speaking to these last two posts, I can see the merits of both perspectives. What I would really prefer from an alternate bidding scheme, is not a balance corrective for one side or the other, but some element of equitable variability that makes it effectively impossible to say which side has the advantage in any given game at the outset. A&A doesn’t have a standardized way to achieve this, at least no OOB way provided for us in the manual.  A&A is a bit strange on this account, since the game is fixed in the first round.

    The analogy to chess isn’t entirely insignificant. Between two novice players there is no real difference between opening as White or following as Black in Chess, just like in A&A it doesn’t really matter between two novice players if you play as Allies or Axis. At a higher level of play though, usually one side can be said to have the advantage out of the first round (in this case Axis) just like at a higher level in chess, White can be said to have the initiative, and a better chance to win rather than draw. The psychological pressure of thinking that the game is “yours to lose” based on which side you play, is probably even more stark in A&A. But the issue with the preplacement bid, is that you reset the starting conditions and potential TUV trades. There is no second bid phase for example, to offset the balance of the initial bid. Imagine a situation where the Allied player receives 18 ipcs on the bid, places their extra units, then the Axis player looks at it and says “damn, those subs in the Med!” Based on these new conditions maybe the Axis could really use a 6 ipc bid of their own to adapt? But of course that would just be silly, because before you know it, the whole starting unit set up and balance of local power would be totally different. And none of it “by the book.”

    What does a pre placement bid for Allies really give you? I think its largely psychological.

    A single decisive roll in the second round could easily undermine that starting advantage a bid provides just in one combat round alone. So the bid is more about starting confidence, than anything you can really depend on for the duration. A competent Axis player acknowledges this when they accept an Allied bid, otherwise they’d just bid lower. Its the equivalent of saying “I know what extra units you can buy, I’m familiar with the bid strategies at that amount of IPCs, but I think I can still beat you!” Again pretty much a psychological thing, at least in a dice game, since we can’t predict the future or see the rolls in advance. We’re really just going off expectations or odds in the opening round of play. The reason why I like a bid to income over preplacement, is that it doesn’t distort the opening battles, and it pushes the bid advantage out one full game round. The “extra” units, in that case still have to enter play through the normal purchasing mechanism. I think this makes it somewhat harder to play fortune teller and predict outcomes. Players have to plan further in advance via purchasing/placement, which in turn makes it more likely that the actual effect of the bid on game balance is harder to isolate. I think there is enough variability in purchasing/production, to ensure that the same amount of dynamism can be achieved as you’d find with a preplacement bid. But eventually you will hit the same wall, if there is a magic number that makes the game perfectly 50/50, we’d probably get bored of that too, and still desire some way to randomize the first round for novelty.

    I often come down on preplacement bids as something I find slightly unnerving, but I appreciate what they do in preventing the game from getting stale. Each time you reset the board with some new starting unit, the whole thing changes. I think its the cascading effect of the small change that keeps the game feeling fresh, not the specific advantage provided for one side or the other. Basically once the bid becomes “standard” and you’ve played it enough times to get bored, then you need to find new ways to keep it enjoyable.

    Bids are House Rules. If we wanted to be really strict, all these threads should end up in the house rules section (where most of the threads I start seem to end up haha), because most of the strategies and game situations we talk about in the G40 section assume a standard bid, or at least have to reckon with it. I don’t suggest that these threads should be moved. Merely to point out that if you dig one house rule, why not try some others?

    There are many ways we might change the game to tweak the balance, other than adding more starting units at the outset. Popular conventions, function mainly because they’re popular. If enough players want to try alternative “bids” to starting income or production, or recuring income bonuses, rather than bonus starting units, maybe we can come up with more ways to keep the game fresh, after the preplacement bid thing has run its course.
    😄

    If variation or diversity is the goal, you could just as easily give every nation a bid, either to starting icome or secret ballot style for preplacment units. Then you’d have like 10 times the diversity, and who knows, maybe a nation like Italy or China or Anzac or France would be a bit more interesting to play? But that might be more than most players are after, perhaps some are content with just a USA boost, and that’s fine too. It all invites at least some level of A&A apostasy, and admission that the OOB game could use a fix or two.
    :evil:

    I still wish some of this stuff would get an official nod, or official recommendation, by being written down somewhere in a game manual. You know, on some final page of the rulebook, that offers different options and systems for incorporating them into play. Meanwhile, it’s up to us to figure all this out I suppose.

    Ps. Just as an added curiosity or possible encouragement, it’s perhaps worth remembering that even a “perfect” game like chess, has had a few house rules of its own added in over the centuries. It took a couple hundred years and an India factory just to nail down the basic shape of the chess “Map.” Queens, Rooks and Bishops etc. didn’t have their “unit stats and abilities” formalized until what? like the Quattracento? Remember when the pawn’s opening movement ability was increased? and you thought defenseless transports were bad! Then there are all those pesky “one-off” rules like Castling, En Passant, and pawn-promotion. A&A has only been around since the 1980s, so we’re probably doing alright in the grand scheme of things. 😉

  • '16 '15 '10

    I often come down on preplacement bids as something I find slightly unnerving, but I appreciate what they do in preventing the game from getting stale. Each time you reset the board with some new starting unit, the whole thing changes. I think its the cascading effect of the small change that keeps the game feeling fresh, not the specific advantage provided for one side or the other. Basically once the bid becomes “standard” and you’ve played it enough times to get bored, then you need to find new ways to keep it enjoyable.

    Right on.

    The merit of the placement bid is precisely that it can lead Germany and Japan to change up their opening moves.  Opening moves tend to determine the way the game dynamics play out.  So if the bidding schema involves only a cash bid to the USA, then there is a danger of Germany and Japan settling into a set opening move that they consider optimal.  Then it becomes a question of how much of a cash bid does America need to defeat this optimal strategy.

    but is that really the case in practice? Most unit bids I see are used to help beat down Italy with UK early. And that leads to the infamous KJF strategy by Allies. since when Italy is gone, UK and Russia have it much easier with holding Germany back.

    We haven’t discovered the optimal bid yet.  The ss to 98 is solid.  But there are other bid strategies that are (potentially) just as good or better.  For example bidding units to make Germany’s G1 harder in 110, 111, 106, and Scotland.  Bidding units to China/Russia/UKPac/Anzac to help set up a KJF.  When the bid is 20+ it’s hard to anticipate the myriad bid combinations that you might have to face.

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    If you don’t like a flex/placed bid, what we should be bidding on is extra income for RUSSIA instead of East USA.

    Make Novisibirsk worth 10 IPC’s (to represent eastern factories).  That will make all the difference in the world.  The Germans will have a fight on their hands instead of a massacre, and Japan will have an interesting target to consider.

    It’s that or place a significant Russian force in Novisibirsk that can opt to aid China, or bail out Moscow in time.

    4 inf
    3 art
    2 mec
    1 arm


  • I like Garg’s idea!

    Eastern Front is the least historical part of A&A and it would be great to actually have the Russians have a shot of turning the tide of the Hun’s as they historically did. I

    like this approach much better then US cash, UK extra units (it’s always them that gets it) and an actual chance for a Russian player to make a game of it instead of just trying to see how long they can go before getting crushed.

    Thanks Garg.

    Kim

  • '17 '16 '15 '14 '12

    removed

  • 2022 '19 '17 '15

    Are we playing the same game?  :?

    If Russia is strong enough to give a real fight to Germany, then I would not play Axis. What chance would Germany have to really capture 8 capitals then?
    And also… it WAS a massacre … Russia lost how many? 22 Million people?

    And again: sorry guys, but this just doesn’t belong in this thread. Its about US Income vs. Unit bidding.

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    @Elrood:

    Are we playing the same game?  :?

    If Russia is strong enough to give a real fight to Germany, then I would not play Axis. What chance would Germany have to really capture 8 capitals then?
    And also… it WAS a massacre … Russia lost how many? 22 Million people?

    And again: sorry guys, but this just doesn’t belong in this thread. Its about US Income vs. Unit bidding.

    Oh we’re playing the same game, and on average the Germans can stomp through Russia and into moscow at the +20 units mark.  The Russians will have no, or limited counter attack capabilities, and the other allies are stretched to the max for time to help make a stand.

    And as-is Italy doesn’t even matter,  just their starting aircraft and armor count for can-openers on the eastern front.

    The goal the original poster set out for with this bidding strategy, was to come up with a system that gave Italy a chance/fight, and one that made the game balancing fundamentally different.  Novisibirsk +10 will do exactly that.

    Russia lost 22 million people, absolutely, and lost 7-1 in kill ratio on the eastern front.  So why is it then that Russia has approximately HALF of the starting forces as Germany, and HALF of the income potential?  And no can-opener allies?

    If you want to see 22 million plastic pieces get massacred, you have to put them on the damn board to begin with!

    Want another alternative balance?  Make it 7 VC’s in Pacific, and 9 on the Europe board.  Allies will have enough time to contend properly that way.

  • 2022 '15 '11 '10 Official Q&A Moderator

    I pretty much agree with some of Garg’s points.  My house-ruled game adds VC’s to the Pacific theater and requires 8 VC’s for Pacific win.  This way at least you have the same number of VC’s on both sides and same number of VC’s needed.

    (Java, Malaya, Manchuria added)

    Russia lost all those people and by 1945 had an overwhelming advantage and stormed Berlin, even though Hitler had extreme defenses established.

    Agree that Italy can be a non-factor and it doesn’t matter.  That’s how I usually play and I usually win.  Russia can’t stop Germany.  Russia may be able to hold onto Moscow, but Germany can merely go South, siege Moscow, and rake in tons of money.  America doesn’t have enough money.  The Axis are not in a race against time.  This is why I think the OP is on to something.


  • @Gargantua:

    @Elrood:

    Are we playing the same game?�  :?

    If Russia is strong enough to give a real fight to Germany, then I would not play Axis. What chance would Germany have to really capture 8 capitals then?
    And also… it WAS a massacre … Russia lost how many? 22 Million people?

    And again: sorry guys, but this just doesn’t belong in this thread. Its about US Income vs. Unit bidding.

    Oh we’re playing the same game, and on average the Germans can stomp through Russia and into moscow at the +20 units mark.  The Russians will have no, or limited counter attack capabilities, and the other allies are stretched to the max for time to help make a stand.

    And as-is Italy doesn’t even matter,  just their starting aircraft and armor count for can-openers on the eastern front.

    The goal the original poster set out for with this bidding strategy, was to come up with a system that gave Italy a chance/fight, and one that made the game balancing fundamentally different.  Novisibirsk +10 will do exactly that.

    Russia lost 22 million people, absolutely, and lost 7-1 in kill ratio on the eastern front.   So why is it then that Russia has approximately HALF of the starting forces as Germany, and HALF of the income potential?  And no can-opener allies?

    If you want to see 22 million plastic pieces get massacred, you have to put them on the damn board to begin with!

    Want another alternative balance?  Make it 7 VC’s in Pacific, and 9 on the Europe board.  Allies will have enough time to contend properly that way.

    The problem is you can only get a 7-1 kill ratio if the Germans have twice the troops Russia has. Unlike in real life, where even when outnumbered the Germans could mow down Russians left and right, A&A heavily favors the side with the largest army. Historically, the Russians had more troops than Germany, but still came close to losing because the Germans were better. If you tried to simulate that in A&A, Germany would be crushed by the Red wave.

    If you’re going to buff Russia instead of the US, reduce the victory cities needed to 7 instead of 8 to compensate for the much harder time Germany will have.

    But that really defeats the purpose, I think. The OP wanted a system that put pressure on the Axis to win quick (something hard to do if Russia is cranking out units) before the mighty US comes to save the Allies’ bacon. The Russia buff does not accomplish this.


  • Thanks everyone for  your feedback and interesting ideas. Good to see that no one sees a major issue with US bidding scheme, maybe except for reduced variety of openings and thus potential reduced re-playability of the game and streamlined optimal strategies. I agree with that. But at least for now the scheme is new and it would take quite some time until those optimal strategies are found.

    As per boosting up Russia, I am not sure, first of all, 1 infantry unit for Germany and Russia do not represent the same number of soldiers. They represent similar military strength and due to superior German equipment and training, 1 Russian infantry unit might likely represent 7 times more soldiers than German infantry unit. So you still have millions of Russians dying on the board. Also in my games, Moscow can typically hold for quite a while… sure oil fields are lost, but Moscow is still not trivial to capture… and if it is captured it is not necessary game over for Allies, where boosting up Russia might make Moscow just impossible for Germany to capture… And I fear that we might have a real phase transition problem here… you boost Russia only a bit and there is no real change, then you add little more (like another IPC to Novosibirsk) and suddenly Moscow becomes an undefeatable fortress. Also making Russia stronger would actually make KJF for US even more optimal I guess. I already don’t like much that US can pretty much ignore Europe theater for quite some time and fully focus on Japan (maybe unless Germany had a great Sea Lion). With Russia stronger, US can really play only on Pacific map and then we pretty much have two separate games with not a real reason of playing them together in a Global game. Russia being stronger might also have horrible implications on Sea Lion dynamics. Would Germany ever consider it if then it would get crushed badly by Red Army, Russia can get pretty wild after Sea Lion alredy in OOB rules.


  • I really hope this bidding scheme delivers something to work with, because right now I am at a loss about how the allies can win the game OOB ever again. Even with a +20 bid it seems too hard, but I must admit I have not experimented a lot with bids yet.
    I am also starting to think that with A&AG40, balance is an illusion. Once axis players have fully grasped the ins and outs of the economic game, it’s either the allies (like in the first edition) or the axis (second edition) that will be ‘overpowered’.

    On a sidenote, it is the split 8/6VC rule that is making the axis currently overpowered, while the simple 14VC rule (1st edition) did that for the allies. Maybe the answer to balancing the game indeed lies more in the VC rules than adjusting economies… A simple 13VC win for the axis, perhaps?
    Or a time-limit. In the real war, time was a huge enemy for the axis. The allied production capacity started out even below that of the axis at the start of the war, but was easily more than twice that of the axis by the end of the war. Though that is definately not represented in the game by actual economic power, it doesn’t have to mean that it is not in the game at all.
    The axis could be forced to win the game within an x amount of turns or else lose the game on sudden death conditions. That should break open the game. In my experience, if the axis rush, the allies stand a chance but if the axis just don’t attack well-defended VCs and take their time to build up their economies first (time they shouldn’t have, I feel), the allies don’t stand a chance.

    Anyway, back to the USA bidding scheme.
    I was thinking if players bid for extra USA income, they could bid a number between 1-6. The player with the lowest bid has the most faith in the allies and therefore plays allies.
    The USA is then given 1-6IPCs per turn once it is at war, and this bonus is also increased by the same 1-6IPCs per turn as well, to a maximum of +30IPCs per turn (5-30 turns after war entry).

    Do the math and weep… in the mid game, Russia will be an economic non-factor. Same for Calcutta. This leaves the USA (83IPCs IF they managed to take some DEI areas) + the UK (30IPCs if they’re lucky) + ANZAC (18IPCS) = 128IPCs total per turn.
    ONE of the major axis partners (the one not focused on early) will have an income of 80+ IPCs, the other will have around 60, with Italy topping it off at around 20. These are the rough comparisons if the USA went for an early JF and the numbers will be more in axis favor if the USA went early GF.
    128 allied income versus >160 axis and by that time the allies doesn’t have a meaningful military advantage anywhere. With a late (slowly building up) +30 for the USA, this could look like 158 vs 160. THAT sounds more like a balance to me ;-).
    Maybe this increasing income will also offer Japan some more considerations as to when to DOW, since the NO will only start (and increase) when at war.

Suggested Topics

  • 1
  • 4
  • 6
  • 4
  • 9
  • 1
  • 1
  • 41
I Will Never Grow Up Games
Axis & Allies Boardgaming Custom Painted Miniatures
Dean's Army Guys

34
Online

16.2k
Users

37.9k
Topics

1.6m
Posts