Two simpler and balanced ways to handle AAA unit (Antiaircraft artillery)?


  • 2017 2016

    From these last two posts of a previous thread on cheaper AAA unit, I thought about these two solutions.

    @Black_Elk:

    Honestly the thing that annoys me more than anything else about the AAAGUN is the movement restriction to Non Combat. It makes the unit very difficult to maneuver effectively on the map, and especially across the water. If making an HR adjustment I’d prefer if it worked like every other unit, ie able to move during the combat phase.

    @Argothair:

    The thing that annoys me more than anything else about AAA guns is that they are only better than infantry when defending against an enormous stack of planes. If you spend 15 IPCs on 5 infantry, you get 5 HP and 10 defensive pips that roll in every round of combat. If you spend 15 IPCs on 3 AAA guns, you get 3 HP and 9 defensive pips that roll in only the first round of combat, but that have the potential to eliminate enemy planes before those planes can score hits against you. So the question is, how many hits would they have to score against you to even up that gap? At least 2 hits (since you can use your extra 2 infantry as ‘fodder’ and still come out ahead), and probably 3 hits unless your opponent is strafing (because the infantry’s ability to keep on rolling dice will let them pull ahead in ‘total’ defensive value as the battle goes on even if the advantage is to the AAA gun on the first round of combat).

    Antiaircraft Artillery #1
    Cost: 5
    Attack: 1
    Defense: 1 or Air Defense before each combat round, never both in the same combat round
    Move: 1

    Unit Characteristics

    No Limited Move:
    Normally (OOB) this unit can be moved only during the Noncombat Move phase. An antiaircraft artillery unit can now move during the Combat Move phase (and can also be carried on a transport if the unit is loaded on the Combat Move phase of the same turn).

    No No Combat Value: It can be taken as a normal casualty. If a territory containing AAA units and no other combat units is attacked by other units than aircraft, the AAA units are not automatically destroyed and can defend on a 1. AAA units may now attack at 1.

    Air Defense :
    An Antiaircraft artillery (AAA) unit can fire only at an air unit when that unit attacks the territory containing that AAA unit. AAA units fire each combat round, before the regular round of combat. Each AAA unit in the territory may fire up to two times, but only once per attacking air unit. In other words, the total number of air defense dice rolled is two times the number of AAA units, or the number of attacking air units, whichever is the lesser.
    Once the number of air defense dice is determined, the dice are rolled. For each “1” rolled, the attacker chooses one air unit as a casualty. These casualties are removed immediately, and will not participate in the remainder of the battle. This AAA defense made immediately before each regular combat round occurs in the territory containing the AAA unit.

    AAA units do not defend industrial complexes against strategic bombing.
    Industrial complexes have their own “built in” air defenses.


    Antiaircraft Artillery #2
    Cost: 4
    Attack: 0
    Defense: 0 or Air Defense in each regular combat round
    Move: 1

    Unit Characteristics

    No Limited Move:
    Normally (OOB) this unit can be moved only during the Noncombat Move phase. An antiaircraft artillery unit can now move during the Combat Move phase (and can also be carried on a transport if the unit is loaded on the Combat Move phase of the same turn).

    No Combat Value :
    On attack, AAA units have no attack roll, it can only be taken as last casualty.
    On defense, if a territory containing AAA units and no other combat units is attacked by other units than aircraft, the AAA units are automatically destroyed.

    Air Defense :
    An Antiaircraft artillery (AAA) unit can fire only at an air unit when that unit attacks the territory containing that AAA unit. AAA units fire each combat round, during the regular round of combat. Each AAA unit in the territory may fire up to two times, but only once per attacking air unit. In other words, the total number of air defense dice rolled is two times the number of AAA units, or the number of attacking air units, whichever is the lesser.
    Once the number of air defense dice is determined, the dice are rolled. For each “1” rolled, the attacker chooses one air unit as a casualty. These casualties are removed along with others attacker’s casualties, and should have made their attack rolls, before the defender’s rolls. This AAA defense made each regular combat round occurs in the territory containing the AAA unit.

    AAA units do not defend industrial complexes against strategic bombing.
    Industrial complexes have their own “built in” air defenses.


    Questions:
    1- Do you believe that two such AAA #1 units (A2 D2 M1 C10 IPCs) can be a similar optimized purchase for defense compared with 1 Fighter A3 D4 M4 C10?

    2- Do you believe that such AAA #2 unit (4 IPCs) can be a similar purchase for defense compared with 1 Artillery A2 D2 M1 C4?

    3- Do you see any reason to prefer AAA #1 (5 IPCs) over AAA #2 (4 IPCs), or vice versa?


  • 2017 2016 2015

    Hi Baron

    I’ve always found a AAgun that fires every round of combat to be overpowered. Lowering it to two shots instead of three helps but even one would be too much imo. I could see letting them move during combat and even giving them a 1 attack and defense. So a C5 A1 D1 M1 can fire up to 3 shots at planes before regular combat might make them more palatable.

    Using global rules, I currently like having aa guns for reinforcing successful counterattacks when trading TTs, primarily in Russia.  If you can kill a fighter now and again Russia really can’t afford to replace it.

    Anyway to answer your questions I don’t really know about 1 or 2. For 3 I don’t see much difference except I’d go with the 5 cost. Might keep people from overbuying.


  • 2017 2016

    @barney:

    Hi Baron

    I’ve always found a AAgun that fires every round of combat to be overpowered. Lowering it to two shots instead of three helps but even one would be too much imo. I could see letting them move during combat and even giving them a 1 attack and defense. So a C5 A1 D1 M1 can fire up to 3 shots at planes before regular combat might make them more palatable.

    Using global rules, I currently like having aa guns for reinforcing successful counterattacks when trading TTs, primarily in Russia. If you can kill a fighter now and again Russia really can’t afford to replace it.

    Anyway to answer your questions I don’t really know about 1 or 2. For 3 I don’t see much difference except I’d go with the 5 cost. Might keep people from overbuying.

    Thanks for your reply Barney.
    I thought the same as you for a long time.
    But now I tried different specifications and values on units, I realized in play-test that it wasn’t that scarry and powerful as I believed.
    AAA unit cost purchase must be compared with air units and other grounds units cost and value.
    Hence, one of my question, for 10 IPCs you can buy 2 AAAs or 1 Fighter or 2 INFs and 1 Artillery.
    And you can easily see how much better you get for your money with Fighter or Infs+Art.
    And the main reason is that you only get a single opening roll with AAA unit while all other units can roll further in the following combat rounds.

    Also, in small battles, usually you don’t have a lot of combat rounds to roll before loosing the fodder units. This means that sooner than later a AAA unit would be taken as casualties instead of Infantry, unless you see some similar odds to hit. The only way to have such similar odds is to let AAA having a roll in each combat round.

    For instance, if there is only 1 plane in a larger fight against 1 AAA amongst Infantries.
    You can find that not loosing that AAA defending @1 instead of an INF defending @2, can be costly on the long run because your lowering your odds of making hits everytime you lose another Infantry.
    This dilemma is similar to having a bomber on defense @1 in a vulnerable TT with INFs.
    Do you keep this costly bomber in hope of winning (and saving it) or do you take it as a loss right away to increase the odds of making more damage to your enemy with Infantry defense @2?

    So, this 4 IPCs AAA unit #2 have a seldom defense value point of 0, 1 or 2, at best.
    It has a zero defense everytime AAA is attacked by land units only.
    (Attacker have a real initiative on such tactics. Which makes AAA investment not very optimized when such battle occurs.)
    And gets a 1 defense if there is a 1:1 ratio of plane vs AAA.
    (Again, for such little defense 1/6 roll, it is a real gamble to prefer AAA over Inf or Art.)
    And it is only when there is a 2:1 ratio of planes vs AAA that you maxed out the odds.
    (And have similar odds to Inf or Art, but at 4 IPCs or 5 IPCs instead of just 3 or 4 IPCs)

    Comparing with the 3 and 4 IPCs units
    All Inf and Artillery have the same defense value at 2, in any situations.
    All Inf and Artillery have a real attack value. Can also be combined to get the best punch for your money.
    AAA unit have no such capabilities.

    Comparing with the 6 IPCs Tank or the 10 IPCs Fighter, you get higher combat values and higher mobility on the same IPCs basis.

    There is only one situations in which the OOB AAA is actually useful and changing it for AAA #1 or #2 makes them more dangerous is when a very large stack of units are against each other. Such battle can imply more combat rounds, in which planes can be more vulnerable than before.

    And I don’t think that such situation is so important that it overweights everything to make no change at all on AAA unit.


  • 2017 2016 2015

    Good stuff Baron

    My concern, while unlikely that AAgun could hit one of two planes the 1st round, it might slay the 2nd plane the 2nd round if it was lucky enough to get a 1st round hit. I would be more conservative than I am with my planes if their was AA fire every combat round.

    But then I’m not that good a player anyway : )


  • 2017 2016

    @barney:

    Good stuff Baron

    My concern, while unlikely that AAgun could hit one of two planes the 1st round, it might slay the 2nd plane the 2nd round if it was lucky enough to get a 1st round hit. I would be more conservative than I am with my planes if their was AA fire every combat round.

    But then I’m not that good a player anyway : )

    I didn’t think about this specific case.
    And it is also an instance in which such AAA unit #1 or #2 is downgraded from 2 Def rolls @1 to 1 Def roll @1.
    This means that AAA will be weaker on defense than Infantry or Artillery after it got a hit on planes, if the ratio planes/AAA was barely 2:1.
    That’s never the case with other A&A combat units, they don’t get weaker if they hit enemy’s units.

    Again, in such situation defending player would have to ask himself if it is a good gamble to preserve the AAA unit 1D@1 instead of an Infantry or Artillery 1D@2, if he gets some casualties.

    This means that AAA units defending odds stay similar to Infantry or Artillery only if their is more than double aircrafts than AAA.

    Also, if the defender’s losses reach Tank units, keeping AAA firing each round seems a gambling choice anyway: keeping a cheaper unit 2D@1 (at most) which have less defensive capabilities than a 6 IPCs Tank 1D@3.


  • 2017 2016

    These posts from a past thread on AA guns summarized many AAA’s limitations:

    @Vance:

    I guess the issue is that AA guns are of equal value to fighters, as Fortress said, but only in terms of defense.

    Fighters are expensive units, but are often a good buy because they provide defense, offense, and mobility.

    AA guns are all defense, only move 1 space in NCM and have no offense at all.

    So while its true that a $5 AA gun has a 50/50 shot at taking out a $10 plane (and yes sometimes they get 2 or even 3 planes, including more expensive tacs or bombers), overall you don’t see people building AA guns very often, if ever. A house rule for AA guns getting something extra like antitank capability would add some extra historical flavour to the game.

    @allweneedislove:

    like ryguy, i also would like to know why aaguns were changed but still suck.
    aaguns were a boring unit that no one purchased. 2nd edition did a good job changing them to behave like a regular unit that can have more than one in the same territory and be taken as casualties. however, they are still boring and a bad purchase.
    @Fortress:

    Why are we trying to fix something that’s not broken? I laid out the math very specifically. Nobody has refuted it. It literally couldn’t be fairer. They are worth exactly what they should be worth. Where’s the case that there is a problem?…

    aaguns are broken and should have been fixed with the 2nd edition revision. they are overpriced.

    @Fortress:

    ….That is absolutely perfect. You can’t improve on that. Literally.

    i think you are being disingenuous. you are a better player than what your posts in this thread would have readers believe. you do not purchase aaguns yourself as they are the least flexible and cost efficient unit.

    your math works with the framework of a single battle with fighters attacking aaguns. thankfully the game is more than just this one type of battle.
    like vance states, they are the unit with the least offense, they are the unit with the least mobility, they only fire if planes are attacking them, they are only used in land battles, they are the 2nd most expensive land unit.

    @ryguy:

    Part of the problem might be that they are so damn immobile when traveling overseas. Why can’t AA guns move during the combat phase? Would it mess the game up completely? If you capture a territory overland, you can always move the AA gun into that territory during the non-combat phase on the same turn so you are accomplishing the same thing. You cant do that via transports however if the transport was involved during the combat phase. Why cant you just unload the damn AA guns with the attacking force? Why not treat AA guns like tanks/mech infantry/artillery in respect to transports? Why not let the AA guns travel with the attacking force overland during the combat phase?

    If were talking in real life terms this might seem weird (Im not a buff on military equipment used in WWII) but it makes them more versatile. You can make it a rule that AA guns cant be chosen as casualties when attacking if you wish, but they definitely cannot shoot at planes when attacking. Theyre just along for the ride. This makes it much easier to transport them overseas without having to purchase separate transports for the non-combat phase. I like mixed arms and this might incorporate AA guns into the mix more often for the Allies.

    Im not sure if I like the idea of one IPC AA guns with one shot. I would rather see the current AA gun scheme with a value of 3-4 IPCs with the above rule changes about movement perhaps. If theyre valued under infantry they will get used as fodder more than their original purpose and I dont like that. I still find it strange that AA guns can be chosen as casualties first. Was that rule created just because of the UK and Sea Lion?

    @WILD:

    Yeah I don’t like how AAA guns are just ignored after the first round of battle, and normally are the first casualty (seems like a flaw). Not sure that they should be able to fire one shot each round afterwords though unless you made it that they only fire 2 shots in the opening round, and one shot each round after that. I also agree that attacking planes should have the option to attack AAA guns directly (maybe AAA is taken as a casualty if air units roll a 1?), and/or can retreat after any round if AAA are allowed to continue firing.

    WILD BILL provided two interesting abilities to planes which can limit somehow the unbalancing effect of AAA#1 or AAA#2 continuous firing :

    1- Any hit from attacking planes could be directly taken on AAA units.
    2- All attacking aircraft units can retreat after each combat round while ground units still be part of the battle.

    Maybe one or both should be add to the mix to reach an equilibrium point.


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