France totally useless

  • Hi @all,

    i am a newbie in A&A Global and ive got a question about the minor power France and i wanne get sure that i did not missunderstand the rules.
    In turn 1 germany and italy overrun french and expel them from the Europe (With UK as an exception). What possibilities has France after that happens. I think they are totally useless at that point because they are not able to build anything and they only can move with a few poor infantry units in Africa until they are getting razed from Africa by Italien troops. Did I understand the rules correct in this aspect?

    Greeting from Germany

  • Yeah, France is mostly useless, though sometimes you can use your fighter and your North African infantry to skirmish against the Italians, or you could use any remaining ships and the fighter to kill some small ships.

    But mostly, you’ll be using your units to boost the defense of important territories.

  • Ok. Thank you for the clarification, but i dont get why there are so many French troops are within the game. You are never be able to build some of them (?)

  • 2019 2018 2017 '16

    It’s pretty weird, isn’t it? I’m not wild about the 1940 start date for exactly this reason – if you let Germany go before the UK, and you have a reasonably accurate historical setup, then there’s no way to stop Germany from steamrolling France on turn 1.

    I prefer a 1939 start date so that the Allies have a chance to really dig in and defend France if they want, but failing that, I think the UK should at least get a chance to drop the British Expeditionary Force into Normandy or something before the Germans attack.

    Another option is to have a house rule letting the French move their capital to Dakar or Martinique or Syria or Quebec, and fight on (as the free french) with reduced income and maybe a different national objective. I’m not sure exactly how to structure that; A&A 1940 is not my area of expertise.

    The overall flow of the 1940 game is satisfying, but it does seem like a huge waste to have all those nice French pieces and not be able to use them.

  • 2019 2018 2017 '16

    I understand the novelty of adding France to a large scale European map, but can someone remind me why they use USSR sculpts for so many units that they won’t build? Once liberated they used British and American equipment so they may as well have blue American pieces. Or just cut their piece count and give them to the British and American piece pools.

  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    If the French player loses his three continental territories (France, Southern France and Normandy/Bordeaux), which have IPC values of 4, 3 and 2 respectively, the only remaining French territories on the Europe 1940 side of the map are territories with an IPC value of 1 (in most cases) or 0 (in the case of French Guiana).  This means that, on the Europe 1940 side of the map, all the French player can do is save the IPCs he collects (for eventual use when France is liberated) because the rules require a player to introduce his new units in a territory which he controls and which contains an industrial complex.  France has no initial-setup ICs anywhere on the map except in its three continental territories, and it can’t build any ICs on the Europe 1940 side of the map because the rules say that “Minor industrial complexes can be built only in territories with an IPC value of 2 or higher.”

    On the Pacific 1940 side of the map, however, we have the interesting case of French Indo-China (FIC), which has an IPC value of 2.  The French player could therefore in principle build an IC in FIC (if it hasn’t yet been invaded by Japan), and then use the IC on his subsequent turns to deploy units to that territory to take part in the struggle for Southeast Asia.  Building an IC there, however, would give Japan a good reason to invade FIC before France had a chance to use the IC on its next turn – especially since the set-up charts allocate no French units to FIC, thus leaving it completely undefended.

    The Pacific 1940 rules say that…

    “France’s capital has been captured by Germany. As a result, French territories are treated in the same way as any Allied territories whose capital is held by an enemy power (see “Liberating a Territory,” page 20).”

    …so I suppose that British forces could in principle try to get to FIC from India (there are no initial-setup British forces next door to FIC in Shan State) ahead of Japan, in order to put a defending force there and in order to liberate the territory on behalf of France, since the rule say…

    “If you capture a territory that was originally controlled by another member of your side, you “liberate” the territory. You
    don’t take control of it; instead, the original controller regains the territory and the national production level is adjusted.”

    But all in all, this sounds like a lot of effort and I’m not sure the payoff of having a French IC operating in that part of the world would be worth the trouble.  It would also probably require more inter-Allied cooperation than the Allied players might be willing to deliver.

  • 2019 '15 '14

    Unfortunately France can’t collect income without control of their capital so there’s nothing for them to do except move a couple infantry pieces around and maybe bring their fighter to defend their compatriots in some minor territory or with a scramble or a spot on a deck.

    I had an HR that put France first in the turn order, instead of Germany, but even then they’re not buying anything beyond some extra infantry.

    I think they could have been handled as a neutral instead of as a full player nation. I suppose it’s nice to have a set of blue sculpts for HR purposes, but all those ships (much like the Soviet naval sculpts) will never see use in the OOB game.

  • '15

    I think the French aircraft carrier piece is hilarious myself. You can set it down on the table next to the Russian one and giggle at both at the same time.

    I actually use those French pieces if Japan runs out of planes, because I hate chipping up planes, and french markers are often a substitute for another nation’s if they really get to steamrolling territories. But you’re right, I would just rather have had more Japanese/German pieces to begin with.

    I, in probably 25ish actually challenging and competitive table top games (excluding 25 more where I sucked or the people present were largely novices), have only seen France liberated one time before Germany respectfully tipped its king over. It was never worth it in any of these games, save one, even Europe-only, to lose the Normandy/S. France mICs to a liberated France. Those IPCs and factories, be they in Europe or Africa, are always better off in the hands of Britain or the U.S.

    In the one game it was liberated, it was done because the four infantry France can insta-build were necessary to avoid having any chance of our main invasion force getting slaughtered or pushed back into Spain. Going to Spain was not an option, because we lost Egypt, and needed the VC. The Allies lost that game, but it was very close, and had it continued for a few more turns in lieu of the rules, I think the Allies would have gotten it.

  • 2019 2018 2017 '16

    I just feel like the 1940 game is crying out for some kind of halfway-meaningful Free French option. How can you have a game that includes a space for frigging British Guyana but that completely ignores the possibility of de Gaulle gaining momentum? There should be enough French colonial income that it sometimes makes sense to liberate Paris so that you can deploy that income at the front, plus a 2-ipc French colony on the Europe board, maybe somewhere in West Africa.

    If the Normandy / Southern France mICs are too valuable for the Anglos to pass up, then maybe France needs a house rule allowing you to leave them in Anglo hands even after Paris is liberated – maybe you can choose either (1) four free infantry and factories go back to the French or (2) no free infantry but factories stay in Anglo hands. If you choose (1), then you’re betting on a rapid uprising clinching the game for you (or you’re just desperate), and if you choose (2), then you’re betting on French colonial income making a difference over the long haul. It also gives you a cool choice of whether to spend the French colonial income on a mIC in Dakar, or whether to save it in the hopes of an Anglo-led liberation.

  • 2019 2018 2017 '16

    At the very least Free France should operate like China and be able to generate infantry to help support any African operations. Once Paris is liberated they operate like a normal power.

  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10


    At the very least Free France should operate like China and be able to generate infantry to help support any African operations.

    Yes, it’s ironic that non-industrialized, non-colony-holding China is allowed to collect income even though it has no capital and is allowed to mobilize units even though it has no industrial complexes, whereas France is effectively prohibited from both activities, despite its extensive colonial holdings.

  • '15

    We’re risking houserule discussion here, but:

    “In real life” there was talk of France entering a union with the U.K. during the French collapse. Scroll down to the WW2 section:
    You might be able to work something like this into your game.

    Also, “in real life”, the French organizational hierarchy quickly disintegrated into uselessness. They didn’t do more than the board would suggest in Africa. They also didn’t have super great relations with their African holdings at the time, definitely not good enough for large swaths of untrained men to volunteer to die for someone else’s homeland they would never be able to visit, nor in which would they feel welcomed even if they did.

    My table has had some ideas on the French to make liberating them more appealing, but again, that’s houserule talk, and does not belong here. I honestly think the way the game has it play out now is fine, and balanced enough. Germany needs the help of a weak France. Buff it up too much and the Axis upperhand might get trounced more than it should. The multitude of French pieces are weird, but I’d rather have them than not. You never know, and buying a game and then feeling limited in the possibilities is never fun.

    Plus, I’m sure this has been said before, but have you ever looked at the box art of this game? It makes no damn sense at all. French people are everywhere.

    Full disclosure: I go to France all the time, and I don’t like them 😛

  • 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '12

    In the Xeno World at War, once France fell, the French player would roll to determine what remaining territories and units would become Vichy, i.e. pro-axis, and what would become free French, i.e. pro-allied etc.  It worked pretty well to the extent once France fell, the remaining units and territories were turned over to the other players, streamlining the game a bit so you don’t have this rump power still moving etc.

  • '15

    Let me just say this:

    in back to back games I had a situation where UK built a factory in Egypt, only to lose it to Italy on their turn.  In both cases Italy was left with one unit (a tank the first time, an artillery the second) and both times the French unit that started in West Africa went into Egypt, one-on-one, and took it back.

    I love when France gets those little victories.

  • I had a situation where Germany took both Paris and Southern France, the latter with a mech and a tank. I used my inf and art in Normandy to attack Southern France and actually managed to retake it, preventing the Germans from using the factory for one turn and also destroying 2 mobile units.

  • @calvinhobbesliker:

    I had a situation where Germany took both Paris and Southern France, the latter with a mech and a tank. I used my inf and art in Normandy to attack Southern France and actually managed to retake it, preventing the Germans from using the factory for one turn and also destroying 2 mobile units.

    I’m surprised Italy didn’t support Southern France with 2 infantry before the French got their turn.

  • Yeah, Italy used everything in North Italy to attack Yugoslavia.

  • Customizer


    Yeah, Italy used everything in North Italy to attack Yugoslavia.

    I always have Germany take Yugoslavia, France and Normandy. Sometimes Germany will also take Southern France to get that IC on the Med. If Germany’s attack on S. France fails or Germany simply decides not to attack S. France, then Italy will take it on their turn.

    I have often thought that once France falls, the territories of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia should stay French units but become Pro-Axis Neutrals. So if the Allies want to land in any of these then they will still have to fight them but it won’t be a really tough fight (like what happened in real life). I would also include Syria because the British had to attack the Vichy French in Syria to keep Germany from establishing Luftwaffe bases there and that was a pretty tough fight for the Brits.
    However, Italy or Germany would have to still occupy these territories with land units to make them fully Axis and gain the IPCs from them (and in the case of Italy’s North Africa NO).
    As for the other French territories – French West Africa, French Central Africa, French Equatorial Africa, French Madagascar and French Guyana – perhaps they could be made Pro-Allies when France falls. That could be an easy way for UK or US to pick up a few extra IPCs in Africa.
    Once France is liberated, any unclaimed “Pro” territories and any original French territories in Allied hands revert back to French control. Any French territories still in Axis hands will have to be taken back by force.
    As for the French units in the UK (2 infantry, 1 fighter) and any French ships still surviving, they would remain under the French player’s control. In most cases, whomever is playing France is also playing one of the bigger countries so it still wouldn’t be that much of a bother.

  • 2019 '15 '14

    I think that rule has promise, though for simplicity I’d just make all French territory pro-Axis neutral. Nominally Vichy controlled after Paris falls.

    While the French would still be useless as a player nation, at least french territory would be useful. Allies could occupy the sub saharan spaces on combat, and then make use of them both for income and for bases. This last is potentially significant as French West Africa could provide an alternative to Gibraltar as a naval base staging location. This would be very helpful for USA, since it would give them a repeating launch for their Eastern US transports.

    I think this would be easier than trying to divide things up by specific territories. It might not be as historically accurate, but in practical terms it would better for the gameplay I think.

    The only kink would be French Indo China for the Japanese DoW restriction, but honestly I think we could just do away with it altogether. Make FIC pro Axis same as all the other spaces. If Japan elects not to claim it on J1 then UK Pacific could.

    Alternatively if Pro Axis seems to weird for the JDoW, then just make all French territory Pro Allies. Either way would be simpler and more dynamic for the gameplay than the OOB situation.

  • 2019 2018 2017 '16


    Ok. Thank you for the clarification, but i dont get why there are so many French troops are within the game. You are never be able to build some of them (?)

    Welcome on board knallbaer!

    Almost correct.
    When the Allies got their Foot down on Normandy, S.France and Bel.Holland
    And Germany has not a real chance to recapture France back after the Allies liberated it.
    Then you could be in a position to purchase units for France.
    Mostly the ipcs’s are spent for arty and inf maybe some arm.

    Gruesse aus Franken


  • Hello Knallbaer and welcome to the board!

    Yes, you’ve understood the rules concerning France correct. If you play A&A1940 without any HR adaption, the French troops are gone very quickly without any chance of rebuilding new units before the liberation of Paris. (Although they might be useful to thwart Mussolini for a turn or two…)

    As mentioned before – and also suggested by the rules I think – you should never let anyone play only France.

    This is why we’ve got a HR in our gaming group that gives any conqueror of Paris the option to install the Vichy Regime in Southern France. These rules are inspired by the ‘Xeno - World at War’ and several posts form this board.

    Greetings from Mainz,

  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Lots of interesting ideas in this thread on how to make France more than just a token – “vesitigial” might be a better term – presence in the game.  The options reflect such questions as whether or not to depict the historical Vichy / Free French situation, whether to split the French territories and forces into two opposing groups or keep them unified, and whether the French territories and forces should be treated as Allied, pro-Allies, pro-Axis, or Axis.  So there are several potential routes open.  One possibility, which is a variant of what General Veers proposed yesterday, would be this:

    • Post-defeat France is treated (as in the OOB rules) as a single player power that continues to fight on the Allied side, without reference to the historical Vichy / Free French situation.

    • Because France has lost its capital of Paris and most (or all) of its homeland territory, France operates as a London-based government-in-exile until such time as Paris is liberated.  (The OOB rules for the liberation of France continue to apply.)  If London is ever captured by the Axis, France loses its status as a London-based government-in-exile.

    • While France operates as a London-based government-in-exile:

    • It continues to administer from London all the French colonial territories (including French Indochina) which are not under enemy occupation.  This is similar to the OOB rule treatment of the Belgian Congo, except that France rather than Britain is the power which administers these territories.

    • It collects income from the French colonial territories it administers, even though it does not have a true capital of its own.  This is similar to the OOB rule treatment of China, which can collect income even though it has no capital.

    • It can buy units and mobilize them in the United Kingdom map territory, even though it has no true capital of its own and no industrial complexes.  This is similar to the OOB rule treatment of China, which can mobilize units (under certain restrictions) even though it has no capital and no industrial complexes.

    As Black Elk noted, one issue that would have to be worked out is how to treat French Indochina from the point of view of a declaration of war if Japan were to invade it.  I’m not sure what the best solution would be.

  • @knp7765:

    I have often thought that once France falls, the territories of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia should stay French units but become Pro-Axis Neutrals. So if the Allies want to land in any of these then they will still have to fight them

    I love it, its smooth and brilliant and close to the real thing.

    The universal HR rule would be like this >
    1. When a Capital is captured, all land and air units that are alone in home territories, and lone naval units in seazones adjacent to home territories, will immediately become neutrals pro-the Occupier.

    2. All land, air and naval units that share a space together with former allied units, or they are in an allied territory, will stay loyal to the former alliance.

    This was true with France, the Allies had to amphibious assault French Morocco, and they had to sink the French Navy before the Germans could get it. Likewise, the Germans could non-combatmove into Syria and build an Airbase there, and Japan also non-combatmoved into French Indochina, and from there attacked the UK base at Singapore.

    This is also true with Italy, when the Allies captured Rome, then all Italian units become pro-Allied neutrals, except the Italian units that shared space with German units.

    I also believe that if Moscow was theoretically captured, then the surviving Russian units were likely to have become pro-Axis neutrals.

    But I don’t know what would have happened if London got captured ?

    But enough history, from a gaming point of view,  a HR rule like this will really make you protect your Capitals……

  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Personally, I rather doubt that the capture of London by Germany would have caused the British Commonwealth to turn into Axis sympathizers and to cease hostilities against Germany and Italy.  I likewise rather doubt that the capture of Washington D.C. would have caused the rest of the U.S. to hoist a white flag and become Axis-friendly neutrals.

  • Sure Marc, whatever  😄

    Come to think about it, the rule should be >

    1. If your Capital is captured, you must relocate your Capital to any Victory City in your home territory. This is government in exile.
    2. If no such place exist, all units now become pro- the Occupier neutrals.
    3. Except units that share space with the former allied, they remain loyal.

    Since Paris and Rome did not have any appropriate places to relocate at the time they were captured, they collapsed and their unoccupied territories became neutral. Russia have a long tradition from the Napoleonic wars and WWI to switch between Moscow and Petrograd, so they would have found a new place to govern from. China too had Bejing occupied, then Peking occupied, and so on, but China was so big it was easy to relocate the Capital. If London got occupied, they would probably relocate to Canada or something. But take Washington and the house of cards will crash. Relocate where ? Texas ?

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