I’m with you on the bonus staying pretty simple. There’s enough going on in Axis and Allies attached to the VC and worded as an objective bonus. Kind of primes players for the concept of an NO generally, if they like to move on to other games like AA50 or the 1940 games, so I like that aspect from a teaching perspective.
Its interesting you mention adding set factories to 1941. After AA50 I became very interested in the idea of just setting up a board with all the factories already in place, and removing the factory as a purchasable unit from that game. 1941 does the job for you in a way, by eliminating the unit from the roster, which makes the game a lot more straightforward. Especially for new players, its just one less thing you have to worry about (where to buy a factory, and how to exploit production etc.) When we first started trying to adapt 1941, we played a number of set factory games.
First idea was to just give each power 1 additional factory, but set in a place that would make sense for the period, but also be relatively balanced/entertaining.
We put it up to choice between a few different factory options for each power…
So for the Russians the question is between Archangel and Karelia?
Archangel factory has a potential upside for Allies in that it’s one space further from the immediate eastern front, but the downside is that its closer to Moscow if Axis control, and also closer to Japan via Urals. Still contested out of sz 4. Karelia provides some interest in that it gives G another early target, and an early foothold that it can use in sz 5 or sz 4. This draws more attention off Caucasus, but I think ultimately Karelia goes to Axis advantage, since Germany can get the drop on it so quickly. Archangel gets another round.
For the Germans: Italy seemed the obvious choice on balance and for the history.
For the British: Egypt, South Africa, or Canada? Its kind of a tough call here too, but the consensus view seemed to be that Egypt was simply too overpowered, and made the med too “do or die.” South Africa also felt a little overpowered, but did have a kind of classic charm to it, reminding me of many games in Classic where the UK would use that strat. On balance though Canada is a lot safer for Allies. It has a less dramatic impact on the opening round, and can be very helpful in rebuilding the royal navy after Germany sweeps it up. UK is under a lot of pressure already with production split up various places. The British are more likely to be torn between purchases if you put it in Canada, which has a kind of novelty.
For the Japanese: Manchuria. Manchuria is the only candidate really from the history, for what the Japanese had going in Chosen and the resources from Manchukuo. This gives Japan 6 production, on par with the other powers and able to match W.US production into the pacific. Basically Japan is less nerfed if they can hold it. The problem here though is the scripted attack on Manchuria on R1. This is the favored play for KJF already, but putting a factory in Manchuria just puts a big target on it. I’m not sure its necessarily a problem because it kind of reminds one of Zhukov in early days, albeit anachronous hehe. Japan can usually retake the territory on J1, so its not much of a problem and takes the first round production boost out. Just sets off an early pacific fight basically, encouraging Russia to send the fighter to China and try the Japan crush gambit.
For the Americans: Szechwan, Philippines, or Hawaii?
I favor Hawaii for the history, and on balance. Philippines is more a gift to Japan. Szechwan in like a built in burma road bonus, but throws off the china balance more dramatically if taken. Hawaii is kind of out of the way, but it returns an American advantage in Pacific production 7 vs 6 Japanese production. Its a target to split Japan off focus on India and Moscow, so I like that aspect.
Basically you could let each player choose if you want to show them the advantages or overpowering exploits of production in different places. Or teach how cliff hangers can tilt to be all one sides over places like Egypt and Szech and Karelia. One additional factory to each player 3 Allies vs 2 Axis, is fairly straightforward. But then you basically revert it to a fixed production type game. It has the advantage of restricting and focusing everybody equally by the inclusion of new production elements.
1941 is a fun board to play around with because it’s set up is so fast and relatively simple play time, provided you include Artillery. The artillery unit is essential for this map to be fun 🙂